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Transformer differences on Teletronix La2a? Modular Synthesizers
Old 27th February 2008
  #1
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Transformer differences on Teletronix La2a?

Can anybody describe the audible differences between Teletronix LA-2A 's mounted with a UTC HA-100 transformer versus UTC A-10 transformer ?
Many thanks.
Old 27th February 2008
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexstringer View Post
Can anybody describe the audible differences between Teletronix LA-2A 's mounted with a UTC HA-100 transformer versus UTC A-10 transformer ?Many thanks.
i have a vintage one that had an A10. then i bought a UA reissue LA2 on ebay that sounded a bit different (better IMO).

so i went back on ebay and bought a UTC HA100x for my vintage LA2 to see if that would make it sound more like the reissue!

i may be imagining things but to my ears it did. please take this with a barrel of salt, as i did anything but a scientific test, but that was my perception. still have the original A10 for if i ever sell the vintage LA2.

as to the differences in sound, the HA100x sounded a little fatter, a bit more body to me. but again, take that with a grain of salt. maybe someone with deeper technical knowledge can comment.
Old 27th February 2008
  #3
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Hi Raal,
Thanks for your input.
Was the Electronics of your vintage La2a in good condition and would the transformer be the only parameter affecting its audible difference against your La2a re issue?
Old 28th February 2008
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexstringer View Post
Hi Raal,
Thanks for your input.
Was the Electronics of your vintage La2a in good condition and would the transformer be the only parameter affecting its audible difference against your La2a re issue?
i'd like to think that is so. the LA2 was gone through and eveything measured fine, but my tech will be going through it again soon as well as other stuff.
Old 29th February 2008
  #5
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The cool thing about reissues is that they(UA) take the best sounding vintage models and clone them. They'll always sound great. You'll always get the best of what the model has to offer (or has ever had to offer )

This applies to all the reissues...by UA anyway.
Old 29th February 2008
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
The cool thing about reissues is that they(UA) take the best sounding vintage models and clone them. They'll always sound great. You'll always get the best of what the model has to offer (or has ever had to offer )

This applies to all the reissues...by UA anyway.
I have to repectfully disagree,

I own (x2) rev. F, (x2) rev. G, (x1) rev. D, (x1) Silver plate and (x2) re-issue and although the re-issue sounds good, the difference between the old 1176 and the re-issue is remarkable, starting with the input knob (the gain is different), not to mention the color of the sound.

I agree that their LA2a sounds fantastic!

delcosmos.

BTW, I have a Blue Stripe coming soon!
Old 29th February 2008
  #7
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norman_nomad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexstringer View Post
Can anybody describe the audible differences between Teletronix LA-2A 's mounted with a UTC HA-100 transformer versus UTC A-10 transformer ?
Many thanks.
They're essentially the exact same transformer in different packaging. You'll pay more for the HA-100 b/c they're rare as hen's teeth.
Old 29th February 2008
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
The cool thing about reissues is that they(UA) take the best sounding vintage models and clone them. They'll always sound great. You'll always get the best of what the model has to offer (or has ever had to offer )

This applies to all the reissues...by UA anyway.
This is utter crap. Sorry but you don't know what you are talking about. I like UA (2-610 is pretty cool, LA2A is pretty cool) but the reality is that their HA100x transformer has nothing to do with real HA100x transformers. A couple of years ago, we ran tests on the new transformers vs. real "old stock" HA100x transformers and they are made of different materials - that is, the laminations have to be made of different materials because the test rather different. The new LA2A's sound good, but they do not sound like original ones. They are missing the grit and texture of the old ones. They sound smoother than the old ones, but are missing the magic of the old ones.

Before I bought my pair of em I spoke with someone there regarding the "trouble and extent" they went through to "nail" the design of the old transformer. They were blowing smoke up my ass. We tested the units both listening (ABX testing) and ran signals through em using an Audio Precision 2500.

You can do a search here for HA100x and probably find the old thread. Sorry for the rant, but I cannot stomach how much bull**** there is floating around out there about this stuff. So few people ever get to test things critically, which is the only way you will ever be sure about something, that it is very easy for people to say whatever they want and get away with it.

The long and the short of it is, the new HA100x units sound nice and smooth but DO NOT sound like old ones. If you listen side by side, (I did), there is no comparison.

joshua kessler
Old 29th February 2008
  #9
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bit mangler's Avatar
 

CJ over at groupdiy has possibly ripped open every known A10 & 100x except the green 100X.They made small changes in the windings of the vintage models.If I remember correctly he said that the newer ones sound slightly different but not significantly
Old 29th February 2008
  #10
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Whatever changes they made to the windings is nothing compared to the fact that the laminations are not made of the same materials. And having ABX tested both transformers it was instantly recognizable to all those present that they were very different sounding. It seems clear to me that the transformers are the reason that the old LA2A's sound like they do and are so desireable.
Old 29th February 2008
  #11
Gear Head
 
Curtis@HHB's Avatar
 

Opinions vary....utter crap? Come on.

You could take 10 vintage LA2A's and they'd all sound a bit or alot different. The new ones are consistant.

I DO know what I'm talking about. I'm talking from experience and from working closely with UA for the last 6 years.

Whether they are missing the magic of the old ones is your opinion. One could also say that the old ones are missing the magic of the new ones. All opinions.

They've changed compontents also over the years....remember that before making your case.
Old 29th February 2008
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bushwick View Post
Whatever changes they made to the windings is nothing compared to the fact that the laminations are not made of the same materials. And having and ABX test setup with both transformers was instantly recognizable as being very different sounding.
Right. A lot of those older transformers use metals that aren't easily available for use in modern transformer production and this certainly will affect the sound to one degree or another.

Whether or not the older ones have the "magic" is up for debate I suppose.
Old 29th February 2008
  #13
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Yes. Utter crap when what is being said here is that they have knocked off the transformer to a perfect T. In this case, this transformer is one of the major components of the sound. I hate when people misinform. UA misinformed me and other people by claiming that they had nailed it. I had two variations of HA100x transformer, grey and black canned versions. The new one scoped nothing like the black version and not all that close to the grey version. You may very well know a lot about a lot of things, and this email is not even directed at you, its directed at the idea that UA nailed this thing. They didn't. And putting forth information that says they did is erroneous. And you did say that.

Look, I like the company, I am glad that are doing what the do generally speaking - I don't want them to go away. i just wish they and everyone else who is trying make stuff for the audio community wouldn't cut corners, skimp, or otherwise sell the gear and in the process, music makers short. Sometimes I feel like Holden Caulfield.

joshua
Old 29th February 2008
  #14
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One more thing. The magic is not necessarily up for debate. UA went after a specific version of the compressor to manufacture on the merits that version won in the opinions of people who buy and use audio gear. If your remove magic and substitute the word sound, then that is the reason UA decided to reissue this version of this compressor. And for good reason. It sounds great. What I am saying is, and I fear that I am coming off hostile here, but what I am saying is that they did not make the new one sound like the old one to me, or anyone else that was in the control room the night we did the tests. Noticeable enough were the differences that i felt compelled to write about it on the internet.

I have absolutely nothing to gain here. I just care very deeply about sound and think people ought to know.

joshua
Old 29th February 2008
  #15
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Animus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bushwick View Post
Yes. Utter crap when what is being said here is that they have knocked off the transformer to a perfect T. In this case, this transformer is one of the major components of the sound. I hate when people misinform. UA misinformed me and other people by claiming that they had nailed it. I had two variations of HA100x transformer, grey and black canned versions. The new one scoped nothing like the black version and not all that close to the grey version. You may very well know a lot about a lot of things, and this email is not even directed at you, its directed at the idea that UA nailed this thing. They didn't. And putting forth information that says they did is erroneous. And you did say that.

Look, I like the company, I am glad that are doing what the do generally speaking - I don't want them to go away. i just wish they and everyone else who is trying make stuff for the audio community wouldn't cut corners, skimp, or otherwise sell the gear and in the process, music makers short. Sometimes I feel like Holden Caulfield.

joshua
I think we should do a blind A/B test between a old and new unit. My guess it that you are listening with your head and not your ears. Other similiar a/b tests (of vintage and modern gear] were quite revealing in that the difference was so miniscule and people were often wrong in there assumptions.
Old 29th February 2008
  #16
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Joshua,

Maybe they did nail the sound of the one that they were referencing.

Also, you're right....i should have been more specific in my original post.


-Curtis
Old 29th February 2008
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bushwick View Post
Yes. Utter crap when what is being said here is that they have knocked off the transformer to a perfect T. In this case, this transformer is one of the major components of the sound. I hate when people misinform. UA misinformed me and other people by claiming that they had nailed it. I had two variations of HA100x transformer, grey and black canned versions.
so which is the legitimate LA2A, the one with the grey or black canned version?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curti[email protected] View Post
You could take 10 vintage LA2A's and they'd all sound a bit or alot different. The new ones are consistant.
i believe they copied whichever unit they felt best represented the product. bushwick may have picked a different one.

sorry to be repetetive but i liked the reissue more than my own vintage LA2A (with a UTC10A) so i got an UTC HA100x for it in hopes of making it sound more like the reissue. to my ears it did sound closer.

but:

Quote:
Originally Posted by norman_nomad View Post
They're essentially the exact same transformer in different packaging. You'll pay more for the HA-100 b/c they're rare as hen's teeth.
so what do i know?

summary: i think the reissue LA2 rocks. still prefer it slightly over my vintage one (even with the 100x transformer), but i have a rev F 1176 which i prefer over my reissue 1176, because of the higher gain output and maybe it has a bit more mojo, but maybe not. you just have to crank the UA a little more to get the same level. no biggie. they both do the 1176 thing very nicely.

so bottom line i think 'utter crap' is a bit strong but YMMV. and FWIW i do believe you have nothing to gain and what you said was well intentioned, but i too have nothing to gain.

so if we both have nothing to gain, why are we spending the time to write this crap?
Old 29th February 2008
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raal View Post

so bottom line i think 'utter crap' is a bit strong but YMMV. and FWIW i do believe you have nothing to gain and what you said was well intentioned, but i too have nothing to gain.

so if we both have nothing to gain, why are we spending the time to write all this crap?
Because i asked and i wanna know!

I'm still undecided but i wanna believe Buswick ...Not because he's from Brooklyn as well ,heh but because he sounds like he knows the transformer like he built them , talks like a surgeon and A/B'd it with several people around, + the whole group affirmed the same statement!

I'm not saying you're wrong Raal, but may be there is more than the transformers involved in the sonic difference... I dunno, just wondering...

It can't be that 2 experienced engineers like Buswick & you have an opposite opinion on that matter...

Ideally, i'd need to find someone around who owns a UA re issue and hook up with him so i can bring with me my 70's La 2a for a comparative test...
Old 1st March 2008
  #19
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I would very much like to see/read/talk to someone who A/B'd, blind or not, who found the difference to be miniscule. It was audible immediately to those present, most importantly perhaps was someone who was the chief engineer of the Filmore East and has been doing audio and computer electronics about as long as anyone I know who still cares about audio.

This was blind testing meaning you push a button and randomly the options pop up. It wasn't needed. Look, the new LA2A is not crap; that they faithfully recreated it is. These tests mind you were just a small portion of transormer tests that we were doing, with an eye for building a console from scratch. I was so taken with the sound of real HA100x xformers I started buying them up to use as the input transformers for all the channels, before the cost to complete the project started to settle in.

To speak to my reason for originally posting my findings I'd say its a bit of fighting for the underdog, aka the consumer. It is next to impossible to get unbiased opinions from people who have had the opportunities to deeply investigate something. I had the very rare opportunity to test out some common theories on audio gear over the course of a year period and this was one of them, it involved a lot of testing of transformers in a critical environment with people that have no vested interest in the findings in any way. It did result in three major overhauls of my console, which I did have a vested interest in since I was paying for the modifications. I was interested in learning.

Please try the tests if you wish. I have no need to do it again. I will ask and see if the AP2500 plots of the transformers are still available.

Best,
josh
Old 1st March 2008
  #20
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i would love to read the post of someone who actually had an original 610
mic pre - i had to sell mine, as i did not find it interesting even with n.o.s.
tubes. i don't think it sounds anything like the records made on ua consoles
i like the two re-issue la-2a's i have




be well



- jack
Old 1st March 2008
  #21
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spockstudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexstringer View Post

Ideally, i'd need to find someone around who owns a UA re issue and hook up with him so i can bring with me my 70's La 2a for a comparative test...
you got it. 25 minutes east of verranzano.
Old 1st March 2008
  #22
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexstringer View Post
I'm not saying you're wrong Raal, but may be there is more than the transformers involved in the sonic difference... I dunno, just wondering...
been wrong before so no problem there bro. and yes, not only the transformers give the unit its sound, but they sure have a lot to do with it.

anyway i suspect bushwick would hear what i heard here, as everyone else did, and very possibly the other way around if we were to go to his place.

but if you, bushwick or any GS is interested, you're most welcome to drop by and hear the two units, bring your own (or not), and we can listen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bushwick View Post
I would very much like to see/read/talk to someone who A/B'd, blind or not, who found the difference to be miniscule.
the test was done blind here, and the difference was not miniscule, but we came to a different conclusion as you.

so does my teletronix have a problem? does your UA?

FWIW time permitting i'll ask my tech to run through the units with a fine toothed comb, and if something comes up i'll report back on this thread.
Old 1st March 2008
  #23
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I purchased two reissues and they both sounded pretty much identical. I swapped the transformers for old stock HA100x's after the tests and they both sound pretty much identical now too, though with remarked about differences.

All the best,
j
Old 1st March 2008
  #24
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Having tried multiples of at least 4 different versions: original grey painted one, a silver faced one, an 80's NOS silver faced one, and the new reissue, the real magic came from the original grey pained ones. I sent mine to Matt Wells at the Magic shop in NYC, and after a couple long discussion he replaced my A 100's with a larger A 150 which he said came in the first version on the La2a and matched the T4s. When i got them back they sounded like the old grey painted ones I had loved. I am not a tech, so i am only repeating what i was told (by someone i trust and respect a lot), but that's my story and i am extreamly happy with my stereo pair

stuart
Old 1st March 2008
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wirerecording View Post
Having tried multiples of at least 4 different versions: original grey painted one, a silver faced one, an 80's NOS silver faced one, and the new reissue, the real magic came from the original grey pained ones. I sent mine to Matt Wells at the Magic shop in NYC, and after a couple long discussion he replaced my A 100's with a larger A 150 which he said came in the first version on the La2a and matched the T4s. When i got them back they sounded like the old grey painted ones I had loved. I am not a tech, so i am only repeating what i was told (by someone i trust and respect a lot), but that's my story and i am extreamly happy with my stereo pair

stuart
is the full denomination UTC A 150? thanks.
Old 1st March 2008
  #26
Hay
I have an LA2A with the UTC A-10 and a reissue ,the older one sounds much bigger ,I don't like the reissue as much.

The old one is instant magic and the new one has just the behavior with less vibe.

I like the UTC A-100 too (on an original one I have rented from time to time) ,It has some sort of nice buzz or sparkle that brings things to the front of the picture ,the UTC A-10 sounds to me more like adding an extra octave at the bottom.

Hope this helps

Ronen
FatStudio
Old 4th March 2008
  #27
i have 2 matched La-2a's with UTC A-10 transformers and I've used a cleaner more hi fi Tamura output transformers instead of the UTC, it sounds great !
Old 7th April 2008
  #28
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vintage vs. reissue LA2A update

ok guys, our tech went through the vintage LA2 and said the tubes were due for a change, so we got a new set from UA (and also JAN Philips, RCA etc.), but for the test we ran both units with stock UA tubes. both units were calibrated, biased, etc.

the vintage unit did improve, so now both units sound about the same (insert blushing smiley here).

duplicated a kick track, inserted an LA2 on each and after matching compression and gain it was very difficult to tell which was which. didn't do a blind test 'cause i know i'd flunk it and the tech concurred.

so thank you very much bushwick for calling this to my attention!

note: the vintage unit currently has a UTC HA100x which i got from ebay and not its original 10A. when we get some time the tech will reinstall the original 10A and we'll check again. if everything sounds the same he'll put the HA100x in the UA reissue, which is what it was planned for originally.

again, thanks bushwick and sorry if i gave faulty information. GS rules.
Old 14th May 2016
  #29
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Rise from your grave!

Quote:
Originally Posted by raal View Post

note: the vintage unit currently has a UTC HA100x which i got from ebay and not its original 10A. when we get some time the tech will reinstall the original 10A and we'll check again. if everything sounds the same he'll put the HA100x in the UA reissue, which is what it was planned for originally.
Did you ever switch out the transformers? What were your findings?
Old 14th May 2016
  #30
Gear Addict
I have a ua reissue 2-1176 that sounds like crap nothing like an 1176 of any model so I don't know how you can make the assumption that reissue sound like original not been my experience
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