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LA-3A, 2-LA-2 or 2-1176
Old 26th June 2009
Gear Nut

LA-3A, 2-LA-2 or 2-1176

I'm definitely NOT a mastering engineer, but I would like one good tool to use in order to control dynamics in my final mixes during mix down. Many of my clients don't have the money to spend on a mastering engineer, so I would like to be able to do a "mock mastering" job myself.

First question, on the master outs, would it be better to use a limiter or a compressor?

Secondly, and more specifically, which unit would work better? Universal Audio 2-1176, or the UA 2-LA-2 or the Dual LA-3A? And if you can, why it would work better than the others?

Thank you for your help
Old 26th June 2009
Lives for gear
dannygold's Avatar

You should read up on Mastering if you're going to do it (or kinda do it)... Bob Katz's book is pretty much the bible of this stuff, although I'm sure there are web resources that are simper and more free.

None of the comps you list would be my first choices on two bus compression (or anywhere on my list really)... API 2500 is a nice one, Alan Smart C2, SSL G series, Drawmer 1968 or 1969... here's a good deal on a demo unit: Mercenary Audio - Drawmer 1968 Mercenary Edition Stereo Tube/FET Compressor

Another good deal might be the chamelon labs 7220.

Or even just a plugin like "the glue" might do the track (followed by a good brick wall limter plug).
Old 26th June 2009
Lives for gear
Led's Avatar
I second Danny's emotion.....all of those are nice track comps, but not really first choice for buss duties. I would ne thinking more in terms of the sonic imprint you want from the comp, then looking for options in the vein.
What styles of music do you want it for?
Old 27th June 2009
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by cojo67 View Post
Universal Audio 2-1176, or the UA 2-LA-2 or the Dual LA-3A?
I'm with Danny and Led -- I love all those compressors but they're not the right ones for mastering. If you're just trying to get "louder", the 1176 will definitely do it, but it's going to color your tracks in a way that you probably won't like. If you are participating in the "loudness war" you definitely need a mastering compressor that is fast enough to be used as a limiter. The LA-2A and LA-3A aren't fast enough.

Danny mentions some good ones for mastering. Also look at Crane Song compressors.
Old 28th June 2009
Lives for gear
B-San's Avatar

As already stated, only the 2-1176 is fast enough - but having said that, I still would not reccomend it; just as already said the coloration would not be desired in most cases... I have used the 2-LA2 during mastering, but that was with the compressor bypassed... this trick would work great on some material, as it would leave a nice thick wooly coat of tube-fueled analog goodness! ... I have to emphasize that it would only works well with some material...

I think you might get more use out of an API 2500...

... but as the elders say YMMV
Old 29th June 2009
Gear Nut

Thank you all for your insights. This is all very good to know. I appreciate it.

Old 29th June 2009
Gear Addict
alkooloid's Avatar

TK Audio BC-1.
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