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Testing a Vintage UREI LA3a & UA Reissue LA3a Single-Channel Preamps
Old 6th October 2006
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Testing a Vintage UREI LA3a & UA Reissue LA3a

Hi all,

Hope i'm posting in the right section of the forum.

I have been testing various compressors for the last few days with a view to buying a hardware compressor for mixing and other duties including vocal tracking, bass and guitars.

I rented:

An original Teletronix LA-2A
A UREI LA-3A

This was being tested at the same time as a demo of the LA-610 I had been trying. Basically I wasn't very happy with the compressor in the LA-610 and found it to be smooth, but not transparent enough.

When I hired the UREI LA-3A, this solved my problem. I'd never heard of the LA-3A before so it was a revelation to hear how it was almost completely invisible to my ears when doing gain reduction of between 3-7dbs. Even when it went beyond, it did not suffer from any artifacts that detracted from the performance, the recording or the sound.

Now, I hate the "sound" of compression, in that I am a fan of not being able to hear it.

The real LA2A had the sound I was expecting (having used the UAD plugin for years) but it wasn't the sound I was after for my vocals.

The original UREI LA3A is a triumph, so I asked my local distributor to lend me an LA-3A reissue by Universal Audio. Testing between them, I agree with popmann's comment that they are still useable, but are not as transparent.

The attack and release is without question quite different, though I'm not an expert and I wouldn't be able to tell you why.

It's a real disappointment, leading me to believe (only my opinion) that the only one I'm going to be happy with is the 25 year old version of the LA3A.

I would really appreciate talking this over with any of you who might have experienced this - and might have found a workaround to get the new units sounding as close to the old ones as possible.

If I buy the reissue, I DON'T want to be thinking, I wish I had the UREI.

Any thoughts? Thanks to all.

Old 6th October 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 

In my experience the attack and release characteristics of any two LA3As are going to be different. Anybody who's ever tried to use them in stereo will know what I mean.

I have extensive experience with the originals and own a pair of the reissues and I'm happy using either.

If you feel that you'll only be happy with vintage than go vintage. Nobody likes to spend money only to wish they'd bought something else instead.
Old 6th October 2006
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Hi Jan,

Thanks very much for your reply. I didn't know that, so that helps a great deal. Perhaps each reissue will sound different too?
Old 6th October 2006
  #4
Lives for gear
 
gainreduction's Avatar
 

If you have a chance to audition a Buzz Audio SOC 1.1, do it.

It might be just what you're looking for.
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