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CL1B or LA2A Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 21st December 2013
  #1
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Dizzy's Avatar
 

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CL1B or LA2A

I know this has been disussed and debated before, but I wanted to resurrect it in a slightly different way.

Has anybody hear used both the CL1B and a vintage LA2A? How about a custom built LA2A with all of the nicest parts money can buy for an LA2A?

I've been pretty set on having a custom built LA2A done, a very nice one at that, definitely not the typical barebones cost effective LA2A most people do - not at all. Figured I'd get some CL1B talk before I pull the trigger on the build, however.

Just looking for a vocal tracking comp to follow up the Aurora GTQC's comp in its FET mode with a quick attack/release to sort of emulate the 1176 thing. I'd like to have my vocal compression done in the tracking stage at atleast 90%, if not completely - so this is why I'm chaining the two together in the tracking stage.

It's obvious that the CL1B is more flexible with more dial in options, but I do have that in the Aurora. The LA2A was just intended to knock 2-3dbs and to be used more as a tone box, although I'm having dual T4B cells installed, one being with a quicker attack than stock.

How do the two units differ in sound? Again, not regarding the reissue's LA2A.
Old 21st December 2013
  #2
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I have used both. If you want 90% of the compression done on tracking, I am not sure either of these will do it for you. For some singers, yes, they would work wonderful, but possibly be much less flexible then others out there.

The CL1B can sound more modern and up front than the LA2A (also every vintage LA2A sounds different!). I like how the LA2A sounds when hit hard, but the Cl1B, the compression can sometimes be a little too noticeable. The CL1B has this uncanny ability to help great singers sound better and bad singers to sound worse. For tracking, it is best used with very subtle compression, just a few db max. The LA2A, I am more comfortable knocking off a lot more dB. There is also this cool sound that the LA2A gets on basses and kicks that the CL1B cannot come close too. However the Cl1B can be very versatile (great on guitars too!). Keep in mind that a newish CL1B will probably cost a lot less in maintenance than the vintage LA2A.

For your purposes and your stated intentions, I would recommend a Distressor, Retro StaLevel or even an Aphex Compellor if you have to choose just one compressor for this duty.
Good luck!
Old 21st December 2013
  #3
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Old 21st December 2013
  #4
I will go with CL1B more creamy big warm clean.
Old 21st December 2013
  #5
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Rick Sutton's Avatar
 

I've got a CL1B and a re-issue LA2A. The CL1B has less distortion and a bit leaner/clearer in tone. The LA2A is great on bass.
Old 21st December 2013
  #6
I think you'll find a lot of people here in High End who have intimate experience with both. And since you asked...

Everything said about is correct.

A CL1b sounds more modern, will make a great singer sound better and is more versatile and can be used alone to give all the compression you need to a tracking vocal to make it sound perfect. Watch the threshold and gain interaction though, or it can quickly turn into an expensive overdrive box. Used properly, as essential as salt. Every one is virtually the same. Built like a tank and quality sound.

An LA2a does that one thing, but it does it so well that you can forgive it for being (more or less) a one-trick pony and combined with an 1176 or similar fast FET comp, gives you everything you need for a good vocal too. But no two sound alike, well maybe every third one sound like another, but they vary a lot. The reissues are not junk! They are excellent units and you can get them modded to sound just right. Heck, I even have a 2-LA2 that I had modded and both sides of that dual mono/stereo LA2a sound completely authentic now.

Given the choice of just one? CL1b.
Old 21st December 2013
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmss View Post
I will go with CL1B more creamy big warm clean.
This response, to me, is like 'I'll take the red blue green car with 3, 4 and 7 wheels, with and without a windshield.' - a bunch of words stuck together that are vaguely informative but fight with each other in my brain.

Clean is one thing.
Warm is a whole other noise that clean is the anti-thesis of.
Creamy is how my coffee is sitting.

The dif to me -
LA2A I would use, even in bypass, on most things. Especially with the UTC transformers. Tube-Techs are eh, ok. Kinda nice on R&B or 'Modern' rocky types of Vocals.
Sorta useful but definitely nice to look at with that big meter and all.
Thing is the LA2A works on these sources as well, but will excel on many more.
Old 21st December 2013
  #8
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Thread Starter
Thanks for the response guys.

As stated earlier I was real heavy towards the LA2A build. A big part of that being because it won't just be an LA2A, it'll be built to my taste as well. At the core it's completely an LA2A, just a slice modernized is what it will be. I've just seen the CL1B so talked about for the music I do so I figured I'll get some last bit of feedback & input about it and between these two. With time comes more money so maybe I'll opt for it some time as well to have both But at the time being I'll be using the Aurora in FET mode with attack/release at quickest to shave off the transients and do the bulk but not over-heavy of compression, then smooth the rest of it out with a touch of that nice LA2A vibe. Matche with the Manley Ref C, super modern sounding mic - but tamed with the Aurora a bit, and a bit more tamed with the LA2A I'm going to assume.

That new IGS 500 series unit looks sweet. Great River 500 series and that would look so slick in a lunchbox It's too bad I've already gotten rid of my 500 series rack and MA5, or I'd of just grabbed that. But I'm glad to be back on the 19" side of things anyways, so it's alright. But you know how much we've talked about this, that IGS unit would of been EXACTLY what I was wanting had it been available while I had the MA5.
Old 21st December 2013
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
it'll be built to my taste as well.


CL1B or LA2A-la2a.jpg

Its on the bench for some remedy and calibration right now
Its a fat box
Old 21st December 2013
  #10
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitch333 View Post


Attachment 376940

Its on the bench for some remedy and calibration right now
Its a fat box
I bet that thing is sweet
Old 21st December 2013
  #11
If what you're going to do is have another compressor do the bulk of the work as you said, I don't think it matters, either will do the job, I'm a big fan of the CL1b, I've owned mine for years and it is always my first choice for tracking a vocal. I've used LA2a's but I've never done a side by side A/B, and it sounds like your "custom" LA2 might be different anyway. Personally I'm not a fan of expecting to get all of the compression on the way in, though I'm a big believer in compressing on the way in, I prefer a CL1b on the way in, and in the mix either my CL1b, tracker or Oram GMS comp. But if you are going to do most
of your compression on the way in 2 compressors chained together is the way to go.
Old 23rd December 2013
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab View Post
though I'm a big believer in compressing on the way in, I prefer a CL1b on the way in, and in the mix either my CL1b, tracker or Oram GMS comp. But if you are going to do most
of your compression on the way in 2 compressors chained together is the way to go.
Musiclab, as someone who owns a trakker and a cl1b, I'd love to ask you a question. I love the LA2A sound, but I always find I need another compressor in front of it, or in tandem with it, to get a tighter, punchier sound which I then like to thicken up with the LA2A.

In your opinion, would I be able to use the attack/release/threshold/ratio controls on the CL1B to get a tight, and punchy sound, while still remaining thick and big, or would you prefer the trakker feeding the LA2A for that goal?
Old 23rd December 2013
  #13
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2 cents

Hello ,

I have a CL-1b and a vintage La-2a as well as a reissue La-2a , so for what its worth here is my vibe on these comps .

The Tube-tech is a little leaner sounding than my vintage La-2a , my reissue La-2a sounds larger than the other 2 but does not have the mid range magic of the Vintage La-2a.

Of course the Tube-Tech is very versatile set up wise and does sound great I find myself going more often to the La-2a's cause they just do it for me .

That being said I prefer La-3a's to all of the above, nice release like a 2a but cool macho mid range like a vintage 1176.

Im not sure this helps in anyway ...

Graeme.

mixedbyme.ca
Old 23rd December 2013
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Gregory View Post
Musiclab, as someone who owns a trakker and a cl1b, I'd love to ask you a question. I love the LA2A sound, but I always find I need another compressor in front of it, or in tandem with it, to get a tighter, punchier sound which I then like to thicken up with the LA2A.

In your opinion, would I be able to use the attack/release/threshold/ratio controls on the CL1B to get a tight, and punchy sound, while still remaining thick and big, or would you prefer the trakker feeding the LA2A for that goal?
This depends on what you're trying to accomplish, if you want to do all of your compression in tracking, you would have better control using 2 compressors. For me personally I don't care to do that, I prefer compressing on the way in mainly with my CL1b, and then putting the final squash on the vocal in the mix where I can really see just what it needs. The times that I have used 2 compressor in series has been when the vocal was tracked elsewhere by someone who subscribes to not tracking with a compressor, then it's often 2 comps and a whole lot of riding. Having said that, my favorite sounds from the Trakker are in the air optical character setting especially the vintage. What I like about the Trakker and the CL1b is they can be hit pretty hard without hearing anything ugly. The Trakker would be real nice in front of an La2a and it gives you lot's of tonal options. There's also that new comp Dave Hill has out that is supposed to be very nice the Titan, that goes for about a grand less than a Trakker. When I use my CL1b, 99.% of the I'm in auto mode with both the attack and release for tracking, I'm just setting the threshold and the output. It's a pretty no brainer comp, for me I need to get the vocal sound happening quickly so I can spend most of my time on the performance, and for what I do the CL1b has yet to let me down.
Old 24th December 2013
  #15
Do that stuff in the box. Those compressors are expensive, and expensive to maintain, and if you don't they will add little distortions that you will find later and be unhappy with. And theres like a million different LA-2A's and some of them don't sound very good.
Old 24th December 2013
  #16
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I have UA reissue number 276. I have never had a problem with it and I have always thought it sounded every bit as good as any other LA2A I have used, vintage or clone.

One thing about the LA2A in general. Mine is very sensitive to changing the tubes. More so than most any tube gear I have encountered, and I own a few. Just changing from an RCA to a Telefunken can change the character of the compressor. If you think your reissue is not up to par, give this a try.
Old 24th December 2013
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cazdell View Post
Do that stuff in the box. Those compressors are expensive, and expensive to maintain, and if you don't they will add little distortions that you will find later and be unhappy with. And theres like a million different LA-2A's and some of them don't sound very good.
what a load of baloney.
Old 24th December 2013
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab View Post
what a load of baloney.
You know, when you're mixing hybrid, I prefer to compress a bit going in...and then to compress a bit more ITB while mixing...never too much at once, so things still feel natural, but I'm with you.

You can't fake ITB what you get from some decent light compression when tracking. Analog front end has it's sonic benefits for sure.
Old 24th December 2013
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by herecomesyourman View Post
You know, when you're mixing hybrid, I prefer to compress a bit going in...and then to compress a bit more ITB while mixing...never too much at once, so things still feel natural, but I'm with you.

You can't fake ITB what you get from some decent light compression when tracking. Analog front end has it's sonic benefits for sure.
please read what cadzell said, which is a load of baloney.
Old 24th December 2013
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab View Post
please read what cadzell said, which is a load of baloney.
I did, and I agree with you. (maybe you misread me?)

I was just saying using an LA2A on the way in, or another analog compressor, has it's distinct benefits.

I might not love the reissue, but that's better than nothing to my mind for sure. (Honestly it's not awful, it just doesn't meet my expectations.)
Old 24th December 2013
  #21
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This information is so interesting. Not to hi-jack the thread, but what would you guys say about a WA76>modded ADL1000. Just asking :D

btw Musiclab, I'll be giving you a call at the end of the week, when I have some xmas money in hand
I need to demo some of the mics we spoke about and get you opinion on compressors.
Old 25th December 2013
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by herecomesyourman View Post
I did, and I agree with you. (maybe you misread me?)

I was just saying using an LA2A on the way in, or another analog compressor, has it's distinct benefits.

I might not love the reissue, but that's better than nothing to my mind for sure. (Honestly it's not awful, it just doesn't meet my expectations.)
Maybe you didn't notice but this is a thread about HARDWARE, Cadzell made a statement about hardware being being expensive to maintain, and it adding distortions you won't like later on, that's BALONEY. We weren't talking about your method of recording, or about using some hardware, and some ITB. He made a ridiculous statement, end of story.
Old 25th December 2013
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by clark_savant View Post
This information is so interesting. Not to hi-jack the thread, but what would you guys say about a WA76>modded ADL1000. Just asking :D

btw Musiclab, I'll be giving you a call at the end of the week, when I have some xmas money in hand
I need to demo some of the mics we spoke about and get you opinion on compressors.
if someone modded an ADL 1000 and got rid of what's not so great about it, it would probably be a real nice compressor. I owned a pair for years, I liked the action of the compressor but not what it was doing to my audio.
Old 25th December 2013
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clark_savant View Post
This information is so interesting. Not to hi-jack the thread, but what would you guys say about a WA76>modded ADL1000. Just asking :D

btw Musiclab, I'll be giving you a call at the end of the week, when I have some xmas money in hand
I need to demo some of the mics we spoke about and get you opinion on compressors.
I wouldnt make any cutbacks in the most important chain: the vocal tracking chain, personally, but go for it
Old 25th December 2013
  #25
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We have a stock CL1B and an La2a that I built.

If you need a compressor for slower sources, to smooth things out, add some weight, and be super easy to get good results quickly with two simple knobs, get the La2a.

If you need a compressor that can be used on a wider variety of sources, to compress hard while sounding neutral, and the possibily of making things sound more forward in a mix with a bit more time tweaking and twisting knobs, then get the CL1B.
Old 25th December 2013
  #26
Baz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSimpkins View Post
I like how the LA2A sounds when hit hard, but the Cl1B, the compression can sometimes be a little too noticeable.

Really? It's one of the most transparent compressors I've ever used, next to the Trakker....
Old 25th December 2013
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baz View Post
Really? It's one of the most transparent compressors I've ever used, next to the Trakker....
Agreed. Different experience with different source material probably explains what we have gotten out of it.
The CL1B has worked best for me at low GR (and worked wonderfully!), that was my point.
Old 26th December 2013
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab View Post
...I'm a big fan of the CL1b, I've owned mine for years and it is always my first choice for tracking a vocal.
Both male and female? I love my CL1B on females just about always, but I find myself leaning toward my GTQC or 1176 for males. Very possibly this is due to the fact I got the CL1B because of everything I'd heard about how well it worked on females (all true), which unfairly tagged it as a 'specialty' item in my brain. But is there any general consensus about the CL1B excelling more on one than the other?

I haven't had the pleasure of working with a hardware LA2A, but the CL1B definitely falls into the category of "euphonic" for me.
Old 26th December 2013
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmccoy View Post
I love my CL1B on females just about always


SNIP but the CL1B definitely falls into the category of "euphonic" for me.
It is also my default tracking comp on Femvox also. IMHE, nothing tops it.
Old 26th December 2013
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab View Post
Maybe you didn't notice but this is a thread about HARDWARE, Cadzell made a statement about hardware being being expensive to maintain, and it adding distortions you won't like later on, that's BALONEY. We weren't talking about your method of recording, or about using some hardware, and some ITB. He made a ridiculous statement, end of story.
Actually...I guess maybe I missed that. (Or didn't read your exchange closely enough?) I am so sorry.
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