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UA La2a vs. Retro Sta Vs. TT CL1B? Condenser Microphones
Old 12th June 2014
  #1
Gear Nut
 

UA La2a vs. Retro Sta Vs. TT CL1B?

Hey everyone,
Ok so I am having a hard time trying to decide what to get.
I want a vocal compressor for tracking and mixing is a plus too but more for tracking. I am looking for something to add thickness, creamy, maybe silky, warm vocals. Kind of like Ellie Goulding on Lights, Imogen Heap, Jared Leto of 30 STM's, Ryan Tedder of One Republic etc...
I know all of these singers have different sounds to a certain degree but their vocals are all breathy, creamy, warm in some way. I am deciding between either a UA LA2A (Reissue cause it is all I can afford lol), Retro Sta Level, Tube Tech CL1b, Crane Song Trakker, Bae 10dc, Slate Dragon, MC77 or just get a Vintech 73xi pre with a API 525 Comp.
My setup is a Golden Age Pre 73 with a Neumann TLM 102.
My voice is kind of thin so I need something to add thickness and warmth.
Ugh such a hard decision! Oh yeah I forgot to add I do like a hint of color but I do not mind a transparent sound as long as it is not too clean...in other words I did not like the Buzz Soc that much or the Pendulum stuff...however I do love the Tube Tech CL 2A. As far as colored comps I wasn't that big of a fan of the reissue UA 1176.
The music I do is electronic synthy cinematic pop.
Old 12th June 2014
  #2
RETRO Sta-Level is my favorite,
Old 12th June 2014
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Retro on my mind

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
RETRO Sta-Level is my favorite,
Thanks Doc!
Yeah I am seriously leaning towards the Retro Sta.
But still curious about the TT CL1B and UA LA2A.
Old 13th June 2014
  #4
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cheu78's Avatar
Retro stuff is really good indeed..
If you want to add thickness another good candidate is the 10DC, so does in a very different way the LA2A..

BUT you should really test them in your place with your sources and then decide..
After that, sell the GAP and get the real thing.. BAE 1073mpf or a DMP if on the budget.. you'll like the results.. heh



Cheu
Old 13th June 2014
  #5
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Arichlsss's Avatar
I've experimented a lot with the sta level and diffrent tubes and it kills on most vocals. It can get to thick but then I switch to a thinner mic and keep going. I really want to try a vintage la2a though.
Old 13th June 2014
  #6
everyone's going to have an opinion, this is a decision you need to make. I've never A'b'ed my Cl1b with either the UA or the Retro, but I love my CL1b
Old 13th June 2014
  #7
Neumann->GAP->CL1b (first 3-4dbs)->1176 (next 7-10dbs) ----> KILLER CHAIN
Old 13th June 2014
  #8
IMHO, you are asking for a CL1b
Old 13th June 2014
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by EL_HERALDO View Post
Neumann->GAP->CL1b (first 3-4dbs)->1176 (next 7-10dbs) ----> KILLER CHAIN
This is my chain and methodology also, except I use a Neve 1073, but it is essentially the same.
Old 13th June 2014
  #10
I have them side by side & went with CL1B, Sta is thicker but not sweet as CL1B what its doing is magic.re-issu LA2A is nice but not as Sta or CL1B.
Old 13th June 2014
  #11
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Swurveman's Avatar
A bazillion records have been made with the LA-2A and/or the 1176. That's why I bought both. Don't know about the Sta-Level or the CL1B, but I went with the standards. Good luck.
Old 13th June 2014
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Thanks guys!
Phew this is tough but now it looks like CL1B vs Retro Sta.
Leaning a little more towards the CL1B right now.
If only I could find a place that rented these 2 around here.
Oh well maybe I will just go for the CL1B and if I don't like it return it and go for the Sta or vice versa.
Old 13th June 2014
  #13
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PatrickFaith's Avatar
 

for thin voices i run thru a "retro" pultec then a sta-level. really i think the pultec widens the voice even more then the sta-level. if i didnt have the pultec, i would do the pultec otb and compression itb. just a wrinkle for ya ... gotta love gearslutz.
Old 13th June 2014
  #14
Gear Nut
 

Cl-1b for tracking all the way. The Sta-Level come mix time would be the safer bet IMO.
Old 13th June 2014
  #15
Lives for gear
 

All the comps you mention are worthy choices.

However if your primary goal is to get a character comp that provides smooth compression while adding a thick warm vintage sheen to the source than you won't do better than the LA2a for that application. And if you get the reissue just change the tubes to vintage nos and the unit is absolutely killer. It was right there with a nice silver face vintage unit.
Old 13th June 2014
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
cubehead's Avatar
 

If you're looking at an LA2a type compressor, save yourself a ton of money and get one hand made from RJR (Regular John Recording - Raleigh, NC). I have used vintage LA2a's and the new re-issue and this one is every bit as good as either and in my opinion better than the re-issue. It is built like a tank as well plus you can customize the look to fit your own esthetic. Here's a link to his pricing as well: Regular John Recording - Raleigh, NC. Great guy and answers emails promptly.

Hope this helps.
C
Old 15th June 2014
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Thanks guys! Man still deciding. It is gonna take some time.
Old 15th June 2014
  #18
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cubehead View Post
If you're looking at an LA2a type compressor, save yourself a ton of money and get one hand made from RJR (Regular John Recording - Raleigh, NC). I have used vintage LA2a's and the new re-issue and this one is every bit as good as either and in my opinion better than the re-issue. It is built like a tank as well plus you can customize the look to fit your own esthetic. Here's a link to his pricing as well: Regular John Recording - Raleigh, NC. Great guy and answers emails promptly.

Hope this helps.
C
Oh cool thanks.
I've never tried the reissue before but heard it on a few videos and thought it sounded nice so if this clone sounds better wow. I am definitely gonna look into this and see what rjr is all about.
Old 15th June 2014
  #19
Man the Gap and the solid state tlm 102 might be worth addressing before your analog compressor. The TLM mics have a very "hard sounding upper midrange to me. Not bad, just hard. Sometimes just what you need. The GAP is missing in that range for me. Inevitably causing eq boosts in that range. Not what I think of when I think of "creamy". If you have that kind of money look into the Lucas Cs-1. That to me is a wonderful mic. Lots of cream and extended high range. Variable polar patterns to control proximity of singers. Then use a more forward sounding preamp. A Neve Portico will work great. Silk or no silk. Im sure this is blasphemy here on gearslutz, but if you don't have the budget, get the plugin versions of all of them. But my favorite for cream is the Puigchild. Make sure to push the compression with the output stage for extra fat.
Old 15th June 2014
  #20
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chrisrulesmore's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cazdell View Post
The TLM mics have a very "hard sounding upper midrange to me. Not bad, just hard. Sometimes just what you need.
Are you talking specifically about the TLM102, or just the TLM series of Neumann microphones in general? The TLM102 is extremely smooth in my opinion, and I wouldn't have any reservations using it for vocals.

Don't know anything about the GAP73, but since it has 73 in the name it must be as good as a 1073, right?
Old 15th June 2014
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fearsend777 View Post
Oh cool thanks.
I've never tried the reissue before but heard it on a few videos and thought it sounded nice so if this clone sounds better wow. I am definitely gonna look into this and see what rjr is all about.
some guy on a forum says the clone sounds better so I guess your going to go with that. God bless,

Let me put put it this way

If you want big transformer mid color with transparent compression go with the Sta-level

If you want a subtle compression with a nice upper mid sheen try the CL1b

If you want slow very natural compression with a thick honey coleored sound go with the LA2a


If you want to try the pot luck special of the day, by all means let someone build you a compressor in their basement.
Old 15th June 2014
  #22
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KRStudio's Avatar
 

Do yourself a favor and look into the Retro 176.
Old 15th June 2014
  #23
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Dpro's Avatar
Warm Audio WA76 clone of a 1176 rev D. At the price of $600 it would leave you room to pick up a Sta Level as well.
Old 15th June 2014
  #24
Haven't tried the others but I recently got the tube tech and it is truly magic on everything I have used it on. It adds presence right where you want it and smoothes tracks out right where you want it. Wonderful piece of gear
Old 15th June 2014
  #25
When I'm going for thick and creamy I patch the Retro 176 in. When I'm going for smooth and natural but forward it's the AML 2254 (54F50)
Old 15th June 2014
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
When I'm going for thick and creamy I patch the Retro 176 in. When I'm going for smooth and natural but forward it's the AML 2254 (54F50)
Hey Trev, been meaning to get my hands on a 176. I think most would agree that the LA2a is on the thick and creamy side as well, how would you compare it to the 176 say for tracking vocals?
Old 15th June 2014
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Palermo View Post
Hey Trev, been meaning to get my hands on a 176. I think most would agree that the LA2a is on the thick and creamy side as well, how would you compare it to the 176 say for tracking vocals?
I have 2 x la2a's. A vintage one and a re-issue. Compared to the 176 (or the 2254) I wouldnt call either of them thick and creamy. It's all relative of course because the la2a's are thick and creamy in comparison to, say, 1176s or distressors.
Old 15th June 2014
  #28
Here for the gear
I have two old Teletronix LA2A.

But you wrote your voice is very thin and you want thickness and warmth.

Do you think the Neumann TLM 102 is the right microphone for you? I use this microphone as well but I don´t use it on a thin voice to get thickness and warmth.

Maybe try beside the TLM 102 a other microphone. It depends on the budget. But I would try a SM 7 or C12 or U47. I know the price between a C12, U47 and a SM7 is from $$$ to $$$$ but before investing in the compressor try other microphones.
Old 15th June 2014
  #29
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hasbeen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
It's all relative of course because the la2a's are thick and creamy in comparison to, say, 1176s or distressors.
Right on analysis

I have a early LA2A reissue. Over the years I ended up swapping some tubes and installed a Kenetek TB4. I also have an 1176. Depending on the mood I will use the LA2A for 'thick and creamy' and the 1176 for more aggressive or tight. Hey, I use both of them together too! Thick and aggressive? Dunno. But both comps are staples here and a good place to start a collection.

There are so many really good compressors available today in rack and 500 format. A really hard choice if you can't get your hands on one to try it out. But the words LA2A and 1176 are likely the most universal.
Old 15th June 2014
  #30
[QUOTE=Palermo;10185387]some guy on a forum says the clone sounds better so I guess your going to go with that.

If you want to try the pot luck special of the day, by all means let someone build you a compressor in their basement.

Ummm I have some of the RJR stuff. It's far from the pot luck special of the day, and way more serious then just some dude throwing together clones in his basement. I can also highly recommend his stuff. And it's priced well.
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