The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
UA LA2A for vocals Condenser Microphones
Old 11th January 2015
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

UA LA2A for vocals

Hi all,

I'm looking to procure a great compressor for my vocal chain. I have a U89 and a UA solo 610 but no outboard compressor. I mostly record hard rock. As you know this is quite an expensive piece of gear and I'm not in a location that allows me to demo any products, so I'm looking for your opinions.
thanks
Old 11th January 2015
  #2
Lives for gear
 

personally i would prefer a 1176 for hard rock i guess. try some plugs to get an idea of the compression characteristics of both.
Old 11th January 2015
  #3
Lives for gear
 
hasbeen's Avatar
I have both a UA 1176 and UA LA2A. They are indispensable for my vocals. And different animals.

I also have a U89. Wonderful mic, but not my first choice for rock vocals. I can't criticize because I have not even tried it for that application. Probably cuz I have a U87 and U47 too. Also a Pearlman TM1 and SM7. I will have to check the U89 out some time!

For rock vocals I love what the 1176 adds to a track. It is a rock and roll delight. You may want to consider this first with the goal of adding an LA2A later on. Having both is a blessing. You then have the added option of trying the 1176>LA2A or LA2A>1176 chain.

But if your heart is set on the LA2A then go for it. Gearslutwize, I love mine more than my 1176. But I am bias about tube gear. I put some vintage RCA tubes and added a Kenetek T4B Opto-Attenuator to mine and I'm digging the results.

Either one may be the most popular vocal compressor of all time.

LA2A: Warm, fat, smooth and can compress a good amount while remaining musical and nice. But can be pushed to a pleasing amount of distortion.

1176: Edgy, aggressive, exciting and fast. Can be driven to wonderful and legendary distortion.

Shame you can't demo. But you may be able to at least get an idea by searching for sound bytes.
Old 12th January 2015
  #4
Here for the gear
 

How about trying out the UA Plug-In versions if your short on cash? Guaranteed it's not the same as the real thing but at a fraction of the price your getting the best emulation possible.

UAD Powered Plug-Ins Platform | Digital Audio Products and Plug-Ins | Universal Audio

I've got both the 1176 and LA2A and though only having use the real hardware units once or twice I can't say I've been disappointed!
Old 12th January 2015
  #5
Lives for gear
 
skybluerental's Avatar
 

Urei LA 3A or Retro 176 are both much better sounding compressors for about the same money.
Old 12th January 2015
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
Urei LA 3A or Retro 176 are both much better sounding compressors for about the same money.
hahaha, your kidding right. Better than an LA2a. nonesense,

the La2a and cl1b are still the most widely used compressors on vocals for a reason. They work great on vocals and countless records have been cut with that sound. the retro has its strengths but for most vocals I'd take an la2a or cl1b over either . The La3a is a meh compressor afaic. Neither fish nor fowl. Which I guess why it's hugely overshadowed by the La2a. Btw anyone who would spend the same on an La3a as an La2a should have their head examined afaic.
Old 12th January 2015
  #7
Lives for gear
 

In my experience the LA2A is a better "vocal enbigunner" but the LA3A is better at pushing a vocal to the front of a dense mix. Since the OP mentioned hard rock I would think that "vocal forward" might be more appropriate than "vocal big". Then again the 1176 is even better at pushing a rock vocal forward and it's super fun for smashing distortion effects. In the world of rock and roll it's hard to go wrong with an 1176.
Old 12th January 2015
  #8
Lives for gear
 
skybluerental's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Palermo View Post
hahaha, your kidding right. Better than an LA2a. nonesense,

the La2a and cl1b are still the most widely used compressors on vocals for a reason. They work great on vocals and countless records have been cut with that sound. the retro has its strengths but for most vocals I'd take an la2a or cl1b over either . The La3a is a meh compressor afaic. Neither fish nor fowl. Which I guess why it's hugely overshadowed by the La2a. Btw anyone who would spend the same on an La3a as an La2a should have their head examined afaic.
No sir, I am not kidding.

I had a UA LA 2A here for a while and it just did not sound that good to me.
It pales in comparison to an original Teletronix LA 2A which is a great sounding compressor that has cut countless hit vocals.

I have no idea what accounts for the differences in sound, but to me the UA LA 2A is not a great sounding compressor like the old Teletronix units are.
Same with the UA LA 3A's and 1176's.
I know a few other well respected engineers who have the same feelings.

I owned a vintage Teletronix for LA 2A about 2 years and it sounded very good.
Sometimes I preferred the LA 2A, sometimes the Retro 176, sometimes the LA 3A and sometimes a Urei 1176.

The Retro 176 and Urei LA 3A are what I gravitate to the most for vocals......

There is no accounting for taste.
Old 12th January 2015
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Oldone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
There is no accounting for taste.
Or individual units for that matter. Not always a case of Vintage or modern.
Old 12th January 2015
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
No sir, I am not kidding.

I had a UA LA 2A here for a while and it just did not sound that good to me.
It pales in comparison to an original Teletronix LA 2A which is a great sounding compressor that has cut countless hit vocals.

I have no idea what accounts for the differences in sound, but to me the UA LA 2A is not a great sounding compressor like the old Teletronix units are.
Same with the UA LA 3A's and 1176's.
I know a few other well respected engineers who have the same feelings.

I owned a vintage Teletronix for LA 2A about 2 years and it sounded very good.
Sometimes I preferred the LA 2A, sometimes the Retro 176, sometimes the LA 3A and sometimes a Urei 1176.

The Retro 176 and Urei LA 3A are what I gravitate to the most for vocals......

There is no accounting for taste.

True there is no accounting for taste, or differences in monitoring and other gear used in the signal chain. And you said LA2a in your post you didn't specify reissue.

Having used vintage and new LA2as, I can say that the reissue LA2a sounded dull until I changed the tubes. After a tube change it was right there the vintage ones rich fat and effortless compression that we all know and love. I haven't owned the Retro 176 but I've heard it and like it. I have no idea how it compares with the the original UREI unit but I'm sure there are some that would prefer the vintage model.

I feel the same way about Neve and quality Neve clones, vintage reissue, BAE, Heritage, etc, if the music is compelling it should make little if any difference which one is used. They all sound a little different but then so do vintage 1073s

With that said my favorite LA2a was a silverface that seemed a little more punchy then some of the others I've used vintage and new. But again the difference is small. I'd still take an LA2a or an 1176 over an LA3a. But that's my taste.
Old 12th January 2015
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Thanks everyone for the opinions and advice. This is great stuff!
Old 13th January 2015
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Palermo View Post
I can say that the reissue LA2a sounded dull until I changed the tubes. After a tube change it was right there the vintage ones rich fat and effortless compression that we all know and love.
Hi,

Which tubes did you change? And which tubes did you use for replacement?

Thanks, Niels
Old 13th January 2015
  #13
Lives for gear
 
hasbeen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nielsb View Post
Hi,

Which tubes did you change? And which tubes did you use for replacement?

Thanks, Niels
I have RCA Black Plate 12AX7 and 12BH7. I use Telefunken 'Selected' 12AX7 from time to time. You can really hear a tube change in an LA2A much easier than some other tube gear I have owned.

Also, check the Opto-Attenuator for optimum performance. Go to the Kenetek website and read about the history of these amazing tubes!

http://www.kenetek.com/T4AT4BUnits/K...0/Default.aspx
Old 13th January 2015
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hasbeen View Post
I have RCA Black Plate 12AX7 and 12BH7. I use Telefunken 'Selected' 12AX7 from time to time. You can really hear a tube change in an LA2A much easier than some other tube gear I have owned.

Also, check the Opto-Attenuator for optimum performance. Go to the Kenetek website and read about the history of these amazing tubes!

Kenetek T4B Modules
Thanks, and the 6AQ5? Doesnt that one has to be changed?
Old 13th January 2015
  #15
Lives for gear
 
hasbeen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nielsb View Post
Thanks, and the 6AQ5? Doesnt that one has to be changed?
It should hopefully be ok and I would leave it alone as it requires biasing if it needs to be replaced. Probably best done by a tech if you are not familiar. The other tubes are the ones that affect the sound.
Old 13th January 2015
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hasbeen View Post
It should hopefully be ok and I would leave it alone as it requires biasing if it needs to be replaced. Probably best done by a tech if you are not familiar. The other tubes are the ones that affect the sound.
tanx!
Old 13th January 2015
  #17
Lives for gear
 

6AQ5 in LA-2a

Quote:
Originally Posted by hasbeen View Post
It should hopefully be ok and I would leave it alone as it requires biasing if it needs to be replaced. Probably best done by a tech if you are not familiar. The other tubes are the ones that affect the sound.
The 6AQ5 in the LA2a circuit is self biased, aka, cathode biased. There are no adjustments for that tube.
Old 13th January 2015
  #18
Lives for gear
 
hasbeen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cathode View Post
The 6AQ5 in the LA2a circuit is self biased, aka, cathode biased. There are no adjustments for that tube.
Maybe so for you but UA would say you are wrong:

Replacing Tubes: LA-2A

The tubes for the LA-2A are clearly labeled on the back of the unit. Replacing the 12AX7/ECC83S and the 12BH7 tubes should be a direct swap and does not require opening the unit.

The 6AQ5 (or 6005W) tube needs biasing after replacement. We recommend contacting Universal Audio Customer Support and having this replacement done at an authorized Universal Audio service center, but if you want to try it yourself, read the biasing instructions below.

Link here: Replacing Tubes in Your UA Analog Hardware - Blog - Universal Audio
Old 13th January 2015
  #19
I agree with Hasbeen, I use a U87ai with a UA M-610 and a LA2A and sometimes will put my blue stripe Hairball 1176 after the LA2A for increased control and color. I do alot of rock vocals too and find that sometimes the LA2A can get pushed hard, so the 1176 before the LA2A can work for that too. either way you cant go wrong. As far as hardware emulations, I havent found a plug in that recreates the same vibe as the hardware, but thats just my ears.
Old 14th January 2015
  #20
Lives for gear
 

R37 on a LA-2a

Quote:
Originally Posted by hasbeen View Post
Maybe so for you but UA would say you are wrong:

Replacing Tubes: LA-2A

The tubes for the LA-2A are clearly labeled on the back of the unit. Replacing the 12AX7/ECC83S and the 12BH7 tubes should be a direct swap and does not require opening the unit.

The 6AQ5 (or 6005W) tube needs biasing after replacement. We recommend contacting Universal Audio Customer Support and having this replacement done at an authorized Universal Audio service center, but if you want to try it yourself, read the biasing instructions below.

Link here: Replacing Tubes in Your UA Analog Hardware - Blog - Universal Audio
Not sure what UA's motive is.
Quoting from an original LA-2a manual, dated 1979.
"Adjustment of the gain reduction frequency response is accomplished by control R37 which is located on the rear of the LA-2a. .........
Thus, if the control is set to the "flat" position the LA-2a will provide equal gain reduction on all frequencies."
I have serviced many UA-LA-2a units, R37 appears to be configured exactly as the Teletronix/UREI originals, it has nothing to do with biasing.
Old 14th January 2015
  #21
Lives for gear
 
hasbeen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cathode View Post
Not sure what UA's motive is.
Quoting from an original LA-2a manual, dated 1979.
"Adjustment of the gain reduction frequency response is accomplished by control R37 which is located on the rear of the LA-2a. .........
Thus, if the control is set to the "flat" position the LA-2a will provide equal gain reduction on all frequencies."
I have serviced many UA-LA-2a units, R37 appears to be configured exactly as the Teletronix/UREI originals, it has nothing to do with biasing.
Not sure what your point is. Ignore the advice from the manufacturer?

Did you go to the link and look at the instructions?

I am posting it below. You are the pro here. Maybe you can enlighten us to the reason they post this procedure?

Biasing Procedure: LA-2A

The following instructions are only for advanced customers, and require using a waveform (or function) generator and oscilloscope. (Note: "p-p" refers to peak-to-peak values.)

Loosen up the R3 lock nut and turn the R3 pot all the way down, fully counterclockwise. R37 should be set fully clockwise and locked. Set the COMP/LIM switch in the down position to COMP.
With the waveform generator, send a 1KHz sine waveform signal of about 4.5Vp-p (+6dBu) to the unit’s line input. Connect the output of the unit to an oscilloscope and turn the gain and peak reduction knobs fully on. Output will be clipped, almost a square waveform. Adjust the oscilloscope’s VOLT/DIV and TIME/DIV for proper viewing. Wait a minute or so for the output to settle before adjusting R3 to allow for the photocell's charging/discharging time.
Slowly turn R3 clockwise until output decreases to about 8Vp-p (+11.5dBu) on the oscilloscope. The waveform shouldn't be clipped anymore. Lightly tighten the locking nut at R37, making sure not to touch the pot nut. Use caution! Over-tightening the locking nut can turn the internal pot and short the internal wiring. Due to component tolerances, a +/- 5% deviation in readings is acceptable.


Yet in the manual they also post:

Side-Chain Pre-Emphasis (R37)
The LA-2A was designed for use in broadcast applications. The audio signal in FM broadcasting undergoes pre-emphasis and results in a 17 dB boost at 15 KHz. Due to this increase in signal level, transmitters are subject to over-modulation. The LA-2A provides a control (R37) which controls the amount of high-frequency compression.
This potentiometer is factory set for a “flat” side-chain response (clockwise). Increasing the resistance of this potentiometer by turning it counter clockwise will result in compression which is increasingly more sensitive to the higher frequencies.

So this is a bit confusing

Last edited by hasbeen; 14th January 2015 at 02:03 AM..
Old 14th January 2015
  #22
Lives for gear
 

LA-2a biasing

Quote:
Originally Posted by hasbeen View Post
Not sure what your point is. Ignore the advice from the manufacturer?

Did you go to the link and look at the instructions?

I am posting it below. You are the pro here. Maybe you can enlighten us to the reason they post this procedure?

Biasing Procedure: LA-2A

The following instructions are only for advanced customers, and require using a waveform (or function) generator and oscilloscope. (Note: "p-p" refers to peak-to-peak values.)

Loosen up the R3 lock nut and turn the R3 pot all the way down, fully counterclockwise. R37 should be set fully clockwise and locked. Set the COMP/LIM switch in the down position to COMP.
With the waveform generator, send a 1KHz sine waveform signal of about 4.5Vp-p (+6dBu) to the unit’s line input. Connect the output of the unit to an oscilloscope and turn the gain and peak reduction knobs fully on. Output will be clipped, almost a square waveform. Adjust the oscilloscope’s VOLT/DIV and TIME/DIV for proper viewing. Wait a minute or so for the output to settle before adjusting R3 to allow for the photocell's charging/discharging time.
Slowly turn R3 clockwise until output decreases to about 8Vp-p (+11.5dBu) on the oscilloscope. The waveform shouldn't be clipped anymore. Lightly tighten the locking nut at R37, making sure not to touch the pot nut. Use caution! Over-tightening the locking nut can turn the internal pot and short the internal wiring. Due to component tolerances, a +/- 5% deviation in readings is acceptable.
First of all, my apologies for focusing on R37 and not R3.
Yes, I did read the UA instructions..
R3 is the stereo adjustment, only useful if linking two units.
R3 has no effect on biasing. If using one unit only, R3 should be turned fully on or for maximum GR sensitivity.
If UA has changed the circuitry such that R3 is now a biasing control, which I doubt, the unit would perform quite differently from an original
Old 14th January 2015
  #23
Lives for gear
 
hasbeen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cathode View Post
First of all, my apologies for focusing on R37 and not R3.
Yes, I did read the UA instructions..
R3 is the stereo adjustment, only useful if linking two units.
R3 has no effect on biasing. If using one unit only, R3 should be turned fully on or for maximum GR sensitivity.
If UA has changed the circuitry such that R3 is now a biasing control, which I doubt, the unit would perform quite differently from an original
I edited my original post to ask another question too. It sounds like they don't want you to mess with R37, but in the same manual describe it as an adjustment.

Confused. Maybe I will write their customer service and clear it up for my own education. I have always been skeptical about changing the 6AQ5. Simply for fear of the bias conundrum and messing up my unit.

It won't be the first time I have asked for a clearer definition of their literature. One such incident paved the way for them to post the operating levels of their plug ins in the software manual.
Old 14th January 2015
  #24
Lives for gear
 
tekis's Avatar
2A or 3A for me

As mentioned earlier, the LA3A is a great vocal compressor for rock or anything else for that matter. (I don't believe in genre-specific compressors...) Also, I'm way into the new UA LA2A. Throughout the years, I've come across many mediocre UREI LA2's and I'd much rather have a new LA2; you know what you're getting. I don't know much about tube upgrades. Although the first UA re-issue I used had some Telefunken tubes in it, I didn't hear what was in it before. 1176's are good for sure, but I don't like "setting them up" on singers, as I like to get first takes. 1176's just take too long for me to set up, and I'd rather "capture the magic" with a 2A or 3A 'cause it's much easier to dial in and get a workable sound quickly.
Old 14th January 2015
  #25
Lives for gear
 
vernier's Avatar
I'd take a LA2a over the others, somehow never warmed up to 1176. The tube version 175/176 is alright.
Old 14th January 2015
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

All my tubes are Teletronix branded. The unit is a UA re-issue from 2003. What is the origin from these tubes?
Old 14th January 2015
  #27
Lives for gear
 
the fxs's Avatar
 

To OP:

Do you have a 500 series rack?
If you do,... have a look at the ONE LA 500
Old 14th January 2015
  #28
Lives for gear
 
nickelironsteel's Avatar
 

La2as are overrated

1176/la3/176 cover all bases

TLAs main vocal comps are LA3 & 1176
CLA 1176/176

It all boils down to taste but LA2s along with 2254 are gathering dust these days
Old 14th January 2015
  #29
Lives for gear
 
hasbeen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nielsb View Post
All my tubes are Teletronix branded. The unit is a UA re-issue from 2003. What is the origin from these tubes?
Teletronix tubes came with the unit. You may want to change them. Highly recommended. My Teletronix tubes were shot after a little while. The RCA were like having a new unit. Wish I did it long ago.
Old 14th January 2015
  #30
I'm actually digging the retro doublewide for vocals. ads a little something. not a fast comp, more like an la2a.
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump