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Sound Skulptor LA502 - 500 series Optical Compressor Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 17th November 2017
  #1
Gear Head
 
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Sound Skulptor LA502 - 500 series Optical Compressor

Sound Skulptor LA502 - 500 series Optical Compressor

The LA502 is a soft knee, electro-optical compressor based on the LA2A/LA3A design, which we have adapted to the '500' series format.
It delivers the vintage compression and warmth of its ancestor thanks to the optical coupler response, side chain and transformers.
It shines on vocals, bass and drums.
The LA502 adds a few features to the original such as a new ratio of 6, two high-pass filter in the side chain and two slower attacks of 10 and 20 ms.




  • Based on the LA2A/LA3A compressor,
  • Transformers on input and output,
  • Extremely simple to use, never sounds bad,
  • True RMS compression,
  • Program dependent attack, release and ratio makes it very transparent sounding,
  • More than 40dB of gain reduction,
  • 3 ratios : 3 (LA2A Compress), 20 (LA2A Limit) and one additional ratio 6,
  • Optional High pass filter in the sidechain @100 & 200 Hz,
  • 3 Attack times : 5mS (LA2A), 10mS and 20mS,
  • Can be linked for stereo,
  • Hardware relay bypass,
  • Available assembled or as a full kit (everything included).

Full details are available here: Sound Skulptor - LA502
Old 17th November 2017
  #2
Lives for gear
 
the fxs's Avatar
 

yes!
got three CP5176's here, i'll definitely add a pair of these to my rack.
Old 18th November 2017
  #3
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPK View Post
Sound Skulptor LA502 - 500 series Optical Compressor

The LA502 is a soft knee, electro-optical compressor based on the LA2A/LA3A design, which we have adapted to the '500' series format.
It delivers the vintage compression and warmth of its ancestor thanks to the optical coupler response, side chain and transformers.
It shines on vocals, bass and drums.
The LA502 adds a few features to the original such as a new ratio of 6, two high-pass filter in the side chain and two slower attacks of 10 and 20 ms.




  • Based on the LA2A/LA3A compressor,
  • Transformers on input and output,
  • Extremely simple to use, never sounds bad,
  • True RMS compression,
  • Program dependent attack, release and ratio makes it very transparent sounding,
  • More than 40dB of gain reduction,
  • 3 ratios : 3 (LA2A Compress), 20 (LA2A Limit) and one additional ratio 6,
  • Optional High pass filter in the sidechain @100 & 200 Hz,
  • 3 Attack times : 5mS (LA2A), 10mS and 20mS,
  • Can be linked for stereo,
  • Hardware relay bypass,
  • Available assembled or as a full kit (everything included).

Full details are available here: Sound Skulptor - LA502
very cool guys!

Sound Skulptor make nice gear guys and gals!
Old 19th November 2017
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Mixing Suite's Avatar
 

Attached Thumbnails
Sound Skulptor LA502 - 500 series Optical Compressor-relay.jpeg  
Old 19th November 2017
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixing Suite View Post
Oh man if a chinese relay has your panties in a not I feel bad for you
Old 19th November 2017
  #6
Gear Addict
 

Can someone list the types of LA2A 500-series compressors there are out there? Are there any at all, except this one?
Old 19th November 2017
  #7
Lives for gear
 
the fxs's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Karloff View Post
Oh man if a chinese relay has your panties in a not I feel bad for you
i wonder if anyone can distinguish the "sound" of different relays.


Quote:
Originally Posted by PerGunnar View Post
Can someone list the types of LA2A 500-series compressors there are out there? Are there any at all, except this one?
the IGS ONE LA 500 is pretty much the only "real" clone in the 500 series format.
of course there are a lot more opto designs that lean towards the LA2A direction.
modules like the ACME XLA500, IC The Brute, IGS Photon, Western Dynamo 1909, Shadow Hills Mono Optograph etc... all are opto designs.
for my understanding, an LA2A isn't just an opto with transformers in and out, it also has a tube stage. that is something most 500 series optos don't have.
Old 19th November 2017
  #8
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by the fxs View Post
i wonder if anyone can distinguish the "sound" of different relays.




the IGS ONE LA 500 is pretty much the only "real" clone in the 500 series format.
of course there are a lot more opto designs that lean towards the LA2A direction.
modules like the ACME XLA500, IC The Brute, IGS Photon, Western Dynamo 1909, Shadow Hills Mono Optograph etc... all are opto designs.
for my understanding, an LA2A isn't just an opto with transformers in and out, it also has a tube stage. that is something most 500 series optos don't have.
It seems like the Warm Audio W2A or whatever it's called smokes the IGS ONE LA 500 according to reviews on gearslutz. But I just hate how big the WA is. For a home studio owner, it's too big when you've already run out of rack space. I would have to buy more rack furniture just to squeeze it in the studio. That's why I love the 500-series. Takes up so little space, and looks far less intimidating and expensive for the others in the house who don't like it when I order things.

My question though is, which hw compressor can beat the Waves LA2A plug-in?
Old 19th November 2017
  #9
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i haven't heard the WA2A.
that being said, the ONE LA 500 sounds pretty good to my ears.
cool thing is, you could always swap tubes for a different sound.
another thing about compressors is pushing the make up gain into heavy saturation, maybe even distortion.
most people can't do it, as it would overload their converters.
putting an attenuator between the unit and the converters makes up for a lot more sonic possibilities.
Old 20th November 2017
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
Mixing Suite's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Karloff View Post
Oh man if a chinese relay has your panties in a not I feel bad for you
Anything from china tends to put knots in my panties.
Old 20th November 2017
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixing Suite View Post
Anything from china tends to put knots in my panties.
What did you thpe that reply on.
Old 23rd November 2017
  #12
Here for the gear
 
organicsounds's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by PerGunnar View Post
Can someone list the types of LA2A 500-series compressors there are out there? Are there any at all, except this one?
JLM Audio LA-500a
Old 23rd November 2017
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by the fxs View Post
i haven't heard the WA2A.
that being said, the ONE LA 500 sounds pretty good to my ears.
cool thing is, you could always swap tubes for a different sound.
another thing about compressors is pushing the make up gain into heavy saturation, maybe even distortion.
most people can't do it, as it would overload their converters.
putting an attenuator between the unit and the converters makes up for a lot more sonic possibilities.
The thing is that I love my Waves LA2A plug-in too much for vocals. So I don't like the idea of being unfaithful to my beloved plug-in by buying a hardware unit which will have a different sound. I like the sound of the Waves plug-in, so why should I gamble on something else. I feel like the only thing that will match it is a real Teletronix LA2A, preferably an old one. Also, a real LA2A is so big, I don't space for it. I'm a home studio owner.
Old 5th December 2017
  #14
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ddageek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixing Suite View Post
Anything from china tends to put knots in my panties.
So you have problems with almost anything with resistors or any kind of hardware?
Old 7th December 2017
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
Mixing Suite's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Karloff View Post
What did you thpe that reply on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddageek View Post
So you have problems with almost anything with resistors or any kind of hardware?
We're talking higher end analog gear here, not a $15 computer keyboard I could care less about.

Now, between the pair of ya, show me one reputable boutique analog company building preamps, comps and eq's (foreign or domestic) that would actually brag about using Chinese components within their builds.

I'll be sure to keep an eye out for your clever replies.
Old 7th December 2017
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixing Suite View Post
We're talking higher end analog gear here, not a $15 computer keyboard I could care less about.

Now, between the pair of ya, show me one reputable boutique analog company building preamps, comps and eq's (foreign or domestic) that would actually brag about using Chinese components within their builds.

I'll be sure to keep an eye out for your clever replies.
I have better things to concern myself with. I shop for gear as follows. I listen if it sounds good and functions well for my needs I buy it. If no Seals were clubbed in the making of my gear that's a bonus.
Have a nice day.
Old 7th December 2017
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Karloff View Post
I have better things to concern myself with. I shop for gear as follows. I listen if it sounds good and functions well for my needs I buy it. If no Seals were clubbed in the making of my gear that's a bonus.
Have a nice day.
Better things to concern yourself with, yet you replied 1 min after my post... right. Thats what I thought
Old 7th December 2017
  #18
Lives for gear
 
ddageek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixing Suite View Post
We're talking higher end analog gear here, not a $15 computer keyboard I could care less about.

Now, between the pair of ya, show me one reputable boutique analog company building preamps, comps and eq's (foreign or domestic) that would actually brag about using Chinese components within their builds.

I'll be sure to keep an eye out for your clever replies.
Brag ? No but the fact remains a good 90% of the components in any piece of current production electronics no matter the cost is of Chinese origin!

Now I'm betting you don't converse with many manufacturers, if you did you would know a dirty little secret in many cases the Chinese have managed to reduce the reject rate on ultra high tolerance parts!

Could somebody manufacturer components in a country you approve? Sure but your favorite pre would cost 10 times as much because nobody else is going to buy a commodity product because it's not made in China!
It's easy to be Zenophobic as long as you don't look to close at just about everything!
Old 7th December 2017
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixing Suite View Post
Better things to concern yourself with, yet you replied 1 min after my post... right. Thats what I thought
I got a notification and replied to your rhetoric. I am sorry I wasn't clear enough. I am not concerned with place of origin, Or jumping through useless hoops to prove anything to anybody. Have a wonderful night.
Old 7th December 2017
  #20
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by the fxs View Post
i wonder if anyone can distinguish the "sound" of different relays.
agree!

Quote:
Originally Posted by the fxs View Post
the IGS ONE LA 500 is pretty much the only "real" clone in the 500 series format.
of course there are a lot more opto designs that lean towards the LA2A direction.
modules like the ACME XLA500, IC The Brute, IGS Photon, Western Dynamo 1909, Shadow Hills Mono Optograph etc... all are opto designs.
for my understanding, an LA2A isn't just an opto with transformers in and out, it also has a tube stage. that is something most 500 series optos don't have.
I don't see how?
Maybe an LA3 clone?
The LA 2 has a 6aq5, 2 12ax7's and a 12bh7.
Even with a switcher to chop up and step up the voltage the current drawn would be to much for more the one tube and prober voltage.
I would not argue some aspects but I think no one should say any of the LA type comp are LA 2A clones closer to LA 3 comp or just opto comp would be better stated IMHO.
to say
Quote:
Originally Posted by the fxs View Post
the IGS ONE LA 500 is pretty much the only "real" clone in the 500 series format.
I think is a large stretch.

Now none of this is or should be taken as a comment addressing quality and or the sound of any one making these comp.
Old 7th December 2017
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Helge's Avatar
 

Yeah - guess it´s safe to think of this as a LA3A type - more than anything else ... (?)

Anyway - the added features are really spot on

Sound Skulptor definitely has my attention since I heard the 5.12 and 573 preamps two weeks ago on a Session-Job...great stuff!
Old 7th December 2017
  #22
Lives for gear
 
frans's Avatar
I have only a MP5.99 preamp by those guys, but i can assure you of the build quality and good parts. Go look up my review here on GS. They know their stuff. Big thumbs up for Sound Skulptor!!!
Old 7th December 2017
  #23
Lives for gear
 
allstar's Avatar
 

We have a couple of 5.12 pres here and I too can vouch for the quality. I'll be looking to build one of these opto compressors in the new year.
Old 7th December 2017
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pan60 View Post
agree!



I don't see how?
Maybe an LA3 clone?
The LA 2 has a 6aq5, 2 12ax7's and a 12bh7.
Even with a switcher to chop up and step up the voltage the current drawn would be to much for more the one tube and prober voltage.
I would not argue some aspects but I think no one should say any of the LA type comp are LA 2A clones closer to LA 3 comp or just opto comp would be better stated IMHO.
to say
I think is a large stretch.

Now none of this is or should be taken as a comment addressing quality and or the sound of any one making these comp.
my statement was simply in regards to the circuit design.
i can't (and don't have to) prove this of course, but according to IGS, the ONE LA500 is based on the the original Teletronix design.
Old 9th December 2017
  #25
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by the fxs View Post
my statement was simply in regards to the circuit design.
i can't (and don't have to) prove this of course, but according to IGS, the ONE LA500 is based on the the original Teletronix design.
that's probably true but so are many of the others out there, not all but many.
Old 9th December 2017
  #26
Lives for gear
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pan60 View Post
that's probably true but so are many of the others out there, not all but many.
hm, as far as i'm aware there's no other 500 series module that claims to be an exact LA2A replica.
anyway, let's get back on topic with this new LA502 comp.
anyone got one yet?

Last edited by the fxs; 9th December 2017 at 10:49 PM..
Old 9th December 2017
  #27
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by the fxs View Post
hm, as far as i'm aware there's no other 500 series module that claims to be an exact LA2A replica.
anyway, let's get back on topic with this new LA502 comp.
anyone got one yet?
well, take the new LA502 alone, Sound Skulptor in which they state clearly

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPK View Post
The LA502 is a soft knee, electro-optical compressor based on the LA2A/LA3A design, which we have adapted to the '500' series format.
Now yes they have added a few features but it is still the LA2 or LA3 circuit design. LA# being more so correct then LA3 as it cannot be an LA2 while lacking tubes. So trying to argue that the IGS is the only one in my view in incorrect and not relevant to the topic at all.

But the only point I was trying to make was that none one can legitimately claim to have a cloned LA2 in the 500 format. They could get to the LA3, and a number of companies have done just that.
Old 10th December 2017
  #28
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by the fxs View Post
hm, as far as i'm aware there's no other 500 series module that claims to be an exact LA2A replica.
anyway, let's get back on topic with this new LA502 comp.
anyone got one yet?
Just ordered myself a pair! Can't wait to put them together!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #29
Gear Nut
 

I'm interested in the product, as well as for their 1073-based eq. Any experience here about how do they sound?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #30
About that relay...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixing Suite View Post
Now, between the pair of ya, show me one reputable boutique analog company building preamps, comps and eq's (foreign or domestic) that would actually brag about using Chinese components within their builds.
Sorry to be late to the party here. If you want to buy audio equipment from a company that does design and assembly in the US or some other high-wage country, that's quite possible, esp. for boutique recording gear. If you want to insist that every circuit-level component is sourced here in the US, you're dreaming. There's nothing to buy!

I discussed chips in another thread recently, so let's talk about that relay you pictured. American Zettler is a hundred year old relay manufacturer headquartered in California. It's likely that they have a small stateside pilot manufacturing line for use early in their design cycle, but full scale production is done offshore. Their main competitors for small signal relays are companies like Coto and Aromat, both headquartered in the far East. (I was buying from those suppliers thirty years ago, when you could still buy American-made clothing.) Do you think American Zettler could compete if they insisted on producing everything in Orange County? Nope. It's not just about the laber costs either, it's also about the cost per square foot of factory space.

Here's a video of their actual production process. As you can see, they employ a lot of automation, but there's also a level of human intervention, done under clean-room conditions -- pretty similar to what you'd see in semiconductor packaging. No surprise where it's done, then.

You may not like this situation, but it's unreasonable to expect Sound Skulptor, a tiny company based in France, to do anything about it. What you can expect is that SS employees probably have better health coverage and more paid vacation than you do!

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
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