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Stam Audio SA-2A

Stam Audio SA-2A

4.9 4.9 out of 5, based on 13 Reviews

Handmate LA-2A clone built by Joshua Van Der Stam.


13th July 2015

Stam Audio SA-2A by IzzyRock

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Stam Audio SA-2A

I’ve been using the SA-2 for the last 2 days to track some vocals and acoustic guitars together with my Distressor and Neve 1290 preamp, the unit sounds fantastic and I would definitely recommend it to everyone. It has that vintage LA-2A vibe going on, it’s transparent just like my other LA2A custom built with Sowter transformers and Urei’s T4B but at the same time it’s a bit creamy sounding which adds something extremely pleasant to the audio path and makes things sound warmer. I believe the SA-2A to be more faithful to the original LA-2A out of the two considering how smooth it is.
I used it on some vocals and acoustic guitar and I love it, it’s a wonderful unit built with much care. You can’t go wrong with it.

My 0.2

Last edited by diogo_c; 27th July 2015 at 04:17 PM.. Reason: Added URL. Fixed category and synopsis.

  • 5
3rd October 2015

Stam Audio SA-2A by t-bone

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Stam Audio SA-2A

Had this unit for a couple days now and today i really spent some time with it. Verdict? Outstanding price outstanding quality and outstanding sound. I cant say enough good things about this compressor. It does the la2a sound and it does it very well. I spent the day running everything i could through it. It shines on the usual suspects - vocals,bass, and kicks in particular. Smooth on vocals like a 2a should and gives a weight and body to bass and kicks. I also found just running things like synths and kicks through it with no reduction and cranking the gain gives you a very nice distortion or just running things through it for the color it gives signals is great. I pre ordered this unit basically not knowing anything about stam audio besides a few sound clips of the unit and some others praise for some preamps they have designed. But i am sure glad i decided to take a chance with this company. The sa2a exceeded my expectations. Take notice of stam audio. Im eagerly waiting to see whata next from Joshua over there in Chile. Great work

  • 1
5th October 2015

Stam Audio SA-2A by Sanlky

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Stam Audio SA-2A

I got my Sa2a few days ago, and i have been trying in several sources. I generally go through my SSL converters to Sa2a and then comes back. What i like about this compressor is i can go through a more transparent compression into a more aggresive one, getting more colour without sounding much compressed. I compared it with Cla2a which, in low compressions difference is not that much, i could cope with a plug in, but if i want more compression with Cla2a i just dont get what i want. With Sa2a i get a nice sound and for me it is easier to sit it in the mix. I havent really used a La2a so i dont know how close it is to an Urei, but i am really happy with it and its cost is nothing compared to an original la2a. You can hear and see Stam put a lot of care into it.

It is just very easy to use, as any La2a type compressor and its a great bang for the buck, it is what i was expecting to be.

PS: Sorry for my english

  • 1
6th October 2015

Stam Audio SA-2A by TheBoutiqueMixer

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Stam Audio SA-2A

If you don't have one, better get one & fast. My unit arrived yesterday and needless to say I've put it through its paces! Excellent build and truly remarkable reproduction of the LA-2A circuit. Even though their were some minor hiccups with actually getting the unit built & shipped on schedule that drove me personally nuts (only because I wanted it in my studio ASAP) those hiccups were not enough to keep me from the Stam Audio brand. In fact because of my experience with the SA-2A and it's superb quality and Joshua delivering exactly what he promised I will be sending more business his way in the form of purchasing any new gear that he makes. It sounds wonderful, looks great and a overall joy to use. I have no complaints I have gone up against the CLA-2A and there similar when doing light compression but the plugin doesnt give it the weight that the SA-2A does and when you really began to push it the difference become major. For instance when slamming it, the source still sounds rather big (as far as big goes when your over compressing) when compared to the plugin which sounds a but tiny and rather cold when slamming it, Also cranking up the gain on the plugin barely produced the saturation I was going for but over-driving the SA-2A really produced that saturation I wanted, yum! Compared to the Teletronix there were no major differences to my ear only thing I noticed was the price! This unit is a no brainer!!!

  • 1
31st October 2015

Stam Audio SA-2A by mister m

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Stam Audio SA-2A

I don't have or ever tried a real la-2a, just different plugins and other opto's like joe meek sc 2.2, the opto-mode on the distressor and i also have a diy la-2a with lundahl transformers. These all sound good, but the sa-2a really opens the lo end, sound incredibly smooth, gets difficult bassguitars to sit right in a mix, vocals sound like a million bucks, kicks sound huge and powerful. I can really recommend this compressor, and i won't ever mix without it. In comparison to my other diy la-2a, stams version has a bigger lower end, still tight though, and it saturates beutifully, maybe its the cinemags? I will upgrade my diy la-2a to some other transformers, cause it doesnt do saturation very well. I can drive the sa-2a as hard as i want and just use my ears, this thing will sound good no matter what you do. I didnt give it a top score on features because it doesnt have the emphasis function. It really doesnt need to have it either, but it would be fun. But sometimes less is more. This is a set and forget unit. As i said, everything will sound great through it. Also customer service and communication have been great as i got a unit with a broken tube (rough handling in shipping). Stam answers fast and gives a great support, dealing with the issue in a professional and calm way. 100% trustworthy. I want another one, and im very interested in other products from stam as well. Seems to me like this is the real thing, without being overprized. Its a long wait, but the "downpayment" lets us workingclass studio owners a chance to get a high end unit without having to eat spaghetti and ketchup for months.. Ten thumbs up!

  • 1
6th November 2015

Stam Audio SA-2A by Feathermonger

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Stam Audio SA-2A

Recently received my new Sa2a. I've been looking for a compressor for quite some time that does what this thing does. I've done back-to-back tests between it and my Drawmer 1960 and my old LA5. This thing has that "mojo" that people are always talking about. Even when it isn't compressing, it adds some fullness to the sound across the spectrum without the mud or the harshness of other comps. And even when pushed hard, it doesn't get all mucky. Plus, it's got a very powerful post amp. This is a great unit!
The build quality is fantastic and after sales service very good. I was a bit dubious about ordering as it seems to be a one-man operation run out of Chile. There were a couple of delays in the order time but, as I didn't know yet how badly I needed this unit, it wasn't too bad...and well worth the wait!
Apparently he will not be building any more of these, but he has a few left. I've already started saving my pennies for his next projects: a Neve 1073 re-make and (possibly) his take on an LA-3A or 1176.
I seriously recommend this guy's work.

  • 1
27th January 2016

Stam Audio SA-2A by adamj31

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Stam Audio SA-2A

This comp from newcomer Stam Audio is a great sounding and fairly affordable piece that delivers the goods. Hand made using high quality parts, custom Cinemag transformers, Drip opto t4b cell and a silk screen panel. I don't have an original LA2A to compare it with, but for the price, it's a steal.

  • 1
8th April 2016

Stam Audio SA-2A by Rudolphaudio

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Stam Audio SA-2A

Got my unit a couple days ago and used it on a mix I'm working on, the kick and bass got heavier and sit smoothly in the mix, also used it on vocals where it shines, giving a very transparent compression, even on extreme settings, plus a very pleasant , silky, high end .
I've never used a real UREI La-2a, only the cla-2a plugin by waves, and Stam's audio Sa-2a blows it of the water, this unit is a no brainer, plus the price is a steal. You can tell joshua was very thorough building it.
A great bang for the buck, hope to see new stam audio products soon, like the sa-4000
Thumbs up!
By the way this is my first post ,so hello to everyone in GS!

  • 1
12th April 2016

Stam Audio SA-2A by Nu-tra

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Stam Audio SA-2A

I ordered a pair of Stam Audio SA-2As in December without much thought due to the fact that I only needed to put $200 down and figure out the rest later. I never thought in my life that I would get to own two units let alone even a single one. The price for these units are nothing in comparison to the UA model. I've used real LA2As in the past and love them. I really like the sound of these units. I did a side by side with the newer UA LA-2A and the Stam sounded better to our ears. Good job Stam Audio!!! Thanks for making one of my audio gear fantasies come true!

  • 2
13th April 2016

Stam Audio SA-2A by organicsounds

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Stam Audio SA-2A

After using an 1176 into LA-2A for vocals in UA plugin format I wanted to create my ultimate vocal strip in real life. The Stam SA-2A was the last part of that chain. Being a DIYer I built an AML 1073 and then a Hairball 1176 Rev.A blue stripe and was looking to build an LA-2A clone when I came across the Stam SA-2A and man am I glad that I did. Not only did it save myself time and money but I believe its as close to the real thing as it can get. Last night I tracked some vocals with a client and put it to work. AKG C12 VR>AML 1073>1176>SA-2A taking the quick peaks off with the 1176 (12:1 fast attack and release)-3 to -5db GR and then a nice finish with the SA-2A doing the last 5db or so of GR. Wow! vocals pop out of the mix and sound so natural. The SA-2A created what I can say was awesome "density" to the tracks leaving both my client and myself blown away!
Now I won't sleep because I am waiting for my next Stam product the SA-4000 Bus Compressor. Did I mentioned the SA-2A exceeded all expectations? By miles!!!!

  • 2
23rd April 2016

Stam Audio SA-2A by jimmydeluxe

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Stam Audio SA-2A

Got my Sa-2a about a week ago.

Tried it on bass, electronic/synth bass, kick, tracked vocal with sm7/ma5, electric guitar...smiled

Tried to replicate with all my best plugins...failed

played said synth bass in track for girlfriend...gf began behaving like a cat

put deposit on second unit

  • 4
26th April 2016

Stam Audio SA-2A by thejook

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Stam Audio SA-2A

Disclaimer: I do not own nor have I used a real La-2a enough to have formed a model for what one 'should' sound like. I'm reviewing the Sa-2a on its own merits. I paid $890 + shipping for this unit.

Now, the review:

Like most dedicated Gearslutz, I'm usually skeptical of a low entry-price version of a venerated unit like an La-2a (I figure at the very least there's a *reason* why the real deal costs what it does). But I was taken by Joshua's weedy knowledge of the history and intricacies of the original unit, and having worked with great techs in the past who have faithfully recreated amazing audio gear when they care about what they do, I took the gamble.

Just got my unit yesterday and fired it up on a lead vocal tracked with my CMV-563 through a Chandler Germanium mic pre. No other processing on it. I was immediately floored by the creaminess, the high 'shimmer' EQ effect, the closeness, the 3D depth it added. I was not expecting this kind of transformation in the tone, honestly. I don't know if this is what a real La-2a does. I don't really care. The Sa-2a is going on this kind of lead vocal track every time I mix from now on.

Here's a before and after- however I'm not in front of Pro Tools so the 'before' is actually just one take that doesn't completely match up with the comped vocal I ran through the Sa-2a. I can replace the before file later if that's causing confusion in the comparison.

Before / Dry lead vocal (CMV-563 via Chandler Germanium pre): https://www.dropbox.com/s/ittkzy4deu...oxdry.wav?dl=0

After / Sa-2a lead vocal: https://www.dropbox.com/s/07ldk4gq72...rn_01.wav?dl=0

I also ran some bass and acoustic guitar through this. Sounds equally as awesome. I can't believe it's only $890. It sounds incredible at any price point.

  • 5
11th May 2016

Stam Audio SA-2A by claux

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Stam Audio SA-2A

Originally Posted by claux View Post
I got mine two weeks ago and today I can say: Well done, Joshua! The unit looks, feels an works as it should. Really convincing! First I had doubts (hadn't heared anything of Stam Audio til that day), then... I was curious, because it seemed to take ages until the package arrived in Germany.. and now? I got it in the rack! BANG! By the way... the Gain-Knob on the left is a bit scratchy, but works well and has a nice grip. The light behind the meter is (imho) a bit too weak, but the meter show anything you need. And one more... I was surprised to hear it, the compression is smooth and natural, but goes in deep (you may have to fiddle around a lot with the peak reduction-knob, thats also because the output is really hot - as already told above). Compared to the UA plugIn I found the sound was a bit lighter an not that lumpy in the higher lows. That could also be explained by the BAE 1073 that is also in the signal-chain. The SA-2A is like the UA sound-wise "invisible" and clearly visible in you DAW.

The biggest bang for te buck since I bought vovox cables.

  • 1
26th August 2016

Stam Audio SA-2A by TheBoutiqueMixer

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Stam Audio SA-2A

Look I'm a young engineer with a hell of a lot of work ethic Invest everything into my career and I need the same professional tools my peers are using. I first became involved with Stam Audio when I saw an advertisement for the first generation for lack of a better term of the SA-2A (drip T4B). I was on it, when it finally came I was blown away I used from everything to preamp to controlling dynamics to serial compression with an 1176s to cranking in the input valve for some creamy saturation. Immediately when they annoused they would be making a second batch with a upgrade capacitor cant think of the name now, with a Kenetek T4B I was all on it! It has a brighter sweeter top end than the first and I use them both to for contrast on different sources in the same mix. They both made their way on major label projects I recently was blessed to be apart of for Maybach Music Group with superior results. So when they announced They were doing recreation of the SSL G comp I was on it so much so I ordered two on for my stereo bus and the other for sub bus duties. Now each time I never had the money to make these purchases but I made away to make it happen! And I would do it again, I love the fact that there are only a few of these units around the world and love the chance to talk about where they came from and the manufacturing process with clients when they come in the studio and ask it makes me feel like I'm part of an exclusive club. I believe that these pieces will be go up in resale value in the future when they are no longer in production because they will become sought after units the craftsmanship & build quality is superb do your self a favor and purchase whatever needs fit your studio when Stam Audio releases the product that's right for you. - Mikal Muhammad Owner of Twenty Seven Sounds in Ocean NJ.

 
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