One of the four “analog classics” that came with my UAD-2 Solo/Laptop card – a very generous inclusion! This is indeed a “classic”, and I can only add my small voice to the existing choir of converts singing UAD and Teletronix’s praises. It immediately brings an analog feel to whatever you stick through it.
I nearly always use this on vocals – really brings energy and life to even the dreariest of takes! The parameters are of course limited, but with this kind of sound you don’t need any more than a few simple dials. I also use the LA2A for my guitar signal, whether acoustic or electric – fattens and livens things up. I even use it on the master bus to give my whole mix an analog taste.
The compression this plugin offers is super smooth, natural and musical, and as a self-producing musician it’s so inspiring to be able to transition to this kind of sound from using Logic’s compression plugins. It’s a wholly different experience.
The GUI is simple and just really sexy, and makes it feel like you’re working in a vintage studio with the real tube-driven metal beast of 1965.
Cannot fault this product. What an amazing gateway into the world of UAD plugins.
Like Jack Morgan wrote before me, this is a true classic, a studio standard, and when thinking of analoge compressors, this is probably the first or the second that comes to mind!
The sound quality is great, it gives everything a richer feel. It is really easy to dial in as well, two big knobs, a switch for compression/limiting and a gain knob. Then there is also the on/off switch, but in this digital age, it seems a bit unnecessary, in Pro Tools anyway you can easily switch it on and off using pro tools own fx bypass. But it's still nice it's there, they have really went all the way in emulating the hardware! (which is also made by Universal Audio btw.)
If you are into rock, you could easily put this on your master channel, don't squash it to hard though! (Unleass that is exactly what you want). But even subtle settings will have a nice colouring on the sound!
If I should say something bad about this plug-in, it will be that it should have more options for tweaking the sound! But this is a hardware emulation, and that would probably ruin the whole concept of the plug-in. (I admit, I can't really find anything to pick on it for!)
The La-2a, a classic tool in the mixer/producer/mastering magic box. I have to say that I hasn’t bought this vst, I got it with my UAD-2 Duo card. Since then I bought the LA-3A which a different (but the same) tool. Would I bought the La-2a if I haven’t got it for free ? I cant really tell. It isn’t a “magic-maker” vst. I haven’t yet got shocked by is audio abilities. But still it’s a tool that is useful in my production.
About the LA-2A, very easy to use. Only two knobs, Gain & reduction. For me, as a starting producer, the la-2a was very “teachfull”. It has shown me the basics of mixing/recording (My UAD-2 Duo contained la-2a, pultec and 1176 which are the truly basic of producing).
This amplifying unit is great for taking your sound one step beyond. Sometimes I recon some digital distraction when I’m trying to “pump” on the volume on my DAW mixer or on the Synth itself. The La-2a provides a good solid volume without any unwanted distortion.
Although I got it for free I had to A/B with my T-racks and another La-2a emulation that I cant recall now. I think that you’ll know the answer… The UAD version is much better.
This plug-in was one of the very first UAD emulations that I tried out. The first thing that really caught my ears was how much I could drive the compressor before it became obvious that the sound was compressed. I could have a vocal track with over 10dB of gain reduction and it still sounded very musical. The plug-in is extremely easy to use with its two knobs that control “gain” and “peak reduction”.
The UAD LA-2A is a fairly slow compressor and therefore I rarely find it useful on drums and percussion – but it does happen. I have found it working great on snare a few times. I like it a lot on vocals to even out a performance and to bring out more power to the track. I also often use a faster comp before the LA-2A to even out the loudest peaks first, if necessary.
The sound is very nice and smooth and I most often get a good vibe right away when putting it on a track so sometimes I just use it without any gain reduction at all.
I would definitely call the LA-2A a good workhorse and it really helps me to get where I want in my mixing.
The three different models provide you with a lot of flexibility.
Each one has their own tone and different attack and release times offer a solution for nearly every type of audio signal.
- LA-2A Silver
Is the newest and fastest incarnation. It´s perfect when you find the older brothers are too slow. It has a shiny, open tone.
- LA-2A Grey
Has medium attack and release times and is the best compromise on many sources with a more meaty tone.
The oldest version is very special.
It features the slowest timing of the bundle as it was modeled after a unit that still had the original T4-cell intact.
This one is extremely cool if you want to keep more of the original dynamics and phrasing intact and it has a cool vibe to it.
I know, most Gearslutz would prefer to get these updates for free.
But considering that you get 3 different incredible useful compressors for 149$, I feel that the price is perfectly justified.
Currently as of June 2013 the bundle is on sale for 99$, so when you buy them during a promo - they are a steal.
Sound Quality: 5
Ease of use: 5
...because parallel compression is missing
Recreation of famous LA2A sound was made several times. To some days, the original LA2A emulation made by UA was most usable, but then it comes Waves, IK and other companies with their own approaches. So UA decide to make reissue and offer three different models of LA2A. After 1176 reissues I really hope for outstanding sound. After some hours of listening and tweaking, I was surprised how bad this compressors working with transients and overall color. Compared to CA2A emulation from Cakewalk, the sound of UA versions are strange dull sounding with some kind of weird transparency in it. I heard this transparency also on their SSL products compared to Duende or Waves, but not as much as with LA2A. Of course this emulations brings something new to table - emulation of distortion, but this can be achieved with other plugins and this feature cannot be considered as main advantage. As for price, this cannot be considered as bang for bucks, because you always need to think about UAD card dongle and what is worse, the DSP and instance count. If you consider that one SHARC chip can handle only FOUR of these in stereo format, it is nonsense compared to not so well sound quality. I hope UA make another revision in the future...
So, I got these with a $50.00 voucher I had and took advantage of the June promotion so I got them for under $100.00 I believe. I have always been a fan of the the1176 for most of my vocals that came with the bundle when I purchased my Apollo so I have really never used the stock LA-2A (also part of the initial bundle).
Since I was now a proud owner of one more set of UAD plugins I had to put them to good use. I opened up an old mix and decided to exchange my usual vocal compressors for these new LA-2A versions. The result? Well, nothing sort of addicting. I am frankly blown away with the amount of character and control they add to my vocal tracks. I love how each of the 3 have different tonal characteristics that you cannot help to feel like you have heard before (probably in most of the great vocal recordings). I have never worked with the real hardware and will assume that those who have will be able to notice the difference but I’m really not looking for that difference, I seek character, control and personality, and these 3 monsters have that and way more…Very nice UAD, very Nice
There was something so elegant about the broadcast limiters of the past. They were built to do a very specific job and to do that job without a whole lot of input from the user. The Teletronix LA-2A was such a device. "You want how much compression? Turn this knob. How loud does it need to be now? Turn that knob. Ok, you're done."
Ok, they're not exactly transparent, and at higher compression levels even less so, but used judiciously, they can impart a tonality and response that is familiar and pleasant. Used injudiciously, you can dial in some exciting sounds that can only be found inside a tube-driven opto compressor.
The HF emphasis found on the later models can be used as a pseudo-HPF, and don't be afraid of that Limit/Compress switch!