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Warm Audio Wa-2a vs. Stam Audio Sa-2a
Old 24th August 2017 | Show parent
  #61
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Jantex's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisdee View Post
Great.

I wonder if the Universal Audio reissues of LA-2A and 1176LN are as vulnerable as the WA2A and WA76 are to gain staging?


Is really hi-end gear automatically a garantuee for better headroom?
I think the Retro 76 is considered high-end but still vunerable to gain staging?
I have both, and no, they have higher headroom than WA counterparts. LA-2A can be pushed much more before distortion and provides cleaner gain reduction without ruining the high end so quickly. It is much more simple to operate and harder to mess things up. 1176LN is great as well, 1176KT is actually very similar to it. I have both and UA version is slightly better, but 1176KT is still around 95% there and really sounds great, maybe even slightly more transparent in a way.

In a production room where I had two WA2A I have also replaced it with another CL-1B. Didn't look back even for a second.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/lpl7m8npct...Rack.jpeg?dl=0

Usually more expensive units have better power supplys to begin with and everything starts here usually. Had high hopes with Warm Audio stuff due to hype here, but was disappointed like with many things that get hyped here. Never used Retro STA but in case it is as fiddly and with so narrow operating sweet spot, I have no special desire to try it. I like stuff with loads of headroom that can be safely operated in working environment.
Old 24th August 2017
  #62
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Quote:
Never used Retro STA but in case it is as fiddly and with so narrow operating sweet spot, I have no special desire to try it. I like stuff with loads of headroom that can be safely operated in working environment.
It's not a narrow sweet spot - in fact the whole unit is a sweet spot you can literally knock of 30dB without noticing - it's a dangerous unit LOL!

They do sound stunning though - I won't track my vocal without one.

If you use standard pro gain staging then the STA is a doddle to use - but if your a newbie to gain staging then you can't turn up the front end of the STA, for instance because you're feeding it too low from the pre, as it will get noisy - it has a S/N ration of about 70dB! (ish)

But if you know what your doing then the STA will fit into a pro workflow without any issue and "boom" .... they sound sublime :-)
Old 24th August 2017 | Show parent
  #63
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People getting into recording over the last decade or even longer, simply do not have the necessary experience with proper gain staging for the most part. Where for the older guys (like me) we had no choice but to learn to master that art, as you had to because everything was analog.
Old 24th August 2017 | Show parent
  #64
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Nice rack

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jantex View Post
I have both, and no, they have higher headroom than WA counterparts. LA-2A can be pushed much more before distortion and provides cleaner gain reduction without ruining the high end so quickly. It is much more simple to operate and harder to mess things up. 1176LN is great as well, 1176KT is actually very similar to it. I have both and UA version is slightly better, but 1176KT is still around 95% there and really sounds great, maybe even slightly more transparent in a way.

In a production room where I had two WA2A I have also replaced it with another CL-1B. Didn't look back even for a second.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/lpl7m8npct...Rack.jpeg?dl=0

Usually more expensive units have better power supplys to begin with and everything starts here usually. Had high hopes with Warm Audio stuff due to hype here, but was disappointed like with many things that get hyped here. Never used Retro STA but in case it is as fiddly and with so narrow operating sweet spot, I have no special desire to try it. I like stuff with loads of headroom that can be safely operated in working environment.
Old 24th August 2017 | Show parent
  #65
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Jantex's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by barryjohns View Post
People getting into recording over the last decade or even longer, simply do not have the necessary experience with proper gain staging for the most part. Where for the older guys (like me) we had no choice but to learn to master that art, as you had to because everything was analog.
I have lots of experience and carefully pay attention to gain stageing, it is just that I also deal with very dynamic vocalists who are not able to control dynamics and can be quite PITA to record. WA2A even controlled with 1176 beforehand wasn't able to keep up without compromising the signal. It only turned useful with super controlled smooth jazzy singers where it actually wasn't even needed.

While mixing you can easily level stuff before the inserts, but while recording I need equipment that provides constant results even with slightly sub-optimal inputs.

Never said anything about Retro STA, because I haven't tried it, but I had WA2A here for nearly a year, turned off all the time after the initial first two weeks.
Old 24th August 2017 | Show parent
  #66
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chrisdee's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jantex View Post
LA-2A can be pushed much more before distortion and provides cleaner gain reduction without ruining the high end so quickly. It is much more simple to operate and harder to mess things up. 1176LN is great as well, 1176KT is actually very similar to it. I have both and UA version is slightly better, but 1176KT is still around 95% there and really sounds great, maybe even slightly more transparent in a way.
Great. I've been thinking about getting the Revive Audio mods but hearing your experience I guess it's better to go for the "orginals" from Universal Audio. I guess there are no corners cut there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jantex View Post
I like stuff with loads of headroom that can be safely operated in working environment.
That's what I'm looking for too.
Old 24th August 2017 | Show parent
  #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisdee View Post
Great. I've been thinking about getting the Revive Audio mods but hearing your experience I guess it's better to go for the "orginals" from Universal Audio. I guess there are no corners cut there.
You definitely cannot make mistake going UA, they are top units! They will work as expected and sound superb. But for 1176 I definitely advise you to try 1176KT. It is really a great inexpensive 1176 comp that provides consistant results. But yes, going UA will give you slightly more warmth and punch nevertheless.

I haven't heard Revive modded WA2As and WA76s, maybe they improve upon the staff that bother both of us, but after my experience with stock unit I wouldn't take a risk and buy blindly.
Old 24th August 2017 | Show parent
  #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jantex View Post
I have lots of experience and carefully pay attention to gain stageing, it is just that I also deal with very dynamic vocalists who are not able to control dynamics and can be quite PITA to record. WA2A even controlled with 1176 beforehand wasn't able to keep up without compromising the signal. It only turned useful with super controlled smooth jazzy singers where it actually wasn't even needed.

While mixing you can easily level stuff before the inserts, but while recording I need equipment that provides constant results even with slightly sub-optimal inputs.

Never said anything about Retro STA, because I haven't tried it, but I had WA2A here for nearly a year, turned off all the time after the initial first two weeks.
Maybe I'm reading into this, but if not ignore my reply, but if I'm on target, take it into consideration, let me offer that it's best to only apply very light compression while tracking vocals. To achieve optimal results with a compressor like the LA2A or a clone is to apply it as an insert after the initial recording.

Using a compressor to tame the vocals often times ends with way too much compression in the tracking stage.

Compression is often used in a live situation to tame an inconsistent singer, but it's not optimal when recording.
Old 24th August 2017 | Show parent
  #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barryjohns View Post
Maybe I'm reading into this, but if not ignore my reply, but if I'm on target, take it into consideration, let me offer that it's best to only apply very light compression while tracking vocals. To achieve optimal results with a compressor like the LA2A or a clone is to apply it as an insert after the initial recording.

Using a compressor to tame the vocals often times ends with way too much compression in the tracking stage.

Compression is often used in a live situation to tame an inconsistent singer, but it's not optimal when recording.
Agree with everything that you said, but these days time is money, production and recording budgets are not increasing and when recording a great singer one can proceed exactly the way you said it...with light compression. Good singer with great technique is the best sounding and the most transparent compressor.

But there are people who raise levels dramatically once the pitch of the song increases and you can ride the preamp out into a compressor during recording and hope the compressor to do the rest. These dynamic ranges can be quite dramatic and once you set the optimal sound and level for softer parts, louder parts might stress comlpressor pretty heavily.

As said, some gear handles even this duties pretty successfully and CL1B does it to a great extent, same goes for a good 1176. Original LA2A distorts earlier but still is very capable and on top of this its distortion is pleasing. WA2A on the other hand collapses, takes away the high end, affects the sibilance in unpleasant way and distorts quite badly.

I also like to use Portico MBP for tracking that's why we have moved it from mixing/mastering room to the production room. It has tones of headroom and really shines in a tracking situation even more so than in mixbus applications for my taste.
Old 25th August 2017 | Show parent
  #70
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chrisdee's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jantex View Post
. It only turned useful with super controlled smooth jazzy singers where it actually wasn't even needed.
Exactly. It's definitley not any good for dynamic female vocals. But even with a soft jazz style vocal the wa2a takes away high end and it sound smaller and less open than the uncompressed vocal. There is some ugly harsh distortion going on especially noticable in high pitched louder femal vocals. And if i pull back the signal from the preamp going into the wa2a the warmth and mojo is lost and I can't get enough compression. When pushed just a little bit it unfortunately becomes ugly fast. Just when it is about to be fun. It kind of falls apart either way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jantex View Post
while recording I need equipment that provides constant results even with slightly sub-optimal inputs.
That's just what i need to. Maby i'll just get another cl1b. It would be very usefull when comparing mic's to find the right one. I alreay have a 1073mpf dual.

Last edited by chrisdee; 25th August 2017 at 06:43 AM..
Old 25th August 2017 | Show parent
  #71
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chrisdee's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jantex View Post
But yes, going UA will give you slightly more warmth and punch nevertheless.
Since I've already gone the high end route with the rest of my gear I want the very best I can buy in store. With my system i can hear that 5 to 10% differece in sound pretty well. I guess what looks small in writing sounds quite noticable when the monitoring is good.
Old 2nd September 2017 | Show parent
  #72
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chrisdee's Avatar
I'm debating if I should go for the UA 1176ln or the Purple Audio MC77. MC77 has both true bypass and sends (wich I can use to monitor analog when tracking). Those two features are really handy for me.

However sound quality is king. I'm looking for the cleanest and most even compression with the best headroom. Wich of the two would be best in this reguard?
Old 14th September 2017
  #73
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The Stam has more HF/sibilance. Thats not really something I associate with smooth, LA2A compression. I would go for the warm because it is just smoother, leaving you some HF headroom if you wanna grab a Neve or Neve clone and add some sizzle.
Old 14th September 2017 | Show parent
  #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisdee View Post
I'm debating if I should go for the UA 1176ln or the Purple Audio MC77. MC77 has both true bypass and sends (wich I can use to monitor analog when tracking). Those two features are really handy for me.

However sound quality is king. I'm looking for the cleanest and most even compression with the best headroom. Wich of the two would be best in this reguard?
Their sound quality is good but both color the sound. The Purple is brighter and edgier, the UA is smooth and girthy and natural but loses some HF.

For a really clean and big 1176 you want something like the Slate Dragon or WesAudio Beta76.
Old 14th September 2017
  #75
I recently tested the Warm Wa2a and i didn't like it that much. On harder rock vocals it did a good job when the needle could be parked at -20 haha! But for softer music it was either to much compression or to little so i decided to pass on that purchase. Haven't tried the UA or the stam though.
Old 14th September 2017 | Show parent
  #76
Company Rep
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaMilkRec View Post
The Stam has more HF/sibilance. Thats not really something I associate with smooth, LA2A compression. I would go for the warm because it is just smoother, leaving you some HF headroom if you wanna grab a Neve or Neve clone and add some sizzle.
More HF silibance?

That is not correct, the SA2A has the same curve response as the LA-2A, there is no difference, transformers were designed with this in mind.

The only one with more HF is the custom unit we made for Greg Wells who requested it like that, it is also on a shootout in a youtube video which unfortunately used that unit before sending it to Greg, we did not have any spares at the time.
Old 15th September 2017 | Show parent
  #77
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chrisdee's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yummerz View Post
Their sound quality is good but both color the sound. The Purple is brighter and edgier, the UA is smooth and girthy and natural but loses some HF.

For a really clean and big 1176 you want something like the Slate Dragon or WesAudio Beta76.
Do you mean edgier as in harsh?
I don't want to loose HF and I don't want harsh sounding.
I know it's probably source dependant, but what's great for smoothing out harsh'ish vocals without loosing HF?

Last edited by chrisdee; 17th September 2017 at 09:07 AM..
Old 15th September 2017 | Show parent
  #78
I really like my Wa-2a. I can only compare it to the UAD plugin versions of the LA2A. And to be honest, i can get away with more compression on the Wa-2a. For the Price, i really like it !
Old 5th March 2018 | Show parent
  #79
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chrisdee's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mario Super View Post
I really like my Wa-2a. I can only compare it to the UAD plugin versions of the LA2A. And to be honest, i can get away with more compression on the Wa-2a. For the Price, i really like it !
Have you tried it on dynamic female pop vocals?
My wa-2a fell apart in this application and had a high frequency distortion harshness when pushed.

Sold it after 3-4 months of disapointment.
Old 5th March 2018 | Show parent
  #80
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisdee View Post
Have you tried it on dynamic female pop vocals?
My wa-2a fell apart in this application and when pushed. So after 3-4 months of dissapointment with harsh vocals I sold it .
Stam now makes the LA3A-clone, the original being also a favorite on vocals. Ask Bob Clearmountain. But I have no idea when these will eventually ship, they were scheduled for May 2017. I saw you mention UA 1176 and Purple earlier in this thread. If you're still in the market for that kind, I'd either second the vote for the Wes Audio Beta76 (versatile with the SC filter and believe it or not - it can be worthwhile to chosse the mdoern setting without the tranny) or very highly recommend the ProReplicas units. They also do a LA2A clone. it's pricier than Stam and Warm, but I'm sure it's outstanding.
Old 6th March 2018 | Show parent
  #81
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chrisdee's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSchlomo View Post
Stam now makes the LA3A-clone, the original being also a favorite on vocals. Ask Bob Clearmountain. But I have no idea when these will eventually ship, they were scheduled for May 2017. I saw you mention UA 1176 and Purple earlier in this thread. If you're still in the market for that kind, I'd either second the vote for the Wes Audio Beta76 (versatile with the SC filter and believe it or not - it can be worthwhile to chosse the mdoern setting without the tranny) or very highly recommend the ProReplicas units. They also do a LA2A clone. it's pricier than Stam and Warm, but I'm sure it's outstanding.
Thanks. But i think am moving away from clones and looking for higher end gear. Both Retro 176 and TG12413 (Zener) sounds great from tests i’ve heard. They also have usefull features like sc and bypass. Just wonder if they have got good headroom.

Last edited by chrisdee; 6th March 2018 at 06:50 AM..
Old 6th March 2018 | Show parent
  #82
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisdee View Post
Thanks. But i think am moving away from clones and looking for higher end gear. Both Retro 176 and TG12413 (Zener) sounds great from tests i’ve heard. They also have usefull features like sc and bypass. Just wonder if they have got good headroom.
That's great stuff for sure. Just to add, both Wes and the ProReplicas are not clones. Sure, they copy an existing design but so do many high end companies. But both of them are any bit as good as the original brand models for a lot less money.
Old 6th April 2018 | Show parent
  #83
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisdee View Post
Thanks. But i think am moving away from clones and looking for higher end gear. Both Retro 176 and TG12413 (Zener) sounds great from tests i’ve heard. They also have usefull features like sc and bypass. Just wonder if they have got good headroom.
There are various high-end clones in the market. The Retro 176 you mentioned seems to be one of them, especially considering it has "176" on its name. Let us know what your final decision was!
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