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Chaining two LA-2As back to back Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 8th June 2018
  #1
Gear Head
 
AnonDeScript's Avatar
Chaining two LA-2As back to back

I just bought a Warm Audio WA-2A and am thinking of getting a second one for tracking stereo sources (mainly acoustic guitar).

Since I’d have both units, I was wondering if there’s any benefit to tracking vocals through two LA-2A style compressors back-to-back for an additional round of smoothing - maybe one in Limit mode and one in Compress.

Has anyone done this? If so, were the results worthwhile? I know a lot of people stack 1176 style compressors into LA-2As, but I didn’t know how common it was to just double up on the latter.
Old 8th June 2018
  #2
Gear Head
 
AnonDeScript's Avatar
If it helps, the projects I'm working on are mostly mellow, coffeehouse-type music, so I'm not aiming for gritty vocals that can sit on top of a super dense rock track.
Old 8th June 2018
  #3
I’ve done this with different optos with good results. It just depends on what you are after. But I’d guess based on general experience it will be a good thing.
Old 8th June 2018
  #4
Lives for gear
Sure, but you would have a more flexible setup with an 1176 or EL8 flavor. 1176 before or after LA2A is a common setup.
Old 8th June 2018
  #5
Lives for gear
 
foldback's Avatar
LA2a style opto compressors are S L O W on the attack, it's one of the things that makes them so appealing sonically but the slowness can be a problem with extreme transient material so people resort to strange combinations.

I'd say use what works for you but for me, an LA2a style feeding another LA2a style would be very sluggish sounding.

I'd prefer the signal to drive a fast 1176 style compressor (to catch peaks) and then the slower attack LA2a with its weighty low end and sluggish attack to make up gain and make it sound level.

Back to back LA2a are not going to be faster so they still can't catch extremely fast vocal peaks, it's just a bunch of sluggish performance to my ears, I'd prefer faster compressors.

The opto panel in a T4 style compressor can only react so fast, it's a physical imitation not a circuitry design exercise. Sorting and testing can yield the fastest components of this style but even those have limitations.

Use your ears not your eyes reading spec's. I've been at this for 45+ years and I'm continually learning and adjusting but I still love a lot of analog in my mixes.

My UA LA2a resides on the bass guitar channel of my 40-channel Soundcraft/Neve mixing system. The real LA2a magic is enhanced girth along with leveling, I love that sound.

Use what works for you.

Good music to all!
Old 8th June 2018
  #6
Gear Head
 
AnonDeScript's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by foldback View Post
LA2a style opto compressors are S L O W on the attack, it's one of the things that makes them so appealing sonically but the slowness can be a problem with extreme transient material so people resort to strange combinations.

I'd say use what works for you but for me, an LA2a style feeding another LA2a style would be very sluggish sounding.

I'd prefer the signal to drive a fast 1176 style compressor (to catch peaks) and then the slower attack LA2a with its weighty low end and sluggish attack to make up gain and make it sound level.

Back to back LA2a are not going to be faster so they still can't catch extremely fast vocal peaks, it's just a bunch of sluggish performance to my ears, I'd prefer faster compressors.

The opto panel in a T4 style compressor can only react so fast, it's a physical imitation not a circuitry design exercise. Sorting and testing can yield the fastest components of this style but even those have limitations.

Use your ears not your eyes reading spec's. I've been at this for 45+ years and I'm continually learning and adjusting but I still love a lot of analog in my mixes.

My UA LA2a resides on the bass guitar channel of my 40-channel Soundcraft/Neve mixing system. The real LA2a magic is enhanced girth along with leveling, I love that sound.

Use what works for you.

Good music to all!
Thanks for the input! Do you normally use the FET/opto combination for a particular style of vocals or is it a go-to for everything?
Old 8th June 2018
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by foldback View Post
I'd say use what works for you but for me, an LA2a style feeding another LA2a style would be very sluggish sounding.
This has been my experience. I have 2-La2a's and chaining them together doesn't really work for me. It results in an even bigger, slow, detailed sound...which you can get by simply using one. I like trailing an La2 with a faster type(fet/PWM), which gives a nice, big, quick sound for use on various things...
Old 9th June 2018
  #8
Lives for gear
 
foldback's Avatar
My UA LA2a is 14 years old. I also have a WA2a which is about 3-months old.

The LA2a by UA does not have a very fast attack time. If you're tracking a vocal this is critical. I don't care for the LA2a as a tracking compressor on vocals, it's just too slow and will let overs come through in the ugliest of ways.

I don't care for the WA2a as a tracking compressor either, although it's a lot faster attack time than the UA LA2a.

If you must use a compressor during tracking then my ears always reach for the ultra fast attack 1176. These are speedy enough to catch anything a singer can scream out IME.

Use what works for you.

Good music to all!
Old 9th June 2018
  #9
Check the background noise. Hear any hum? Don't print hum.
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