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How to use LA2A Compressor
Old 15th November 2009
  #1
How to use LA2A Compressor

Hey Everyone,

I've been making some slutty purchases over the past few weeks. I just recently bought an LA2A compressor to go along with my ISA One preamp and M16 MKII microphone.

My current problem is a basic one which all the experts would laugh at--but sorry have no choice but to ask for your help:

1. Should I be plugging in my microphone directly into the LA2A and then going out into the mic input of my ISA One preamp?

Or
2. should I be connecting my mic into the ISA One and going out via send (ISA ONE) to the input of LA2A and taking LA2A output back into the return of the ISA One?

In option 1, I can clearly hear the gain impact, but doesn't look like the compression is really working--the VU meter remains stuck no matter how I toggle the peak reduction. I am having a hard time hearing the compression--I have my preamp up loud so that I can really hear the gain reduction. I have my headphones plugged into my ISA One headphone jack for monitoring.

Can any of you veterans help me out on this please? Any insight will much appreciated.
Old 15th November 2009
  #2
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kurt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by happywaters View Post
Hey Everyone,

1. Should I be plugging in my microphone directly into the LA2A and then going out into the mic input of my ISA One preamp?

Or
2. should I be connecting my mic into the ISA One and going out via send (ISA ONE) to the input of LA2A and taking LA2A output back into the return of the ISA One?

1.) Big NO.
2.) Yes. Insert is exactly how you should connect Comp to your Pre.
3.) You can go from ISA Main Out to LA2A & from there to Line In of the ADC too.
Old 16th November 2009
  #3
Thanks for the help. So, I plug my mic into my main mic i/p and then use return/send to connect my pre to the LA2A. How do you suggest I monitor this? I move the knobs but don't hear any difference in the sound (although I the signals are clear. Also, shouldn't my preamp VU meter get impacted when I return the signal from the compresser?

Sorry for silly questions but this is my first hardware compressor and I'm not sure whether it's my ears (which are probably much less trained than most of you) or whether I am doing something wrong while connecting the preamp with the LA2A

Should I be monitoring from my DAW?

Happywaters
Old 16th November 2009
  #4
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kurt's Avatar
Isa + la2a

Quote:
Originally Posted by happywaters View Post
Thanks for the help. So, I plug my mic into my main mic i/p and then use return/send to connect my pre to the LA2A. How do you suggest I monitor this? I move the knobs but don't hear any difference in the sound (although I the signals are clear. Also, shouldn't my preamp VU meter get impacted when I return the signal from the compresser?

Sorry for silly questions but this is my first hardware compressor and I'm not sure whether it's my ears (which are probably much less trained than most of you) or whether I am doing something wrong while connecting the preamp with the LA2A

Should I be monitoring from my DAW?

Happywaters
Yes. You should monitor from the DAW.
When you compress, VU meters are moving even less. It take time before one learn to "hear" what compression does.
You could start with a -10dBfs test tone from the DAW to line in & back. Than insert LA2 & see what happens. When you are sure that everything is working, try other (acoustic) sources.
Old 16th November 2009
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by happywaters View Post
Thanks for the help. So, I plug my mic into my main mic i/p and then use return/send to connect my pre to the LA2A. How do you suggest I monitor this? I move the knobs but don't hear any difference in the sound (although I the signals are clear. Also, shouldn't my preamp VU meter get impacted when I return the signal from the compresser?

Sorry for silly questions but this is my first hardware compressor and I'm not sure whether it's my ears (which are probably much less trained than most of you) or whether I am doing something wrong while connecting the preamp with the LA2A

Should I be monitoring from my DAW?

Happywaters
When you hook up LA2A with the return/send, make sure the "insert" button on the ISA One is engaged, otherwise the send/return loop won't be in the signal path.
Old 16th November 2009
  #6
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kurt's Avatar
+10
Old 16th November 2009
  #7
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choinga's Avatar
 

what DAW software are you using? I use Cakewalk Sonar 8 and can 'insert' hardware into tracks so that I don't have to track through them.

There are worse pieces of gear to track through than an LA-2 of course, but the problem with tracking through a compressor is you print the compression to disk/tape when recording and of course, you can't go back and change it.

So, ideally you go from your mic into your mic-pre and that goes into a channel on your console or fireware/USB device that connects to your PC/MAC. From there, you'd insert the hardware to the tracks or buss that you want to use it on.
Old 16th November 2009
  #8
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kurt's Avatar
+10
Old 16th November 2009
  #9
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suedesound's Avatar
 

I hate to be a prick but why the **** do you have an LA2A if you don't know how to plug it in correctly?
Old 16th November 2009
  #10
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I have to be a prick, too - I just don't get it that a complete newbie purchases such gear - maybe this is only "envy" talking - since I can't afford a real LA-2A and am stuck with an UAD-1... but I know all the damn ways how to connect it and abuse it... luckily for the OP it is the simplest compressor to use when he will connect it eventually...
Old 16th November 2009
  #11
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The dman's Avatar
 

This post should be in the Gearslutz hall of fame
Old 16th November 2009
  #12
Here for the gear
 

Out of interest how much did you pay for your LA2A?
Old 16th November 2009
  #13
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kurt's Avatar
Friends. I have forgotten to engage insert button on my ISA 428 sometimes too. ItΒ΄s a common mistake. I wish I have had means to start with classy gear from the beginning.
How is it going happywaters?
Old 16th November 2009
  #14
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Jim Kerr's Avatar
 

Who cares that the OP has a piece of equipment that is really great and doesn't know the basics. What if they were a school teacher and his wife or daughter was like dad you have such a great voice and the guy decides to get into VO work and purchases some high-end gear with their hard earned money. (even though you wouldn't need it for work)
Or..
They simply like gear...whats wrong with that?

Yeah you would think they would do some research on how to use a compressor. At least on the internet...oh wait, that's what they did.

You could be helpful...or not.

If you had a nautical map measuring device thing that belonged to your great grandfather, should you be ashamed at asking how to use it.....

Blah blah,

Kudos to the guy for asking.
It is funny because its the easiest comp to use ever. Not just because it has two knobs but also because it sounds really fine.

Peace.
Old 16th November 2009
  #15
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+10
Old 16th November 2009
  #16
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Svens's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by suedesound View Post
I hate to be a prick but why the **** do you have an LA2A if you don't know how to plug it in correctly?
+1
Old 16th November 2009
  #17
DA,

Thanks alot for your help. Sorry for being a hardware newbie, but I'm primarily a musician. My ISA One is pretty transparent and the M16 has a real open sound. So I wanted to round it off with the LA2A.

I hadn't pushed the insert button heh so thks Bluelightcory and Kurt for the simple solution!

The unit sounds great but there's a low electrical hum that I hear. I am giving the LA2A benefit of the doubt and looking looking at other new members of my chain

Namely a converter which I am using to convert 110v into 220v power source (I bought this unit while on vacation in NY from GCPRO and am currently residing in Dubai, UAE)

Do you suggest I scrap the converter and calibrate this unit to 220 voltage?
Or is the LA2A naturally noisy (I highly doubt it having a natural hum, even if I'm not meant to track in the same room as the unit).
I have some instructions from UA which look easy enough for an electrician to pull off the calibration. The hum is noisy enough for me to try this. Could this be the solution?

Any comments?

Thanks
PS: I respect all comments.
Happywaters
Old 16th November 2009
  #18
Yes, you need to calibrate it to be used at 220V and it's very simple.
Old 16th November 2009
  #19
Now it's gone--I think the La2a was just getting warmed up??? Is this normal?
Old 17th November 2009
  #20
Deleted 99dc753
Guest
wahts the problem.... he has the money he buys nice gear and now he wants to learn how to use it in the right way.

When I first used Logic Audio I was a newbie as well and no one asked me:

Why the hell are you buying logic if you do not know how to use it.

Sorry guys I think you are green.eyed taht he can afoord a nice LA2A and you can not.

It is alright use it and you will have fun I am sure!!!

Congrats to your purchase of an all time calssic compressor!!!
Old 17th November 2009
  #21
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slaves666's Avatar
Why all the hate????.....the guy has some money to spend on gear. At least he bought some great shit.

Do you have to be a race car driver to own a Porsche?
Old 17th November 2009
  #22
Gear Nut
 
Paulie's Avatar
 

Some of you guys are down right mean. The whole point of open forums is the ask questions. I don't think this forum is just to boast about what gear you have used or own!
Old 17th November 2009
  #23
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mexicola's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by happywaters View Post
Now it's gone--I think the La2a was just getting warmed up??? Is this normal?
Definately not. My LA2A is silent as a mouse at all times.
Old 17th November 2009
  #24
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larry b's Avatar
 

Personally i would just chain the whole thing up rather than using the insert. Mic --> ISA ONE --> LA-2A --> DAW Interface, and then monitor using the outputs of the DAW rather than through the ISA ONE.

But then, i don't know what your exact situation is, thats just off the top of my head.

And x2 on trying to help people rather than cut them down. Everyone has to be a noob at some point. I'll take a noob with an LA-2A over a noob with cracked software and an MXL mic trying to "make beets" any day of the week.
Old 17th November 2009
  #25
Lives for gear
I would agree with the chain thing. I'm not sure about the ISA One, but aren't the inserts on most console pres down 6 db or similar? If you go back into the insert it doesn't matter, but if you go from the insert out to the LA2a and out of the LA you lose 6 db.

You might want to check the insert specs.

Not that its the end of the world....I've had to do it many times. but an LA2a can be a little noise so it might help the performance chain it.
Old 17th November 2009
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steffmo View Post
I would agree with the chain thing. I'm not sure about the ISA One, but aren't the inserts on most console pres down 6 db or similar? If you go back into the insert it doesn't matter, but if you go from the insert out to the LA2a and out of the LA you lose 6 db.

You might want to check the insert specs.

Not that its the end of the world....I've had to do it many times. but an LA2a can be a little noise so it might help the performance chain it.
No - the inserts of most consoles aren't!

The inserts of semi-pro consoles might be, because they're unbalanced, so using them with balanced gear you can get a 6dB drop.
Old 17th November 2009
  #27
Led
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Led's Avatar
[QUOTE=Steffmo;4790503]I would agree with the chain thing. I'm not sure about the ISA One, but aren't the inserts on most console pres down 6 db or similar? QUOTE]

Depends in the inserts are balanced or unbalanced. On my console they are balanced.
Old 17th November 2009
  #28
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ok, i apologize for the rude comment. i was a bit saucy when i made that. hope it works out for you and i would agree with converting to 220 and running it as a chain instead of insert as others have suggested. i was just kinda suprised because it's such an easy comp to use. enjoy it
Old 17th November 2009
  #29
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PlayRadioPlay's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slaves666 View Post
Why all the hate????.....the guy has some money to spend on gear. At least he bought some great shit.

Do you have to be a race car driver to own a Porsche?
No, but you should know how to put it into drive.
Old 17th November 2009
  #30
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by choinga View Post
... the problem with tracking through a compressor is you print the compression to disk/tape when recording and of course, you can't go back and change it.

That's not the problem with it, that's the *point* of it!

Really, I take your point, but I'm a fan of diving in, learning by mistakes, committing early, making irrevocable decisions, trusting your gut, and moving forward.


Gregory Scott - ubk
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