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Tracking Compressor...1176 or La3a? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 24th December 2010
  #1
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Welldigger's Avatar
 

Tracking Compressor...1176 or La3a?

Similar threads I realize, but I'd appreciate your opinions to help me decide between a UA La3A or 1176 compressor. For me it will be for tracking only, vocals and bass primarily. I have used the 1176 and liked it, but have never used the La3a. Music to be recorded is in the "Americana", alt-country, folk type. My interest is in one of these 2 compressors only, and I would really appreciate your input if you have used one, or both.
Thanks.
Old 24th December 2010
  #2
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I'd go with the 1176 over te LA3A. Only liked the LA3A on acoustics and drums, where the 1176 can be more versatile. But YMMV.
Old 24th December 2010
  #3
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Space Station's Avatar
Either. All depends on your taste and material. la3a for me is one of the best bass compressors there is..yet others will swear by the 1176..
Old 24th December 2010
  #4
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Welldigger's Avatar
 

Appreciate your responses, Rus and Space. More perspective; Some examples of vocals that I appreciate, and that are kinda in my vocal range would be Ray Wiley Hubbard, Alejandro Escoveda, John Hiatt, Steve Earle (yes, 1176), Mark Knopfler, and Billy Joe Shaver to name a few. Any more opinions? Thanks again.
Old 24th December 2010
  #5
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In my experience (others may differ), the 1176 is more versatile, can be more aggressive. It is somewhat better for highly-dynamic rock vocals, though I tend to prefer the LA3A on acoustic guitar and other sources.

I also think there's considerably more control over the compression envelope with an 1176—which for vocals and bass, in my experience, is a wonderful resource.

From an "educational" perspective, I sorta feel like the the 1176 is the way to go initially. If you "master" its parameters (which is not that hard), the LA3A will seem simplistic.

Finally, I do lots of "Americana" projects, and I never want for uses for my MC77 (which, by the way, you should buy, and not the UA reissue, in my thinking). Our (reissue) LA3A sees less use on vocals and bass, certainly.

Best of luck.
Old 24th December 2010
  #6
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Have both and use both when tracking vocals. I like the La3a when just tapping a little level but lately I have been really liking the sound of the 1176 more on vocals. 1176 just sounds like a record to me.
Old 24th December 2010
  #7
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Space Station's Avatar
1176 can give you a more in your face, aggressive tone..the la3a is a lot smoother and thickens things up more to my ears..

I noticed that Ken Scott was saying on here the la3a is one of his 'desert island' compressors..and of course is a big favourite of Bob Clearmountain for vocals..didnt he use it a lot with Springsteen?
Old 24th December 2010
  #8
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skybluerental's Avatar
 

It's tough to beat the tone of a urei la 3a.
Old 24th December 2010
  #9
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mowmow's Avatar
1176 is a limiter and it colors the sound a lot but the color is usefull sometime. I like using it with snare when I want to change the tone dramatically. 1178 is my favorite for drum ambient mics.

LA3A is more transparent even you compress like 5db or even more. I used to use it all the time with vocal.
Old 24th December 2010
  #10
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RusRant's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Space Station View Post
1176 can give you a more in your face, aggressive tone..the la3a is a lot smoother and thickens things up more to my ears..

I noticed that Ken Scott was saying on here the la3a is one of his 'desert island' compressors..and of course is a big favourite of Bob Clearmountain for vocals..didnt he use it a lot with Springsteen?
He has 4 listed at Mixthis and 2 at Berkley Street studio, so probaly used somewhere. The Springsteen BTR album acoustics are the La3a sound to me.
Old 24th December 2010
  #11
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LA3A is just great on acoustic guitars and my go to hardware or software for acoustic guitars. 1176 is great for rock vocals and I like it on bass from time to time. I've been looking at a good compressor for my home studio and honestly my dream one is a CL1B if I could afford it, but in the end I need some versatile so a ditressor or a pair of them will be more likely for me. I've heard of cases where people love the la3a on backing vocals and even lead sometimes.
Old 24th December 2010
  #12
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I love both of these. I would say the 1176 is the more versatile of the two and the one I would use more often for vocals. I agree the 1176 is a little more colored but just in a different way. The LA3A sounds more "vintage" and "indie" to me for whatever that is worth. I agree the tone of an LA3A is about as good as it gets. I think I am different than most in that I prefer the LA3A on snare (simply fat) to the 1176. Definitely LA3A for guitars as well. I tend to use the 1176 more for bass and I think it is better on vox. They are both great on drums, 1176 better on rooms maybe although neither would be my first choice for that. From the sound of what you are going for I would say the 1176 would be a better bet but there is a reason those two along with an LA2A are pretty much the 3 best overall comps ever made.
Old 24th December 2010
  #13
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Welldigger's Avatar
 

Much useful information and thoughtful comments by everyone, thanks. As previously stated, I am limited (no pun intended) budget-wise to just one compressor.

The La3a, which I am less familiar with does cost several hundred dollars less, and offers less control and versatility. (not a problem)
Sounds like the La3a is a less colored sound than the 1176. (not a problem either)

There seems to be a little more in favor of the 1176 here so far, but it's close.
Anymore comments still appreciated.
Old 24th December 2010
  #14
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Space Station's Avatar
I've had two vintage D series 1176's and two vintage Teletronix La3a's in my racks for many years.

These are my experiences which will not be the same as everyone else;

Bass. I cannot get an 1176 to level a bass signal to my liking if it contains a lot of deep bass frequency.. If you are talking more like Sting, Jah Wobble..deep bass.. the LA3A does it much, much better. Rocky, punchy bass tones the 1176 does OK.

Vocals..I prefer the LA3A on rounder, silkier tones...the 1176 for more in your face Vox..

Drums..1176 all the way..as far as compression effects go..but I do like the LA3A across the drum buss tonally when driven...it crunches up the cymbals in a very nice way.

Same with the mix buss...Two LA3A's across the mix buss are tonally very nice when driven..but not really effective in a modern buss compressor way. I wouldn't entertain a pair of 1176's here.

Acoustics and Electric clean tones..I go for the LA3A 75% of the time.
Old 24th December 2010
  #15
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As has been said, both are classics. I lean toward the LA3 myself, unless I need something more aggressive
Old 27th December 2010
  #16
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keep in mind that the vintage UREI's sound different than anything being made today that tries to replicate them.

in my opinion, the UREI LA 3A is in a totally different league than the UA reissue. i had them side by side and the UREI had a much better tone and just sounded much classier and rounder. sold the UA's and kept the UREI's.
now when i hear stuff i did with the UA's, i really hear the difference in the results i am getting with the UREI's.

similarly, UREI 1176's sound better to me than the UA reissue or the MC77. i had my silverface 1178 next to an MC77 and i like the UREI better on everything we tried except bass where it was basically a draw.
the MC77 is just a bit harsh sounding to me on vox compared to the vintage UREI's which are a bit darker and smoother to my ears.........
Old 28th December 2010
  #17
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Welldigger's Avatar
 

Skyblue, I get what you're saying about the vintage Urei's, and I guess if that were an option, I would certainly consider one. But, that doesn't appear to be an option presently.

Stefmo, although I really like the sound of the 1176, for my own vocals, which is the primary use here, I believe that I'd be fine with the less aggressive La3a.

I have heard that the La3a is one of the better UA reissue models. Opinions? Thanks again guys!
Old 28th December 2010
  #18
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for Mixdowns I find myself using Urei optical stuff more (LA-2A, LA-3A), but for tracking, the 1176 does better for me.

Going to build a couple over the next few months, in both mono and stereo, and blue or black models. Might do a black and blue in one box switchable. We build a fair bit of gear and do our own servicing but this is the first time we've approached retail. If anybody is interested in a good price 1176 clone, get in touch.
Old 28th December 2010
  #19
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rob S's Avatar
need both.
Old 28th December 2010
  #20
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AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RusRant View Post
I'd go with the 1176 over te LA3A. Only liked the LA3A on acoustics and drums, where the 1176 can be more versatile. But YMMV.
I agree, LA3 a little much.
Old 28th December 2010
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Welldigger View Post
Skyblue, I get what you're saying about the vintage Urei's, and I guess if that were an option, I would certainly consider one. But, that doesn't appear to be an option presently.

Stefmo, although I really like the sound of the 1176, for my own vocals, which is the primary use here, I believe that I'd be fine with the less aggressive La3a.

I have heard that the La3a is one of the better UA reissue models. Opinions? Thanks again guys!
Dennis Fink, an original UA guy lovingly did the LA3 reissue. I can't really comment on any ones vintage/reissue experience because there are so many variables. And I have loved LA3s since my first studio gig. Bit I can say that IMHOP the LA3 is THE best of the UA reissues.

That said, I'm not one of these guys that sits around comparing minutea of vintage and reissue units. The LA3 reissue is a great tool. Its hard to predict and engineer in the effects of 40 tears of aging, but I think Dennis did a great job.
Old 28th December 2010
  #22
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warhead's Avatar
 

I gotta say, a recent discovery of mine was the Mohog MoFET76 which is an 1176 Rev F clone with switchable output transformers. The action is that of an 1176, predictable control and super fast action, but the tone of the Mohog is a little bit more "butter" and forgiving, particularly when toggling over to the Carnhill output transformer.

I always found the reissues to be nice control, but delivered a "hard" kind of midrange tone. Not a bad thing for in your face rock n' roll 24/7 type stuff.

The MoFET76 makes using an 1176 on vocals a pleasing experience. I am kind of blown away by combining the 4:1 with the 12:1 ratio (everybody always talks about "all buttons in", but you can combine any of them you like...) which has this way of allowing the quiet stuff to rise to the top a bit more, which is key with wide vocal ranges.

War
Old 22nd January 2011
  #23
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RusRant's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
keep in mind that the vintage UREI's sound different than anything being made today that tries to replicate them.

in my opinion, the UREI LA 3A is in a totally different league than the UA reissue. i had them side by side and the UREI had a much better tone and just sounded much classier and rounder. sold the UA's and kept the UREI's.
now when i hear stuff i did with the UA's, i really hear the difference in the results i am getting with the UREI's.
This goes against all experience I've had with vintage LA3a's. Are yours modded? The UREI's had more noise and distortion and were often modded to fix these issues. The reissue is pretty much the same, except for the mods are built into the design. That said, you could probably get 5 reissues and they would all sound different, so who knows!
Old 5th December 2012
  #24
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What about bass? Since the OP mentioned bass I will post this in here instead of starting a new thread. I plan to get both beasts at some point, but if I just want to tame bass transients during tracking, is the 1176 overkill? I'm familiar with the 1176 sound, and I think it's great for R&B etc, but if I just want to tame transients for rock bass tracking, is LA 3A the way to go?
Old 5th December 2012
  #25
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cheu78's Avatar
old thread, but worth the shot to "recycle".. heh
both the LA3A and the 1176 are great tools indeed..
another great compressor for tracking (and not only bass) is definitely the BAE 10DC.. grabby, yet flexible with the added attack and release times.. fantastic tone.. you can't go wrong with it!
Another nice piece is the Crane Song Trakker (and I guess the new Crane Song Falcon for the 500 series will be sick as well)..quite on the opposite side (tonewise speaking) of the BAE.. it could be clean and unnoticed.. which sometimes is a big plus.

I hope this helps,



Cheu
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