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BLOO LA-2A Photo Journal
Old 18th July 2006
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
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BLOO LA-2A Photo Journal

There hasn't been a lot written about these units here on this board, though I did originally discover them here:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showthrea...highlight=bloo

Anyway, I just completed a unit. It's working well, sounding wonderful and looking great! I will hopefully post some audio shortly.

In the meantime, I have posted a photo journal of the building process:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/3500116...7594203518828/

Let me know if the link doesn't work. The completed pics (inside and out) are the last six photos. Feel free to mock my wiring!

This was my first DIY project, and I probably started with one of the harder ones out there (point to point wiring, plenty of tubes, etc.). It was fun though, and I think it has given me the confidence to start on some other DIY projects.

It took a lot of time, cost a fair amount of money and still required troubleshooting once the thing was all assembled. But the end product was well worth it.

Anyway, if anyone has any questions about any part of this project, feel free to ask, or just enjoy the pics.

-Jp
Old 18th July 2006
  #2
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Teaser

Here is a single photo of the front. View the link in the previous post for more.
Attached Thumbnails
BLOO LA-2A Photo Journal-bloo-crop.jpg  
Old 18th July 2006
  #3
C/G
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I tried getting ahold of those guys (or that guy) for a while and nobody ever got back to me about purchasing one so I gave up. Looks sweet. I would still like to buy one, but I think Bloo is running out of kits.
Old 18th July 2006
  #4
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Cool,

What was your total overall cost?

Have you spec'd it out? If so I'd be interested in your units noise.

Sounds like you learned alot though.
Old 18th July 2006
  #5
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Looks great, JP thumbsup

ruudman
Old 18th July 2006
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danasti
Cool,

What was your total overall cost?
I ended up ordering a complete kit which came with Sowter audio transformers, chassis, resistors, capacitors, screws, wires, etc. Basically everything. I did feel the need to upgrade from my radio shack soldering iron, so that was a hundred bucks. And a few components were missing from the kit (just a couple caps, etc.), and I needed to use several feet of sheilded cable which was not included. Most experienced DIY-ers would already have all of that stuff.

I'm not sure if I should say what the unit actually cost. PM me and I'll give you the contact info. He was very fast and detailed in getting back to me.

I will ballpark it though. It was not cheap, but the complete kit was about a third of the cost of the street price of a UA LA2A reissue. And still less than any of the boutique compressors I was considering before the purchase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danasti
Have you spec'd it out? If so I'd be interested in your units noise.
Only with my good old ears!

Quote:
Originally Posted by danasti
Sounds like you learned alot though.
Absolutely.

-Jp
Old 18th July 2006
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin Gaucher
I tried getting ahold of those guys (or that guy) for a while and nobody ever got back to me about purchasing one so I gave up. Looks sweet. I would still like to buy one, but I think Bloo is running out of kits.
Yeah, I remember reading that in your old thread. A few times during the build process he was a little slow getting back to me (out of town, etc.). But initially he was VERY fast and thorough. He does get a lot of emails, so maybe try again.

-Jp
Old 18th July 2006
  #8
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Maybe if you had time you could go over some of your stumbling blocks during the build and possibly share some of your experiences.

How many hours would you estimate that you put into this kit?

How would you compare the sound of the Bloo to the others it emulates? Only if you have heard them...

Do you feel as though its sound it is correct and the build is correct?

Thanks
Old 19th July 2006
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danasti
How many hours would you estimate that you put into this kit?
It's a tough estimate... Probably around 60. But I'll say about half of those hours were me just staring at the unit. Basically I'd get to a point where I wasn't quite sure about something... Like how to properly install twisted tube heater wires... or whether I should wrap the ends of the components around the turret board on just solder them on top... or which way was best to rout this wire or that, etc. So often I'd spend a few hours working on it, get to a hang up, sleep on it (or do a little online research), and then just jump back in the next day (even if I didn't have a definite answer). Work a few hours... Get hung up on something... Repeat.

If I were to build a second one I could cut it down to probably 15-20 hours. But in general I'm slow. When I'm doing home improvement and the book rates a project: "2 hours = expert, 4 hours = intermediate, 6 hours = beginner," it usually takes me about 10 hours after I've done it a couple times.

But it was fun work... For the most part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danasti
How would you compare the sound of the Bloo to the others it emulates? Only if you have heard them...
You know I just got it working Monday night, so I'll let you know after I get around to tracking vocals.

That being said, I have never used a "real" LA-2A. I do have extensive experience with 1176's and wanted something a little thicker as a vocal comp. My budget was pointing me towards a distressor or an 1176/mc76/mc77. I ruled out the Distressor since it's not my favorite on vocals, and I thought something optical would be a little more pleasing on my voice (less agressive pop). Plus I though putting this unit together would open a lot of doors for me as well (assuming things went well - which they did), like the MC76 DIY, Seventh Circle Pres, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danasti
Do you feel as though its sound it is correct and the build is correct?
Won't comment on the sound for now...

The build... It is an LA-2A with modern components. If you can track down some original input and output transformers (they are out there, actually), an original TB4 optical circuit, and some NOS tubes you would have a "new" LA-2A. It's an LA-2A circuit. In fact I could plug in an old TB4 directly into my unit. I used Sowter transformers which get a lot of nice comments online for this purpose.

There are a couple revisions of the LA-2A circuit. With a little online research you find out these differences, but they are basically just a few resistor value substitutions. You can build it to any revision.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danasti
Maybe if you had time you could go over some of your stumbling blocks during the build and possibly share some of your experiences.
1. Get a good soldering iron. No radio shack 2-temp irons. My Hakko is awesome. It's the model recommended by Seventh Circle. This thing is going to make my cable building a lot simpler too. A wonderful investment.

2. This layout put together by a DIY-er named Cayocosta is a life-saver:
http://www.home.earthlink.net/~cayoc...a2a_layout.jpg
The manual that comes with the Bloo is a little vague at times and has few pictures. This is a case where a picture says a thousand words. Every mistake I made (and there were several) was caught by checking things on this layout. And if I had this before I started instead of halfway through the project, I might not have made any.

As a note, this layout is based on a different revision than the the bloo, so there are a couple differences. But they are just a few resistor values (and easy to spot). All the wiring (which is the most helpful part) is the same.

3. The most common error I saw everyone make while I was trouble shooting online (including myself) was putting their diodes in backwards. And there is so much bad info online that makes you think they are right even when they are not.

So here it is: The lines on the diodes face the front of the unit. That just saved you $5 in fuses and 4 hours online.

4. At some point either before your build or during it, read (or at least skim) this thread start to finish (ideally while on the clock at work):
http://prodigy-pro.com/forum/viewtop...62d92b0681a914

Also of interest is a search option on that forum that allows you to search by post rather than by thread. Very helpful when a given thread might be 95 pages long.

5. Obviously get a multimeter, some shink tubing, some sheilded balanced cable, some cable ties, and some extra 22 guage stranded wire if you don't already.

6. Finally, check everything three times (preferably by checking it off of both the Bloo manual and Cayocosta's layout).

And hopefully my photo journal at the beginning of this thread (which will hopefuly remain up for some time now) will help in some way. I couldn't find many pictures online whle I was working, and most of those were just of the completed units.

Let me know if there are any other questions. And I should have audio samples posted within the coming weeks of both vocals and upright bass.

-Jp
Old 19th July 2006
  #10
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Awesome - I can't wait for the samples.

Thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge and for your time!
Old 20th July 2006
  #11
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I bought mine used from someone that gave up......I quickly decided to strip it down to nothing and am now rebuilding from the ground up (pardon the pun)......saved a bunch, added about $100 for new parts that were toasted or not up to scratch. People's kindness over on the prodigy board is exemplary.....it's nice to see.

That being said, prior to finding this unit, Scott always got back to me

Andy
Old 20th July 2006
  #12
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Nice job! thumbsup
Old 20th July 2006
  #13
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I ordered the Bloo back in April and received it after 6 weeks. If anyone is interested in building one of these, you better know your stuff. The manual is well written, for someone educated in the field of electronics.

To start, everything was well packaged and labeled. My brother and I started putting the T4B together. That took a good 5/6 hours. It probably should have taken about an hour, but what do we know from T4B's! I got a call to work on a project, so I couldn't continue for about a week. Another job came in, so I decided to give it to my technician. The whole unit was assembled in 17 hours, including ordering some missing parts (caps/resistors).

I've recorded using the original LA2A and UA LA2A, and the Bloo sounds fantastic! Up there with the best of them. It's extremely smooth. I've been using it in conjunction with the Peluso P12 and (either the Pacifica or Buzz MA2.2TX mic pre).

As John mentioned, the cost of a Bloo is about 1/3 of a UA LA2A, and so worth every penny.

I don't know if the person I bought the Bloo kit from is still selling these kits, but if he is, it's definately worth the investment.
Attached Thumbnails
BLOO LA-2A Photo Journal-bloo.jpg  
Old 24th July 2006
  #14
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Finished My Bloo this week.. and it fired up first go no hum, motorboating or any other nasties.

I think Steve gets quite a lot of email, and I didn't get any initial response to my main email, but he replied to my hotmail account within 10 minutes!

Got to say it sounds great! this kind of outboard is for life!



Old 24th July 2006
  #15
C/G
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Now I want one again.


Nice handywork gentlemen.
Old 24th July 2006
  #16
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I just ordered mine from Steve last week. Not sure how long it will take until it arrives (but he did say he had two kits on hand, so maybe quickly). Can't wait to get crackin!

Steve did say in his last email "Just be safe. You will be dealing with 300+ volt in some areas of the circuit. So far bloo hasn't had any injuries and I don't want to kill that record :-)"

--> freddie
Old 24th July 2006
  #17
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Bloo with lights on

BLOO LA-2A Photo Journal-2blue.jpg

BLOO LA-2A Photo Journal-utc.jpgI bought a pair of kits .

I found original transformers (HA100X and A24) on ebay .

They sound great .

I had it built by my tech who added light to the VU .

The total cost was about one reissue for two units .

Volodia

Last edited by Volodia; 24th July 2006 at 10:39 PM.. Reason: attach files
Old 24th July 2006
  #18
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Vocamotion,

Do take care. It's high voltage stuff, but It's easy to be safe if you know how to discharge the unit correctly after power down.. those caps hold a big belt!

You defo need to sign up here, if not already!: http://www.prodigy-pro.com/FORUM/ and check the very long and extremely helpful La2a thread.

Good luck with your kit and buy some chopsticks!
Old 4th October 2006
  #19
Gear Head
 

BLOO ROCKS

Just coincidentaly bought something from steve on ebay today, had never heard of his products and know I wnat one of course he said he was out to the AES convention to represent! so expect more from him. The slow email response may be due to hard work and lots of inquiries I guess, anyways just exchanged a few words with him and he's pretty cool (maybe because i still ahven't payed the eq, jeje) anyways just though I'd drop in an confirm he is certainly in business.

all the best
Old 4th October 2006
  #20
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Anyone care to give the price of the Kit? It looks very cool. If it sounds as good as it looks who cares if it takes some extra time to build.
Old 4th October 2006
  #21
Gear Nut
 

For those not as electrically astute there is a pcb for sale over at the prodigy forum..you need to supply the chassis and all the parts but you can do it for as little as 300 usd or so this way if you skip the original transformers and get a used chassis etc......it is REALLY easy to stuff...mine sounds great..I a/b ed it to an original LA-2A and mine is a tad brighter (but still not bright by any means)..I can't imaging cutting a vocal without this guy now heh
You can still buy t4b's from JBL for about 90$ so no need to build your own....
Jump in folks..these guys rock!

Ray
Old 4th October 2006
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
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I paid $1200 for my Bloo LA-2A kit (with Sowter trannies)...

--> freddie
Old 6th October 2006
  #23
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Have any of you guys had a chance to hear Bill Skibbe's Red Stripe 5-9c? How does it compare to the Bloo kit? I think I might just roll up my sleeves and tinker with the Bloo kit...300+ volts eh?...ahh what the hell. Nice work by the way.
Old 9th November 2007
  #24
Here for the gear
 

Did Steve Rip Me Off?

I ordered my Bloo Kit from Steve Yost over 2 months ago. He claimed that he had shipped it but it never arrived. Is Steve dead? He is not responding to my emails or my phone messages. Any info would be appreciated. I'm out $1300 !!

-eriQ
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