The complex physics of how it compresses an audio signal is matched only by the complexity of all the revisions it has undergone since its creation. Thanks to several changes in ownership, the LA-2A has seen a large volume of refinements in its basic design. This has made it extremely difficult to know the differences between the various versions that have been released over the years. Here at Vintage King, we have serviced and sold a multitude of units, and have seen every variety possible.
Read on to better understand the nature of each particular unit and learn more about one of the greatest compressors in history. The original amplifier of this type was designated the LA-1, invented by Jim Lawrence, an electrical engineer and founder of the Teletronix Engineering Company in Pasadena, California in Teletronix made radio broadcast equipment, and the original limiting amplifier was intended to level out the audio signal for broadcast.
Its innovation lay in using an electro-optical sensor designated the T4 to detect signal changes that would trigger compression or limiting. It was a simple design of which maybe a hundred were made before improvements led to the second design, the LA This version used an improved photo sensor, the T4A, and the unit became popular in radio stations across the country.
Starting with the first revision, there have been seven major iterations of the LA-2A. These different designs include the two main versions, two sub-versions, and two reissues. Finally, there is the current resurrection of the design that is still being manufactured by Universal Audio.
All of the major technical and cosmetic changes are detailed below. Sorry, no products are currently available. Fill out this form to get on the waiting list and we will notify you as soon as one is available. It stands to reason that the official Universal Audio LA-2A reissue is the closest to the original spec that one could hope for, utilizing a custom copy of the original transformer, as well as the T4B opto-cell from the 60s. If you're looking for something for your Series rack, the brand also makes a smaller version called the Opticom XLA that still features a tube in its design.
The Doublewide from Retro Instruments is a compressor that gives off LA-2A vibes, but its small size also allows it to fit into your Series rack. Unlike other Retro products, this one is designed completely from scratch and features four tubes hidden inside and two timing modes for a wide range of compression options.
This compressor has truly become a favorite in the modern studio setting as it is being used on hit records in the worlds of hip-hop and pop every single day. It's design features two time-controllers, a gain-reduction element and a tube-based push-pull amplifier.
Remember Me? Results 1 to 5 of 5. Anyone bought the Clone gear? PLugIn comparisons would be appreciated to I bit on this deal.
Theres some decent reviews. Free Headphones tossed in, make it a decent deal. Attached Thumbnails. The Impedance is something I could hear change tones. Theres a very nice soft-power up and down, excellent detail. Its all discrete, with 3qty transformers, the overdrive distorts in analog way, no digital clipping even when hitting the red limit. The ability to get a huge signal into the DAW was impressive. I just ran the Output into the Line In on my interface. Nothing else in the loop.
The 24 DC was a line lump, which was very decent with 3 -prong ac going to the stepdown, then the 24vdc cable going to the unit. No problem and quiet. The mfg Alctron did foundry for many companys and once they learned the designs soon put out their own competing version.
That might have rubbed some wrong I guess they can complain to Rupert Neve about designs being copied?? The history reading gets out of control as miniscule parts weren't even consistent with the original let alone the obsoleting of parts etc Besides parts alone, adding cost, in general, I'll bet the sounds and units are pretty close.
So which clone do you buy? It makes my dry and plain interface IC sound sterile, which is why these outboard boxes exist. They do sound better. It gets to splitting hairs here. Im starting to get a pile built up again, Aphex's and Alctrons Very admirable online option for test driving gear. Sometimes stupid stuff like ergonomics of a desktop or Rack is a deciding factor. The Great River and this have the same "large" layout, of 10" deep! I compared those specs too. There is a very nice something going on in discrete component land with transformers.
Waves CLA Artist Signature Collection review
Pulled up my Neve Plugin and the Hardware sounded much better to my ears. Seems every time I use RealTime plugins my mind wants to go through the Latency exercise check, maybe because in solo rabbit hole silence I hear the darth vader phaser sound a tiny bit I doubt a young band playing energetic music would suffer over it.
Call Audio professionals revere the LA-2A. The original was immediately acknowledged for its smooth, natural compression characteristics. A unique tube-driven electro-optical attenuator system allows instantaneous gain reduction with no increase in harmonic distortion — an accomplishment at the time, still appreciated today. Painstaking care has been taken to ensure that every new LA-2A provides the performance characteristics of the original.
Each unit is point-to-point hand-wired and built in Scotts Valley, California, with every component carefully evaluated for authenticity.
Each unit is hand-built and hand-wired in-house at UA with each component being carefully evaluated for authenticity. No expense has been spared to guarantee that this LA-2A will bring that classic sound to your recording.
Demand the original. Accept no copy. Features True to the original in design, manufacturing and performance Lag free, distortion free optical attenuator system Distortion less than 0. The best gear advice always comes from those who use it the most. That's where you come in! Once you submit your review, please check your email and verify your address to have it posted. How do you rate this product? Whether it's going into the booth with nothing written down or pairing with a collaborator you've never worked with bef Best known for her work with Anne-Marie, Melanie Martinez, and Andra Day, Decilveo brings soulful sounds and vintage textures to every pr Virtually every modern recording uses compression somewhere in the chain of tracking, mixing, and mastering.
This ubiquity makes them valuab Chueng got his start as an intern at Classick Studios in Chicago, where he now works full time. Vintage King can help answer any and every question to help you make the right decisions for your sound. Fill out the form below and we'll be in contact with you shortly. See details.Both have been re-issued by Universal Audio and continue to sell well today, while vintage Teletronix LA-2As and Urei s go for a pretty penny on the secondhand market.
This odd duck was half the size of an and downright diminutive compared to the massive 3U LA-2A. Still two rack-spaces high, but only a half rack in width, the LA-3A seemed designed to be sold in pairs, as indeed it often was. Released inthe LA-3A - like its tube-based papa - derived its response characteristics from the legendary T4b opto-isolator, which consisted of an electro-luminescent panel paired with a photo-sensitive resistor.
The louder the signal coming in, the brighter the electro-luminescent panel. The photo-resistor reacts to this light and the signal gain is reduced. While the attack for small transients will be similar to the older model, the LA-3A reacts much more quickly to larger transients, due to the solid-state components driving the luminescent panel.
Vintage units had a switch around the back to toggle between compression and limiting - a common mod brings this switch up to the front panel, more often than not accompanied by a bit of Dymo tape labelling.
The LA-3A parts ways with its predecessor by ditching the valve-based circuits for a then-modern solid-state design that shares some similarities with the This results in a much less coloured signal than that of the LA-2A, but also one that works wonders on the lower-midrange frequencies, making it a favourite for electric guitar and male rock vocals.
The LA-3A was something of a sleeper - it was sold for well over a decade, being quietly discontinued in Recently, Universal Audio re-issued it for what turned out to be a limited time.
Prices of secondhand units are now steadily climbing as engineers across the globe are rediscovering the delights of the dynamics dynamo. If you want a killer copy, go to the source - assuming you have a UAD-2 or Apollo interface, that is. Bundled with clones of the LA-2A and as part of the Chris Lord-Alge Classic Compressors bundle, this is a meticulously modelled emulation of the original LA-3A that aims to meet the demands of the producer who lent his name to the collection.
As with the real thing, you get compressor and limiter modes. This cross-platform clone of the LA-3A promises to capture the entire circuit path of the LA-3A, including the all-important T4b opto-isolator cell.
Only registered users can write reviews. Please, log in or create an account. Seriously, there is something about this plugin unlike anything I have heard anywhere else. Immediate vocal presence. Just amazing! Idk what I was thinking! This collection is an essential compressor that blends well with other compressors and takes my to the next level. Thank you UA for giving us access to all this analog gear for a fraction of the price!
I got this plug in set on sale and it works just great. One thing, though, is when I pull up the interface on the "Grey" the paint is scratched on the faceplate.
Is that why it was on sale?How The Pros Use Compression - Audio Compression Instruments and Mixes
Is this like a "B-stock" plugin or a demo unit? It looks tacky as I keep all my other plugins pristine with zero scratches. I tried touching up the paint but now my computer has grey spots on the screen. Sounds awesome for vocals, though. This plugin is so useful for certain things. I love to run the bass guitar through it.
The Teletronix LA-2A Optical Limiter
I also like the simplicity and this one sure has that going for it.Hardware versus plug-in? In the early days of digital emulations of classic pieces of hardware, the argument could easily be made that the digital side of things was simply not on par with the original hardware.
Now it is a much more balanced argument with each having benefits and drawbacks. I always know when a plug-in is a good fit for me when I return to it again and again, even when there is a long list of candidates available. Waves CLA-2A is one such tool. Quick and dirty history: The LA-2A was and still is under the Universal Audio brand a tube electro-optical compressor that uses the T4 cell an electro-luminescent panel and a light- dependent resistor to achieve its gain reduction.
It has a fast 10 ms attack time, and a characteristic two-stage release that has a medium fast onset and then a very slow tail. The unit is known for its low harmonic distortion. When pushed hard, however, the tube will get crispier on the top. Big, fat, and warm are common words used to describe the unit.
When you hear it, you know it. It's a vocal and bass sound you've heard on records for years — up front, and stuck there with its edges bleeding into the rest of the mix in the perfect way.
The original units were made for broadcast but soon found use in studios on everything from vocals to drums to entire mixes. As more specific flavors of dynamics processors have emerged, I have seen the LA-2A used mostly on vocals and bass. The controls are bonehead simple — Gain and Peak Reduction knobs and a switch for compression or limiting.
I was mixing Seattle band The Dip, an eight-piece retro-soul outfit, and I found myself using CLA-2A frequently as part of the vocal treatments to achieve a "classic" sound that fit the style and vibe of the music. The vocal was originally tracked through a hardware LA-2A to catch peaks and capture the "sound" to tape literally! As with the original hardware unit, you can get the plug-in's virtual tubes to sizzle a bit when you increase the gain.
Use this effect to taste. I liked dB of reduction in the compression setting on a vocal, locking the vocal right into place.One of the key growth areas in music software over the last decade has been the market for emulations of classic hardware.
And by emulations, we really mean painstakingly accurate modelling of the behaviour of those classic units — a huge step up from some of the lacklustre imitations passed off as emulations over the years.
There are, of course, still countless plugins which take that approach, but over the last decade a much more authentic type of emulation has emerged. When Universal Audio announced three new emulations of the classic Teletronix LA-2A compressorit raised a few questions. How many emulations of subtly different versions of the same unit are necessary? Is emulation now so accurate that it really warrants this kind of approach? Then, to compound matters further, software development veterans Cakewalk released another new LA-2A emulation in the form of their CA-2A plugin.
And still an old nagging doubt played on our minds: are emulations of year-old analogue units really the best tools for dance music production? We realised it was time to call in a self-confessed LA-2A fan whose all-round knowledge of production and engineering, compression, analogue hardware and audio software development is second to none: Gregory Scott of Kush Audio. The brief?
Not a traditional review as such, but an invitation to go into some serious detail about the various LA-2A models, teach us a few things about compression and discuss some of the strengths and weaknesses of modelled compressors in general. A feature written by a competitor of the product being tested?
I was intrigued! So I invite you now to join me as I recount my journey of rediscovering an old familiar friend and learning that, while many of my doubts about using this tool for dance music were justified, many were not, and depending on the kind of music you make and sounds and textures you favour, these plugins could be an indispensable and inspiring part of your toolkit. The simplest answer to that question is: a compressor — a signal processor that reduces the dynamic range of a signal.
A compressor, viewed from a more artistic perspective, is a tool we can use to change, among other things, the movement, energy, intensity, focus, size, density, depth, and tone of a sound.
This optical mechanism was simultaneously crude and ingenious, and to this day it produces some of the most natural, pleasing, easy-to-use compression anywhere. And of all the opto compressors past and present — I can count at least 20 different brands and models off the top of my head — the LA-2A is undeniably one of the most famous, most ubiquitous and for some of the vintage units that are older than I am most coveted pieces of high-end analogue gear in existence.
The LA-2A is undeniably one of the most famous, most ubiquitous and most coveted pieces of analogue gear in existence. Author Gregory Scott 28th October, Great review, loved the bass examples. Can really feel the punch on the hardware version. Perhaps you should offer a Kush modded LA2A….
Great review, great piece of insight given by the author and backed up by solid pieces of audio. Very nice write up and examples, loved the UBK Squish.