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Warm Audio WA2A vs UA LA2A

Discussion in 'Compressors / Limiters (analog)' started by audiokid, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    77 Sunset Lane.
    another great one is the Manley EL-OP. Pretty much an LA2a on steroids. the LA3 is a solid state version of the LA2a ... and very cool in its own right.
     
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  2. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    BC, Canada
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  3. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    how far behind would be the ART Pro-VLA II ? Their preamp gets good words but not much the compressor...
     
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    Jul 2, 2002
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    77 Sunset Lane.
    pretty far. on all the previously mentioned compressors, transformers and discreet electronics play a large role in how they sound. everything the Art is not. the Art is ok as far as a cheap comp but it's not an LA2a or equivalent.
     
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  5. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    No Idea. The ART Pro-VLA II looks beautiful, has tubes and is only $300 USD new.
    It would be fun to do a bunch of comparisons, that's for sure.

    ART Pro-VLA II
     
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  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    I've no experience with the TLA, although it certainly has an industry reputation for being a fine piece.

    Manley is another company I have very little experience with, I've used it very occasionally at various studios that always had a "Manley-something" in the rack.
    I'd like to put one through its paces in my own studio. The Vari-Mu is supposed to be the next best thing to a Fairchild 670. I've never actually used either, so I can't say, but the description is pretty cool:

    "...It is one of the very few compressors that has become a real standard in Mastering studios and contributed to most hit records over the last decade and probably the next. "Mu" is tube-speak for gain, and Variable Mu® is our registered trademark for this limiter compressor. It works by using the "remote cut-off" or re-biasing of a vacuum tube to achieve compression. The precious vintage Fairchild 670 also uses this technique and is one of few all-tube compressor to do so, that we know of. Even the side-chain has glowing rectifier bottles. How’s it work? The unique 5670 dual triode is at the center of the peak-reducing and compression action constantly being re-biased by the vacuum tube rectified side-chain control voltages which cause this tube to smoothly change its gain. Just like that."

    source: http://www.manley.com/products/view/mslchp

    There is one piece I have used - that has since become an industry standard since its release - give me a sec, I'm putting on my flame suit as I get ready to type the rest of this....
    The Avalon 737. Used by countless engineers on countless records.

    I was very disappointed. I ordered one in 1997 from Sweetwater, and ended up sending it back. I mean, I thought it was "okay"- it didn't sound gawd-awful or anything, but I didn't feel as though its sound was good enough to support the $2500 price tag.
    I don't believe its GR sounded anywhere near as good as an LA2A ( or my other fave, the Focusrite Red 3). Both of those opto compressor/limiters had a "sweetness" to them. What I heard from the Avalon was a "woolly" bottom, lack of definition, and a general, all-round smearing of the top end, but not in a good way. I suppose it's possible I got a lemon...

    I think I ended up getting a U89 instead.

    Flame suit on, fire away. ;)
     
  7. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Location:
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    The ART is a good live rack compressor. It's good value for money at $300, but not in the same league as the others you're talking about.

    There are allegedly a few levels of modification that can be done to the ART to greatly improve its game, by upgrading the power-supply, caps, op-amps, tube circuitry, transformers, etc. This Pro VLA Mod is intriguing, but it's not a spending priority for me right now. If anyone has thrown down the cash on the JJ mod, I'd be interested in your impressions. If you spend a 2x, 3x, and beyond the $300 price of the unit on doing modifications, you're getting to a point where you'd really have to ask yourself, should I have just bought a better compressor to start with? Of course the guy doing the mod is going to say it's like getting a world class stereo-linkable compressor for a fraction of the cost of a single-channel of LA2A. So I guess it comes down to, are there any killer, must-have hardware compressors in the $600 - $1000 range, the $1000 - $2000 range, or is the next real threshold (a little compressor humor there) in performance in the over $3500 club? Is there anything really worthwhile between the dbx 160x and the LA2A??
     
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  8. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I'm told by those I trust most, the Manely MU is woolly sound ideal on for the raspier mixes or brighter sources. Pre 2006 years. Colleagues of mine say the Knif MU http://www.knifaudio.com/cgi-bin/view_eng.cgi?page=vari-mu is the one to buy if you are at the price range.

    I've had ample opportunities to choose Manley equipment. We used to have "the" Fletcher/ Manley crowd here, including the head of Manley ) "vanimal" as a moderator for our recording, mixing and mastering forums. Those where really fun days up until the (bad bad bad) Tech Talk crowd started pirating and ripping off Manley and other schematics! https://recording.org/threads/manley-schematics.42726/page-2#post-326112
    It was also during the the peak generation (1999 to 2006) when big studios where still hanging on a thread, using all this amazing gear and Fletcher was still the top dealer for Manley and many other Pro Audio products in the USA.
    He was using Recording org (moderating here as well) to educate and sell gear.

    Back then there were really only a few unbiased forums to share all this Intel "without" corporate influencing, so at my own personal expense I funded RO so we all could share and learn this knowledge here.
    I'm sure like many of the original members here, we've literately read hundreds of thousands of posts on this type of gear, applications etc. I personally have been fortunate to have owned and used a lot of it myself and come to the conclusion... once Mercenary folded and Pro Tools upgraded their crappy converters and clocking to somewhat better, most of the finer analog "mixing and mastering purchases" dropped off the radar, thus set the entire pro audio industry further towards cheap, or so expensive for most of us to ever acquire.

    People have all sorts of reasons why this industry has changed so much, but to my understanding, when it comes to mixing and mastering today, digital audio excels ITB. Meaning, (other than a 2 DAW capturing for additional reasons) for the most part... once ITB, stay ITB.

    The best analog gear sounds amazing during tracking. This is really where these companies are still able to earn income to keep in business (and thank you for making all this awesome gear). The great gear will only get more expensive because this same gear has less OTB (mixing or master) sonic value in comparison to what we can do, ITB through plugins for a fraction of the costs now.

    (edit)
    That's how I see it too, Dave.

    I doubt a 2 channel ($150 per channel) analog compressor with tubes, shipping and dealer profit included could ever compare to the top level stuff. I don't even know how they could make the ART comp at that price, and look so good too. Amazing..
     
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    i've seen Behringer gear that looked good. lol.

    i had a VLA here for a bit and i thought it was fine for what it was. LA2a? noooooo. better than an Alesis comp? you bet! and i've made records with Soundcraft boards and Alesis compressors and reverbs that i still think sound decent. i do wish at times when i revisit those old recordings that i had the good gear to do them but really the work still stands up.

    as far as the prices getting out of hand i think the manufacturers are just keeping up with inflation. i really don't think percentage wise their profit margins are any greater than before. what's changed in the past 10 years is a person was able to do just fine on $20k a year and now that same person needs $60k to exist at the same level. at the same time wages have not gone up and for musicians, paying work is much more difficult to secure.

    there are still plenty of small analog studios with real consoles going. you just have to look for them. TapeOp is a great source. they still carry the analog /traditional flag. lots of consoles being built and installed and the refub end of the business is booming. guys like Chris Mara are keeping the MCI stuff alive. i am seeing the old MCI gear becoming more and more popular because imo it simply sounds good, is simple to work on and you can get parts or cross reference replacements for them. plus there were a lot of those tape machines and consoles built so there are lots of them being parted out. the indie and alternative artist are all going for the old recording facilities. Valentine in LA just re opened (a major old school studio) , Sam Phillips recording has just done a refurb and has re opened as well. there's a boatload of analog rooms in Oakland and SF / Northeren CA. We have A couple of analog rooms in Portland. things are not as bad as they seem at times.
     
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