Universal Audio Teletronix® LA-2A Classic Leveling Amplifier

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Universal Audio Teletronix® LA-2A Classic Leveling Amplifier


Universal Audio Teletronix® LA-2A Classic Leveling Amplifier

The Teletronix LA-2A is a tube-driven opto compressor, hand-built to the exacting specifications of the original, providing the same performance characteristics.  

There are two essential compressors that between them, can handle any task you throw at them. Both staples of classic and modern hit records spanning five decades, one is the Universal Audio 1176LN, the other, and the one we’re here to talk about, is the Teletronix LA-2A, tube-driven, opto leveling amplifier. The LA-2A favorite among producers, mixers, and engineers at all levels of the industry, not only due to its smooth, natural sound, on vocals, bass, guitar, and drums, but also because it’s easy to use and gives you great results every time. Universal Audio’s LA-2A is a meticulous recreation of the classic Teletronix LA-2A, hand built by UA’s custom shop to provide precisely the same performance as the original. It’s like owning a time machine—or more accurately, like traveling in time and bringing one back to the future (your present) with you.

UA/Teletronix LA-2A—Unique Features:

  • Dial-in legendary optical tube compression textures for vocals, bass, drums, and more
  • Record your tracks through vintage UA, "handmade in the USA," circuits
  • Easily add iconic warmth and tube limiting with simple, easy-to-use controls
  • Track and mix with a piece of audio recording history

UA/Teletronix LA-2A—Just the Facts:

  • True to the original in design, manufacturing and performance
  • Lag-free, distortion-free optical attenuator system
  • Distortion less than 0.5% THD
  • 0 to 40 dB gain limiting
  • Balanced stereo interconnection
  • Frequency response 1dB, 30 to 15,000cps
  • Output level of 10dBm and 40dB gain
  • Low noise – less than 70dB below ±10dBm output
  • Hand-built in USA; backed by 1-Year limited warranty

UA/Teletronix LA-2A—Behind the Curtain

The electro-optical detector, or "T4 cell,” is the heart and soul of the Teletronix LA-2A. Its photo resistors are the crucial circuit components, giving the compressor its signature warmth, making it a “go-to” for tracking vocals, bass, or acoustic guitars. Taken together, it’s impossible to get a bad sound out of the LA-2A’s legendary compression circuits. The LA-2A’s 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.

The Teletronix story

Teletronix founder Jim Lawrence first used photocells for controlling audio gain in the early 1960s. His ingenious optical compression design was a technological breakthrough, far surpassing the stability and transparency of earlier circuits. Universal Audio founder M.T. ”Bill” Putnam later purchased this patented technology, continuing to manufacture the LA-2A for years to come.

Ain't nothin' like the real thing

For over 50 years the Teletronix LA-2A has been revered for its smooth, natural, musical compression. With its unique tube-driven electro-optical attenuator system that allows instantaneous gain reduction with no increase in harmonic distortion, the LA-2A massages signals like no other compressor ever made.

Universal Audio’s Teletronix LA-2A Classic Leveling Amplifier reissue provides the performance characteristics of the iconic original. With painstaking care, every new LA-2A unit is point-to-point hand wired at Universal Audio's Custom Shop in Santa Cruz, California, with every component carefully evaluated for authenticity. As a result, today’s LA-2A will bring the same legendary compression characteristics of the original to all of your recordings. Demand the original. Accept no copy.

PAD—For the Record: We mentioned that the 1176LN and LA-2A are the two most ubiquitous compressors in the industry, but what it not as widely known is that a secret of mixers is using them in series to treat vocals. This raises questions, such as why, and in which order? The goals, which are interconnected, is to divide the labor so that neither compressor has to work too hard, and to craft the vocal sound in accordance to production goals. Regarding the order in which you use them in series, let’s take the case of singer with a widely dynamic range. The fast-acting 1176LN is used to catch peaks that would otherwise overload converters, which implies that it might go first, unless you see it as a means to catch peaks that the slower response of the LA-2A might miss, in which case it would go second. The truth is, that either way works, but the order makes more sense in terms of the sound you’re going for. If you’re looking for a more aggressive sound, the 1176LN should go second, putting its edge on the thickening sound of the LA-2A. If you’re looking for a smoother sound, then the LA-2A should go second, with the 1176LN staying out of the way except for catching occasional peaks. If you’re still unsure about the order in which to use them, put the LA-2A first followed by the 1176LN. From there the choice of coloration is a matter of subtle tweaks to each compressor. If you want a more brutal and aggressive sound, say for hard rock, take the LA-2A out and replace it with a second 1176LN.

What the pros are saying about the LA-2A

User quotes are virtually unnecessary when comes to the LA-2A, since every top audio professional has used on at one time or another, and swears by its sound on vocals, bass, guitar, and more. However, if you need a quote, this one pretty much sums it up.
“It’s very hard to go wrong with an LA-2A. It just has that sound.” — Peter Katis (The National, Interpol, Jónsi)

Sooner or later, you’re going to want to put an authentic Teletronix LA-2A in your racks. Why not now? Order yours today. For more information, call or chat online with your PAD Studio Consultant.

  • Input impedance: 50, 150, 250, 600 ohms
  • Output load impedance: 50, 150, 250, 600 ohms
  • External connections: Jones Barrier terminals and XLR connectors
  • Frequency response: +0/-1dB 30Hz to 15kHz:
  • Gain: 40dB ±1dB
  • Input level: +16dB maximum
  • Output level: +10dB nominal, +16dB maximum
  • Distortion: Less than 0.5% THD (0.25% typical) at ±10dBm
  • Noise: 70 dB below +10dBm output level 
  • Attack time: 10 milliseconds
  • Release time: 0.06 seconds for 50% release; 0.5 to 5 seconds for complete release
  • Meter: dB gain reduction and dB output
  • Power requirements: 35 watts, 120/240 volts, 50/60 Hz
  • Environmental: Maximum operating temperature 160°F
  • Dimensions: 19" rackmount chassis, 3U
  • Weight: 13 lb.

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