Review: UAD LA-2A Classic Audio Leveler
FREE with a purchase of UAD
Great sounding, easy to use compressor with low DSP hit
Sounds GREAT on vocals, can sound good/decent on anything
Does not model analog circuitry
Universal Audio’s LA-2A Classic Audio Leveler is a great sounding emulation of the Classic “cult status” hardware. This compressor has been a hardware staple in professional studios for years and is probably one of the best all around vocal compressors ever made. Though this plugin is given free with any UAD purchase, this does not mean its an inferior product. Quite the contrary, and I find it STILL gets heavy use in my studio today.
Just to clarify, this is not a review for the newly released “Teletronix LA-2A Classic Leveler Collection” which I also reviewed on this site. http://littlefishaudio.com/gearevu/Audio_Gear-detail/universal-audio-teletronix-la-2a-classic-level-collection/ This is the original Universal Audio emulation, which I believe was one of the first plugins on the UAD platform, or if not, one of the plugins that made UAD platform a major competitor in the plugin market. Of course this is all due to its sound and ease of use! Just throw it on a track, and set its two knobs – gain knob, which controls the output signal, and the peak reduction knob, which sets both he threshold and how much gain reduction you want applied. One thing to note is though LA-2A will adapt to the incoming signal, its generally a slower attack compressor and shines on vocal tracks as well as bass. Thats not to say it can’t work on basically anything, but not my first choice on drums for example. However I have heard of people using it in conjunction with the 1176 for its faster attack to great result.
To my ears it sounds like the original LA2A plugin does not really replicate the analog circuitry of the hardware like the new Teletronix LA-2A Classic Leveler Collection does, but it does have that great LA2A compressor sound and feel. I personally still find it has a place in my studio, even with the Teletronix LA-2A Classic Leveler Collection at my disposal, because it still sounds great and uses much less DSP. If I just need the sound of the compressor, I will reach for this plugin first.
Overall this plugin is highly recommended, especially on mono sources like Bass and Vocals.