Universal Audio LA-3A Classic Audio Leveler  From UA

This UA Classics reissue of the LA-3A meticulously retains all the internal and external qualities of the original Urei LA3A.

Universal Audio

Manufacturer's Description from UA

A Beloved Solid-State T4 Electro-Optical Classic Compressor

The LA-3A Classic Audio Leveler combines custom UA transformers and design cues from the 1176LN with the T4 electro-optical attenuator of the LA-2A to create its own unique compression characteristics and sonic signature. The original LA-3A marked the departure from the tube design of the Teletronix LA-2A. Immediately embraced as a studio workhorse — serving in the rack of the remote van used to record Prince & The Revolution’s Purple Rain and employed for double-duty during the recording and mixing of Justin Townes Earle’s Midnight At The Movies as examples — the LA-3A remains a favorite of engineers and producers worldwide to this day.

 

Our UA Classics reissue of the LA-3A meticulously retains all the internal and external qualities of the original: The same simple control set, and the T4 electro-optical attenuator, which is the source of the LA-3A's program dependent compression. It also retains the 2RU half-rack design, and comes complete with a single-unit rack assembly — no additional kit is necessary. All the original rear panel connections and controls are also maintained, while the commonly performed “LA-3A gain mod” is added as an additional switch for maximum studio versatility.

Features:

  • True to the original in design, solid-state, T4 electro-optical classic compressor
  • Custom UA transformers & T4 cell
  • Discrete amplifier – up to 50dB gain
  • 1.5ms attack time or less
  • 0.06 seconds for 50% release
  • Rear panel "Gain Mod" switch for gain control
  • Designed by ex-UREI® engineer, Dennis Fink
  • Hand-made at UA; backed by 1-Year limited warranty
Universal Audio

About Manufacturer

Universal Audio Inc. was re-founded in 1999 by Bill's sons, James Putnam and Bill Putnam Jr., with two main goals: to faithfully reproduce classic analog recording equipment in the tradition of their father, and to design new digital recording tools with the sound and spirit of vintage analog technology. However, as Bill Jr. recounts, the genesis of "UA, part 2" is actually a bit more serendipitous.

Having grown up in the music industry, Bill Jr. and James ("Jim") Putnam naturally assumed that the music business is where they'd eventually end up. Jim, a touring musician and recording engineer, and their older brother Scott, a studio designer in Southern California, were the first to follow in Bill Sr.'s path. However, Bill Jr. took a more circuitous direction, working for a number of engineering companies before undertaking a doctorate in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. It was at Stanford that Bill Jr. became closely involved in the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), specializing in signal processing. It was also at Stanford that Bill Jr. began to assemble a team of the best and brightest minds in the field — who continue to steer many of Universal Audio's engineering efforts to this day.

However, the precise event that led Bill and Jim to start (or "reinvent") Universal Audio in 1999 was unexpected. As Bill Jr. tells it, when Bill Sr. passed away in 1989, he and Jim were faced with the Herculean task of cleaning out their dad's workshop and storage areas. While going through Bill Sr.'s old test equipment, boxes of parts, bits and pieces of consoles, and half-cannibalized 1176 compressors, Jim came across their father’s old design notebook. The two spent the evening poring over his notes, realizing that this was the map to every technical problem their father had ever solved. It was at that moment that they decided to bring back Universal Audio and its classic products. 

Fast forward a decade. Now with nearly 80 employees and legions of new customers worldwide, UA is headquartered near the Silicon Valley, in Scotts Valley, California — where our classic analog gear is still hand-built, one unit at a time. The lengths we go to deliver the exact sound and performance of classic analog audio gear is unparalleled; in fact, the goal is for UA's modern units to perform identically to well-maintained units built decades ago. 

Of course, analog is only half the story. At Universal Audio, we employ the world's brightest DSP engineers and digital modeling authorities to develop our award-winning UAD Powered Plug-Ins platform, featuring the most authentic analog emulation plug-ins in the industry. Our DSP gurus work with the original hardware manufacturers — using their exact schematics, golden units, and experienced ears — to give UAD plug-ins warmth and harmonics in all the right places, just like analog.

Specifications

 - External Connections: Jones Barrier terminals and XLR connectors

 - Input Impedance: 50, 150, 250, 600 ohms

 - Distortion: Less than 0.33% at +24dBm

 - Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz +/- 0.5 dB

 - Noise Floor: -80 dB below program at threshold of limiting

 - Gain: 30 ± 1dB, 50 ± 1dB

 - Output Level: +20 dBm nominal

 - Input Level: 0dBm @ 50dB gain; +20dBm @ 30dB gain

 - Attack: 1.5ms or less

 - Release: 0.06 seconds for 50% release

Downloads

Action

Name

Description

La-3a User Manual