As Universal Audio’s own literature puts it, “If you took the gentle optical compression of the Teletronix LA-2A, and fused it with the solid-state clarity and punch of the UA 1176, you would have the Teletronix LA-3A.” This one might win the award for the best sounding, most effective two-knob piece of gear available.
The magic of the LA-3A is that unlike its tube cousin, the LA-2A, it features a solid-state chain with an electro-optical attenuator which sits ahead of the first amplifier stage, essentially letting it “do its thing” regardless of the gain reduction amount.
With the new software refresh of this classic (first appearing at the 1969 NY AES show), UA has updated the graphic look a bit, but more importantly, added the hardware’s original HF Emphasis sidechain filter and a Dry/Wet Mix control.
The HF Emphasis lets you adjust the high frequency sensitivity, which I use to great effect with distorted electric guitars and snares. The Dry/Wet control lets you put it directly on a track or use it more effectively now on an instrument bus for some nasty, cool parallel compression.
With a few knob twists, whatever you feed it will push forward in the stereo field and jump out at you. The LA-3A is simply a remarkably useful audio tool.
Universal Audio • www.uaudio.com