The LA-3A is an audio leveler that combines custom Universal Audio transformers, design cues from the 1176LN and the T4 electro-optical attenuators from the LA-2A to create a unique sonic signature and compression characteristics. The LA-3A is a signature sound of 1970s rock and roll, adding edge to electric guitars and beautifully contouring vocals.

The original LA-3A was first launched in 1969 under the UREI manufacturer and quickly became a studio workhorse serving in the rack of the remote van used to record Prince & The Revolution’s Purple Rain, which was largely thanks to the tone and performance of its solid-state optical compression. 

 

The LA-3A debuted as a bold departure from the tube design of the Teletronix LA-2A, incorporating design concepts from the Bill Putnam-designed 1176LN Limiting Amplifier whilst still holding a candle to the LA-2A and, as a result, has a desirable sonic palate that can deliver ‘punch’ and classic rock vibes.  

 

The LA-3A was later re-released by Universal Audio and incorporates the same original Class-A design with a T4 electro-optical attenuator at the main source of its program dependant compression. The re-issue was designed by ex-UREI engineer Dennis Fink and includes Universal Audio transformers, which offer up to 50dB of gain in its pairing with the T4 attenuator and Class-A design. The re-released model includes an additional switch for gain mod to expand on its studio versatility, and possesses an attack time of 1.5ms or less.  

 

The LA-3A is capable of reacting to fast transients whilst still maintaining a unique and natural sound, and while there has previously been an emphasis on its use with guitars and vocals, there are certainly no real limitations if you’re chasing that classic rock-era tone.

  • Classic Solid-State Opto-Compressor 

  • Custom UA transformers and T4 cell 

  • Discrete, Class A amplifier: up to 50dB gain 

  • Rear-panel "Gain Mod" switch for gain control 

  • Designed by ex-UREI engineer Dennis Fink 

  • External connections: Jones Barrier terminals and XLR connectors 

  • Gain Reduction: up to 40dB 

  • Distortion: Less than 0.33% at +24dBm 

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

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

  • Gain: 30 +/- 1dB, 50 +/- 1dB 

  • Output Level: +20dBm nominal 

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

  • Attack: 1.5ms or less 

  • Release: 0.06s for 50% release

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