Rage Drums #4 – LA-2A Drum Bus Comparison

In order to draw out transients and glue the cymbals and hats into the kick and snare, I added a compressor to the stereo drum bus. I compared three software emulations of the LA-2A Opto compressor.

After conducting the microphone and snare tests, discussed in previous blog posts, I decided on a combination that would suit that track. The mix in the comparisons is as follows:

– Kick – N22a (Focus on click)
– Kick – D112 (Focus on thud)
– Snare – SM57 (Retrosonic)
– Overheads – Coles 4030 (Low blumelein)
– Room – Royer 121

The LA-2A Emulations I used were the Waves CLA-2A, UAD LA-2A Legacy and UAD LA-2A Silver. The playlist containing all three examples can be found here:

I felt the Waves emulation lacked the power from 3rd harmonic distortion. To attempt to get the same amount of performance out of the CLA-2A a considerably higher amount of gain reduction needed to be produced, at which point the bottom end had been compressed out of the signal.

 Both UAD LA-2A emulations were much nicer to work with and seemed to take much less work to achieve the sought after results. The Silver edition felt to have a smoother attack and release that pulled the cymbals back into the kit, but allowed the snare to snap through before pushing it back down.

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