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Looking For Advice On How To Best Use Tube Compressor (telectronix La-2a)


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Started to dig a little deeper into how to best use the Tube Compressor.

Found that conservative settings produce rather subtle and a bit surprising results in level changes.

Have no idea how the real thing is used and how the controls translate.


It seems the Level parameter is just an output gain makeup adjustment whereas the Threshold parameter is either the same or similar to the 'Gain Reduction' on the LA-2A.


I noticed that I have to set Level at 4% for thresholds 100-70% to maintain my output level, which is surprising because I would have thought that the more i compress the more I need to raise the makeup gain level.


Starting at 65% threshold and down at 0% Level the compressor output actually went up starting with about 1.3dB for every 5% Threshold change and ending with and increase of 0.5dB when Threshold is changed from 10% to 0%. I would have expected that I'd have to increase the Level to make up for Gain Reduction. I ended up being able to only compensate for output level increase till about 60% threshold. From 55%-0% my level went up by 13dB on extreme 0%Threshold setting.


How are you using this effect, what settings work for you, any other interesting things you can share?





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I use the tube comp as a volume boost by setting threshold to 100 (ie no compression) and output to 12. But with that said, at 100 threshold and 12 output I like its effect on the tone and sometimes I find myself keeping it on as a base part of the tone.


I like to do this on my clean patch which uses the blackface deluxe vib full amp with gain at 51 and digital delay dotted 8th at 40% mix. I put the tube comp early in the chain, after the volume pedal and before the tube screamer.


It also sounds good with higher amp gain settings on the blackface deluxe vib (73 or 83) and with the tube screamer on.

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Thanks for feedback. Happy to see that your use experience is matches much of what I figured after playing around for a while.

Found that the 100% threshold, 4% level setting is the closest to a fairly tone and level neutral pass through though you seem to get some secret souce coloring you really like.

Personally I was a little disappointed by how little the tube compressor does tone- and compression-wise between 100-60% threshold.

I had a hard time even hearing that there was a difference in that setting range for my Strat pos #2 loop I used in a blind test (predicting whether the compressor was on or not on) after I compensated for level differences.

Will try your tube screamer and amp suggestions. Maybe the right 'post processing' makes it come out more.

Other forum members reported that they mainly use the tube compressor around the 50-40% threshold setting.

At that point it also gives you a nice 4-5dB boost even at a 0% level.

Thanks agian,


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I am not a Huge Tube comp user... It's not bad just kinda MEH.. To me. Probably because I only use a compressor as needed and only then when I do need one though, I, ( as in my ears alone, not to be confused with professional ears) prefer T use the Blue Comp and Vetta Comp mainly and have been fiddling with the Vetta Juice and it holds some good sauce in it. But amounts and what not can be found out by you alone.

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