NEOLD (via Plugin Alliance) gives us an LA-2A emulation, with a few gentle curves thrown in. Oh wait, not an emulation, a “homage”.
“Homage” carries the meaning of honor or respect. In other words, they can’t legally say exactly which compressor this models. But the relevant clues are there, even if I think this feels more like an LA-2 than the LA-2A. In fact, if you set the Recovery to 30% it is very much an LA-2. Slower attack, gentle compression curve and longer return. Overall, the Dynamics on this NEOLD version are slightly softer in the knee than other plugin emulations.
NEOLD’s take on this has a couple of additions to the hardware (and other plugins). The aging models the optical cell performance as it gets older, and you can see the chart below for what that does. The Recovery control is an interesting addition, considering the recovery behavior of an LA-2A is probably the reason for using it for certain tasks. This gives you more control, however some program-dependent purists may regard this as messing with a sacred part of the compressor.
The drive control lets you push up the THD, although it stays clean and doesn’t add a bunch of junk (see below). For those who don’t read the manual, the R37 “screw” is a sidechain giving you the ability to attenuate the low end. This is basically the +HF- control on UAD’s version.
- Using the R37 control to attenuate the low end is a good way to tamp down the highs, since doing this will compressed them more than the lows. (You can use this tip on any compressor that lets you control the sidechain this way.)
- Experiment using the Drive control and no compression. Nice harmonics.
- More hints on the UAD LA-2A collection!