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Warm Audio WA-2A Tube Opto Compressor

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Mix Magazine "Compression And Compressors"

Warm Audio WA-2A Tube Opto Compressor
 Warm Audio WA-2A Tube Opto Compressor 

The WA-2A is a modern copy or recreation of the venerable Teletronix LA-2A Leveling Amp considered the ultimate opto-compressor that was first produced in the early 1960s. The WA-2A uses the same circuit as the original and is built with custom large-core Cinemag input and output transformers, four premium tubes, and a Kenetek opto-cell. In keeping with Warm Audio's mantra of affordable professional audio gear, the WA-2A sells for $899 MSRP.

The WA-2A has a fully discrete, class-A signal path that uses a 6P1 tube in place of the out-of-print 6AQ5 to drive the Kenetek opto element. Thoughtfully, Warm Audio also provides ceramic sockets for plugging in a NOS 6AQ5 as well as the original's T4 opto-cell.

The front panel of the WA-2A with its center-mounted lighted VU meter has toggle switches for on/off, either Limiting or Compression (different ranges of ratios) and Output Gain, Peak Reduction and Meter control knobs.

The rear panel has control knobs for variable stereo linking, VU meter zeroing and adding pre-emphasis to the sidechain signal--a way to make the compressor more sensitive to high frequencies. This is a holdover from the unit's original use as a limiter at broadcast stations to prevent over-modulation of the high frequencies. Pre-emphasis (high frequencies), when boosted in the sidechain only, the WA-2A will de-ess and/or control excessively bright recordings in a very gentle way if desired.

I'm currently using the WA-2A for bass guitar, vocals and acoustic guitars that require 'leveling out' their dynamics. For this application, the WA-2A is in constant gain reduction causing a smoothing action. It has a natural sound and the euphonic transformer/tube combination is not obtainable in any other way and I want two of them! For more about the WA-2A and the rest of Warm Audio's product line, check out: http://www.warmaudio.com.



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