LA-610 MkII Classic Tube Recording Channel

Customer Reviews

LA-610 MkII

OVERALL RATING

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S. Bowers  

June 14, 2014

Smooth and warm

Does an outstanding job without breaking the bank. It's all I use on bass now.

R. Darensbourg  

April 23, 2014

Sleeper unit

I have had this for about a year now.
At first I was underwhelmed. The pre does not have an over the top 'TUBE' vibe like some preamps do. It just seems to do it's job without complaints.
However after using it a while I started to notice that it is actually very very good in an unobtrusive way. I simply can not get this pre to sound harsh or strident, but it does not sound dark either.
Did I mention this is good on bass guitar?
I recorded a Stingray with the hiZ input. Very little tweaking and it was one of the better DI recordings I have ever done.
Perfect amount of bite, sizzle and nice fat low end.
Cons, no highpass filter so you have to use the low EQ for that. It would be nice to be able to boost the mid bass and cut sub lows.

R. Sheridan  

April 23, 2014

One of the best strips going!

This is my go to channel strip for tracking bass, acoustic or vocals! just makes everything sound amazing! available in software too now so now i can have many instances at once ;)

B. Buckley  

August 5, 2013

Bomb didley

I love this bad boy. my go to for vocals, i'm a baritenor and its luscious in the low with the highs right where i need them. or just plug and play my guitar or bass with an optical compression, what more do i need... well i do have an apollo so i guess its a UA love affair!!!!

T. Yun  

June 3, 2012

I'm a luck star, i have two LA-610 MKII, they are my best device, Thanks, UA!!!

R. Schneider  

November 22, 2011

English :
Hello, here is my review of the La-610 MkII channel strip. I am not going to tell the features again, the product page does it quite well.

I use it in a home studio to record almost anything : Drums, vocals, basses, guitars, pianos.
I already knew the amazing sound of the 610 Mic pre, as I already had a 6176 before I bought the LA-610. The 610 is absolutely sweet and warm (SSL addicts should not stay here). I like to push it with the +10 gain.
The EQ section is simple yet usefull on any source.

Let's talk about the compressor, wich is built on the LA-2A tube leveler.
I use it on snare drums, vocals and clean electric guitars (like rickenbacker's).

The fact is that this comp has an really cool color, but you can't use it on anything. It is used at its best on sources with a « middlerange » color, like vocals, or even snares.
It doesn't work well on kicks (i use the brightness of the 1176 from the 6176) as it gives to much middlerange, and on any source that doesn't need a boost in middlerange.

This is why I give it 4 stars, and also for the fact that it doesnt have the « split » function of the 6176, wich means I can't use the comp alone.

French :
Salut, voici mon test du channelstrip LA-610 MKII. Je ne vais pas m'attarder sur les caractéristiques, référez-vous à la page du produit.

Je m'en sers en home studio pour enregistrer tout type de sources : batterie, voix, guitares, basses et même un piano droit.

Je connaissais déjà le son du préampli 610, puisque je possédais déjà le 6176 avant d'acheter le LA-610. Le son est très doux et chaud, il arrondit les angles (Fans du son SSL, passez votre chemin).
Il excelle lorsqu'on le pousse dans ses limites avec le gain à +10.
L'égaliseur est aussi simple qu'utile sur n'importe quelle source.

Voyons le compresseur à lampes, construit à partir du classique LA-2A.
Je m'en sers sur la caisse claire, les guitares clean (rickenbacker pour les connaisseurs), et les voix.
Ce compresseur délivre une chouette couleur, très typée médium chaud, qui ne le rend pas absolument polyvalent. Il est le plus efficace sur les sources chargées en médiums, comme les voix ou même la caisse claire.
Il faut l'éviter sur la grosse caisse (je préfère la brillance du 1176), et plus généralement sur toute source ou les médiums ne doivent pas être mis en avant.

C'est pour ça que je lui met 4 étoiles, et aussi pour l'absence de la fonction « split » pourant disponible sur le 6176. j'aimerai bien utiliser le compresseur seul, ou en chaine avec un autre traitement.

J. Kuse  

November 2, 2011

This is my review of the LA-610 MkII after a couple weeks of daily use in a commercial recording studio.

Pros:
I like the flexibility of the gain staging. Picking the input impedance, input gain and preamp level for my source isn't hard - the sweet spot is generally pretty apparent and a blast to dial in.

The LA2 style compression is easy to use - find a spot where it floats nicely on the source without dulling things, or sounding too grabby and you're good to go. The compression is fairly forgiving, so it's great in a situation where you need to "set it and forget it"

The EQ is very useful and musical, even though it's just shelving. +6dB @ 10k is very smooth on pop/r&b vocals, for example. Cutting with the 70hz band instantly removes most "mud" I have inevitably encountered with a darker pre like the 610.

True compressor bypass allows me to accurately compare compression in and compression out. Extremely useful.

Fantastic VU meter with LED light.

Cons:

The fact that you can not use the preamp and compressor as separate units with independent I/O really bothers me - it was almost a deal breaker to be honest. Sure, i can bypass the LA2 section if i need to patch in faster compression after the strip, but I could be using the now unused LA2 with something else in the mean timel! Or what if I wanted to run a 1176 before the LA2 to grab fast peaks and smooth things out? am trying to look for a mod but am having no luck.

Input clipping isn't always super pleasant. For a long time, my go to mic pre has been a Vintech x73. I love pushing the input gain right to the edge of breaking up, on almost anything, because even when it starts clipping, it often is still very musical and pleasant. The clipping on the input gain of the 610 is, in some cases, less musical than some other preamps I have used.

D.  

June 17, 2011

I use the LA-610 MkII for recording and mixing.

During mixing, the EQ and compression give me a special quality of sound that I can't achieve with most plugins.

For recording , I find the pre amp/EQ/compression works fantastically for vocal recording especially. The high frequency band works well at adding a pleasant "air" to the vocal when this is what I require.

The compressor works very naturally when controlling the dynamics of the singer. I have not yet found an instance when the limiter option has worked well for me.

I ran a comparative test between the instrument input with my Great River ME-1NV, Millennia TD-1 and the LA-610 MkII when preparing to record a bass guitar session. The Great River was very much better in my opinion than both other options. However, the LA-610 MkII performs well when capturing a direct guitar signal when I use an amp simulator in the computer.

I had the LA-610 MkII go faulty mid-session recently whilst recording tabla. The power relay switch stated to flicker on and off. As it turns out there was a problem with the power supply and all the relays in the unit downstream from that flickered on/off.

I was a fair bit disappointed to discover that the LA-610 MkII is made using SMD electrical components and not point to point wiring as the original UA hardware devices had before. This makes getting a repair done very much more complicated.

Fortunately, the local agents in South Africa, Tuerk Music in with the help of Matt Allison have been extremely helpful in identifying the problem and helping me get the unit repaired.

The only issue is that when I bought and payed for the LA-610 MkII and UAD2 solo card combo special, there was a shipment shortage from the supplier to South Africa. My unit arrive more that three months after I paid for it (worth the wait, by the way!) So now, when it came to repair the unit, it appears that I am out of warranty when in fact I am not. I will have to pay for the new power supply myself! If the folks at UAD a reading this, please see if you can rectify this. Paul Martin at Tuerk Music is my main contact for this if you choose to follow up.

In summary, I love using the LA-610 MkII. It will remain with me as a key part of my work as long as I am able to keep working in the exciting world of music recording!

Peace...

David Langemann
Creative Native Productions
Cape Town, South Africa

M. Daniele  

June 17, 2011

Both 610 preamp and LA-2A compressor are evergreen classics, and their sound signature doesn't need more explanations. The combination of the two is something extremely powerful and usable.
One of my main concerns, when I was thinking to buy it, was the absence of independent I/O sections for preamp and compressor (like i.e. the 6176 channel strip). On the LA-610, you can bypass the compressor section, but you can't do the same with the preamp section. So, I was afraid to get a not completely flexible gear as the 6176 is.
When I finally got it in my studio, I started to experiment with it not only as a front-end gear for recording (this was obviously the main purpose I bought it for), but also for tracking previously recorded tracks (using the Line level input and output). There, I discovered the LA-610 can effectively be used as a standalone compressor, when needed, with its own lovely personal sound, when keeping the input preamp gain low enough to give minimum sound coloration.
Furthermore, I'm now used (for vocals especially) to record using very neutral preamps, and retracking afterwards through the LA-610. This way, I have a lot more flexibility, and I can fine-tune the LA-610 to make the tracks to sit perfectly in the mix without any other processing.
Definitely, the LA-610 is a really complete gear, you can use it as a front end pre or pre+compressor, but also as a standalone compressor, and as a "plugin" for tracking.
Really love it.

J. 333  

June 17, 2011

very nice vintage sound but the only flaw in my opinion is not being able to bypass the preamp

C. Langille  

October 3, 2013

WELL, That DID'NT work

SO.... Don't buy this and expect it to last.... OR Hold its Resale Value....Sent it to the Canadian repair, Very nice guys, replaced almost everything and NOW, 2 months after the repair, i have the SAME output distortion from JUST the compressor when its in line., NOW, i call Canada rep, then say send to USA for get fixed, that's where its from.... NO, end of story for me.... sorry guys, i expect more out of High end gear... I'm kinda disappointing, I could have Bought a Behringer..It may have lasted longer than 1.5 yrs.... Hope others have better, longer , results....

F. Biancamano  

December 29, 2011

Ok. So I bought it because I got a free UAD-2 Duo card (which I use all the time and love). and its rep and some friends recomendations I figured why not great deal right. I will state here for the record that it sat unopened for months. I just didn't have a call for it. But a jazz vocal session just the thing right?!

Well Im thinking maybe something is amiss. I just finished the vocal session and I actually put this baby back in the box and went with another channel strip. The mics used were Neumann U87i and Neumann Geffel UM57 both tried and true. The LA-610 MKII just sounded midrangey and no low end warmth. I actually took down my UM 57 and put up the U87 because I thought no way it could be this box, no way! I tried everything, switched impedance, made EQ adjustments, limiter in, limiter out, compressor in compressor out, dynamic stage bypassed and even pad in and EQ setting changes but still no dice. Signal was robust and all parameters affected the signal but it just lacked musicality

Well I for one am sadly underwhelmed and will try the box as a DI. But as a channel strip it did not make the cut.

G. Jennings  

June 17, 2011

Well maybe my engineering skills just aren't right for this unit. I got it to work ok for some things. I have it boxed up to sell. I put it on ebay for 1000 and no takers. I'll try it again for 900, which seems low since I paid 1600, but then I did get the card with it, which is doing me pretty good. I found a used Avalon that is working so much better for me as a main preamp than the 610mk2. I've had a few people tell me that the 2-610 is a better thing to have, and maybe I'll get one of those eventually. But right now I'm curious about 'iron' so I think my next one will be a neve so I can see what that's all about.

A. Kosakovski 

November 20, 2016

LA-610 MkII

Просто замечательно!!!Прорыв в записи вокала!

T. Prestin Pinckney 

July 25, 2016

Hands down

Due to a few project credits from my past, I have the misfortune of having a constant stream of generally ignorant "vocalists" booking time for tracking, all of whom have the acute demand of seeing/using an Avalon737 in their chain, because they it was in someone they idolize studio on tv. I have a few 737s, all with different tubes in an attempt to get depth out of them, but I'm still not impressed. This is not an Avalon bashing fest, it's a good work horse to get the job done if necessary, but: I thoroughly enjoy A/B'ing their chain between the 737, and LA610. The look on faces at the blatantly obvious presence, depth and tone difference on the LA610 wins every time. Are there other pieces that are better? yes, but at 4x the cost.

S. Yakimovich 

June 22, 2016

Warm sound with LA-610 MkII

About 3 months ago my acquaintance has given me LA-610 MkII for couple of days.
To the surprise I literally for half an hour have fallen in love with this device. Everything is heard. Each turn of the handle is perceived aurally. For couple of seconds you can wind what that sound to you it is necessary.
Having written down several tracks of bass guitars and the electrician of guitars I has understood that without this device I can't create any more. With LA-610 MkII everything has quickly fallen into place.

S. Muscio 

May 26, 2016

trumps the plugin

First thing I noticed is how quiet this thing is. The room noise when tracking is virtually gone, only the good stuff left. Not the case with the 610 plugins. The T4 compressor is great. Warm, almost too warm. I almost always find myself boosting some highs to compensate. 1.5 at 10k works well on vox with 3db of compression. Overall I'm happy with this, great way to get a solid pre and compressor for a fair price.

B. Hackler 

May 15, 2016

Couldn't love it more!

Great piece of gear. Insane options and sound for the price. Recommend to everyone.

.  

May 1, 2016

My Number One Pre

I record roots music, and the Mk II is fantastic for all of it: vox/guitars/bass/mando/etc. My default signal chain is a large-diaphragm condenser into a Mk II, Mk II through a vintage board with British-eq, and then to tape. That combo is incredible for Americana, pulling all of the vintage compliments out of listeners on playback: warm, round, smooth, buttery, etc. As some others have noted, the Mk II is best thought of as a beautiful, old school, vintage tube unit that is semi-transparent in its class. That means that it's not a one-trick pony that you'll use once or twice on a record. Instead, it's a mostly fool-proof, classic sound that you'll go back to over and over again. If that's what you're looking for, this is it.

B. O'Reilly 

April 26, 2016

Excellent channel strip

Recently purchased this channel strip and it is awesome, great for bass, vocals and guitar.

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