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Universal Audio LA-3A - Classic Single Channel Audio Leveler/Compressor

Universal Audio LA-3A Audio Leveler

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The LA-3A Leveling Amplifier from Universal Audio is a faithful reproduction of the original classic solid-state compressor. The single channel unit is housed in a 2U half-rack chassis and is loved for its unique compression characteristics and sonic signature.

The original LA-3A made its debut at the 1969 NY AES show and marked a departure from the tube design of the LA-2A. The LA-3A incorporated components and design concepts from the Putnam-designed 1176LN Limiting Amplifier and was immediately embraced as a studio workhorse and is still widely used today.

The reissue meticulously retains all the qualities of the original. This includes the same simple control set and the T4 electro-optical attenuator, which is the source of the unit's program dependent compression. The commonly performed "LA-3A gain mod" is added as an additional switch for maximum studio versatility.

The LA-3A does not have user controls for attack and release times. These are automatically controlled by the nature of the T4 cell. The lack of controls in no way compromises the functioning of the unit. Due to the automatic and extremely musical way the LA-3 rides level, it's quick and easy to get good results, especially on vocals and acoustic instruments.

Faithful recreation of the classic solid-state opto-compressor
Custom Universal Audio transformers and T4 cell
Discrete amplifier with up to 50dB of gain
Rear panel "Gain Mod" switch for additional gain control
Function Leveler/compressor
Number of Channels Single
Inputs 1 x XLR (2-pin hot)
Terminal Strip (shared with output)
Outputs 1 x XLR (2-pin hot)
Terminal Strip (shared with input)
Maximum Input Level -0dBm @ 50dBm gain setting
Compression Threshold Set by Peak Reduction and Gain control and by the input level of the input device
Compression Ratio Program and control settings dependent
Attack Time 1.5ms or less, program dependent
Release Time Stage 1: 60ms (50% release)
Stage 2: 0.5 to 5 seconds, program dependent
Gate Threshold Not applicable
Gate Rate Not applicable
Maximum Output Level +20dBm nominal, 27dBm maximum peaks
Make-up Gain 50dB +/-1dB
Frequency Response 20Hz to 20kHz, +/-0.5dB
Dynamic Range Not specified by manufacturer
Noise -80dB @ limiting threshold
Dimensions (WxDxH) 9 1/2" x 9 1/4" x 3 1/2"
Weight 6.5 lbs
Specialties Includes rack mounting kit for 19" racks
Universal Audio LA-3A - Classic Single Channel Audio Leveler/Compressor
  • AC Power Cable
  • Rackmount Kit
  • One (1) Year Warranty

    by PowerReviews
    Universal AudioLA-3A Audio Leveler

    (based on 1 review)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars



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    • 1 Stars



    Reviewed by 1 customer

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    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


    The World-Class LA-3A Opto-Compressor!

    By MusicByDesign

    from Lone Star State

    About Me Experienced

    Verified Buyer


    • Easy To Use
    • Quality Construction
    • Versatile
    • Vintage Design


    • Not for Drums usually

    Best Uses

    • Good for mixing also
    • Performances
    • Professional Recording
    • Tracking Guitars
    • Tracking vocals

    Comments about Universal Audio LA-3A Audio Leveler:

    Ive wanted one of these for years and finally got one. B+H's price was unbelievable so I went for it. This compressor is a re-release from the origional Urei model that appeared in 1969 so its a classic. There are hundreds of different compressors & limiters out there but this one has that large, slightly-aggressive 70's sound that helped shape the music of that era. Using solid state technology (instead of tubes) this unit requires very little maintenance (if any)compared to the tube based LA-2A. Ive studied many high-end compressors before purchasing this one just to be sure but here is my verdict. This compressor is a world-class compressor used in many high profile studios for years. It is very easy to use and even comes with the famous "gain mod" in the form of a toggle switch on the rear that changes the gain in order to achieve lower noise floor. In a nutshell, when Im recording, I don't want alot of knobs to fiddle with, I just want to capture sweet 24bit audio that doesn't need any corrective EQ or voodoo to make sound good. Keep it simple, use only high-end equipment and make some music worth hearing!

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    This item is usually Drop Shipped from the MFR/Distributor within 7-10 business days (subject to availability). Your order will be charged at the time of placing the order with the MFR. Item is non-cancelable and non-returnable.
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