Universal Audio LA-610 MkII Classic Tube Microphone Preamplifier

Dial in warmth and clarity with UA's iconic LA-610 mic pre -- and compress on the way in with T4 optical circuit identical to the legendary Teletronix LA-2A.
When you plug a microphone or instrument into the Universal Audio LA-610 MkII and start turning those fat knobs, it's nearly impossible not to sound good. A formidable front end for any DAW, the LA-610 MkII combines a clear, warm all-tube microphone preamplifier, a rich and musical EQ section, and a bypassable opto compressor. With a few notable improvements to the hit original LA-610, this "Mark II" version is a pleasure to use when tracking vocals, voiceovers, guitar, bass, kick drum and more. And on mixing projects, you can use the LA-610's line input to apply its smooth compression and EQ to any recorded signal after the fact. Combining a legendary preamp with a legendary compressor, Universal Audio's LA-610 MkII is an ideal first step in your recording chain.

Learn more with this video from Universal Audio:


Uncompromising Build Quality

Before you even start warming up its five hand-selected tubes, the first thing you'll notice about the LA-610 MkII is its attention to design detail. For example, an internally switching power supply means it can be used in any part of the world, on voltages from 100 to 240 VAC. No wall-warts here, just the standard included IEC power cord -- the mark of a truly professional piece of gear. Standard XLR mic input and XLR line-level I/O complete the back panel. The front panel is just as simple and easy to use, with a larger, more stable VU meter lit by LEDs -- with no bulb to replace. Hand-assembled in the USA, it's evident that the read more LA-610 MkII is an investment-quality piece of hardware.

Versatile Range of Sweet Sonic Textures

Some like it creamy, some like it crunchy. No, not peanut butter -- the sound of your LA-610 tube preamp. Inspired by the preamp section of Universal Audio's classic 610 console once used to record everyone from Sarah Vaughn to Van Halen, this pre is capable of a wide range of sonic textures to make the most out of your mic collection. The MkII version improves the accuracy of the stepped Gain knob's dB value. Crank it up to +10 for an edgy "bark," set it to a low -10 for clear, open, uncolored sound, or aim near the middle for signature rich, full warmth. The Level control brings the preamp's output up to a healthy level to hit your DAW (or the compressor section). Engage the musical EQ, adding presence and air with the high shelving filter, or cut unwanted rumble with the smooth 70, 100, or 200 Hz roll-off. Complete with +48V phantom power, switchable polarity inversion, switchable -15 dB pad, five impedance settings to match any mic or Hi-Z input, and a 1/4-inch instrument jack on the front panel, this preamp can handle any source -- whether you're plugging in a dime-a-dozen dynamic, a vintage condenser, or your favorite axe.

Teletronix T4 Optical Compressor

The Teletronix LA-2A Leveling Amplifier is one of the world's most-loved classic tube compressors, developed in the early 1960s to smooth out the human voice's "peaks and valleys" to a consistent level ideal for broadcast radio. Fluctuations in the incoming audio signal illuminate an electro-luminescent panel to varying strengths: the louder the incoming signal, the brighter the light. A photosensitive cell picks up this light, and responds by lowering resistance on a gain-reduction circuit controlling the output signal. A quieter input signal produces only a dim light, causing a great deal of resistance in the gain-reduction circuit and resulting in no gain reduction at all. The amount of compression, therefore, varies constantly depending on the program material, resulting in a smooth, natural, musical sound -- perfect for recording dynamic sources. The famous LA-2A's electro-optical circuit is known as a T4, and it's this very same T4 that you'll find at the heart of the LA-610 mkII's optical compressor, built to the exacting specs found on the LA-2A.

To Compress Or Not To Compress?

Back in the all-analog days, the reduced dynamic range of tape meant that serious compression "on the way in" was a necessity for recording dynamic sources like horns, drums or vocals without clipping. If you've not tried applying front-end compression, the T4 within the LA-610 is a great place to start -- it's capable of everything from gentle, nearly undetectable peak reduction to severe brick-wall limiting. For low-output sources like ribbon microphones, try turning peak reduction to 0 while you use the compressor section's gain knob to provide an additional 15 dB of microphone gain. Of course, today's digital systems can handle a much wider dynamic range than analog tape, allowing you to capture an uncompressed signal with the option of compressing later in mixing. That's why this second-generation version of the LA-610 has a true compressor bypass switch -- so you can capture the sweet, warm sound of the 610 preamp with zero compression applied.

Features:

- Updated version of Universal Audio's best-selling LA-610 tube preamp and compressor
- An ideal analog front-end for your DAW
- T4 optical compressor identical to the legendary Teletronix LA-2A
- True bypass of the compressor circuit
- Larger, more stable meter
- Auto-sensing power supply -- for use with voltages all over the world
- Suitable with any input -- instrument, mic, or line-level
- One great preamp channel to make the most of your mic collection

In today's recording studios, software plug-ins are such well-established tools for audio processing that even classic outboard-gear creators like Universal Audio have become big players in the plug-in game. But while well-designed plug-ins can model compressors, limiters and EQ, there's no piece of software that can faithfully model a classic tube microphone preamplifier. Think about it: once a microphone's signal shows up in your DAW to be processed by a plugin, it's already been preamped, whether by your console's preamp section, or your audio interface's built-in pre. You can't undo that first crucial step, or replace with a plug-in what you didn't capture in the first place. That's why it's so important to make the most out of your source by recording through a preamp like the LA-610 MkII.

The LA-610's benefits go beyond the recording process: its T4 compressor and smooth EQ section can be a secret weapon for your mixes. Just insert the LA-610 mkII's compressor on a line-level channel from your DAW to tame dynamics on prerecorded signals. Both on the front end of your system, and as an insert compressor/EQ, you're sure to get serious mileage out of the Universal Audio LA-610 MkII preamp.
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Specifications
- Microphone Input Impedance: Selectable, 500 ohms or 2k ohms
- Balanced Line Input Impedance: 20k ohms
- Hi-Z Input Impedance: Selectable, 2.2M ohms or 47k ohms
- Maximum Microphone Input Level: -8 dBu (2K input Imp. & 15 dB Pad in)
- Maximum Output Level: 80 ohms
- Recommended Minimum Load: 600ohms
- Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz +/- 0.5dB
- Maximum Gain: 40 dB (Line), +77dB (Mic)
- Noise Floor: -72 dBu 20-20kHz (Line In, unity Gain)
- Compressor Ratio: 3:1, soft knee, program dependent
- Limiter Ratio: Infinity: 1, soft knee, program dependent
- Attack Time: 10 ms, program dependent
- Release Time: Dual stage: 60 ms for 1st release, then 1-15 seconds
- Tube Complement: (3) 12AX7, (1) 12AT7, (1) EL84
- Power Requirements: 100V / 120V / 240V
- Power Consumption: 30 Watts
- Power Connector: Detachable IEC power cable
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 19 x 3.5 x 12.25 in. (two rack spaces)
- Weight: 12 lbs
Dimensions and Weight in Packaging
Base Item
Shipping Weight: 15.5 lbs
Shipping Dimensions: 23 x 18 x 8 in
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): UAD LA610MK2
For support or warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer:
Phone: 831-440-1176
Web: https://help.uaudio.com/

Universal Audio LA610 MKII Mic Preamp

The LA-610 defined the affordable, ultimate vintage tone channel strip. So how can UA improve on tonal perfection in what was already a hit product? Enter the sequel... LA-610 Mk II, a second-generation revamp of the original 2005 LA-610 design. While the preamp and compressor are identical to the original LA-610 that users have come to know and love, user-requested features such as true compressor bypass, larger metering, improved output signal, an auto-sensing power supply have been added bringing the end user an enhanced user experience. The LA-610 Mk II also features the highly popular "black on black" cosmetics of the LA-610 Signature Edition.

Features

- Based on Legendary Bill Putnam 610 Tube Mic Pre and EQ Used on Countless Classic Recordings
- Authentic Teletronix LA-2A-style T4 Opto-Compressor
- Complete vintage channel-strip at groundbreaking price within project studio reach
- Mic Pre with Gain and Level controls, variable impedance switching, and Instrument DI for recording tone "color"
- Mk II Features such as True Bypass, Larger Metering and Improved Signal Output
- UA build quality and heritage, audiophile components, hand-assembled in the USA

The LA-610 Mk II packs tremendous sonic versatility and is an ideal front-end for tracking with modern DAW's and the serious project studio looking to get the UA sonic experience: Real quality and character at an accessible price. The LA-610 Mk II is based on the legendary console modules developed by Bill Putnam in the 60's. Noted for their musical character and warmth, countless classics from Sinatra to Van Halen have been recorded using these preamps.

After the preamp section, the LA-610 Mk II offers the T4 optical compressor. The simple operation and program dependent nature of the LA-610 T4 compressor provides the same extremely musical control that has made the LA-2A such a well-loved classic for over 40 years. The electro-optical detector or "T4 cell" is the very heart and soul of the Teletronix LA-2A. The unique combination of electroluminescent panel and photo-resistors inside the T4 cell are the crucial circuit components that give both compressors their signature sound.
(20 ratings)
Submitted July 12, 2012 by Marcus J in Bradley, IL
"My new favorite piece of gear"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
Love it

Sound
Sound is simply amazing. Very warm and clear but when you drive the pre or the output you can get a really aggressive saturation. The Hi and Lo shelving EQs give nice smooth boost and cuts and there are alot of control over the gain so you can push the tubes just how you want to. I love the pre but the compressor is my favorite part. You can get good amount of Gain Reduction and still have it be pretty transparent. Also hooked up my Les Paul through the DI and was able to get some very usable tones. Havent tried it with a bass yet but I hear good things about its capabilities there

Features
You get a tube pre, Hi and Lo shelving Eqs with three frequency choices for each, the mic impedance switch is a nice option as is the ability to accept line level signals(doesnt bypass pre though). Then for good measure they give an awesome LA2A style compressor limiter. Everything you need in a channel strip

Ease of Use
Simplicity is king for me and this is definitely simple to use. Very few knobs so there is nothing to focus on but sound and its easy to dial in the right sound for anything I need.

Quality
Very well built, Solid as a rock, VU meter is nice, Knobs all turn smoothly but not too loose, switches feel extremely sturdy too. I like that the eq adjust in fixed increments so its easy to recall when you need to.

Value
Totally worth read more the price. I used zzounds pay as you play but if anything happened to it I wouldnt mind being late on my rent to replace it in a hurry.

Manufacturer Support
havent needed to try them I can say the included manual is very nice

The Wow Factor
It's is all in the sound. Every mic I plug into it sounds better, period. Ive also ran mono keyboard/synth sounds and some drum samples through it and adds a nice feel to those workstation sounds. One day I might have to get a second one.The real Wow factor comes from the inspiration you get when you hear yourself recording through it. All the vocalist I usually record gave some of there best performances though the LA610 and every single one of them was gushing over it after the fact and couldnt wait to record again. And I'm generally the only one thats a gear head

Musical Background:
Engnineer/producer in a Semi pro home studio

Musical Style:
hiphop/r&b/pop
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