LA-1A Leveling Amplifier
The Effectrode LA-1A Leveling Amplifier was designed with one purpose in mind: to enable artists and engineers extract every last nuance from a musical performance… without compromise. Tubes are renowned for being unparalleled tone enhancers, adding warmth, depth and clarity to recorded and live instruments and Effectrode wanted to push their performance beyond current limits. To that end we based our LA-1A on a parallel tube plate design – the type of tube circuitry only ever found in high-end tube phono preamp stages for turntables (remember those?).
Parallel tube design minimises the noise floor and maximises the signal to noise ratio of your instrument. It’s an expensive way of achieving noise reduction, as four identical input tube stages are required, however it yields stellar tone quality without the compromise of noise gates or ‘cutting’ certain frequencies with equalisation. The parallel tube design has never been built into a stompbox or even a professional studio leveling amplifier/compressor before, making the LA-1A something truely special.
- Peak Reduction knob sets both the threshold and the amount of signal compression. When adjusting the compression or sustain a good starting point is the 9 o’clock position where subtle leveling enhances note detail, creating a fuller , warmer tone. As the knob is rotated clockwise the volume level of loud notes is reduced relative to quieter ones, squashing playing dynamics – this is the definitive sound of many country and funk-style guitar riffs.
- Gain knob adjusts the ‘make-up gain’ and is used to match the relative levels of bypassed and effected signal. It can also provide +15dBu of tube boost when the ‘Peak Reduction’ knob fully counterclockwise (zero compresson).
- Boost knob gives an additional +6dB of gain (on top of the make up gain) – this is useful when soloing on guitar or bass and can push the input stage of a tube amp into overdrive very nicely too. The ‘Boost’ footswitch engages (red LED lit) and bypasses (green LED lit) the boost.
- Attack and Knee knobs allow the compression character to be tailored perfectly to suit instruments that are challenging to amplify or record. For example, active 5-string bass guitars, nylon and steel string acoustic guitars fitted with piezo pickups and even especially ‘difficult’ stringed instruments such as hammered dulcimer , harpsichord or tar . Rotating the ‘Attack’ knob clockwise increases how fast the side-chain reacts, i.e. the speed at which compression kicks in. The ‘Knee’ knob alters the input/output curve, i.e. how the LA-1A transitions into compression – rotate clockwise and the LA-1A becomes a limiter and counter-clockwise for compression.
- When the Dynamic EQ toggle switch is in the ‘down’ position the LA-1A dynamically boosts high frequency material. With the ‘Peak Reduction’ knob fully counter-clockwise (zero compression) dynamic eq is inactive, however as the knob is rotated clockwise, and the pedal begins compressing, the effect becomes increasingly pronounced. Fabulous for jangly 12-string Rickenbacker guitar sounds.
- Bypass Footswitch utilises quiet true bypass switching to minimse ‘pops’ or ‘thump’ when engaging the pedal and ensure there is no loss of guitar tone when the pedal is bypassed.
- Balanced Direct Out ¼” TRS (stereo) jack socket allows connection of the LA-1A to mixing desk, computer soundcard or external audio capture device. This output is fully balanced and transformer isolated, eliminating earth loops and reducing hum to an absolute minimum and features a gain pad (+6dB, +12dB and +18dB) to facilitate matching with any line or instrument level gear . The Triad Magnetics audio transformer also imparts it’s own character to enhance and sweeten the direct sound.
- External Select ¼” TRS (stereo) jack socket. This enables an external footswitch, such as the Fender® ‘Twin Reverb’ Amp tremolo/reverb dual latching footswitch), to be utilised for remote bypass switching and activating the tube boost.
- Includes 12V Wall-wart Power Supply: High quality low-noise switched mode 12VDC at 1.5A wall-wart compatible with all our pedals.
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