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The Effectrode LA-1A Leveling Amplifier was designed with one purpose in mind: to enable artists and engineers to extract every last nuance from a musical performance… without compromise. Tubes are unmatched tone enhancers, adding warmth, depth and clarity to recorded and live instruments and Effectrode wanted to push their sonic performance even further and beyond expectation. To that end we based our Leveling Amplifier on a parallel tube plate design—the type of tube circuitry only found in audiophile tube phono-stage preamps for high-end turntables. Parallel tube design reduces the LA-1A’s noise floor to vanishing point. In practical terms this means the best possible signal to noise ratio for your guitar. It’s an expensive way of doing things—as four identical tube input stages are used in its circuitry—but it does yield stellar sound quality, without the compromise of noise gates or ‘cutting’ certain frequencies using equalization. The parallel tube design has never been built into a stompbox or even a professional studio leveling amplifier/compressor before, making the LA-1A a truly special compressor.
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—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 is fully counterclockwise (zero compression).
Boost knob gives an additional +6dB of gain (on top of the make up gain)—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 utilizes quiet true bypass switching to minimize ‘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 the mixing desk, computer sound-card 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 its 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 utilized 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.
Originally I bought for my guitarist to use. Sounded great until one gig engaging boost = nothing. Pedal was in direct sun on a humid mid 80 degree day... Overheated?
Got it back to compare to and debug with a second unit I bought for my bass rig. No issues found, original unit has been fine ever since.
I current only use a small range with Peak Reduction at 8 O'clock, Gain at 12, Attack at 1130 and release at 1000 for my Musicman 5 string (9V) or I set Peak Reduction at ~7 O'clock for my Roscoe bass (18V).
I love the unit - which certainly evens out the volume across strings in a pleasing way to my ears. Can definitely hear the effect when slapping. That was my goal and the pedal really helps me by keeping my sound from falling out when tapping and slides.