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The Summit Audio TLA-100A Tube Leveling Amplifier offers a classic amp design with a harmonious blend of old and new technologies. The result is a compression device with the incredibly warm and smooth sound of vacuum tubes without the inherent disadvantages of older designs.
Summit Audio has been making the TLA-100A for decades and it produces a much sought after sound that has been used on literally thousands of records and in live sound venues around the world. The TLA-100A leveling amp uses a soft-knee and program dependent transition characteristic and a transformerless signal path, resulting in a set-and-forget compressor that always sounds right with a minimum of knob fiddling.
With all the changes that nearly a quarter of a century has made in the audio industry, the popularity of Summit Audio's TLA-100A Tube Leveling Amplifier has yet to wane. The TLA-100A is a classic design with a technological hybrid of vacuum tube and solid state devices. The harmonious blend of old and new technologies produces the incredibly warm and smooth sound of vacuum tubes combined with the reliability of solid state.
Compressing in a musically satisfying way is easy with the TLA-100A; the incredibly forgiving circuit design makes it almost impossible to make it "pump and breath." When fast transient signals are being sent to the TLA-100A, the unit reacts quickly both in attack and release, when the signal has a slower rise time, the attack and release times automatically react more slowly resulting in a set-and-forget compressor that always sounds right with a minimum of knob fiddling. Try it on vocals and bass, also great for kick drum and guitars. The TLA-100A really shines for tracking and mixing individual instruments and is linkable with another TLA-100A for stereo signals.
After warm up (15 minutes), set the Gain Reduction control to 0 and adjust the Gain control for 0VU on the meter. Switch the attack to slow and the release to fast. Now adjust for the desired amount of gain reduction and recheck the output level.
As the amount of gain reduction is increased, the processed audio follows a smooth reduction curve, thereby changing the compression ratio. In this way, compression may be easily controlled. If a large peak is detected, the unit will automatically increase the compression ratio to keep the audio output controlled.
If a low compression ratio is desired, turn the gain reduction control until the meter indicates a small amount of gain reduction. If a higher ratio is desired, set the gain reduction control so the meter indicates a high amount of gain reduction. Try different attack and release settings, depending upon the program material and the desired effect.
Tracking, live sound, mixing:
Plug the TLA-100A into your mixing console's insert jack or patch bay. The TLA-100A also sounds great if inserted directly in line after the preamplifier.
Compressing a stereo mix:
Insert a 1/4" cable into two TLA-100A's link jacks, set the attack and release switches and gain reduction on both units to the same settings. Put both units in link mode. The channel with the strongest peak will override both units.
Plug a TRS insert cable into the side chain jack on the back of the TLA-100A. Plug the send (tip) of the insert cable to the input of an EQ, and the return (ring) of the cable to the EQ output. Boost the frequencies on the EQ that you want to compress (de-ess).
Send the output of the "lead" program material into the side chain input after inserting the TLA-100A on the "background" program material. Example: Send the output of a vocal mic into the side chain, with the TLA-100A inserted on the lead guitar track. As the singer uses the vocal mic, the lead guitar will decrease in amplitude.
Summit Audio gear has been a secret weapon on both recording and live sound engineers for decades. Find out what pinnacles your sound can reach with Summit Audio.
TLA-100A Tube leveling amplifier