Universal Audio LA-610 Mk II

Vacuum Tube Microphone/Instrument/Line Preamp with EQ and Optical Compressor
Universal Audio LA-610 Mk II image 1
Universal Audio LA-610 Mk II image 1
$1,599.00
Sweetwater Savings: $400.00 MSRP: $1,999.00
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Universal Audio LA-610 Mk II
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Legendary LA-2A and 610 Mic Pre in One!

The LA-610 Mk II brings UA's legendary vintage "all tube" luxury sound into a modern channel strip format by combining the 610 mic pre/EQ/DI section and a T4 opto-compressor into a single 2U design with a ground-breaking price! For a limited time, UA is issuing a "mark II" of their famous LA-610, sporting true bypass on the compressor circuit, larger metering, improved output signal, and super-cool "Black on Black" cosmetics. If you're looking for a sound that's steeped in history, check out the LA-610 Mk II!

Universal Audio LA-610 Mk II at a Glance:
  • New version of a studio classic
  • Compression with the same musical control of the LA-2A
  • Great front end for digital recording
New version of a studio classic

The LA-610 Mk II is a re-tooled version of UA's best-selling professional audio channel strip. For audiophiles, the mark II includes true bypass in the compressor circuit and improved output signal. The LA-610 mkII has also been given a unique interior and exterior cosmetic upgrade, and its distinctive "black-face" look sets it clearly apart from the "classic" LA-610.

Compression with the same musical control of the LA-2A

The 610 tube preamp, DI, and EQ is identical to the original LA-610, and is based on the legendary console modules developed by Bill Putnam in the 60's. Countless classics have been recorded using these preamps, noted for their musical character and warmth. The simple operation and program dependent nature of the LA-610 Mk II T4 compressor provides the same extremely musical control that has made the LA-2A such a well-loved classic for over 40 years. 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. After the preamp section, the LA-610 Mk II offers a T4 optical compressor with true bypass. 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 these compressors their signature sound.

Great front end for digital recording

The LA-610 Mk II packs tremendous sonic versatility and is an ideal front end for tracking with modern DAWs and the serious project studio looking to get the UA sonic experience : real quality and character at an accessible price.

Universal Audio LA-610 Mk II Features at a Glance:
  • Complete vintage channel strip at groundbreaking price within project studio reach!
  • Legendary Bill Putnam 610 tube mic pre and EQ used on countless classic recordings
  • Authentic Teletronix LA-2A-style T4 opto-compressor
  • Mic pre with gain and level controls, variable impedance switching, and instrument DI for recording tone "color"
  • UA build quality and heritage, audiophile components, hand-assembled in the USA
  • True Compressor Bypass
  • Mic Pre/DI with Gain and Level Controls, EQ, and Authentic Teletronix LA-2A-Style T4 Opto Compressor
  • "Black on Black" Cosmetics
  • Larger Metering
  • Improved Output Signal
  • Auto-sensing Power Supply
Revisit a studio classic with the UA LA-610 Mk II!

Additional Media

Studio Preamp Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Preamp Type Tube
Number of Channels 1
Frequency Response 20Hz-20kHz
Phantom Power Yes
EQ Yes
Compressor Yes
Analog Inputs 1 x XLR (Mic), 1 x XLR (Line), 1 x 1/4" (Hi-Z)
Analog Outputs 1 x XLR
Rack Spaces 2U
Height 3.5"
Depth 12.25"
Width 19"
Weight 12 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number LA610M2D

Customer Reviews

4.5/5
Based on 44 reviews
Write your review
5/5

Excellent Channel Strip!

After spending a month with this preamp/compressor combo from UA, I felt it was time to give a reasonably well-informed review. Before purchasing the LA-610 Mk II, I spent a lot of time researching it. For months I talked myself into buying it, and into not buying it, based on other's opinions and comments. In the end, I went a head with my original-gut instinct to order from my friend Jon at Sweetwater. This channel strip is a great addition to my home/project studio! I wanted some of that UA analog magic in a rack mountable hardware unit. The LA-610 Mk II is an excellent preamp/compressor all in one channel strip! No news to the pros out there (I'm not one of them by the way), but the trick to making this thing shine is to spend some time experimenting with all of the settings while you are pairing it with different microphones and other music instruments. Also, understand your signal chain and gain staging. After that, don't be afraid to experiment with a few plug ins while A/B testing a sound you like in your headphones and monitors. This preamp and a good mic will help take your recordings to the next level. No interface preamp/plug in combination is going to quite recreate the sound this unit can with algorithms alone. Something magical happens with the physics of analog hardware gear that still does not quite translate to digital 1s and 0s; however, plugins have become amazingly tools that can be an integral aspect of the entire music creation and production process. Using a hybrid approach seems to be best way to explore all of the sonic possibilities with recording unless you are a dyed in the wool analog purist. I love the idea of tape machines and awesome consoles, but for most of us recording folks, some blend of the past and the present makes the most practical sense. The LA-610 Mk II can create that warm, smooth, vintage sound on vocals and bass that so many others have commented about. With a Mohave MA300, an AEA N22 active Ribbon Mic, a Shure beta 58, a Shure 87, a Telefunken M80, and a Blue Baby Bottle, I was able to get a range of microphone recordings from vocals to acoustic instruments that I liked. The MA 300 was the clear winner for vocals. Instantly I got a good sound. After some time spent adjusting things - I was really able to get the type of impressive results I was hoping for. It has plenty of tube color and saturation to tame sibilant vocals and envelope the vocal recording with a pleasant warmth and depth. For certain styles of music, you can get some nice gritty distortion as well. As for bass...the other people in the comments were not kidding. The LA-610 Mk II is an amazing bass channel! The tube preamp and compressor work in tandem so well once the settings are dialed in. I also liked acoustic guitar and electric guitars line in. I tried the 1/4" jack in the front as well as a few DI boxes. I prefer other preamps for acoustic guitar and electric line in, but this one held its own in a general sense. I bought this mainly thinking of vocals, but the biggest surprise to me was how much I was going to smile once I plugged in a Moog synth. The tonal palette of a Moog synth run through this unit elevates the all analog path of the synth to a new level! You can get an awesome analog sheen on leads and bass lines as well as some gritty tones that will make the square waves jump right out the speakers! I also tried Arturia's new DrumBrute analog drum machine. Wow! It is worth it just to isolate the kick drum for quantized sampling. Deep bass for hip hop styles - check. Thumping bass for Electronic music - check. I also was able to craft an almost acoustic sounding kick drum that would match up well with a folk rock vibe. If things are not as loud as you want and/or sound a little noisy, try reducing the gain on the input, cutting out some lower frequencies, and adjusting the compression threshold and output levels. If you still have issues, then look at the rest of what is going on with your signal path and DAW settings. The problem is likely something else. I recommend getting a good noise gate plugin like Waves NS-1. I prefer it to Izotope's version. Perhaps others who commented about this unit never gave it a fair chance? I'm glad I wasn't influenced by those comments. The UA LA-610 Mk II has added some serious analog mojo to the front end of my recording studio at a competitive price point relative to similar gear.
5/5

Very Satisfied....

There is way too much to say about this little black gem. Great sounding pre with an unlimited amount of adjustability. Nice to have the built in analog compressor. Fantastic performance enhancer. Don't be scared of it. It won't bite you if you play nice with it. I really feel like you could make anything sound great through this box. Amazing bass DI. When it comes to vocals there isn't anything you can't do with this. I wish it had a second XLR channel for stereo option. I almost bought an Avalon 737 which I've used in several studios. Glad that my sales engineer talked me into this box. Its a thoroughbred.
Music background: Recording Artist, Singer/Songwriter
5/5

You can't record without this...

I have been using this unit for just under a year. I love it - it has that warm robust sound that you would expect from a Universal Audio. If you are having problems with digital recordings...you must have a preamp - such as this one - on the front end. Problem solved...
Music background: Pro Musician
5/5

Worth all the Marbles!!!

I originally did not want to buy this preamp but the preamp I wanted was sold out and Sweetwater wasnt gonna get another shipment until a week. My salesrep suggested it and after figuring out in I was indeed surprised. Vox sound incredible. I recorded a lead vox and didnt realize that I was compressing. It sounds so clean. Plus the UAD2 is an added bonus and once I get that, this amp would have 2 times what I expected of it!!! You wont be disappointed.
Music background: Live Sound Engineer, Hobbyist
5/5

UNREAL

This product literally saved our lives. We recently borrowed a VERY EXPENSIVE GERMAN mic and were having problems getting it to sound anywhere close to right with the Female Vocalist with who we intended to use said expensive German mic. In desperation we ordered the LA 610 MK II having read countless great reviews and figuring maybe it would help even things out and get things sounding better. WOW! What a difference. The combination of the 610 Mic pre and the LA compressor is absolutely astounding. It took a thin sounding, mid heavy, screechy mic and basically "covered it in silk". This box is a miracle worker. I will never record without it again. We plugged that mic into 6 different mic pre/channel strip combos. Nothing came close to the UA. You MUST get one of these if your are recording vocals. It's amazing.
Music background: TV producer, Songwriter, Musician.

Sweetwater Advice

Carson McClain

This is one of the most popular preamps here at Sweetwater. The LA-610 combines tweakability with consistant reliability for the engineer that really knows what he is doing. The secret to this legendary box is pairing it with the right mic and the right settings. The longer you spend with the LA-610 the more you will fall in love.
See also: Universal Audio, Universal Audio Preamps, Universal Audio Channel Strips