UREI LA-22 Stereo Compressor / Limiter


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UREI compressors need no introduction. Many of their products are definitive pieces of outboard gear which have spawned clones, DIY versions and official reissues. Some years after the legendary optical & FET-based compressors of the 70s and 80s came a range of VCA compressors including the LA22

The LA-22 is a dual-channel VCA compressor in a compact 1U box. It has attack & release, threshold & compression ratio controls like a traditional compressor but adds a number of rarely-seen features like variable response and parametric sidechain EQ

“Its my #1 go-to vocal mixdown compressor”

“The Urei LA-22 is a great and overlooked vintage compressor”

“The main feature of the LA-22 is its frequency dependent mode”

“I think I like it” – Jules Standen

“It’s a thick box – great for certain tracks but no the kind of thickness you’d want for the mix”

“The LA22 is my favorite vocal compressor”

“I use mine on vocals as de-esser often. Also gets use on some electric guitars. The build in sidechain EQ is a great feature”

“Q: Would you put a la22 over a end mix? To give it a vintage feel?”
“A: No. but I would use it on the master bus to stomp the mix to snot”

The LA22 will appeal to those who like a compressor with character. Although it’s a VCA compressor it can be made to be surprisingly unsubtle. The key to this is the peak / rms detector control. As with the UREI 7110, pushing this toward peak produces a compressor that can grab transients and twist them into a pretzel. It may be at home doing subtle compression but there is a definite hooligan tendency within the LA-22

This is not a compressor you can get to grips with immediately but one to learn & get comfortable with over time. The sidechain, equaliser & variable detector response means it’s possible to dial up pretty much any kind of dynamic effect you want but you’ll need to know your way round it first. Once you do, you’ll find it a real asset, particularly as it has two linkable channels

My only criticism is the cramped front panel. It’s loaded with knobs & switches and isn’t easy to learn. This is not a rack unit to bury at the bottom of a rack – sit it nice & high so you can get to grips with the control layout. It reminds me a little of the BSS DPR-402 – both are complex, deep devices that need to be learnt. In the case of the UREI I think it will be time well spent. It’s as close as you’ll find to a compressor that does everything

The LA22 is in a deep, heavy 1U steel case. Internal construction uses mother & daughter boards with through-hole components & opamps so it will be repairable in the future. The unit has a balanced inputs & outputs on XLR and barrier strip. Detector inputs & outputs are on the barrier strip

Inputs are electronically balanced and outputs use an ultra-low distortion circuit driving an output transformer. UREI claims the output circuit will drive a 600 Ω load at +24 dBm with less than 0.001% distortion. In outboard gear "Top Trumps" that's a winning combination and is a clue to the level of sophistication employed in the LA22

Power input is 220 Volts AC for UK / EU with a rear-panel fuseholder and standard IEC socket. UK or Euro Schuko power cable supplied on request

Standard 1U rackmount unit

Owners manual


TapeOp Review


LA-10 / LA-12 / LA-22 Flyer



In excellent used condition with minor marks. Tested & working 100%. Photos show an LA-22 sold previously and will be replaced with photos of the item for sale