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JLM LA500 vs Serpent Audio Chimera
Old 13th October 2014
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
FunkFaker's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
JLM LA500 vs Serpent Audio Chimera

I'm looking for a 500 series LA/opto type of compressor for vocals and bass, possibly a bit of drum overheads as well.

Anyone have any opinions on the JLM LA500 vs Serpent Audio Chimera?

I'm most interested in how the JLM as it's DIY.

Last edited by FunkFaker; 13th October 2014 at 08:15 PM.. Reason: clarification
Old 13th October 2014
  #2
Lives for gear
 
dandeurloo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I know the chimera is a la3a in a 500 format and it sounds great. Not sure if that helps you at all.
Old 13th October 2014 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
FunkFaker's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dandeurloo ➡️
I know the chimera is a la3a in a 500 format and it sounds great. Not sure if that helps you at all.
Thanks.

I clarified in my original post, just now, that I'm looking for an LA/opto style comp, so it's not necessary that it's a direct clone.
Old 13th October 2014
  #4
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
I got the JLM LA500. The kit is straight Forward and a Fun build. Build to of em within 6 Hours. They worked right from the beginning. Their sound is pristine. I use them mostly on my bass guitar. Clean and nice. Spoken words sound as well as sung vocals through em. Really top notch equipment.

Cheers.
Old 13th October 2014
  #5
Gear Guru
 
NathanEldred's Avatar
 
7 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
The Serpent sounds very smooth and is built like a tank. I can't recommend it highly enough, Mike from Serpent knows his stuff and is out of PA, USA.
Old 14th October 2014
  #6
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
I use my JLM on vocals from time to time and have to say it's pretty great. Smooth and capable of large amounts of compression without being obvious. The big transformer boosts bass and darkens the signal slightly so I get my best results with my brighter pres...
Old 14th October 2014
  #7
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I don't use the JLM, but I know the Serpent is every bit as predictable as a good LA3A in control and it's tone is superb. Talk about build quality too...!

War
Old 14th October 2014
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
JLM LA500 if you DIY surely must be about the best deal in pro audio. Im going to do one in a month and another a month after that and theyll sit on mix buss and pretty much do everything. lot of faith in these. And they look incredible.
So 2 channels is costing me $880 - thats for everything. And its not so much a build as assembly..
Old 14th October 2014
  #9
Lives for gear
 
roger's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have a JLM Mac (I think it's pretty much a stereo 19" version of the 500?!).
It's fat & warm....gets almost Tapish when you hit it hard. It's a lovely action & tone. Those big JLM trannies with joe's opamps are doing some raunchy things together!
I use it on everything - including some mix buss work! A big warm hug is sometimes called for!
I had a UA reissue LA3A which I sold a while ago....not coz it was rubbish - it was great: no-brainer to use & sounded good on nearly everything. I was just happily covered with my 2 x distressors (I love the Opto mode on them!) & the Mac.
I have a Serpent 4001 that's fantastic so I'm sure the Chimera does what it says on the tin very well (ie sounds like an LA3A!).....I was pretty delighted with the JLM though & as I said - my LA3A got kicked out of bed. It depends what you're after re tone. Optos are just so fun/easy to set to work....or at least they should be.
Hope that kinda helps.
Old 14th October 2014 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
FunkFaker's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by roger ➡️
I have a JLM Mac (I think it's pretty much a stereo 19" version of the 500?!).
It's fat & warm....gets almost Tapish when you hit it hard. It's a lovely action & tone. Those big JLM trannies with joe's opamps are doing some raunchy things together!
I use it on everything - including some mix buss work! A big warm hug is sometimes called for!
I had a UA reissue LA3A which I sold a while ago....not coz it was rubbish - it was great: no-brainer to use & sounded good on nearly everything. I was just happily covered with my 2 x distressors (I love the Opto mode on them!) & the Mac.
I have a Serpent 4001 that's fantastic so I'm sure the Chimera does what it says on the tin very well (ie sounds like an LA3A!).....I was pretty delighted with the JLM though & as I said - my LA3A got kicked out of bed. It depends what you're after re tone. Optos are just so fun/easy to set to work....or at least they should be.
Hope that kinda helps.
How did your LA3A compare tonally to the JLM?
Old 14th October 2014
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Callison's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Been looking for an la3a, so I'm kinda in the same boat here. I recorded bass with a re issue the other day, it just blows me away. I have never used a comp like that on bass..

I'm also curious if the 500 series JLM would be closer to the la3a than the rack version as I believe they have different trannys. I'll also have to check out the serpent..
Old 14th October 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
The LA500 sounds FABULOUS, but the real 21st century dream is using a Hairball Bronze in front of the LA500. Having granular saturation control with the Bronze and a variable HPF on the LA500 is like an LA3A dream machine. No more compromising between your compression and tone.

Don't get me wrong, the LA500 is an awesome compressor all by itself but now that I have the Hairball bronze in front of it I'm totally spoiled.

Oh, and another plus for the LA500 is the new "slow attack mod" JLM just released. Apparently it was requested by Joe Barresi. Just one more thing to make the LA500 a dream compressor that you can build in a couple of hours for chump change.
Old 14th October 2014
  #13
Lives for gear
 
gt_jumper's Avatar
I use the LJM la500 heaps for your pre described uses, its the bomb! you would be very happy with it.
Old 14th October 2014 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
gt_jumper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogma ➡️
JLM LA500 if you DIY surely must be about the best deal in pro audio. Im going to do one in a month and another a month after that and theyll sit on mix buss and pretty much do everything. lot of faith in these. And they look incredible.
So 2 channels is costing me $880 - thats for everything. And its not so much a build as assembly..
I would love to hear your findings, even a few clips
Old 14th October 2014 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparqee ➡️
Oh, and another plus for the LA500 is the new "slow attack mod" JLM just released.
I hadn't heard about this! I love my LA500 as it is, but I'm curious, what Is the attack time normally and what does the "slow attack mod" change it to?

Unfortunately, I can't find much info about this...

Cheers,

Kaz
Old 14th October 2014
  #16
Old 14th October 2014
  #17
Lives for gear
 
roger's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
To answer the question above re tone: I've Q-Clone tested the curves of all my comps & the Mac (mine has the Attack Mod btw) has a slight bottom end bump (that obviously gets bigger as you engage the side-chain filters). So purely on an EQ level it's much fatter-sounding than my LA3A was (in a good way - not tubby or muddy at all) ...it's also warmer/"valvier" too...it's those JLM opamps doing that. They're really very special. As I said before: the Mac starts to saturate fast high frequency transients as you hit it harder - sounding quite tape-like. very cool!
Having said all that - I would happily track with the JLM or an la3a or my distressors in opto mode. I played double bass on a mate's record a while ago & tracked through a Buzz SOC at the studio...loved that too. Different tone again but with that great/easy opto vibe/feel.....can't go wrong really! But you only need SO much of that thing. I'm happy with JLM & distressors.
Old 15th October 2014 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Yeah, I saw this. No info on attack times unfortunately...
Old 15th October 2014 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
FunkFaker's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by roger ➡️
To answer the question above re tone: I've Q-Clone tested the curves of all my comps & the Mac (mine has the Attack Mod btw) has a slight bottom end bump (that obviously gets bigger as you engage the side-chain filters). So purely on an EQ level it's much fatter-sounding than my LA3A was (in a good way - not tubby or muddy at all) ...it's also warmer/"valvier" too...it's those JLM opamps doing that. They're really very special. As I said before: the Mac starts to saturate fast high frequency transients as you hit it harder - sounding quite tape-like. very cool!
Having said all that - I would happily track with the JLM or an la3a or my distressors in opto mode. I played double bass on a mate's record a while ago & tracked through a Buzz SOC at the studio...loved that too. Different tone again but with that great/easy opto vibe/feel.....can't go wrong really! But you only need SO much of that thing. I'm happy with JLM & distressors.
Very nice. Thank you. I hope this speaks for the LA500 as well.
Old 15th October 2014
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I can totally +1 the statement about preferring the JLM over LA3As. Whenever I have my liverig - which houses my LA500s - in the studio I prefer them over our LA3As. More character and more control. The only exception I experienced were certain el. basses for which the LA500 had a too fast attack. The new mod-kit seems to adress this perfectly. Thanks for the link, I´ll check it out for sure.
Old 15th October 2014
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
^^^ I Beleive that is Jensenmann who has developed some mighty fine mgerman mic pres of his own.
LA500 - the best for $$ no doubt
Old 24th October 2014
  #22
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AMIEL's Avatar
how good or experienced u have to be with building gear to successfully build a LA500?
Old 24th October 2014 | Show parent
  #23
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gt_jumper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AMIEL ➡️
how good or experienced u have to be with building gear to successfully build a LA500?
Honestly? 0 experience. Just learn how to test resistors with a multimeter and everything else is very well labelled. If you can't solder then you are in the wrong business
Old 24th October 2014 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AMIEL ➡️
how good or experienced u have to be with building gear to successfully build a LA500?
You have to be able to make a good solder point. As said, you have to be able to sort resistors. Other than that you need to be able to follow instructions. As I've posted in other places here on GS the LA500 is the easiest, best documented DIY kit I've encountered. A joy to build and a *fantastic* sounding unit at any price.
Old 7th December 2014
  #25
Lud
Gear Addict
 
Lud's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Just ordered an LA500 kit! Just what i was looking for buss duty: HP filter, not too expensive, good reputation and good looking. I have now not to screw up the soldering. The second one will follow once the first works fine.
Old 1st March 2015
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
The la500 is a monster. I love the tone of this thing. Does anyone else notice a slight bump up top that helps tracks cut through a mix?
Old 2nd August 2015 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Lucin Niega's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lud ➡️
Just ordered an LA500 kit! Just what i was looking for buss duty: HP filter, not too expensive, good reputation and good looking. I have now not to screw up the soldering. The second one will follow once the first works fine.
How did the build go?
Old 2nd August 2015 | Show parent
  #28
Lud
Gear Addict
 
Lud's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucin Niega ➡️
How did the build go?
Hi Lucin,
The build went very well for the first one. I would say not as easy as a capi vp25 but pretty easy.
The second one gave me a bit of headachs due to a résistance that i did not soldered well enough and because of new câbles and lunchbox (hard to explain in my poor english) and I had To struggle with the meter that don't Work today due to my fault. I have to change it cause the comp link does not work but the comp works. That was a stupid mess. I guess in most cases things goes like my first one. And Joe was very patient & helpfull. I bought each 327€ with shipping. I guess that's the best comp/price on the market. To compare i have a neve 5043, ssl 611 dyn, ssl lmc+, fcs 502p.
Old 2nd August 2015 | Show parent
  #29
Lud
Gear Addict
 
Lud's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twenty Staxx ➡️
The la500 is a monster. I love the tone of this thing. Does anyone else notice a slight bump up top that helps tracks cut through a mix?
Yes i did ☺
Old 9th August 2015 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
gt_jumper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twenty Staxx ➡️
The la500 is a monster. I love the tone of this thing. Does anyone else notice a slight bump up top that helps tracks cut through a mix?
I might run white noise through it and see if anything changes.
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