A modern classic, the Danish-made Tube-Tech CL 1B is an optical compressor with a valve-based gain stage and transformer-balanced inputs and outputs. That’s a similar setup to the classic LA-2A design, but the CL 1B offers a more modern sound as well as greater control of its compression thanks to independent controls for attack, release and ratio (the LA-2A’s famously spartan control panel has stood the test of time, but there’s no doubt the CL gives the user much more control over the effect).
Developed in conjunction with Tube-Tech, Softube’s plugin emulation sounds incredibly close to the real thing. Whether it’s the hardware version or its software cousin, the CL 1B is a go-to vocal compressor for countless producers, renowned for its smooth, transparent sound (although it can still be provoked into creamy valve distortion if required). It’s also superb on bass, imparting a depth and subtlety to low frequencies even when applying very little compression.
Developed in conjunction with Tube-Tech, Softube’s plugin emulation sounds incredibly close to the real thing.
Softube’s native version of the plugin is priced at $329. The company also produces a version for Universal Audio’s UAD platform, priced at $299.