Softube Tube-Tech CL 1B Plug-in
Read Barry's Mix Magazine Feature Article On Compression and Compressors
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The original Danish-made Lydkraft Tube-tech CL 1B hardware compressor is my favorite all-around compressor--great for vocals, bass guitar or anything because of its super-clean, un-colored sound and solid natural operation. So when TC Electronic offered it as a plug-in for both Pro Tools TDM systems and their TC PowerCore platform, I was on it fast. It turns out that Sweden-based Softube coded that first plug-in emulation and now is offering it as a Native plug-in for the rest of the world.
Even Tube-Tech's designer and president John Petersen commented that Softube's native CL 1B is "a truly faithful and very exact replica of the hardware CL 1B."
The native version features the same meticulously constructed modeling algorithms, but adds additional features such as a phase-linked stereo mode. (You'd have to spend around $6,000 for two hardware CL 1Bs for stereo!) The new plug-in also supports an external sidechain input for triggering the compressor from another audio track. On bass I found, compared to some other plugs, Softube's CL 1B is fatter and warmer sounding with more adjustability. Like the original hardware unit, it is impossible to get an actually ugly sound out of the plug too but unlike the hardware, the plug has added compression range to process with more attitude.
The hardware unit is always very clean even when pressed into pinning VU meter gain reductions but the plug-in, when wound up, can give you much more grit and personality. I found this especially true when compressing lead vocals. The tube modeled sound comes out more when squashing vocals to the max.
On a stereo snare drum mix, the CL 1B works wonderfully--anywhere from very subtle leveling to over-the-top compression effects. Both the attack and release controls have wide ranges for dialing in the exact amount "hit" with the attack and just the right amount of aftermath--ring out with the release knob.
The CL 1B is a true compressor for all seasons. I found it perfect for any individual track from bass to vocals to drums because it is precisely adjustable and able operate perfectly for any kind of dynamic control from transparent and subtle to more typical compression chores with 2 to 6dB of peak compression and then all the way to major audio clamping with a striking, and colorful character. It's a big winner for me and is a major player in all my mixes from now on!
The CL 1B plug-in is designed for use with Mac and PC, and with VST/AU/RTAS-compatible host DAWs. It sells for $399.99 and a 10-day trial version can be downloaded at www.softube.com. Much more info at: www.mvproaudio.com.
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