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  • Dana Nielsen

    at 1:37 pm

    Alex!!! Man, sorry for the delayed response here!

    Yes, the CL1B has been insanely popular over the past several years. I’ve owned one for ages and use it daily and love the TubeTech stuff (I’m also 25% Danish, so I love that connection too 🇩🇰)

    I think of the CL1B as an LA-2A with a lot more control. What I mean is, it has the gentle, slow vibes you get from an LA2A, but you have lots of control over all the parameters (attack, release, ratio, etc) that you don’t get on an LA-2A. The CL1B is very clean, very forgiving, very smooth. All attributes that serve vocal production well.

    That said tho, despite it’s wild popularity, I wouldn’t say you NEED this in your arsenal given the plugins you already own. I use my hardware CL1B every day on vocals on their way IN to Pro Tools so I can print a nice hot signal without distortion. Works great for that. But honestly, once I’m mixing “in the box” I can’t remember the last time I pulled up a CL1B plugin. (when I do, I own and use the Softube version). TBH tho, a lil secret …. 👂🤫 … Waves R-Vox is still my most-used vocal compressor plugin, for sure, when I’m just looking clean dynamics control that sounds great and doesn’t add too much crazy pumping or aggro sound. Other vocal compressor plugins I use constantly: the basic stock bombfactory/avid 1176 and LA2A, and the Empiricle Labs Arousor – a plugin version of my fav Distressor.

    TL;DR: CL-1B is fantastic, but it’s not going to instantly make your vocals perfect like a pop song. It’s just another versatile (fairly clinical) tool for shaping dynamics. In my experience it’s much more popular and useful as a front-end tool, before your converter, than as a plugin in your DAW. The Softube plugin version is accurate and excellent! But you may not need it given the excellent tools you already own. (Save that money for the hardware version!)

    • Alex Gage

      at 8:41 am

      @dana Thanks so much for this in-depth reply wow!!! You really broke this baby down. I am grateful to you and that LA-2A comparison makes a lot of sense. I think when I get the chance down the road I will look for the outboard version cause it sounds badass. I’m glad all the other in-box plug-ins you mentioned I got so I feel I’m close enough and feel good about the tones I’ve gotten. 25% Danish that’s cool man, I’ve got some in me too but unsure to what piece of the danish pie haha.


      • Dana Nielsen

        at 1:25 pm

        My pleasure, man!! 🇩🇰

      • Christopher Dunston

        at 12:13 am

        @dana I second that! I primarily produce/record/mix R&B, Pop, and Hip Hop records all in the box and the RVox, RComp as well any one of the LA2A/Distressor/1176 Compressors are my goto’s! I REALLY like to use the 1176 Blue -> LA2A (in Limit mode with 1-3 Db of Gain Reduction for Control/ Smoothness). I primarily use the Slate Digital ones, but I like the ones by UAD and IK Multimedia as well. They all have different flavors.

        A classic, but goodie, a lot of people (including me) use for R&B/Hip Hop vocals is the Waves H-Comp as well!

        I also really like using the RVox on Background Vocals and to give the Lead a little more bite. Another Secret Weapon I will share on Vocals is a plugin called Lush Vox. It’s like a parallel compressor plugin that you dial in with a slide, but it makes a huge difference in making vocals more present.

        • Dana Nielsen

          at 1:24 am

          Ooh, yeah, the double-compressor combo-punch of the 1176 AND LA2A is a lot of fun! Especially when the singer has a huge dynamic range (whispery soft verses into ripping loud choruses). These days, when tracking live with compressor(s) on the front end of the signal path before digital conversion, if I need that double-comp scenario I’ll reach for a lightning fast Distressor to do the heavy lifting and then a CL1B after that for some final slow ‘n’ gentle smoothing.

          NOTE: lest I give the unintended impression that I’m constantly double-compressing things on input I should mention that, for me, this technique is fairly uncommon. 99% of the time I’m fine using 1 compressor on the input chain. But in the right situation the double-up is perfect!

          And H-Comp – nice! I forgot about that oldie but goodie … gonna bring that back into rotation!

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