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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!)