Waves CLA-2A
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Waves CLA-2A

CLA-2A, Software compressor from Waves in the CLA series.

content in English
tarrtime 18/12/2012

Waves CLA-2A : Recensione di tarrtime (content in English)

"Every studio needs an LA-2A"
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The CLA-2A is a software plug-in to be used in a DAW. It digitally emulates the processing of the famous LA-2A compressor.
Waves plug-ins are easy to install. You just download it off their webpage, then authorize it using a USB stick as a dongle, or using a software application if you computer connects to the internet.
Waves plug-ins are stable. I have never had any problems with bugs or anything like that.

SUITABILITY/PERFORMANCE

This is the easiest compressor I have ever used (Waves Ren Axx is a close second). Essentially there are just two knobs. The knob on the right is used to control the gain reduction (i.e. how much amplitude of the signal gets compressed). The knob on the left is used to control the overall volume of the output signal. There are no controls for attack/release/knee/etc. Basically, all these settings are fixed and set internally. It is worth noting that the attack and release of this compressor are not very fast (especially compare to an 1176). Therefore, it is typically used for things like vocals, bass, and guitars. Using this compressor with drums can be tricky because it has the slow attack time. One popular technique is to use an 1176 first with fast attack and fast release to control the transients, followed by an LA-2A to control the sustain of the drums. Another good thing to do it to use the side-chain HPF to cut the low frequencies of a bass drum.

OVERALL OPINION

The LA-2A compressor is famous for 'smoothing' out audio tracks. If you can spend the money to buy a hardware version, more power to you. For the rest of us, we can be glad that many software companies are digitally modeling the signal processing. I own several modeled versions of the LA-2A (Waves CLA-2A, BF-2A, NI/Softube VC 2A, Line 6 Tube Comp). I definitely like the sound of the Waves version the best. I would like to see them include the feature of parallel inject/mix on an update version of all the CLA compressors.
The LA-2A is an essential signal processor for any studio. I definitely wouldn't want to try to mix without it. With that being said, it would be a great idea to buy this plug-in as part of the CLA compressors bundle because the 1176 is also essential.