Gear reviews

Softube – Tube-Tech CL1b compressor plugin

Generally speaking

From the website:

Tube-Tech CL 1B is a true studio classic, heard on tons and tons of records for the past 20 years. Like its hardware counterpart, the Tube-Tech CL 1B native plug-in sounds soft, smooth, groovy and can compress an insane amount of dB’s without sounding bad.

The CL 1B plug-ins by Softube are the only Tube-Tech plug-ins that are fully endorsed by Tube-Tech.

This version requires no DSP hardware but uses the same outstanding modeling technology and algorithms as the famous Tube-Tech CL 1B plug-in for TDM and PowerCore (distributed by TC Electronic). The sound is of course just as fantastic as its predecessor. With this unprecedented accuracy, down to details such as the precise VU meter behaviour, the Tube-Tech CL 1B plug-in is definitely in a league of its own.

In Short

  • Classic Tube-Tech sound in your computer
  • Created together with the designers at Lydkraft/Tube-Tech
  • Each and every component carefully modeled
  • Fix./man. mode for breaking traditional compression boundaries
  • External sidechain control
  • A seriously great looking GUI!
  • Very CPU friendly

Problems & Technicaltities

I inserted the compressor on kick, snare, vocals and guitars. No problems. It’s really very CPU friendly. 🙂

The graphic-interface looks outstanding, like the real thing. No crashes, no hazzle.


I am one of those rare engineers who never worked with a real CL1b. I can not comment how “real” the plugin emulates the real world. Except this small detail, I say that this is the best compressor plugin ever made. You can play with the attack and the release and for the first time I really hear a difference in plugin attack/release settings. The guitars get bigger the longer the release is, the vocals “pop” is gone when I dial in a short release and longer attack. I am very pleased.

The compressor on the kick is a nice! It swallows the oumph and transports the sound very nice. Love it. Very musical.

On vocals you can make the singer sit right in the mix, works unbelivable well on background vox. Just adjust the parameters and you can bring the vocals back in the mix, but still cutting trough. Wooow! On lead vocals I had some sss problems when driving the Tube-Tech hard, but I managed it with the introduction of spitfish on the channel. Problem solved.


This is for me by far the best plugin compressor ever made. It is up to par with some of the UAD stuff and in my opinion even better. The color varies from aggressive to muddy (always in a pleasent way), you can move stuff forth and back in your mix and if  it pumps, it pumps musically.

Buy it.

One Response to “Softube – Tube-Tech CL1b compressor plugin”

  1. Rumi says:

    This plugin had a very strange sound when I tested it. The compressor behaviour resembles the hardware, but the hardware definitely doesn’t have that ugly sound. And I know that George agrees with me on this ;-). There are also comments on gearslutz about this. I find the above review a bit too positive. Test this plugin before you buy it, and listen for any strange ‘digital’ sound.

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