Tube-Tech CL 1B

Single-Channel Opto-Cell Compressor with Tube Amplifier
Tube-Tech CL 1B image 1
Tube-Tech CL 1B image 1
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Tube-Tech CL 1B
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Unbeatable Track Record

The Tube-Tech CL 1B Compressor, introduced in 1991, is Tube-Tech founder John G. Petersen's take on classic optical compression. The CL 1B has gone on to become an industry standard found in pro studios worldwide. In fact, it's the "go-to" compressor for vocals and bass in LA and Nashville. The reason for its enduring popularity is no mystery: it delivers velvety-smooth, musical-sounding compression while preserving the clarity of the source — even when pushed hard. In operation, the CL1B is a model of simplicity, offering separate control over ratio, threshold, attack and release. Just start dialing away; you'll immediately hear what it's doing and be able to intuitively zero-in on the perfect settings. It's nearly impossible to make this compressor sound bad; beyond that, its straightforward operation is what makes the Tube-Tech CL 1B a favorite here at Sweetwater.

Under the hood

The CL 1B features a gain-reduction element positioned immediately after the input transformer. It is controlled by a sidechain amplifier, which also offers the ability to use a fixed time control (Attack/Release), manual (variable) time control, or fixed/manual. This circuit contains semiconductor op-amps for the entire control. The gain-reduction element is followed by a tube-based push-pull amplifier with up to 30dB of variable gain. A dedicated Bus selector with three positions (Off, Bus 1, and Bus 2) is used to link multiple compressors. Input and output transformers have a static screen between the primary and secondary wirings. Both Input and Output are balanced as well as fully floating.

Smooth, warm, and transparent

The CL 1B is not a piece of character gear. The sound is smooth and warm, but transparency is the name of the game: you can dial in tons of compression with virtually no audible artifacts. The CL 1B can be heard — or more accurately not heard— on countless hits. Engineers, producers, and artists favor it for its ability to make a track sit pretty in a mix without losing its clarity, even at extreme settings. It's no secret that it's the go-to compressor for many top rap and hip hop vocalists, but it works wonders in the context of any musical setting. It's fabulous on vocals, and you'll love it on guitars, bass, keys, or just about anything else you care to feed it.

Tube-Tech CL 1B Features:

  • Unique low distortion gain-reduction element
  • All tube-based push-pull amplifier
  • Multiple interconnection of several compressors via two busses
  • VU meter for monitoring input, compression, and output
  • Continuously variable attack and release time
  • Gain range (off to +30dB)
  • Variable Threshold (off to -40dBu)
  • Frequency response @ -3dB: 5Hz-25kHz
  • Low noise: < -75dBu @30dB gain
  • Clickless bypass switch

Additional Media

Signal Processing Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Number of Channels 1
Controls Gain, Ratio, Threshold, Attack, Release
Threshold -40 dB to 0 dB
Ratio 2:1 to 10:1
Frequency Response 5Hz-25kHz (-3 dB)
Side Chain Inserts Yes
Inputs 1 x XLR
Outputs 1 x XLR
Sidechain I/O 2 x 1/4"
Rack Spaces 3U
Height 5.25"
Depth 6.7"
Width 19"
Weight 9 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number CL 1B

Customer Reviews

Based on 10 reviews
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Awesome Comp With Lots of Color

Great comp with lots of color. I love it on vocals!
Music background: Studio / Live Engineer

Tube-Tech Reviews

This unit is perfect for what I want. Good investment for my homestudio. Alex thanks for your support and Sweetwater. If you do not speak English well, Alex is the man in Sweetwater who can help you with your purchase.

CL1B Compressor

I love this compressor. Personally I am not a fan of the stock tubes, I replaced my JJ stocks with telefunkens and spare pair just incase. This unit is great for vocals and bass GTR. I do mostly hip hop recordings so this compressor gets a workout mostly on vocals. My usual setting for this unit is set to fixed with about 10 db of gain and -15 on the threshold with about 6:1 on the ratio. It sounds smooth and silky like butter.
Music background: Recording Engineer, Recording Artist, Music Producer

gorgeous vocal and bass compressor

simply put, the most beautiful sounding vocal compressor ever made. any vocal you run through it comes out controlled and with a smooth sheen that cannot be found anywhere else. i also love tracking bass through it.. believe it or not, my minimoog through this thing and into an api 5500 sounds ridiculously good!
Music background: producer and engineer

Tube-Tech CL 1B

You can hear a major difference in this piece of equipment while using it on vocals. It's an amazing piece of equipment to have. I've been getting great results from artist coming through my studio loving the sound quality and presence that it has while recording their tracks. I'd prefer anyone to buy one.
Music background: Recording Engineer

Sweetwater Advice

Thomas Leahy

Back in Nashville, I used the Tube-Tech CL 1B on vocals and found it glues the top end together with a characteristic texture that's unique to even among similar compressors. In most ways, it's a classic tube-based optical compressor, but its added versatility really makes it stand out.
See also: Compressors, Tube-Tech, Tube-Tech Compressors / Limiters, Tube-Tech Compressors / Limiters