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Waves CLA Classic Compressors Plug-in Bundle - Native Reviews

5.0 stars based on 15 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Charlie Davis

    Waves CLA Classic Compressors have quickly become my go-to compressors when mixing. Easy to use, and they sound great. What more could you ask for?!

  • Stuart Niven

    The Waves CLA Classic Compressors Native bundle stands head and shoulders above the rest. These are simply the closest that plug-ins have to come to the real "hardware" units. If you work in the box, these are a must! I use them daily!

  • from Austin,Texas December 28, 2013Music Background:
    Musician, percussionist, recording engeneer, student

    Get them. Eventually.

    Some of the best compressors on the market, wonderful color and a slew of uses and texture. The CLA 76 black is great on drums, the Bluey is great in subtle vocals. The CLA2 is a beast on the master bus. The ClA4 sounds amazing on bass and sets it more in top. If you want to be a professional or are one these are a joy to work with.

  • from North Carolina December 6, 2013Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Professional musician for 30+ years.

    WAVES CLA Compressors

    These are a no brainer!! The smoothest compressor plugins in my arsenal! If you mix 'in the box', you must get these!! Thanks Sweetwater for making it easy!

  • from The Holler, NC October 5, 2011Music Background:
    Producer, Songwriter, Sanitation Enthusiast

    Best Plugin Purchase all year! Yippee!

    I've always wondered why i couldn't get those tight drum sounds i'm after. these plugins teleported me straight to the front doorstep of awesomeness. Now my drums cut the mix, my vocals sit perfectly, my bass hits my chest like friggin roundhouse kick. Get these little guys, and you won't be disappointed. Lot's of color, lots of punch, lot's of hey it's time for lunch.

  • from Tulsa, OK September 24, 2011Music Background:
    Recording Engineer / Producer

    Seriously good.

    These plugins are fantastic, and such a great value. It's to the point where you need to stop asking yourself "do I want them to sound identical to the original units, or do I want three amazing compressors?" I have done some A/Bs with the LA3 and a great vintage LA3 and I couldn't tell the difference, honestly. All the plugs sound amazing, so useful in modern mixes. The truth is, the old units were so different from each other anyway, you might not even get your hands on a good sounding one.

    At the end of the day, these compressors can get you through almost every mix. You can always branch out and be creative, try new things, but with these three you can get you somewhere. Two thumbs up, definitely waves.

  • from Orem, UT March 17, 2011Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Producer, Musician, Teacher

    My Go To Compressors

    I have owned these compressors for over a year now and all I still can't believe how good they sound. I mix about 5-8 songs a week. I own Waves Platinum, SSL Bundle,V-Series and tons of other 3rd party plug-ins. It is difficult for me to not use these plug-ins on every track because they sound soo good.

    The 1176 Blue Stripe is amazing on Vocals. Dial in a 7 on release and around a 4 on attack and then don't be afraid to let the meter display generous amounts of compression. These plug-ins can dish out tons of compression without you hearing unpleasant digital artifacts.

    I Also love the Black 1176 on Drums. This is the compressor that will transform your drums the most of any software compressor I've heard. If you set the attack to 7, it reacts lightning fast. It has the best sounding All Buttons In mode I've ever heard for on a software compressor. The only compressor that is as good on squishing drums is the SSL Bus compressor. Both are amazing.

    Finally, the LA3A is amazing on Acoustic and Electric Guitar.

    Trust me. These Compressors are going to make a big difference in your mixes-Especially if you don't mind using generous amounts of compression.

  • from Temple, TX February 28, 2011Music Background:
    Recording/Mixing engineer

    Amazing Compression Bundle

    I am extremely pleased with the CLA Classic Compressors bundle, I haven't had much luck in finding great compressor plug-ins that truly please the way I work and most importantly, please my ears.

    This bundle is EXTREMELY accurate and true to every model included with it. the 1176 blacky is the most perfect 1176 blackface emulation I have used. I know what the hardware unit sounds like and what it can offer to all sorts of instruments and this model does EXACTLY what the hardware unit does.

    The LA-3A is great for vocals (in fact I used it during tracking yesterday) You can really drive the vocals and still get a smooth compression tone with a great smooth grit to it to give a bit of an edgy vocal sound.

    Bar none, THE best compressor bundle money can buy.

  • from Denver October 31, 2010Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Musician

    Just Great

    These just make everything sit right where you want it in the mix. I have always just used logic compressors and wanted something more so I tried out the renaissance pack but it didn't seem worth it to me. I waited a few months and saw these on sale so I decided to get the demo and I ended up ordering them as soon as I remixed a song I was working on with them. Just download the free demo and I guarantee you'll buy them.

  • from NY NY USA July 21, 2010Music Background:
    Recording Engineer & Musician

    Limiters with No Limit

    5 stars and I could stop there. 1176 black/blue .. la2a (tube) la3a(solid-state)... You could easily enhance your audio with this bundle alone. I got it couple months after it dropped. Asked myself why did i wait this long. A proud owner of the UAD2 DSP 1176ln, these comps/limiters sit right up there. Not better but different. Modeled after Chris' personal gear. Cream of the crop. Pick this up.

  • from Alexandria January 2, 2010Music Background:
    Guitarist, Recording Engineer, Producer

    You won't think your working with plugins!

    These compressors sound fantastic. I owe a real La-2a and 1176 which I use during tracking, but I’ve always wanted a full rack to use during mixing. Now I can. They come pretty darn close to the real thing. I'm pleasantly surprized at how real they sound. You won’t think you’re working with plug-ins.
    I’ve been debating getting these for awhile and I’m really glad I did. I would definitely recommend these.

  • from Brooklyn, NY December 31, 2009Music Background:
    Porfessional Musician

    From Butter To Bite

    I usually don`t give 5 stars on any gear/software because there is always something that needs improvement. In this case, I`m blown away. Before we get into the review, let me mention that I have owned the Waves Gold Native Bundle for almost a decade. So I know Waves makes a professional product. I have mixed and mastered many projects with Waves so when it came time to expand my plug-ins, I turned to Waves.

    Now to the CLA: I am not surprised that these plugs are good, I am surprised how great they are! I was looking for something with a little more character and the CLA collection delivers. The plugs in the Gold Native Bundle outstanding in their own right. For example, the Renaissance Comp and the C4 (multi-band compressor) sound great. They can push and pull a signal but they don`t bite: meaning they are not overly aggressive. And if they do get aggressive, they still remain pretty neutral and clean sounding. The CLA bundle has sounds that range from buttery (think silky and smooth) to bite (think attitude). For example, the LA-2A compressor sounds great on lead vocals and evens out the voice without hearing any compression. I also slap this plug across my stereo bus and hardly compress but it does something to give the mix more presence and brings out each instrument. It makes my job a lot easier.

    The 1176 is another plug I simply slap on my vocal or guitar tracks and instant "mojo". With very little tweaking I can get tracks to pop or sit in the mix. The presets are also nice jumping off points so even if you`re new to these units, you can dial up a preset and you are in the ballpark. The one thing with plugs is that you rarely get a pleasant sound when you push them too hard. The CLA compressors actually sound good when you push them. This is what I mean when I say they have bite. Granted, distortion should be used sparingly but when was the last time you thought of using a compressor to get some distortion? It can be done with these plugs.

    I normally do not write such lengthy reviews but in this case, I felt Waves deserved high praise. The CLA collection simply delivers from "butter to bite". If you`re looking for an all around collection of compressors that you will actually use day in day out, this is it.

  • from los angeles, ca November 25, 2009Music Background:
    producer, engineer, musician


    sweetest sounding versions of these i’ve heard. they come pretty darn close to the hardware units. a friend of mine did an a/b test with the 1176, LA2A and the real ones and he could not believe he was listening to plugins. we both agreed the hardware still had that little extra something but man for a plugin they rocked it.

  • from Birmingham, AL May 1, 2014Music Background:
    Professional musician

    Excellent Plugins!

    If your doing any kind of serious mixing, these plugins are a "must have". Having owned the original hardware version of the UA1176, I can tell you that Waves has faithfully represented the original model with this plug. The LA-2A and 3A are equally usable. Put these on bass, kick and snare, even vocals and your mixes with pop. Definitely get these!

  • from Durham, NC December 30, 2012Music Background:
    Live Sound Engineer, Audio Post Production

    Great Bang for the Buck

    I have used these compressors in both live and studio settings and they sound great. They use low system resources and really provide excellent tone and dynamic shaping abilities. Highly recommended.

  • from Birmingham, AL August 8, 2011Music Background:

    CLA Compressors are great

    Great plug ins. Really opened up my mixes.

  • from Nashville, Tn April 2, 2012Music Background:

    CLA Classic Compressors = Great Bundle

    I Love this bundle.

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