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Get the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier FREE!

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Pete Stobbs
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Get the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier FREE!

Postby Pete Stobbs » Tue Oct 18, 2016 5:22 am

Get the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier FREE!

http://www.cakewalk.com/products/CA-2A/Free
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Mark Bliss
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Re: Get the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier FREE!

Postby Mark Bliss » Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:01 pm

Heads up, if you download this, the installer will ask if your OS is 32 or 64 bit.
If you are using a 32 bit version of Mixcraft in a 64 bit OS, it will assume you want the 64 bit version.

Open up Command center, click on the preferences button and check the "verbose install" box.
Then you get the choice on install.
Stay in tune, Mark

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Get the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier FREE!

Postby Mark Bliss » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:54 am

Evaluating- so far I like it, especially for mild to moderate "opto" style leveling.
Also simple to set up and sounds pretty good for side chain gain control too!
Stay in tune, Mark

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Ianpb
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Re: Get the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier FREE!

Postby Ianpb » Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:53 pm

This has a terrible installation procedure, needing to download and install the Control Centre, which loads more crap at startup, before even downloading the plugin itself. I just decided to uninstall the Control Centre and give it all a miss. I already have the Waves CLA-2A, which I hardly ever use anyway, and yet another compressor is the last thing I need.

Anyway, here's another supposed emulation of the LA-2A that's free and straightforward to install, but 32-Bit.
http://www.vst4free.com/free_vst.php?id=1186

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Get the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier FREE!

Postby Mark Bliss » Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:42 pm

I had no trouble with the install whatsoever beyond the previously mentioned 64/32 bit issue. Very minor.
Some people may not like the control center style installation/authorization, I don't mind. Beats the crap out of trying to get iLock sorted out. I have yet to get that to work and find it a completely unnecessary hassle, while I know many others use it without difficulty. Whatever works, I just have continued to avoid software that requires it.

And another case of personal preference and "to each their own" but I found the Antress-Modern series of compressors to be some of the harshest/digital sounding of any third party compressors I have ever tried.
They might be better for those who use heavy compression maybe. I didn't care for them at all.
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aquataur
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Re: Get the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier FREE!

Postby aquataur » Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:02 am

The CA-2A is a very useful tool, but I’d have to respectfully say that of all the things it’s not, it’s not an LA-2A.
Source: attackmagazine


Hmmm....
Back to start. There is no way around harnessing the compressor. Damn.

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Get the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier FREE!

Postby Mark Bliss » Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:33 am

That's an interesting article Helmut, thanks for the link!

But, I'd never expect anyone who owns or has access to an genuine LA2A to say anything good about a plug in emulation......
Especially given the $3K vs. free situation. :lol:
And also, just because it doesn't perform in the same manner doesn't make it bad, just different. Could still be useful I think.

On lighter settings I have so far found it to be pretty good at smoothing and evening things out a little and bringing out some detail, without pushing it hard up "in your face"

Still experimenting. There's others too......
Stay in tune, Mark

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Re: Get the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier FREE!

Postby Mark Bliss » Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:48 pm

Wait a minute, back up..... :?
Reading the last page out of context made the wrong impression I think. Backing up and studying the whole thing I noticed:

1: The reviewer is focusing on comparing hardware vs plug ins for "modern dance music" while readily admitting the LA2-A style is wrong, or at least not the typically preferred style compressor (hardware or software) for the genre.

2: The reviewer is the creator of boutique compressor hardware AND emulation plug ins in direct competition with the reviewed plug ins.......

And still readily admits that for more typical use on for instance, plucked/strummed strings, "normal" vocals, etc, where the LA2-A style compressor is preferred and admits the plug ins are very good!

Kind of talks in a circle here and you have to read the whole thing and even then.... read a little between the lines.

And then there is the audio examples. Of the clearly identified ones I honestly can hardly tell any difference between models. Then there is the last set, not clearly described or identified. In one I can tell its hardware, and the level of the compressed portion is about 2 dB louder than the other example. Not fair.
And I am not sure what the point of throwing the last one in there that I think is his own software emulation, but set to an extreme level......
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aquataur
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Re: Get the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier FREE!

Postby aquataur » Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:16 am

Leaving this specific subject aside...

Again and again I land at a point where I realize there is no shortcuts.
I may have the very best software emulation or even hardware unit and still produce a lousy result if I cannot tame the darn thing.

Reminds me of a friend, who incidentally turned me onto Mixcraft a few years ago.
He is an excellent musician and does some recording work for people, mainly "ethno" music.
His wife sings. I asked him how he goes about mixing and mastering and particularly treating the voice of his wife.

His response was, he uses a Waves plugin that is called "to-the-front" or thereabouts. :shock:
Meaning, he does not have a clue technically. However, he must have pretty good intution.

This tells me, if you do not have a clue, if you cannot harness those devices, you are subject to cookbook approaches or to pre-digested plugin-settings on free (but mostly overpriced) plugins.
Plugin XY does a good job on (whatever)... why? What does it do? What to listen for? Where to tweak?
If we cannot answer those questions we end up running through an ever growing arbitrary list of compressor plugins, try twiddling a knob here and there without knowing what to listen for and end up taking the one that sounds best right out of the box.

Yes and you are right, the one that rants most about his multi-buck piece of software wins the race.

I do not want to put this particular specimen down, or any other, understand me.

-helmut

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Get the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier FREE!

Postby Mark Bliss » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:05 am

Man, I hear you. And cant disagree with a thing.

However, I think the key is a combination of understanding the basic functions and how they are used, and finding tools that work for you and importantly, using them a lot so they become very familiar and second nature.
I want to know what I seek and know what I want to use to get there.

Trouble is, we are constantly bombarded with temptations to try another way instead of using what we know and acquiring more practice and familiarity. Instead we look at the next shiny object and wander off to try it out. I'm guilty.

That said, there's also those who accept "good enough" and don't want to spend all that time learning all those technical details. As I have said before, I think there's a good market and use for simpler interfaces and useful presets for many people.
It sounds like your friend is using an example of the Waves "one knob" series. I have some. Love them. Don't use them. Stubbornly trying to do it the hard way........ I want to be a knowledgeable engineer and producer. The more I learn, the harder I see it is.

I also have to admit to and face short term memory issues. I don't retain what I learn very well. I can however seem to remember that one specific setting or preset that gets me close to start with. And I will confess that I have found a few rare examples of "secret sauce" that makes it feel like cheating.......

But then other areas where I get stuck fiddling far too much.

Still learning.
Stay in tune, Mark

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aquataur
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Re: Get the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier FREE!

Postby aquataur » Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:09 am

Mark Bliss wrote:I'm guilty.

Resist manfully .... 8)

Mark Bliss wrote:I also have to admit to and face short term memory issues. I don't retain what I learn very well.


Yes I know that very well. Some day I am really into it and I think, now you have it sussed to a T.
Things are very logical to me and I lend myself to the delusion that I will keep the stuff this time.

Needless to say, two weeks later it is all gone. But I learn too. I write up short notes! :lol:
-h

later note: Man, did you see what sheer wisdom I have emanated in the reacomp thread :lol: Could not even remember that, if it were not written!

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Starship Krupa
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Re: Get the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier FREE!

Postby Starship Krupa » Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:12 pm

Just want to post a thanks to the compressor mavens on this forum. I downloaded the CA-2A when it was free, and I now use it on every vocal submix. Thank you Pete for posting that it was available.

It sits at the top, in the parent track, and the vocal child track has a dbx 165 workalike on it. Both of them get set so that their gain reduction is 3-5 dB, depending on what sounds good.

Really brings the vocal to the front, but even though I put together the recipe and it works, I don't fully understand how and why.

I wonder how many mix engineers truly understand how and why compressors do what they do, and how many have just twiddled until they came up with a winning formula, and then how many just read up and see "make the needle bounce around 3-4 dB gain reduction, and set the release so that it's not still compressing by the time the next transient comes."

Currently I am in that last group. But what I do does what I want it to, so, happy for now.
-Erik
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Mark Bliss
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Re: Get the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier FREE!

Postby Mark Bliss » Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:46 am

I've been using it some, so far it seems to be a clean LA-2A style compressor for a nice light touch.
One of the better from the free category IMO.
Well it WAS free anyway.

I'd also have to recommend the T-Racks Opto compressor for similar use. Nice for subtle vocal smoothing and sweetening, or that light "glue"
Also currently free, but only for a limited time.
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Re: Get the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier FREE!

Postby Starship Krupa » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:58 am

Mark Bliss wrote:I'd also have to recommend the T-Racks Opto compressor for similar use. Nice for subtle vocal smoothing and sweetening, or that light "glue"
Also currently free, but only for a limited time.


+1, and I thank you Mark for hipping me to it.

I need to check the documentation because I don't fully understand the difference between the compression amount knob and the ratio knob and then there's the input knob. Maybe the compression knob is like threshold?

Whatever, it is a nice sounding pluggie. It's been steadily replacing the CA-2A in my projects, at least for now.
-Erik
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Mark Bliss
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Re: Get the CA-2A Leveling Amplifier FREE!

Postby Mark Bliss » Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:03 am

Erik, these are unusual in that the compressors they emulate largely rely on the input gain to adjust the amount or aggressiveness of the compressor. Similar to threshold, but not exactly. It's a different animal.

I haven't found there to be much real documentation or guidance on this one, so I have relied on a little understanding of how the hardware units functioned and some experimenting.
I'll try to explain a little and see if that helps.

The hardware used a light source powered by the incoming audio, and a photo sensor detected the light level and was keyed to the gain reduction function. This created a relatively slow and smooth response.
So you can see, a higher voltage input signal = brighter light = more compression.

The one area this particular emulation wanders from accuracy is that it allows very fast attack times, which the hardware couldn't do. Some feel its a hybrid "best of both worlds" kind of creation.
I don't know about that, but I do know you can get pretty aggressive peak reduction, match the makeup and be left wondering if its even on....... Double check the meters, yep. Knocking (about) 3 dB off the top. adding (about) 3 dB overall, meters confirm it.
Smooth.

Oh, another thing of note, I read somewhere that the meter calibration on this is a bit different from the common "norm" as well, with 0 VU being equal to about -9 dBFS. This is only relevant when it is in "input" or "output" mode, and not "GR" mode of course. I haven't checked this (yet) but its good to know.
Stay in tune, Mark

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