The Smart Research C1LA is a two channel compressor/limiter, released to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the original C1 Stereo/Dual Mono unit, and the 50th anniversary of North American distributor, Sunset Sound.
Having used a G series compressor, as well as many of the available modern clones, I thought I knew exactly what I was getting when I put the C1La into my rack. It looks and feels solid, but that’s nothing new in high-end 500 series gear. What’s remarkable about this particular clone is its smooth and refined sound. Typically these types of VCA compressors tend to sound great within their standard range of operation, but will quickly fall apart and sound bad when they’re pushed too hard. That said, you dig deep with the C1La without totally destroying your mix, opening up a much larger range of pleasing compression capabilities than other G series style compressors.
In addition to it’s excellent tone, this compressor brings some more modern features to the tried and true classic design - a variable hi-pass filter and external sidechain input add another level of flexibility to this already great compressor.
The C1La is fantastic for gluing your tracks together for a unified sound that’ll transform your mixes from a rough idea to a polished, professional mix. It’s not incredibly heavy-handed with color and character, so if you’re after something that will leave a more noticeable signature on your mix, check out the Vintech 609 or API 2500.