Acme, in collaboration with Brainworx, have released a stonking looking plug-in version of their Opticom XLA-3 that they are describing as a harmonically rich optical compressor with glorious tube-powered, triple optoelectric, cold-rolled steel covered military grade componentry. Apparently it sounds as good as that sounds.
The original XLA-3 hardware featured three different characters depending on the response setting enabling you to treat sounds in very different ways. The amp mode allows for gain boosting without dynamics reduction and the optical Cadium Selenide photocells have a certain ability to leak transients in a pleasing and helpful way. All these elements are captured in the plug-in.
Some new features have been added to the software version including a parallel mix knob, output trim control and an adjustable noise floor. The GUI looks fabulous, really inviting and clear and touchable. The website gives a very succinct summary which describes it beautifully – “The Acme Opticom XLA-3 is the simple solution for powerful optical compression and harmonic coloration. Drive the input, Set the behaviour. Level to taste. Done.” I like that a lot.
A dongle free 14-day demo is available from the website after which an iLok and $299 is required. It can run on OSX or Windows in AAX, AU and VST formats.
More information: https://www.plugin-alliance.com/en/products/acme_opticom_xla-3.html