If you’re a fan of some of the most classic pieces of studio hardware from Urei, specifically the LN Ref F leveling amplifier and the LA-4A compressor, you may be luck. Black Rooster Audio, a company that has become known for affordable plugin emulations, has released the VLA-FET — a leveling plugin that combines bits and pieces from both of these older, more expensive boxes, and places them right inside your computer.
The Black Rooster Audio VLA-FET contains input and output knobs, both of which range from -54db (∞) to 0db, and a series of buttons to select any of four ratio amounts: 4db, 8db, 12db, or 20db. Holding true to the powerful and tube driven tones of its inspiration, it provides users very quick attack and release times within its compression function in order to grab waveforms more precisely at the beginning, and/or drop them off quickly at the end for those who need to add an extra pop to drums or to bring vocals straight to the front of the mix. Finally, there is a switch to indicate that there is an external side-chain source for the plugin to listen for, as well as a knob to put a high-pass filter on that sidechain for an even more accurate detection system.
With all of that functionality that emulates some of the industry’s favorite hardware units, offered in a plugin form for a strong fraction of the price, it’s no question that the VLA-FET from Black Rooster Audio brings some extreme value to the table. If you’ve made your mind up already, the plugin is available right from the Black Rooster Audio website at a price of $99. However, if you act quickly within the first few days of this plugin’s availability, you can snag it for yourself at an introductory price of just $69, which is a total steal. If you need some more information before you buy, you can find everything you need to know from Black Rooster’s website as well.