The Acme Opticom XLA-3 is a powerful and flexible optical compressor with glorious tube-powered, triple optoelectric, cold-rolled steel covered military-grade componentry. Slap it across the drum buss for solid and seamless LA-2A styled leveling. Force vocals through the input to add grit and attitude to a wimpy take. Use Amp mode to add harmonic color to a guitar or bass line without even touching the dynamics. The Opticom XLA-3 is a bombproof beast of an optical compressor, and thanks to Acme’s cooperation with Brainworx, it’s now available in plugin form to tame and/or soothe any sound you throw at it.

The original XLA-3 hardware features three compression responses that each treats sounds in a totally different way, affecting spectral regions with varying envelope behaviors and distortion characteristics. On top of that, an Amp mode allows for gain boosting without dynamics reduction. Whether using the Fast, Normal or Slow setting, optical CdSe (Cadmium Selenide) photocells will always leak a perfect little transient through while allowing you to smash sounds to oblivion, or simply tame your peaks. Brainworx faithfully emulated the XLA-3 and captured these features in plugin form, right down to the Light History behavior exhibited by light-dependent resistors when returning from a resting state, or being constantly assaulted with input. Additionally, several new features were added to the plugin version, including a parallel mix knob, an output trim control, and an adjustable noise floor. All of the complex and sonically beautiful behavior has been faithfully rendered in the plugin version.

The Acme Opticom XLA-3 is the simple solution for powerful optical compression and harmonic coloration. Drive the input. Set the behavior. Level to taste. Done.

Download the full function 14-day demo (no dongle required!) to explore all the tonal and level control possibilities with the Acme Opticom XLA-3A yourself.


  • Unique optoelectric circuit that combines the best characteristics of three separate compression curves into a single unit- from clean to dirty
  • Smooth and seamless ‘LA-2A’ sound with the additional benefits of even-harmonic distortion when needed
  • Doubles as a “tone box” adding color and distortion without reducing dynamics if desired
  • Simple and straightforward controls make it easy to dial in dynamics control
  • Saturate with Output Gain, and attenuate to taste with the added Output Trim
  • Accurate metering shows Input Drive, gain reduction, and overall output
  • Gain reduction bypass with additional Amp mode provides tone coloration without dynamics reduction
  • 15 dB switchable input pad
  • Features not available on the original hardware:

 - Adjustable noise floor 
 - Output trim knob for linear attenuation 
 - Wet/Dry mix knob for parallel compression

Audio Examples

Industry Reviews

  • Toby Pitman
    Toby Pitman

    The Opticom XLA-3 is a clean and super useful compressor with all the squash and punch that you’d expect from an Opto like this. The Wet/Dry mix makes it really easy to get great parallel… Read More

  • Deniz Koyu
    Deniz Koyu

    I really like the three curve settings on this compressor. No matter what material you’re dealing with, one of the three curves always gives you the response you’re looking for.… Read More

  • Ethan Mates
    Ethan Mates

    This plug has vibe for days! The attitude and grit I was able to pull out of some drably recorded vocals was amazing. Don’t sleep on Amp Mode either!

  • Stonebridge

    Love this compressor, great that it adds total control of things like noise. Will be my go to master buss compressor from here on out. Even a hair of it adds clarity and vibe to a… Read More

  • X:144

    Flavor. That’s what we ask for in this digital realm. The Acme Opticom has it. The moment you insert it on a track it makes itself known without applying gain reduction. The fact that you can… Read More

Customer Reviews

  • ★★★★★
    Amazing Opto
    by SeanRayaMusic
    This has to be one of the best sounding algorithmic opto compressors I have used. I absolutely love the versatility of it. It can do everything from smooth LA-2A like compression to saturated tonal… Read More
  • ★★★★★
    by KOsborne
    This thing is amazing. Truly, there are VERY few "tube compressor" plugins that I actually enjoy using, because they don't sound like my tube hardware units. I won't say this thing sounds "just like"… Read More
  • ★★★★☆
    Miguel Garcia
    by Miguel Garcia
    I am using this emulation for to get fat bass lines and you know what..? This is Awesome!! Congratulations
  • ★★★★★
    Acme Audio Opticom XLA-3
    by Rick Veneer
    I was attracted to this plugin because an optical compressor with timing controls and more is an unusual beast.The ability to go from clean leveling to vintage colour, the amp section and saturation… Read More


Supported Plugin Formats

Supported Operating Systems
Mac OS X 10.8 through 10.12
Windows 7 through 10
Pro Tools 10.3.10 or higher or any VST/VST3/AU-compatible host running on a supported operating system

Intel CPU only (minimum 2 GHz recommended)

Intel-compatible CPU with SSE2 instruction set (Pentium 4 compatible or higher; minimum 2 GHz recommended)

System Requirements
Display resolution: 1440 × 900px or 1280 × 960px or higher
Memory: 2 GB RAM


With the Installation Manager, you can select, download and install just the Plugin Alliance products and formats you need for your system. During this initial release, we at Plugin Alliance look forward to hearing the feedback of our valued customers, as your input will help shape future versions of this utility.