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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 fully functional 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

    Paul McCartney, David Arnold, Sonos

    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

    Engineer (Linkin Park, Red Hot Chili Peppers, J-Lo, Tupac, Tom Petty)

    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


    Producer/Mix & Mastering Engineer (Ms. Lauryn Hill, Qusai, EA Sports: Madden NFL)

    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


Supported Plugin Formats

Supported Operating Systems
Mac OS X 10.9 through 10.13
Windows 7 through 10
Pro Tools 10.3.10 or higher or most VST/VST3/AU-compatible hosts 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


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