Renowned for its transparency and musicality, the Teletronix LA-2A is a - possibly the - classic opto compressor with tube amplification. The CA-2A is Cakewalk's latest plugin emulation of it, a port of their previous Sonar-only version (the PC2A) into VST/AU plugin formats, joining their fabulous Z3TA+ synth on the cross-platform train.
The CA-2A features the standard set of LA-2A controls: Peak Reduction (threshold), Gain (gain make-up), and two Ratio settings (Compress and Limit). In addition, you also get access to the LA-2A's 'emphasis' circuit via the R37 control; an external sidechain; and a Photocell Memory setting with Classic and Fast Reset options.
The first thing to note about the CA-2A is how responsive the meter is, and similarly the controls. Ergonomically, this is arguably the best LA-2A emulation yet. Sonically, we found it to be pretty neutral with no gain reduction applied. Once you start to wind up the Peak Reduction, though, the CA-2A really comes into its own, with the fastest transients handled very sympathetically.
Ultimately, there are so many great LA-2A emulations out there now that personal developer preference could well be the deciding factor in your choice of which one to buy. Don't let that rule the CA-2A out of your investigations, though: it's one of the best out there.45 Stars