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Inward Connections The Brute Optical Limiter

Inward Connections The Brute

4.75 4.75 out of 5, based on 5 Reviews

The Inward Connections Brute 500 series Optical limiter


24th September 2013

Inward Connections The Brute by cbdrummer44

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Inward Connections The Brute Optical Limiter

The Inward Connections "The Brute" Optical Limiter for 500 series power racks is one handy module. I've had it for about a year now, have used it on a variety of sources, and I love it.

Sound Quality - 5/5

Firstly, the sound of the gain reduction. The attack is medium/slow and the release is fast. This equates to about 7db of totally transparent gain reduction. It's absolutely perfect for vocal tracking.

After the 7db mark, things start to get really interesting. The attack time is set perfectly for vocals. It really allows aggressive phrases to stay aggressive whilst levelling them out. In mixing, pushing this thing beyond transparent can make a vocal sound very pleasing and energetic. It would be great for rap.

It took me a while to understand the benefit of really hitting the gain reduction hard (more than 15db of GR) on this compressor. At first I thought it sounded a bit over squashed, but in the context of the right mix the Brute really delivers in adding bigness to vocals when pushed.

I found kick drum and bass guitar to also be great through this. It adds a subtle, focused compression to bass, and you can really go to town on kick drum, getting a wide variety of sounds. On both sources, the 250hz HPF switch is incredibly useful (more below).

So despite its simple appearance, The Brute is not a one trick pony.

Secondly, the circuit itself has a sound. It's subtle, but I'd call the sound of this unit "sparkly", "punchy" and very wam. Pushing the output stage of this compressor imparts warmth and punch, especially in the lower frequencies. It focuses them and just makes everything sound a little more "glamorous".

You can push the output stage of this unit into distortion, which is not recommended (except for kick drum, which on one experimental electronic type song I found quite useful), but overall I'd say that whilst you wouldn't buy this compressor for the sound of the circuit alone it's an added bonus that you WILL use to your advantage very often when it's there at your disposal and it has never gotten in my way.

Ease of Use - 5/5.

Drummer proof. Need I say more - and I'm a drummer! : ) Everything about this piece is useful and self explanatory. AND the knobs are stepped, which makes for easy recall.

Also, the VU meter I found to be nice and quick, and all the switches are very well labelled and laid out on the front.

Features - 5/5

For an optical compressor it does have a couple of very handy features - namely a high pass filter set at a very musical 250hz that causes the GR to only be activated by frequencies above 250hz. I leave it switched in almost permanently, it really adds bigness to vocals and turns the compressor into almost a tone shaper.

I don't own two of these units, but the stereo link switch would be handy if I did and is a nice addition.

The bypass switch is not true bypass, so the unit will still impart a very subtle colour with signal running through without the compressor engaged, but if you don't want the sound of the circuit just take it out of your signal path, but it's great to have the option there if you want it.

The GR/Output switch changes the VU meter from GR to output, very handy, especially if you're trying to push the output of this unit for maximum colour (read: punch) before distortion.

The Gain Reduction and Output Level knobs are stepped as mentioned above, and they really are fool proof for tracking. Set conservatively and you'll never overcook a vocal again. I certainly haven't since I bought this.

Bang for Buck - 5/5

I bought this compressor for $800. Although it's not the cheapest compressor, it is of the highest quality and has a lot of added value that I think actually makes this great bang for buck.

Conclusion

This is not the magical compressor that takes my tracks into the stratosphere. I had a hardware UREI 1176 that did that, but what I find with those sorts of units is that they're not great for everything.

The Brute on the other hand, IS great for everything. It sounds gorgeous and has many tricks up its sleeve. It has also opened up my "in the box" options considerably. When I let this do the heavy lifting, my compressor plugins don't crap out as quickly and I can take greater advantage of their tonal options too.

So in summary, The Brute is a perfect insurance policy for tracking vocals and very transparent, but can be pushed for some great dramatic compression if you want and has a punchy, classy sounding circuit that stands up to any high end gear out there.

The Brute is a workhorse that gets used on every record I make and I wouldn't trade mine for anything!

12th May 2014

Inward Connections The Brute by turk sanchez

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Inward Connections The Brute Optical Limiter

I bought a Brute about 9 months ago. I really think it's an excellent sounding unit.

It's got a slow attack (100ms) and a REALLY SLOW release (685ms) and a 10:1 ratio. It also has a 250hz HPF that I always leave on.

Its excellent sounding. Great for vocals, guitars, anywhere you want something classy sounding that is smooth. I would not say "colored", but it's for sure a "tone box". More silky than dirty. Sounds expensive. It won't really pump w/the slow release but it's got mojo and does a great job of smoothing things out w/out sounding over-compressed.

I usually follow it w/another faster compressor (fast attack and release) just nipping peaks off and it's perfect. Sounds "in your face" w/out pumping. I used to use 1176 for years tracking vocals but use this now. This is the other end of the spectrum from the 1176.

I think they would be cool as tone boxes over a stereo mix just taking off 1 or 2 db. I might snag another one.

No swiss army knife here, but its still something I use all the time on every project for what it does. I am totally happy w/my purchase! LOVE the thing.

4th April 2015

Inward Connections The Brute by nick8801

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Inward Connections The Brute Optical Limiter

It's really hard to describe how great this thing is. At first you might not get it. It's not an in your face, look at me piece of gear. Classy and subtle are how I would describe it. It's invisible, but has this thickness and weight all at the same time. I love mine, and I'm never letting it go!

25th October 2017

Inward Connections The Brute by limbs

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Inward Connections The Brute Optical Limiter

I can't say enough good things about this little box. It brought me to a new level for vocals - it was the first time I really heard my voice presented in a flattering way. I track everything with it. It adds a weight, a fullness, and a dynamic compression similar to the uber-expensive microphones or consoles. All for under $600 used - that is a bargain. I've read that many use this in "stun" mode - both knobs cranked. I haven't found this very useful - I use the output knob to properly and conservatively set the level into my ADC for around -18 RMS upon record, and I usually feel most comfortable at 3-5 db of gain reduction. It is nearly transparent, just a wonderfully controlled, fat signal, and it definitely adds a thickness. The knobs are set under or around 50%, nowhere near the infamous "stun" mode, and I could not imagine my studio without it.

 
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