Inward Connections
  VC500 Discrete VCA Compressor

Inward Connections VC500 Discrete VCA Compressor

The VC500 is a VCA compressor for the 500 format and it raises the bar! Utilizing the famed SPA690 op-amp with Military Spec construction, the VC500 does not disappoint. The VC500 module is refined enough for mastering or mix buss use, but rocks enough to replace a dbx 160VU on bass or snare, bring out harmonics and air on an acoustic guitar or pump some room mics for a "When the Levee Breaks" effect.

The VC500 can do it all.

Features include:

  • SPA690 all discrete legendary amp blocks
  • Differential balance input transformerless
  • Balance output transformer
  • Fits standard 500 series slot configuration mechanically and electrically
  • Gain Makeup Control +/- 16dB attenuation
  • Threshold Control -40dB to +22dB. This allows for low level compression to high level limiting
  • Ratio Control ranges from 2:1 to 30:1 to infinity
  • Attack Control ranges from .2 milliseconds to 20 milliseconds
  • Release Control ranges from .1 seconds to 3 seconds
  • Gain Reduction Meter: 10-segment LED meter bar that ranges from -2dB to -20dB
  • Hi-Pass Filter: 250Hz for detector circuit only
  • Stereo Link Switch allows module detector circuit to be tied to adjacent compressor module. Both link switches have to be in the "UP" position
  • Bypass Switch controls a bypass relay
  • Input Impedance: 20K ohms balance
  • Output Impedance: 600 ohms balance
  • Frequency Response: +/- 0.2dB@10Hz to 100KHz
  • Output Signal to Noise: -95dB or greater
  • THD + Noise: .01%@1KHz/+4dBu
  • Distortion: .01% THD, +4dBu@1KHz

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Michael Brauer

"The vocal was pretty harsh in the chorus and the Inward handled that problem really well. It's such a cool compressor, a bit warmer and very analog sounding. I was able to get the vocal to be alot more natural without taking the aggression out of it."
Michael Brauer

Michael Brauer is an established A-list mixing engineer known for his eclectic, highly acclaimed discography. Michael has worked with The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Coldplay, My Morning Jacket, Ben Folds and John Mayer to name an incredibly select few.

Barry Rudolph

"Steve Firlotte is smart: all the important circuit design and componentry of his Inward Design Tree 500 console are used in the VC500 single channel compressor module. Like the Tree's modules, the VC500 requires any slot in an API Series 500 frame and power supply to operate. Within the VC500 you'll have the SPA690 op-amp blocks and military-specification construction throughout.

The VC500 has a transformerless, differentially balanced input and a transformer-balanced output section. Compression ratio is adjustable anywhere from 2:1 to 30:1 to infinity; release control ranges from .1 to 3 seconds; and attack times start at 0.2ms and go to 20ms. The compressor has a stereo link switch that ties the module's detector circuit to adjacent compressor module(s) when their respective link switches are thrown.

In the studio I tried the VC500 on drum loops and other sources. I liked its quiet operation and vast adjustability. The 250Hz high pass filter in the side chain worked beautifully to keep from over-compressing a drum loop with each bass drum hit. This feature is a necessity when using the VC500 on bass-heavy mix program sources. Attack time changes are immediately hearable--using super fast attack times, I could nearly extract the snare drum hits out of a prerecorded loop.

I found the VC500 able to do squashy compressor effects, subtle leveling or anything in between easily. It functioned well as a peak limiter when set to higher ratios and higher thresholds. The gain reduction LED meter is accurate and "mirrors" the unit's action perfectly and all the controls are easy to grab and use despite a Series 500 module's size constraints."
Barry Rudolph

Barry Rudolph is an L.A.-based recording engineer/mixer. Visit