Looking for some magic for vocals, bass, guitar, or the mix bus? Pay attention to the TSL-4 Vac Rac stereo tube limiter, the bread and butter of Inward Connection's line of boutique, made-in-LA gear. Loaded with Cinemag transformers, this latest version of the Vac Rac series adds new features without changing the sonic signature engineers have come to revere. You'll be armed with just the right amount of transient control, without having to tweak a bunch of knobs, giving your tracks a buttery-smoothness you'll have to hear to believe.
- No-compromise design with dual-mono or stereo operation
- The latest incarnation of a mix engineer's favorite
- Inward Connections: boutique gear handmade in LA
No-compromise design with dual-mono or stereo operation
Top to bottom and front to back, the Inward Connections TSL-4 Vac Rac is designed and outfitted with premium components and the features pros want from a limiter. The TSL-4 Vac Rac has a link switch, connecting the opto cells of both channels for stereo operation. Both the Gain Makeup and bypassable Gain Reduction controls are 40-detented, offering 14dB of output gain and 40dB of gain reduction respectively. The best of the rest? There's a switchable 100Hz highpass filter, large 3"x3" illuminated VU meter (switchable Gain Reduction or Output), and Cinemag transformer-balanced XLR I/O, all packed into a rugged, well-ventilated 3U steel chassis with a vintage vibe to boot.
The latest incarnation of a mix engineer's favorite
Ever since the Vac Rac series hit the market two decades ago, it's grabbed the attention of high-profile mixers. This latest version gives you the same famously smooth limiting, with all the euphonic character and tube warmth that the Vac Rac reputation has been built on.
Inward Connections: boutique gear handmade in LA
Initially one of LA's best-kept secrets, the word about Inward Connections has been sweeping the globe. After all, when you hear guys like Chris Lord-Alge and Eddie Kramer swearing by a brand, you know to pay attention. Dreamed up and designed by Steve Firlotte, a well-known LA tech, the Inward Connections line offers premium options for the discerning ear, all meticulously handmade in Firlotte's Los Angeles workshop.
- 40-detent gain makeup control – variable control of 14dB of output gain
- 40-detent gain reduction control – variable control of up to 40dB of gain reduction
- Bypass switch – engages or disengages the gain reduction element
- Output switch – assigns meters to gain reduction or output
- Hi-pass filter switch – engages 250Hz high pass filter within the gain reduction circuit
- Link switch – Links opto cells of both channels for stereo operation
- Large 3"x3" Illuminated VU meter
- Zero trim to calibrate the meter in Limit mode
- Tubes used in both input channels: Input stage - NOS 6072A (New Old Stock), output stage - 12BH7A
- Power supply: pure Class A high voltage tube design with AC voltage selector
- Unit dimensions: 3u rack space. 5.25" height, 19" width, 11.5" depth
- Rugged, well-ventilated, 3u steel chassis design
- Classic vintage look
- Transformer balanced, line level, XLR inputs and outputs
- Gain reduction: up to 40db
- Input impedance: >100k ohms
- Frequency response: +/- 0.5 dB @ 20Hz to 20KHz
- Output signal to noise ratio: -85dB
- THD + noise:
- .015% @ 20Hz (0dB ref.)
- .085% @ 20KHz (0dB ref.)
- .15% @ 20Hz to 20KHz (+30dB ref.)
- Maximum input level: +20dB
- Maximum output level:
- +20dBm @ 600 ohms
- +34dBv @ 10K ohms
- Output impedance: 600 ohms transformer balanced output
"I had heard a lot of conversation about how great Inward Connections Vac Rac compressor is, so I decided to grab one to try. I plugged it in and set it on a vocal quickly. I was actually comping the vocal so my setting was not really that important at the time. I realized quickly that this compressor is smooth. I mean smooth!
I had looked away, and then looked back and the meter was just slamming over, I mean pegged and I am not hearing it. No sucking, no fur, just smooth and friendly. I actually had to double check to make sure that the insert was in because the sound I was expecting at that degree of compression did not have the evil artifacts I did expect. I had found it finally. The Holy Grail of vocal compressors.
This is your absolute set it and forget it compressor.
Quickly this has become my "milk in my coffee" vocal compressor and I don't drink my coffee with out milk. The Vac Rac is in use every single day in the studio. Thank you Steve Firlotte and Inward Connections for creating such a wonderful compressor. Thank you Mike and Andy Nehra of Vintage King for making it so easy to access. Rock On!!"
"I got my Vac Rac after reading about it in some Audio forums, then I asked Mike Nehra about it and he sent me the first one. After listening to my vocal tracks, acoustic and electric guitars through it, I immediately ordered a second Vac Rac, because the first one is now busy with my main vocal tracks, so I desperately need another one for my electric guitars, and now that I think about it, I need a 3rd one because nothing sounds like a Vac Rac on acoustic guitars too!! I have some of the finest compressors and limiters and this is by far one of my favorites, I can't replicate what it does with any other device."
"The VacRac is hands down the most amazing piece of gear that I have ever purchased. In my experience there is great gear and there is "shocking gear". This is SHOCKING gear. Mike at Vintage King sent me a demo and with one listen I found myself digging for my Amex and a phone. I always found myself cutting frequencies around 160 and 340hz due to muddiness in the low midrange but the Vacrac just turns all of that into a thick stick of butter which gives the final mix a thick punch that I was always missing.
The attack and release times are PERFECT for lead vocals and bass. It's also amazing on my acoustic guitar buss, piano, hell anything you can run through it. I find myself doing less and less lead vocal rides since I bought this thing. Literally cutting a few hours off any mix that I am working on with better results! When it comes to recalls there are 2 knobs..... It's a no brainer.
Lately I have been reprinting my final mixes through it before sending them off to mastering. It smoothes off all harshness in the high frequencies similar to printing back to an analog 2 track machine. This box is a mixing must have. Steve Firlotte is not only a genius in my book but a hero."
"I am actually quite stunned that something that recent is that good. It added presence to the program instead of flattening it- subtle but definitely a noticeable difference. Wow."
"I was trained in a studio that had a set of Vac Rac mic amps and eqs. They were always very popular so when I first heard about this compressor I was keen to try it. Kore is currently one of a select few UK studios to own one but I can't see that situation lasting too long. Since its arrival this compressor has continued to surprise and delight us. The other day we achieved our best upright piano sound to date with a combination of the Vac Rac, two Neve 1073s and a pair of Coles 4038s. When mixing tracks in the past, one of our two UA1176s was always taken up on the vocal channel. The Vac Rac has now stolen this job and freed the 1176 up for use elsewhere. As well as being the ultimate vocal comp, it is a lifesaver when dealing with harsh digital sources and is also lightning fast to set up. Whether recording or mixing, this comp is a great friend to have."
George Apsion, Kore Studios, London
"....Inward Connections limiters are kind of like old Fairchilds. They have two knobs and one setting: stun. You just insert and go."
Chris Lord Alge
"In use, there is only one word that describes this box — magical! The TSL-4 may very well be the most versatile, most soulful and most effective vocal compressor out there. Try to find a used TSL-3, and the only ones you’ll see for sale are from folks who have just updated to the TSL-4. This is an investment that will continue to be in prominent use and retain its value for years to come."
Read the full review.
Adam Kagan, Tape Op #93, March 2013