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BRIGHTON Opto Tube Comp | Tips and Tricks + Highlights from reviews

Here, for you, are some very useful tips and tricks + reviews from Gearspace and the AA FB page, meticulously collected by our kind power-user David Gary in one thread for our BRIGHTON plug-in.

Brighton is a custom-built, versatile Vactrol compressor with strong character. It can be slow and smooth like a classic RMS opto with normal settings, or push it to extremes and it is very capable of some very snappy ‘pumping’.


Exploring Brighton Opto Tube Comp – Contemporary Beat

Brighton v2.0 Opto Tube Compressor – Demo 1


1) This is my new favorite ITB comp. Makes everything you send through it sound better, controls dynamics in a most pleasing way, huge, relaxed, 3D.

2) Tested on vocals (CM800T into Silver Bullet Neve circuit) vs MDE, Opto 32 and Sum100A.

Chain: Rule Tec > comp > IK Tape (Revox)

Brighton was my favourite in this test/setup. It’s a really classy compression and saturation, very open, very natural. Brings things forward in a non-obvious way (unless you want it to be). 10-12dB reduction sounded effortless and remained spacious.

Even better with Arousor before it (no saturation) taming the larger peaks.

Found my new vocal chain!
↪ reply: I put 2 Brightons in a row on a drum bus, one with fast setting followed by one with slow setting, and the result was amazing.

3) This is simply stunning, in particular transient handling and saturation are doing some really beautiful things. I feel I should uninstall a few compressors (and a few saturation plugs) because this makes them redundant.

↪ reply: Yeah the saturation is top notch. This plus IK Tape is some serious ITB mojo/compression.

↪ reply: I’ve been playing with it for a few hours and it really is something I haven’t heard in the Aqua “tube” land so far. I’m having a difficulty even trying to describe what I am hearing. I’m speaking mostly on the Tube portion although the compression part leaves me scratching my head as well to how transparent 10+ dbs on vocals sounds like no compression at all? No pumping? Maybe you can help me lol.

Pushing the tube, I hear glue for sure, it seems to capture low level detail really well. I land on the Hot setting pushing up to 0db. But as far as color. This alone takes care of a lot of midrange issues. Best I can tell it’s in between Amber and Aquamarine. Classy and tidy but with some mojo. There is a clearness or clarity in the midrange similar to Honey. Very interesting. Definitely respectable to the low end but if it didn’t mush up the low end a bit on drums as tube tends to do, my ears wouldn’t know what to make of this. Very well done. Any other units hw or sw you think sound similar for reference?

↪ reply: With you on clarity. Yes, hard to verbalise. Compression wise it lets you to grab the source and control/shape it in a powerful (but effortless) way. As you say, 10dB GR on a vocal lead sounds as if it’s been ridden by the fader. You can’t hear the level of compression.

I’ve been testing it on instruments (wonderful) and drums (ditto) today, and am constantly finding myself smiling. Hot mode on the drum bus is killer. Other SW – Amber came to mind (I’ve not used Aquamarine or Honey). Also, very elegant.

This is without doubt an instant go to. LA knocked it out of the park with this first compressor release.

4) I don’t have so much time for demoing plugins now but … how is it the people feeling it for vocals?

↪ reply: It’s my favourite vocal comp by some margin. Perfect for them.
↪ reply: This is one of the users quotes related to what Brighton Opto Tube Comp does on vocals… basically is made for this kind of duty.

5) I haven’t found a situation where this thing did not make the source sounds better.

Pink 3 2412 + Brighton is a deadly combo.

The bass extension I can achieve on synths/bass by using the Hot saturation mod is awesome.

6) TIP for you: on lead vocals try to push hard the peak reduction and set the hi pass filter around to 1khz.
↪ reply: After trying your tip on some vocals (different genres) I’m not skeptical at all anymore. Going to purchase… even just for what it does to the lead vocal tracks.

7) Q: Anyone using this on the mix bus?
A: It’s excellent for the glue & giving some saturation to the buss.

Also, could be interesting to place 2 of them in series:

First Brighton with a smoother and slower character:
slow attack (over or equal 10ms) and medium/slow release (0.3, 0.6 sec or more)
Ratio 2:1
Soft Transients to glue the buss.
Adjust the Gain reduction for a light/moderate taming.

Second Brighton with a faster character:
medium/fast attack and release
Ratio 2:1 / 3:1
Medium transients
Adjust Gain reduction to control the fastest peaks leaked from the previous instance.

Set the saturation of both at the minimum (almost clean) and if you want then raise a little the saturation of the last instance.

Play, at your wish, the Hi Pass filters (expecially for the second instance) and the MIX knobs, but it’s not mandatory.

Of course, you can try also the opposite, there are no absolute formulas in this art.

8) If you’re already compressing the mix bus with another plugin—or HW—Brighton can be used for just the saturation BTW! Sounds great. 

↪ reply: I did just that this morning: a combination of the Cola 1671 and Cola comp (need some fine adjustments, tends to pump rather quick), followed by Brighton with some saturation. Killer!

Btw that 1671 eq… wow.

Q: I need to spend some time with Cola – you rate it? 1671 – is that the fixed band EQ? 

A: Yes, fixed bands. I am a fan of this kind of eq´s. I was willing not to purchase any channel strip no more, because I already own so many, but what can I say…I demoed cola and…

It is just my cup of tea. Making electronic music, the 1671 is amazing for sound design. Together with the comp everything sounds nice, polished and “finished”.

9) I recently started to mix an album where I decided to use Brighton(trial) on the main female vocal track at the first song. The same happened for the 2nd, 3nd. Etc
The reaction and the sound of this compressor is unparalleled. I’m more than sure that I will find more uses to instruments as well. (I even tried it subtly on the mix bus and in some cases, it was just wow!)
Congrats London Acoustics, after the good Tokyo Tube eq and the amazing OSAKA eq, your first compressor rules the game!

10) The plugin is hot, as suspected (most of the AA-tech plugins tend to be).
But contrary to many AA plugins (latest demo was Cola), the Brighton was more stable and controllable, even with my Omen laptop. No CPU overload, no irritating peaks (when only the settings were correct).

I tested different audio material, from flamenco guitar and claps, to hip-hop drums, bass guitar, opera vocals etc.

Because the plugin is hot, correct settings accordingly to each audio material are most essential. Interestingly, the high pass filter was one of the most important, alongside with the ration and threshold (peak reduction). Normally attack plays bigger role, but not is this case, the high pass filter, i.e. the frequencies, which were compressed, were much more important – I noticed, that in most of the cases, I compressed only the area over 770 Hz. There were exceptions.

Saturation /tube sound tasty.

11) Q: Is there some way to do smooth bypass in N4/Aqua libraries? Whenever I do bypass for a/b there is a glitch or latency.
A: I normally do a quick wet to dry shift to a/b stuff, I found it to be a smoother way than switching the plugin on or off.

12) Q: What are you guys digging on vocals? I feel like the 10ms attack is nice a lot of the time after an 1176 but the release is a little trickier.
A: 10ms attack and 0.3 release works well here.

13) Brighton has become my favorite vocal comp ITB.

↪ reply: Brighton and El Rey are neck and neck on vocals for every track for me, depending on which color works better with the vocal. I kind of prefer the action of Brighton overall but sometimes that huge El Rey sound can’t be beaten. Both pair beautifully with Arousor.

↪ reply: I like pairing Brighton with Sonible’s smart:comp on vox. Smart:comp tends to be subtle and transparent with its compression action and I follow it with Brighton doing the 10 db crush with HPF set to 1k. Really puts the vox upfront and in your face if that’s what you’re looking for.

↪ reply: Same, I won’t use any other comp on vocals now, they just can’t compete. Brighton sounds so open and up front (without any harshness) at 10dB GR.

14) You guys are the TOP with compressors ITB. Seriously, nothing can do what this does on vocals. The saturation is also quite tasty!

15) I tend to like compressors with a bit of attitude and Brighton seemed a bit polite and didn’t really thicken the tone as I would like.
Then – I discovered where I’d gone wrong. This lil’ sucker begs to be smashed and so I did (hard!). Wow – very impressed with .3 attack and fastest release. Think I managed -20db of gain reduction and this baby came alive. Very good… Similar aggression to the UAD 1176 Rev A but a bit more open and alive.

16) Vocal: .3 attack, fast release (depends on the vocal). Sidechain 1k. Between 10-15 db gr. Transients only sometimes, depends on the vocal. Saturation also only sometimes, didn’t touch the mix button.

17) Vocals, drums, combined with Vari Mu like MDE. It works extremely well. I also still like light tube saturation, sounds convincing. Definitely one of the desert island compressors.
↪ reply: Also try it on BG vocal bus.

18) The ability to shape the attack is amazing and well beyond what any other opto can do. The saturation is beautiful. Insanely good bass compressor. But also like it on drums in a way I don’t normally like opto’s.

19) Q: Can I ask a few tips with Brighton as relatively new to this plugin and the question is probably broad for many similar. I am finding Brighton, for me, predominantly works well on drums and bass. So what would ideally be the regarded as a decent setting for the Bass and Drums ideal ratio, attack/release settings, appreciate this will vary from track to track, just after a general starting point please.

A: Well, from where to start? Mh, it’s obviously not easy to forecast your style/taste, but commonly for drums just watch your attack because it can impact a lot the punch of your sound, in most cases a slow attack is the right way.

A fast release raises the room ambience and can fatten the drums till the extreme. For example, I personally like a lot the release area shorter or equal to 0.2ms

With Brighton (ad this is maybe its nicer feature) you can go with the threshold as low you want keeping anyway a good level of transients/punch (always depending of the attack and release parameters, because everything in Brighton changes with the interaction of all the timing and threshold elements).
You can start with the usual -32db and hear what you get. But don’t be afraid to go down!
Also, the parallel compression option lets you to choose the heavy squash, short release, medium-long attack, compression without sacrifice the punch (just use the MIX knob).

If the drum buss squashes a lot with the lows use the internal sidechain knob to let the lowest part of the kick out of the compression, sometimes this is the best solution to raise the cymbals and have a nice saturation without losing the lows. Compressors tend to kill the lows. Brighton behaves generally better that may others but sometimes “eats” something.

I suggest you to start always using a combination of the red numbers of attack-release and in case explore the others if you’re not immediately satisfied.

The TRANSIENT lets you to choose between a soft knee and hard knee, for vintage stuff go soft, for modern electro go hard, start with MID is a good idea.

The TUBE hot stage switch sometimes recovers the lost lows part after the compression, sometimes instead makes everything muddier. Just try.

For drums start with ratio 4:1 and in case go up to the almost limiter 20:1 or if you’re doing an acoustic track try 3:1


For the bass this opto is IMO like having the perfect tool in your pocket.
Watch mainly the release: fast -> adds distortion (sometimes is good, sometimes is bad), medium is the perfect start.
Increasing the attack will let more of the bass’ initial transients through, enhancing note definition and helping it punch through the mix.
Don’t be afraid to compress heavily for a rock-solid low end.
Again, the red numbers are perfect to start.
The low ratio is more transparent, the high less. Your choice.

Honestly, thinking to have the perfect recipe for everything is crazy, and especially for compressors we don’t believe in presets.
Brighton, anyway, is very friendly and it will let you never disappointed, even if you do the opposite of what I have advised you.
↪ reply: Thank you so much for taking time with the response.
Totally appreciate style’s and tempos will impact the desired output etc. What you have written up here is perfect for me to start taking more direction. To be honest I’ve pretty much plonked it on the bass buss and kept the red settings and using the hot /normal and saturation to taste. I love the tone and sound of Brighton and your notes will help me experiment more without shooting in the dark.

20) Sounds very good on drums! I´ve compared it with many other compressors, but the Brighton sounds much better at the bottom end. This is my 4th plugin from London Acoustics.
↪ reply: Also, as a master buss glue-comp works well.

Download the BRIGHTON PATCH BOOK 2022 v1.0: