Make / Model: Univeral Audio (UREI) 1176 LN
The 1176 was a FET solid-state compressor designed by Bill Putnam of Universal Audio. The goal of the compressor was to make a transistor-based, solid state, low noise version of the Univeral Audio 175. Tecnically, the is a limiter. Though it is a compressor.
The first thing to know about these, if the version is very important. There were revisions from A to F, with the former having a ‘blue stripe’ and the B-F later being a black panel, known as a ‘black face’. After that, they go silver, which coicided with being aquired by JBL, and like most things harmann-related, seeing circuit design changes occur that didn’t seem to need to occur and only seem to make sense in the scope of saving money.
The trick about the 1176, is the ‘worst’ one, the F, is the one you actually want, unless you can find an A. Even then, they do completely different things. I was lucky enough for the studio I was at in the 2000s to have a few black face 1176s, a couple silver ones, and one of the black faces to be a F. What the ‘f’ means, well, it means there was, for some reason, a very interesting distortion that occured on these models (Perhaps it was a class AB amplifier?) and what ended up happening, was that distortion made things sound AMAZING. That ‘F’ revision ended up being the THING, that made the 1176 known for. It would take a vocal, and just slap this magic on it. Instant ‘thats a record’ sound. And it just got more insane if you were to jam all the ratio buttons in a once. In this mode, it is the drum room mic compressor of the gods. Or the vocal compressor for folks who don’t give a fuck. Or the kick drum compressor for folks with big low end. In short, it was amazing.
The silver versions, well, they have none of this magic. They are like grown up, conservative versions. Passable, yes. Reminiscent, sure. But not at all the same thing.