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1176 Classic Limiter Plug-In Collection by Universal Audio ~ Studio 914 Tech Post

Thursday • July 12, 2012 • BY noiseman
1176 Classic Limiter Plug-In Collection by Universal Audio ~ Studio 914 Tech Post

At Big Noise we’ve always been focused on quality sound through classic technology. To that end UAD has been one of the companies we rely on to achieve those goals. Most of the voice overs and interviews on our Radio Shows have been recorded through actual 1176 Rack Gear at Studio 914. For our record label projects we also use the plug-ins during mix-down to achieve tonality and leveling on vocals and instruments. Emcee Nemesis “All I Need” is an example where we used the 1176 on vocals and bass. The black face 1176 was used on individual vocal and bass tracks. The silver face 1176 was used on the vocal-group-buss.

The original Universal Audio 1176, designed by audio Renaissance man and UA founder M.T. “Bill” Putnam, represented a major breakthrough in limiter technology. The first true peak limiter to feature all-transistor circuitry and FET gain reduction, the original 1176 offered superior performance and a signature sound — including a lightning-fast 20 microseconds attack time. Ever since its announcement in 1967, the 1176 has lent its character and punch to some of the greatest recordings in history, creating a solid framework for any mix, in any genre.

Universal Audio released its first 1176 plug-in emulation in 2001. This plug-in single-handedly launched the UAD platform, and inspired a decade of analog emulation software. Today, we’ve circled back to the 1176, and modeled its entire electronic path from stem to stern — including its transformers, FET and bipolar transistor amplifiers, for colorful input/output distortion. The resulting 1176 Classic Limiter Plug-In Collection provides unrivaled emulations of three distinct 1176 units, and is indispensable for any serious engineer or producer.

Tips & Tricks ~ 1176 Classic Limiter Collection Plug-Ins

A Triple Threat: The 1176 Limiter Plug-Ins Collection provides three distinct 1176 revisions, representing over 40 years of design iterations to the original 1176 — the world’s most recognized compressor. The Rev A “Bluestripe” represents the original Putnam FET limiter design, complete with its higher distortion and unique FET gain amplifier characteristics. The Rev E “Blackface” covers the early 70’s / Brad Plunkett “LN” (Low Noise) era of the 1176 circuit lineage, with variations including a more linear compression response, transistor gain amplification, and a change to the program dependence. The 1176AE provides UA’s rare 1176 40th Anniversary Edition, complete with exclusive “hot-rod” mods — including its lower 2:1 compression ratio, a fixed “super slow” 10ms attack mode, and the program dependence of Rev A.

Tuned By The Pros: Adding to the authenticity, UA sought out some of the world’s most famous 1176 users responsible for millions of albums sold worldwide over more than 4 decades. They brought their considerable expertise to crafting a collection of presets to instantly dial-in a wide range of tones. Pick from dozens of included Artist Presets from Andy Johns (Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones), Andrew Scheps (Adele, Red Hot Chili Peppers), Carl Glanville (U2, Jason Mraz), David Isaac (Marcus Miller, Luther Vandross), Ed Cherney (Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt), Hugo Nicolson (Radiohead, Bjork), Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Norah Jones), Joe Chiccarelli (The White Stripes, The Killers), and Vance Powell (The Dead Weather, The Raconteurs).

History: Evolved from the popular Universal Audio 175 and 176 tube limiters, the 1176 retained proven qualities of these industry leaders, and set the standard for all limiters to follow. Entries found in Putnam’s design notebook point to his extensive experimentation with the newly developed FET (Field Effect Transistor) in various configurations. Eventually, he found a way of using the FET as the gain-controlling element of a compressor/limiter. While the 1176 has seen a huge number of revisions in its history, the most significant revision was by UREI engineer, Brad Plunkett, in an effort to reduce noise – hence the birth of the 1176LN at Rev C. Numerous design changes have followed since, resulting in at least 13 revisions of the 1176.

Plug-In Parameters: Using an 1176 is a study in simplicity. Input simultaneously sets compression threshold and the level of the signal entering the 1176; Output sets the final signal level. Attack sets the time it takes the 1176 to respond to incoming signal, while Release sets the time it takes the 1176 to return to its initial level. The VU meter displays the amount of gain reduction (GR) or output level (+4/+8).

The four Ratio buttons determine the degree of compression; lower ratios for compression, higher ratios for limiting. Disengaging all the Ratio buttons (Shift+Click the currently selected ratio) disables compression altogether, but signal continues to pass through the 1176 circuitry. This is commonly used to add the “color” of the 1176LN without any gain reduction. At the request of users, the wide range of “Multi-Button” combinations possible with the hardware is now possible — including the famous “All Button” sound.

In Use: The primary use for the 1176 plug-ins are as individual inserts for sources that require compression, such as an individual snare, vocal, or guitar track, or for multi-instrument sources such as a stereo drum buss. But 1176s can also be used for adding the “color” of the 1176 Input and Output amplifiers to individual instrument tracks by disengaging the compression.

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Article: Universal Audio
Editor: Noiseman
Image: UAD