As far as recording equipment goes, the 1176 is a true celebrity. Since its introduction in the late 1960s, it has been the go-to by countless engineers for controlling and shaping sounds with its fast and aggressive response and warm, charismatic tone.

The 1176 made its debut in 1968 under the Urei brand, designed as the first ‘true peak limiter’, following earlier, valve-based designs that were characteristically slower [link comps/limiters]. Its FET-based topology enables the 1176 to achieve extremely fast attack and release times, making it anything but subtle. This quick response time also adds immediacy and energy to instruments and vocals.

At modest attack and release settings and with small amounts of gain reduction, the 1176 can hold a sound in place with relative transparency, although it is when allowed to work hard that this unit really comes into its own. It can push a vocal right into the face of the listener, give a bass guitar grit and attitude and add snap and sustain to drums. It is also common to harness the 1176’s speed in conjunction with another compressor, such as a Teletronix LA2A, which has a slow and smooth sound in contrast. The combination of the two compressors lets the 1176 catch stray peaks before hitting the LA2A, which will subsequently be working very evenly to produce smooth and balanced audio.

Almost as famous as the general design and sound of the compressor itself is the ‘All Buttons In’ setting. An anomaly of early units discovered by engineers of time, the 1176 takes on a whole other life when all four ratio buttons are pushed in at once. The result is a ratio somewhere between the 12:1 and 20:1 settings and a radical shift in attack and release times, creating a destructive and heavily distorted sound. This is setting can be used for all sorts of wild and unruly creative applications, but is most commonly associated with how it can make drum room mics ‘explode’.

Many revisions of the 1176 were made over the years, each with their own sonic identity. The Revision A (also known as the ‘Blue Stripe’), for example, is known for a grittier quality and is the box of choice by engineers like Chris Lord-Alge for lead vocals. Later versions like the D and E revisions are slightly cleaner and better suited when a little less color is desired. Along with the official reissue produced today by Universal Audio, the 1176 is frequently the subject of DIY builders and the basis for many other manfacturers’ designs.

Input Impedance
600 ohms, bridges-T control (floating)

Output Load Impedance
600 ohms, floating, damping factor 20

External Connections
Input Impedance
600 ohms, bridges-T control (floating)

Output Load Impedance
600 ohms, floating, damping factor 20

External Connections
Jones Barrier terminals and XLR connectors

Frequency Response
± 1 dB 20 Hz to 20kHz

50 dB

Less than 0.5% total harmonic distortion from 50 Hz to 15 kHz with limiting

Signal to Noise Ratio
Greater than 70 dB at +10 dBm

Attack Time
20 microseconds to 800 microseconds

Release Time
50 milliseconds to 1.1 seconds

Stereo Interconnection
via 1176 SA Network accessory

dB gain reduction and dB output

Power Requirements
120/240 V

Maximum operating temperature 160°F

19" Rackmount chassis, 2U

Weight (unboxed)
11 lbs.

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