Steer correctly with the 1176 compressor

By | April 4, 2021


This article is aimed at users of both hardware and software.

Steering good sound with a 1176, regardless of model, is not very difficult. And the fact is that most of what you push into it comes out on the other side with a musical smile. With that said, there are still some classic settings that may be worth a closer look.

The first thing that is good to know is that the Attack and Release knobs are inverted compared to how ordinary compressors usually work. That is, the fastest setting is 7 and the slowest 1. A proven trick is to start with an attack of 3 and release of 5, also called the Dr Pepper setting. More about this below. The input knob acts as a threshold value * and means that a stronger signal into the compressor gives more compression, but also more volume, which you adjust with the Output knob. Furthermore, we find four modes for ratios 4, 8, 12 and 20 as well as different settings for how the VU meter reads.1176ln_classic_limiter_carousel_1.jpg

In general, one could say that the 1176an provides clarity and closeness – a kind of (often desirable) high-class grayness. It is also characteristic that the compressor provides a good energy with a focus on the lower intermediate register.

* 1176 is soft knee with a fixed threshold the amount of compression is controlled via the input control.

General tips

  • A ratio of 4: 1 is in most cases a good starting point, regardless of instrument.

  • Try not to focus too much on gain reduction. It is tempting to watch the meter dancing but… Listen instead, preferably in the context of other instruments.

  • In 9 cases out of 10, the fastest release does the job, that is 7. It simply sounds more exciting, no matter which instrument you compress. Possibly with the exception of bass or other low-frequency instruments which then have a tendency to be controlled. But maybe that’s exactly what you want?

Dr. Pepper
If you want to know only one setting, it is Dr Pepper, whose name originates from a carbonated beverage that in an advertisement is recommended to be drunk at ten o’clock, two o’clock and four o’clock. An excellent starting point for the 1176 is namely attack on 3, release on 5 and ratio 4 (think the hands on a clock) according to the picture below. Then adjust the input and output to taste.


All Buttons
Also called “British Mode” means that you press all the ratio buttons at once, ie 4, 8, 12 and 20, which gives a very special overridden character. All buttons mode works great on drums, drum room, vocals and bass – preferably in combination with the fastest attack and release. It is also common in this context to work with parallel compression, which mixes the hard-compressed signal with the pure one. Some 1176s solve this with the help of a mixer, otherwise the option is to duplicate the track you want to compress and then mix this with the original track.

No Buttons
Finally, you can also turn off compression completely by not activating the Ratio buttons. This turns the 1176 into a preamp, which you can control (saturation) and color the sound to your liking.

With the settings mentioned above, it is as always best to listen and experiment yourself as each sound source and mix is ​​unique. It is especially fun to play with different combinations of Attack, Release and Ratio.

Plug tips

More information about the UREI 1176 can be found here.

Good luck!

Feel free to ask questions or comment on the article in the comment field below, and we will spin the topic together. Or if you prefer to discuss mixing in the “Mixing and mastering” section of the Studios forum here!

Fredagstipset is a recurring series where Studio writer Jon Rinneby shares tips every Friday in, among other things, recording and mixing. Here you will find all Friday tips.