Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The WA76 Discrete Compressor and the Original Urei 1176 Peak Limiter.

Warm Audio said they're close to releasing their rendition of the famous 1176 Compressor. I've been hearing good things about Warm Audio's products and I'm curious to hear what their WA76 sounds like. I'm a longtime user of the 1176 and even though I use the UA 1176 plugin more often these days I'm still interested in any new hardware that companies have to offer.

From the website:
"The WA76 Limiting Amplifier is a modern reproduction of the Classic 1176 Revision D. Every effort was made to remain faithful to the original designs including the use of Reichenbach Engineering’s (now CineMag) transformer designs that were used in the original. The classic 1176 was a major breakthrough in limiter technology — the first true peak limiter with all transistor circuitry offering superior performance with a signature sound — and set the standard for all limiters to follow. The ultra-fast attack time and trademark sound have lured legendary artists and studio moguls alike to the 1176 — Peter Frampton, Joe Satriani, Joe Chiccarelli, Vance Powell, and Mike Elizondo are just a few names on a list that’s continued to grow, for nearly 50 years. "


  • True to the Classic 1176 compressor in design and performance
  • Completely discrete signal path
  • Modeled after the D revision
  • Utilizes USA made CINEMAG input and output transformers
  • Supports the famous “all buttons in” ratio setting
  • Ultra fast attack time
  • Class A line level output amplifier
  • Input impedance - 600 ohms, bridges-T control (floating) 
  • Frequency Response ± 1 dB 20 Hz to 20kHz
  • XLR and TRS inputs. XLR and TRS outputs
  • 55db of gain
  • Less than 0.4% total harmonic distortion from 50 Hz to 20 kHz with limiting
  • Signal to noise ratio is greater than 74 dB at +25 dBm
  • EIN -104.1 dbm
  • Attack time, 20 microseconds to 800 microseconds
  • Release time, 50 milliseconds to 1 second
  • Meter provides dB gain reduction and dB output
  • Internal power supply, external 24v AC power transformer
  • 19″ Rackmount chassis, 2U
  • 1-year warranty
The WA76 should be available in February or March 2014 for $599.

Here's an updated Facebook post I did a few years ago on the original Urei 1176 Peak Limiter:

Urei 1176 Peak Limiter

The Urei 1176 Peak Limiter was used on The Fugees "Nappy Heads (Mona Lisa)" remix produced by Salaam Remi (@SaLaAMReMi). The 1176 is one of Urei's most well known units (now manufactured by Universal Audio as both hardware and software). The controls are pretty simple. There is an input and output, attack and release and 4 ratio buttons. There are also meter display select buttons and an off switch. The input knob adjusts the input signal level and also acts as a threshold for the limiter circuit. The output knob adjusts the output level of the unit so you can apply make-up gain to the signal after limiting. The 4 ratio buttons are 4:1, 8:1, 12:1, 20:1 which might seem like a limitation but when used in conjunction with the input knob is actually quite versatile (to really squash the signal try pressing down all 4 buttons at once.). The attack ranges from 20 to 800 microseconds which is very fast (great for drums) and the release varies from 50 milliseconds to 1.1 secs. which gives you extensive control over the signal. The attack knob also serves as the limiter switch (notice the word off under the knob. When the attack knob is turned completely counter clockwise limiting is disabled. For both the attack and release knobs fastest settings are when the knob is turned completely clockwise. The meter select switches allow you to view the amount of gain reduction (GR) or the output level at +4 or +8 reference level which is important to maintain proper gain structure. The OFF switch turns off the unit. The little box sitting on top of the pair of 1176's in the pic is called an 1176 SA and is basically a Stereo Adapter (SA) which allows you to link 2 1176's together as a stereo unit. The connectors are the barrier strip type and are found on the rear of the 1176 along with the rca connector for the 1176 SA. There are many revisions of the 1176 (A thru H) with the original being a silverface with blue paint around the meter section. 

Here are some short video clips featuring the 1176:


Here's a link to a page with descriptions of the different revisions

Here's an Ebay page with a list of current auctions

For more info on the UA reissue of the 1176 go to

and for the UAD software 1176 Classic Limiter Plug-In Collection ($199) which requires a UAD card or firewire accelerator,

The UA 1176 reissue ($1999) can be purchased at B&H Photo, Video and Pro Audio (@BHPhotoVideo)

Here's the iTunes (@iTunesMusic) link to the "Nappy Heads(Mona Lisa)" remix