Compression Obsession: UA’s New 2-1176 vs. the Classic 1178!

UA's New 2-1176 Twin Vintage Limiting Amplifier
The Venerable UREI 1178
“Wow! Another 1176 from UA?” you say. “Yes indeed!” is my compressor obsessive reply. Please give a warm welcome to the newest member of the UA product line, The 2-1176! The 2-1176 is a two channel 1176 that can also be used in stereo. “Finally! It’s about time! --err… wait a minute, hasn’t that been done before?” you might say. Well, yes but read on…

1176 in Stereo (Old)
So who remembers the 1178? The UREI 1178 was a product that essentially took two 1176s and made them into a stereo unit. What a great idea! Why was it a great idea? Well, in case you’ve never run a pair of 1176s in stereo, 1176s are famously funky when it comes to stereo operation. An external stereo adapter (the 1176-SA) is needed if you want your 1176’s attack and release to track together. The pair of 1176s have to be connected and unconnected on the rear of the units with the dedicated 1176-SA RCA connections, which means that switching your units between mono and stereo is done behind your rack. The 1176-SA runs on 9v battery, and therefore causes your meter calibration to drift as the battery loses energy.

While a stereo capable 1176 is a fantastic idea, the 1178 had some shortcomings. The 1178 came out about the same time as the “Revision H” era of the 1176. This is the generation when the 1176 went back to a silver faceplate. Unfortunately this era did not see the Class A circuitry of its ancestors, and the input transformer had been replaced with a differential amplifier. These design changes apply to the 1178 as well.

Also, the 1178 has only one set of attack and release controls and only one ratio select. The unit has a STEREO / MONO switch, and therefore can operate in dual mono, but without independent controls for attack, release and ratio, you’re really only de-coupling the attack and release. The 1178 is really only practical as a stereo unit.

So rather than taking the “Classic Re-issue” approach as we did with the 1176 and LA-2A, we wanted to start fresh.
1176-SA Yesterday
1176-SA Today

1176 in Stereo (New)
The 2-1176 arrives on the heels of UA’s hugely successful 6176 Channel Strip. With a very similar look and feel, the 2-1176 takes the 1176 board redesign that was done for the development of the 6176, and puts two of them in one chassis. If you are familiar with the 6176, then you know that the 1176 found on that unit still has the classic sound and the same critical components and circuit design found in the original; and all the same functionality.

If you are already familiar with the 1176, then the 2-1176 should be equally familiar. The only differences in the front panel controls are that rotary switches replace the ratio push buttons, as well as the metering pushbuttons.

For you fans of unconventional compressor use, “All” is available as a ratio choice, which functions exactly as pushing in all the ratio buttons on the 1176. Also, a 1:1 ratio is available for those that just want to pass their audio through the unit uncompressed, just for the 1176’s unique coloration; it works exactly like turning the attack knob to the OFF position on the 1176.

Also found on the front panel you will find a power switch, a global BYPASS/COMPRESS switch, and a LINK/DUAL switch which allows the user to switch between dual mono and stereo operation. The LINK position will cause channel A’s attack and release knobs to control attack and release for both channels. But unlike the 1178, the 2-1176 can function in true dual mono mode, with totally independent controls for each of the two channels. The 2-1176 is truly a tool with all the function and all the form.

--Will Shanks

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