UAD 1176 Limiter Collection Plugin Analysis

#1

UA 1176 CLASSIC LIMITER COLLECTION

1176A%20GUI

OVERVIEW
The 1176 Classic Limiter Plug-In Collection provides three distinct 1176 revisions, representing over 40 years of design iterations to the original 1176.
1176 Rev A “Bluestripe”
This model represents the original Putnam FET limiter design, complete with its higher distortion and unique FET gain amplifier characteristics.
1176 Rev E “Blackface”
This model 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 dependency.
1176AE “Anniversary Edition”
This model provides UA’s rare 1176 40th Anniversary Edition, complete with exclusive mods; including its lower 2:1 compression ratio and a fixed “super slow” 10 ms attack mode.

CONTROLS
Attack - 20 microseconds to 800 microseconds. The actual attack time varies slightly based on the selected ratio and the particular model in use. Lower ratios will maintain the fastest attack times. The 1176AE offers a fixed 10 ms Attack mode when fully counter-clockwise.
Release - 50 milliseconds to 1100 milliseconds. The actual release time varies slightly based on the particular model in use and partially depends on the program material.

1176 CHARACTERISTICS

  • · 1176 Rev A - bright and noisy
  • · 1176 Rev E – dark and hushed
  • · 1176 AE – neutral sounding

Applications

  • · Good for mid-range content (synths, vocals, snares etc)
  • · Great for adding snap and punch to drums
  • · Fast and sharp character with an edge
  • · Sounds great pinned
  • · Works well as a distortion box

1176 TECHNIQUES
All-Buttons-Mode - great for saturating drums and bass, as well as putting vocals in your face. In this mode, saturation increases radically due to a lag time on the attack of the initial transients. The ratio is between 12:1 and 20:1, and the bias points change all over the circuit. The unique and constantly shifting compression curve that results yields a trademark overdriven tone intrinsic to the 1176 family.
Grit Technique - great for bass, synths and screaming lead vocals. Fastest attack and release constants produce abrupt level fluctuations that sound like distortion. It can add a very useful, gritty compression effect, especially pronounced in all-buttons mode.
Soft-Clipper - disengaging all the Ratio buttons (Shift+Click the currently selected ratio) disables compression, but signal continues to pass through the 1176 circuitry. This turns the 1176 into a soft-clipper that is driven by the Input.
Dr. Pepper Setting - Attack 10 o’clock, Release 2 o’clock, Ratio 4.

HARMONIC ANALYSIS
To analyse the non-linear behaviours of the 1176 Collection, I ran a 100 Hz sine wave through the plug-ins at various settings. In addition, I passed the 1176’s through a Hammerstein module to trace the amplitude of the harmonics across the frequency range of the plug-ins.

100 Hz sine wave at -12 dB passed through 1176 Rev A at Unity


100 Hz sine wave at -12 dB passed through 1176 Rev E at Unity

100 Hz sine wave at -12 dB passed through 1176 AE at Unity
1176AE-Sine-Unity
Surprisingly, the Anniversary Edition generates the most harmonics, despite sounding the cleanest.

100 Hz sine wave at -12 dB passed through 1176 Rev A Input Driven
1176A-Sine-Driven
100 Hz sine wave at -12 dB passed through 1176 Rev E Input Driven
1176E-Sine-Driven
100 Hz sine wave at -12 dB passed through 1176 AE Input Driven


100 Hz sine wave at -12 dB passed through 1176 Rev A in All-Button Mode (ABM)

100 Hz sine wave at -12 dB passed through 1176 Rev E in All-Button Mode (ABM)

100 Hz sine wave at -12 dB passed through 1176 AE in All-Button Mode (ABM)

All three models generate low-ordered odd and even harmonic distortion. The AE generates more higher ordered harmonics but are controlled and atat low amplitude, so will not impart much to the sound.
ABM is hard to demonstrate, as the harmonic structure changes considerably with minor adjustments to the Input.

1176 Rev A at Unity passed through a Hammerstein module (4 Orders)


1176 Rev E at Unity passed through a Hammerstein module (4 Orders)

1176 AE at Unity passed through a Hammerstein module (4 Orders)

1176 Rev A Input Driven passed through a Hammerstein module (4 Orders)

1176 Rev E Input Driven passed through a Hammerstein module (4 Orders)

1176 AE Input Driven passed through a Hammerstein module (4 Orders)

It is interesting how the harmonics frequency response becomes more linear as the Input is driven.
Explanation : The Hammerstein module plots a trace per harmonic. The trace amplitude depicts the amplitude of the harmonic across the frequency range of the plug-in. I only plotted the first 4 harmonics on the Hammerstein module, as the graph gets a little convoluted when depicting additional harmonics.

SOFT CLIPPING CHARACTERISTICS
I passed a sine wave through the 1176’s at various settings and captured the results on an oscilloscope.
Oscilloscope – 1176 Rev A at Unity


Oscilloscope – 1176 Rev Eat Unity

Oscilloscope – 1176 AE at Unity

Oscilloscope – 1176 Rev A Input Driven

Oscilloscope – 1176 Rev E Input Driven

Oscilloscope – 1176 AE Input Driven

Soft symmetrical clipping at unity; clipping behaviour becomes harder and more symmetrical as the Input is driven harder.
Symmetrical clipping generates odd-ordered harmonics, whereas asymmetrical clipping generates both even and odd ordered harmonics,

FREQUENCY AND PHASE RESPONSE
Frequency and phase response of the 1176’s at unity and then how drivelling the Input changes this relationship.

Frequency Response of 1176 Rev A at Unity


Frequency Response of 1176 Rev A Input Driven

Flat frequency response in the audible range at unity; small boost to the super lows and highs when driven.

Frequency Response of 1176 Rev E at Unity


Frequency Response of 1176 Rev E Input Driven

Very similar response to the Rev A model.
Frequency Response of 1176 AE at Unity

Frequency Response of 1176 AE Input Driven

Quite a significant frequency boost at around 6Hz. This is why it is always a good practice to vigilantly low cut non-essential low frequencies.

DYNAMIC RESPONSE
In this section I want to analyse the dynamic response of the 1176’s at various settings. For this analysis I have utilsed 2 modules in PluginDoctor:
Ramp Mode,- the 1176’s are sequentially fed a sine wave with an input level increasing from -100 dB to 0 dB in steps of 1 dB. This is essentially a transfer curve that you often see on plug-in compressors, such as Fabfilter Pro-C2.
Attack-Release Mode - the 1176’s are fed a sequence of three sine waves at three different levels. Here we are looking at a time period where the input level is below the threshold, then an additional time period above the threshold, and finally again below the threshold. This module will demonstrate how the 1176’s react when the signal exceeds the threshold (attack) and then when the signal falls below the threshold (release)

Ramp Mode - 1176 Rev A - Ratio 4


Ramp Mode - 1176 Rev E - Ratio 4

Ramp Mode - 1176 AE - Ratio 2
1176AE-Dyn-2
Ramp Mode - 1176 Rev A - Ratio 8
1176A-Dyn-8
Ramp Mode - 1176 Rev E - Ratio 8
1176E-Dyn-8
Ramp Mode - 1176 AE - Ratio 4

Ramp Mode - 1176 Rev A - Ratio 12

Ramp Mode - 1176 Rev E - Ratio 12

Ramp Mode - 1176 AE - Ratio 8

Ramp Mode - 1176 Rev A - Ratio 20

Ramp Mode - 1176 Rev E - Ratio 20

Ramp Mode - 1176 AE - Ratio 12

Ramp Mode - 1176 Rev A - ABM


Ramp Mode - 1176 Rev E - ABM

Ramp Mode - 1176 AE - ABM

I was going to omit this analysis, but then thought it would be cool to depict what the All-Buttons-Mode transfer curve looked like.

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev A - Ratio 4 - Slow Time Constants


Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev E - Ratio 4 - Slow Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 AE - Ratio 2 - Slow Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev A - Ratio 8 - Slow Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev E - Ratio 8 - Slow Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 AE - Ratio 4 - Slow Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev A - Ratio 12 - Slow Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev E - Ratio 12 - Slow Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 AE - Ratio 8 - Slow Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev A - Ratio 20 - Slow Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev E - Ratio 20 - Slow Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 AE - Ratio 12 - Slow Time Constants

The 1176 AE model definitely has the punchiest sounding attack contour and the longest release time. The 1198 E has the tightest time constants. This will be worth keeping in mind when deciding which 1176 is best suited for the source.

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev A - Ratio 4 - Fast Time Constants


Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev E - Ratio 4 - Fast Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 AE - Ratio 2 - Fast Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev A - Ratio 8 - Fast Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev E - Ratio 8 - Fast Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 AE - Ratio 4 - Fast Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev A - Ratio 12 - Fast Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev E - Ratio 12 - Fast Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 AE - Ratio 8 - Fast Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev A - Ratio 20 - Fast Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev E - Ratio 20 - Fast Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 AE - Ratio 12 - Fast Time Constants

Note: It is quite difficult to get a ‘good’ screen grab as the graphics jump about a lot in Plugin Doctor, please keep this in mind when viewing.

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev A - ABM - Slow Time Constants


Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev E - ABM - Slow Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 AE - ABM - Slow Time Constants

The 1176 Rev A has the longest time constants. Look at the AE model attack portion, I had no idea it did that. I am wondering what that would be good for, any ideas?

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev A - ABM - Fast Time Constants


Attack-Release Mode - 1176 Rev E - ABM - Fast Time Constants

Attack-Release Mode - 1176 AE - ABM - Fast Time Constants

The dip in the 1176 AE that is similar to an ADSR with a Decay Ratio is controlled by the attack time I am going to have to experiment with this on some sources.

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listed #3
#4

Thanks, Paul. This will be a fantastic reference.

1 Like
#5

sup Paul

you are a beast!

I haven’t been using too much musical compression because it always seems to sound choked out even when using it subtly results are not desired, prob because I’ve been using the la-2a collection, even though I use the silver/gray/ and la-2 accordingly to their respective speeds, I’ll have to check out these as they seem to have more of the control I’m looking for, and also do a test and see how the la-2a series compares

just for clarification you would/could use one of these as musical compression on each track? like even on a high hat subtly just for saturation sakes?

#6

Yes, absolutely, I often use 1176 as just a saturation box, you can disable the compressor completely by turning attack to ‘off’ or disabling all the ratios. It has a really nice sound.