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i have a uad 1 card which has the LA-2A and 1176 as plugins on it. i've been mucking around using them as limiters trying emulate the real deal.

i get hotter, clean signals for sure. but i'm curious to see if any one would choose one of these if they had the real unit. or if they are not really for mastering.

also, of the 2 which one would be better suited for mastering, the LA-2A or the 1176? so far i mostly use the 1176 with the attack fast and the release slow at a setting of 8 on the push buttons i get pretty good results.

i'm also wondering if this type of limiting is different than say a WavesL2. can a 1176 have a brick wall?

what do you guys think?

chris perra


joe lambert Mon, 05/05/2003 - 06:38

Two classic compressors that have been used forever and for good reason. I haven't used the plug in versions but I have never used a plug in that I liked as much as the real box.

If I wanted to change the sound, the Dynamic range I would use these. I would use the L2 for a little extra level while trying to keep the dynamic range relatively the same.

Great compressors but they wouldn't be my first choice for mastering.

anonymous Fri, 05/09/2003 - 19:18

I used the BF 1176 just recently as a mix compressor before the L1 finalizer (I know, I know, it ain't as good as the L2, but it was what was available) to do some junior "mastering"for a demo. I was fairly happy with the results, probably happier with the 1176 than the L1. In fact I didn't like what the L1 was doing when it limited the signal more than 2 db (during the loudest sections, mostly due to kick drum) and tried to use it more to finalize the signal and alter the dynamics with the 1176.
Hardware-wise, the 1178 is the stereo version of the 1176. 1176s linked would not probably be close enough in sound to do proper stereo work through (we have a black face and a silver face, so we can't even get close). The BF version is good, but hardware... wow. Doc

chrisperra Fri, 05/09/2003 - 23:18

does the bomb factory 1176 sound different than the uad-1?

i've gotten some good results so far, does anyone know how to read the meters on it properly?

if i'm using it to limit and fatten then use the vintage warmer or waves L2 as a brick wall limiter, is there a vu level that gets me close to zero in the digital world to look out for?

i would like to get it as close to zero as possible without the vw or L2 doing the squeezing.

in general i'm in a state of constant confusion when dealing with vu meters and their +3 or +10 on an LA2A or +4 and +8 on the 1176.

any insight would be greatly appreciated.

chris perra

Pez Sun, 05/11/2003 - 09:42

I use the UAD 1176 and like it. I don't use it that often as a mastering compressor though. I didn't like the L1 but I've got good results from the L2- sounds cleaner and if you watch your gain staging when you record you shouldn't need any more than 3db max limiting. I must be the only one in the world that is not happy with the Vintage Warmer. The gui is cool as hell and it looks pro but to my ears when I close my eyes and do a blind A/B test I seem to choose the clean mix 90% of the time. Maybe I like the compression of analog tape more than the distortion. I don't know. The Vintage Warmer just doesn't replicate that sound to my satisfaction. Perhaps it's because I've been recording mostly clean acoustic music lately. If I need warmth & color or a more open high end I'll chose a Pultec. Wish I could afford a Manley also.

Jon Best Tue, 05/13/2003 - 11:59

It's all about choosing the right color.

If you have a good, clean, balanced monitoring system, then you can pretty much throw anything in the signal chain you want, and you'll be able to tell what works and what doesn't.

If you don't, then I'd be really careful about doing any mastering type stuff. Just make the mix the best you can, and if you absolutely can't go somewhere else to master, stick a good limiter across the mix bus and stay within 3 dB of limiting or so.

AFA the UAD-1 card goes, I have occasionally used the LA2A and Pultec plugs for a master, but not really the 1176- I haven't had a mix that needed that midrange packing.

chrisperra Tue, 05/20/2003 - 02:06

jon, do you feel that the 1176 squashes mids moreso than other frequencies?

i haven't really noticed myself. is this in general, or do you have to do something specific to acheive this?

when using the LA2A do you set it on limit or compression. and how much would you use?

also, do you know how to read the vu meters? they don't make too much sense to me in the digital world.

chris perra

Jon Best Fri, 05/30/2003 - 18:25

No, I think that the 1176 brings out some of the mid/low mids- that's what I mean by 'packing.' It seems to pack the mids a little fuller, which is one reason I like it so much on a lot of basses- controls dynamics nicely, while pushing some of the 'definition' harmonics a little forward. Used on a whole mix, it gets a little AM radio sounding. Seems to be the color of the plug (and to a certain extent the color of the hardware), and while you can minimize or maximize with settings, it's just there all the time.

The LA2A for mastering (we're still talking UAD-1 here) can be touchy- it's a good way to bring up some top end, but it's really quick, and using it heavily can make for some weird pumping and loss of transient. When I do occasionally use it for mastering, I'm shaving off *maybe* a dB, mostly just for the coloration of the plug itself, almost always set for compression. Once, it worked really well to have two in series, one comp, one lim, before a final L2 limiter, but it's not something I usually do.

The meter is a VU meter, so it's averaging, and you can assume that set to input or output, you're passing more peak level than it's showing, and in GR, you're getting more compression on the transients than it's showing.

Now, the Pultec is a plug I will fairly often insert set to zero, as it's got a really nice color just engaged with no EQ. Wish they had a Manley-style enhanced Pultec with mids.

Originally posted by chrisperra:
jon, do you feel that the 1176 squashes mids moreso than other frequencies?

i haven't really noticed myself. is this in general, or do you have to do something specific to acheive this?

when using the LA2A do you set it on limit or compression. and how much would you use?

also, do you know how to read the vu meters? they don't make too much sense to me in the digital world.

chris perra

Jon Best Sat, 05/31/2003 - 12:13

I'm assuming it's like most optos, in that the ratio changes as you compress more- it's one of the things that contributes to the smoothness. The more it's compressing, the higher the ratio, in a sort of curve. In the 'limit' setting, it's just a flatter curve. It's not worth worrying about, IMO- just use your ears. Digital compressors seem so different than analog ones anyway- I don't usually like the Ren comp, for example, with a ratio of more than about 1.8 to 1, but this is not often true of most analog comps I've used. Just different. Also, comparing attack and release between different designs of compressor is a good way to get nowhere quick.

Originally posted by chrisperra:
thanks jon,

what do you think the compression and limiting ratio's would be on the la2a compared to other com/limiters with ratio settings on them?

chris perra

anonymous Tue, 06/17/2003 - 04:50

I use the BF Classic Compressors every day. I love the LA2A and use it on everything from Kick Drum, Tom Toms, Drum Submixes, Vocals and even Mastering when I need to add a little "authority" to the sound. I'll use it on anything that works, usually compressing, unless the occasion arises where I need to tame some peaks, and I'll switch it into limiting mode.
That is until it doesn't work and I swap it out for the 1176. The 1176 will do wonders for a Snare Drum, Kick Drum or Bass Guitar but never Mastering. It pumps like crazy and is noisy as hell. I usually have to automate the track just to keep all the background noise that it brings up to a minimum.
We run ProTools in High Definition and it really makes a difference, folks, honestly. In fact, I have processed analog signals from the console or from tape directly to these plug - ins through the HD3's 192 I/O Interfaces and brought the signals back to the console. TDM rules!
I would recommend consulting the Bomb Factory user's guide as far as how and where you would make use of these classic emulation plug - ins. I'm sure you can download it in Adobe PDF file format directly from their website. They delve light-heartedly into the discussion and philosophy of where, when, why and how to appply these plug - ins. They site one instance of using the LA2A and 1176 together, in harness. The thinking being that the LA2A provides that warm and broad sound and letting the 1176 which (was transistorized and) had quicker response times catch the remaining transients that were too fast for the LA2A unit.
A small side note here is that I'm also a big fan of the Waves C1 Compressor because you can automatically set it to be frequency selective.
I'm sure we've all come across that situation where a track has that one note which sticks out.
You just key listen in to the problem frequency and viola! Works like a charm. ;)

Guest Tue, 06/17/2003 - 19:35

I'd put myself in the 'no' camp for using the 1176 or la2 plugins for mastering. They're too aggressive for my taste, and just aren't transparent enough. That said, I love them on just about any individual instrument. Sometimes I'll even bus all of my drums to 2 tracks and knock a couple dB off there to give it a little punch. That said, I'm sure there's some tracks that would sound great through all depends on what you've got. In general use though, I would say no.

Believe it or not, I think some of the stock setting on the renaissance compressor for mastering are actually a much better choice for a quick mastering job. I wouldn't knock more than a couple dB off with the actual compression, and then crank the output so it hits the limiter into the yellow. I know, a lot of people are saying "what?!" but just try it. For very quick non-final product dumps for bands I use this all the time, and the bands are quite satisfied with it for a quick job. I actually know a semi-pro mastering guy who religiously uses the ren comp when mastering, followed by an L2.

Come on...JUST TRY IT!!

anonymous Sat, 07/05/2003 - 09:31

I'm not a big fan of the 1176 or the LA-2A for mastering rock stuff unless it's very subtle. The LA-2A is good for some softer stuff. I'm my opinion, the LA-2A is one of the least audible compressors I've heard (as far as bad compression artifacts) but you can hear it working mixes pretty easily. The C1 doesn't color the sound in a cool way like the UAD-1 compressors hardly at all, however, on mixes, it's cool to set it to sidechain and roll off the lows to your liking to prevent the bass drum and/or bass from pumping the mix so much.