1176 Plugin Shootout: Waves CLA-76, UAD 1176, Rev E and BF76
Just got myself an Apollo Quad in the studio hooked up and rolling, so I’ve got a lot of 1176 plug-ins these days. 1176 style plug-ins. So I’ve got four varying 1176s here, right? I’ve got two from UA, one from Waves, and then I’ve got the BF76, which is free with any copy of Pro Tools.
I have them setup to where — I tried my best to kind of match the same sound, and as you can see from input, just look at the knobs. Things are different on every one. Varying thresholds, and with some of them, even the speed on the attack and release doesn’t really match, so I tried my best.
Again, this isn’t like, super precise, so don’t bitch at me too hard, but I tried to match the tone, the vibe, the sound. I’ve got a drum track here, and I thought we would just A and B some stuff and just listen to the sound quality and then see which ones would bring out different sort of characteristics of the sound.
So anyways, let’s get into it. Here is the drum track, it sounds like this.
Acoustic drums, it gets a little busier here.
So there’s some various grooves we can listen to these on.
So what I’ll do, I’ll start — you can see them over here, I’ll start with the top left and go down the columns here. So I’m just going to turn these things on and off.
So here’s the 1176LN the Rev E version, this top left compressor from UA.
[drums with 1176LN Rev E from UA]
Right. Adds a lot of weight and density. It’s really warm, it’s really smooth sounding, really pleasant, really musical sounding. I really dig that version.
Now let’s check out our faithful CLA-76 from Waves. Same section of the track.
[drums with CLA-76 from Waves]
Still sounds really good. It’s a little different there, I’ll go back and forth between the two.
[drums with CLA-76 and UA 1176]
So there you go. You know, one’s a little warmer, a little smoother than the other. By no means do I think one just really outperformed the other by any means, it’s just interesting to hear the differences.
So now let’s check out the BF76. It sounds like this.
[drums with BF76]
This one I definitely struggled with the most to try to get it to match up. The release setting in particular, like, it just — it doesn’t react to the transients quite the same as the other plug-ins.
Again, this is a free option though if you’re looking for a cheap way to get into a compressor that works like this. So let’s move on a little bit here.
Let’s check out the 1176LN from Universal Audio. It’s the top right one. This one comes — I believe it comes free with the Analog Classics Bundle. If you get a Satellite or a card or something like that. So let’s check that out.
[drums with 1176LN Analog Classics]
It sounds really nice. So now, just to kind of speed this up a little bit, I’m going to run through the track, and I’m just going to go between all of them.
Here we go.
[drums, with all 1176 emulations]
So there you have it, guys. Four different renditions of the 1176.
Personal favorites, I know the CLA-76 real well. I don’t really have to think too hard to use that. The UA stuff is really new, but I really love it. I would say this top left one if I had to pick a winner, would probably be it. It feels like analog to me. You know, the sound gets denser, there’s a sense of warmth to it, it gets a little smoother sounding, a little creamier sounding. You know, the other one sounds really good too.
The BF76 I probably wouldn’t use too much, but when I first got started, I definitely used this plug-in a lot, because it’s free and it sounds good. It’s just a different color.
The release and attack settings on it… It just doesn’t react like I would expect a plug-in like this to react, but that’s not to say it’s a bad plug-in. I know a lot of guys that still use this thing on professional projects.
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