1176 compressors: Hairball, CLA-87 and UAD 1176LN
Old 9th April 2012
Gear Maniac
1176 compressors: Hairball, CLA-87 and UAD 1176LN

I recorded a quick shootout between the Hairball, the CLA-76 and the UAD 1176LN using an electric bass track straight from a DI into an Avedis MA5 and converted with a Mytek Stereo96ADC. I was impressed that I could achieve basically the same sound with each. The Hairball was inserted during the mix via an Mbox3 Pro.

Input and output gains varied significantly between the units to get the same sound and meters didn't show the exact same gain reduction...but the post-fader signal meters in PT looked about the same in terms of total volume and gain reduction.

The .zip file linked below contains mono output files of each of the 3 units and photos of their settings. Each unit was set with a compression ratio of 4:1 with similar attack/release settings. The attack is at 12 o'clock and the release is a little past 3 o'clock on all the units.

Download link:

Sorry I don't have a vintage 1176 or reissue to add to this comparison. Send me one and I'll add it!
Old 9th April 2012
Gear maniac

Nice shootout. The hairball clones are definitely worth the money to my ears. As primarily a bassist and a performer myself, I'm holding out for a local compressor expert to review the transformer equipped origin cali76 FET compressor in a pedal format for live use.
Old 9th April 2012
Gear Maniac
Thanks. Cool idea about the pedal version. I'd like to know more about that. Sorry about the terrible bass playing.

Next, I will record a drumset and run the mix through the 3 different versions of 1176 with the "all buttons pushed in" setting. I will also add a Distressor on the 10:1 Opto setting for comparison.
Old 8th May 2012
Lives for gear

Yeah, they're virtually identical tonally. The Hairball has just a bit more, well, hair on it, and a bit more depth and space, with less of that solid digital feel.
Old 8th May 2012
Gear Maniac
Originally Posted by bebopcola View Post
...transformer equipped origin cali76 FET compressor in a pedal format for live use.
I read your post again and figured out that you were talking about an existing product from Origin Effects called the Cali76. That's really cool, I'd love to audition one of those. Their other pedal, the SlideRIG, also looks very interesting. Thanks for the heads-up.
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