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1176 blue stripe... really?
Old 19th September 2015
Lives for gear

I had a blue stripe 1176 from 1976 through 1993.
The studio that we started back then had a pair of UA 176s and even after sending them back to UA/UREI we were not happy with them.
For the record, they dull the sound as they compress and distort easily.
To my 19 year-old ears this was not a good sound.
BTW... They were coupled to a UA factory built 16x3 consoles that was based on Langevin plug in electronics "trays."

Because they knew that we were un-happy with the UA 176s UREI sent us a blue stripe 1176 for evaluation.
Obviously, we bought the 1176.
We kept the 176s, but they weren't used that much.
You have to remember that tube equipment was considered old and antiquated in the '70s.
Yes, I was HIGHLY envious of people who had new MCIs and other "modern" equipment.

So, I used the blue stripe as my main compressor on vocals and bass until I sold the facility in early '93.
Along the way it developed an issue where it would produce a loud "snap" maybe every 45 minutes, or so.
Since this was still before the vintage craze was going I always planned to repair the unit, but never did.
In truth, the "snap" never busted a take and I didn't want to part with the unit long enough to send it off.

After I sold the studio that had that unit I moved to a facility that did radio/TV production and production music.
All of our rooms had at least one 1176 and a few had a pair.
There was every revision from Ds to Hs and they all reacted and sounded different.
I had an LN and another similar black face 1176 in my personal room until 2000.

Now... My view of the 1176s is different than a lot of people because I "grew up" with one at my side and I also bought a lot of them for $650... $750...
Yes, I have many recordings in my archives where I can clearly hear the blue stripe.
I have a good friend who I have recorded for many years and he considers the sound of that compressor to be key to getting the best vocal sound he has ever achieved.
This guy sang with super groups and has recorded in studios since he was 14 years-old and recorded in many world class / famous facilities.
He bought the REV H 1176s when the radio/TV facility down-sized in 2001 and although he likes them, he knows they don't sound anything like the blue stripe.

Would I pay $5K to replace the blue stripe I once had?
Absolutely not!
Would I pay $3K, $2K to replace it?

Why? Because I don't record people or music that need that sound so badly that spending that kind of money would be justified.
In fact, after spending more than 40 years in pro audio/recording I have only met a handful of people who require that kind of money to be spent.
Most record budgets don't even equal the price of the piece in the first place!
Rarity is one thing, but most people that I know who own equipment of this vintage under-use what they have.

If I had the time I'd like to build a clone blue stripe 1176, but I have an un-matched pair of black faces (I forget the revisions.)
I just don't have the time to take on such a project.

However, the fellow from Houston who posted earlier made a valid point.
There are A LOT of people who inflate prices in order to sell their stuff for top dollar.
This went on before the internet to a degree, but since the internet came along prices have risen steadily.
There are a lot of factors, but if you were active in buying/selling gear before the internet you would know the difference.
Caveat Emptor...
A fool and his money...

I'd better stop before I hurt people's feelings and loose a few friends...
Old 7th December 2015
Here for the gear
kmandude's Avatar
To be fair, Chris Lord Alge has 4 blue stripes, and only one of them is nice enough sounding to be consistently used on the Lead vocal. So after plunking down 5-6K to get one you may be unable to get the euphonics that is somewhat random. I guess you could buy 3 or 4 and just keep the best one, but who has the energy for that?

Im looking at the retro compressor to give that vibe more dependably.

Last edited by kmandude; 7th December 2015 at 03:51 AM.. Reason: additive
Old 7th December 2015
Originally Posted by Pastor Obviedo View Post
Blue Stripe... really? I mean REALLY?

those are being selling for $5k or $6k there's a guy on e bay asking $7000!!
Its insane, I think this madness is a combination of hype from Gearslutz, the fact that cla use them on his lead vocals and an old fletcher article where he says that the Blue Stripe has a "euphonic" quality that other revisions don't.

i'm sure the new 1176AE is more reliable, and if they did their homework, it should kill sonically an original Blue Stripe. the AE is priced fairly and since they only made a few hundreds, you are getting a piece of history!!

also, in my opinion it looks sexier than his old grand pa'.

is there anybody here who owns both (the reissue and the original BS)? How close they sound from each other?

I'm very close to pull the trigger on a 1176AE, my idea is to mix a Rock Band and I want to achieve a CLA'ish kind of sound, mostly on vocals and obviously I can't pay for an original (and even if I could, I would never pay $6k.

Bro, but what you're forgetting is that, unlike companies like Empirical Labs that use digital circuits to control the analog signal path, each Blue Stripe 1176's signal path is controlled by 4 Smurfs each. Where else do you think they came up with the blue stripe?

When you factor in that the breakdown is basically like this:

$2,000 - 1176 components/rack
$4,000 - per trained, 4 person indentured servant Smurf staff

It's really not that unfair at all. You just like to complain, I think.
Old 7th December 2015
But in all seriousness, I think that I'd much rather pickup both the Retro 176 and Sta-Level for that amount of money.

Doesn't CLA also use the 176? Or is that someone else?
Old 9th December 2015
Lives for gear
Stitch333's Avatar

I built one that is sitting on top of an original as a BS pair.
Because the clones are copies of the schematic and parts have a tolerance that
will set the part value above or below the specified value of an given part:
parts of the originals will have faded out of tolerance, randomly, as well over the decades.

Ive built enough of these clones (Comps, mics, eqs, micpres) that
sat next to the original to have come to conclusion that the clones, if well built
and carefully researched for accurate part purchases, should sit inside the varying tolerance (and sound) of a group of originals.
Old 9th December 2015
Lives for gear
Empire Prod's Avatar

I have one particular blue stripe that is an absolute magical tone box. The compression is amazing, but just running through it even with compression disengaged is absolutely incredible. A person really has to hear it for themselves to understand how great it is. I'm not sure why certain ones are just magical like that. It might be an out of tolerance component or a combination of a few things.
Old 15th December 2015
You know what would be really useful? A bluestripe with a knob on it to turn down the noise.... but leave everything else in tact.
Imagine a Blue Stripe that had the noise turned down from 10 to 2, but kept everything in the tone completely and faithfully.
I bought a Bluestripe recreation from Robert Zarowski of Poland (Pro Replica) and it is exactly that.

I haven't had use of an original in a long time but I distinctly remember everything about them, so I was as skeptical as possible when I shelled out the cash for this, but I was (and have been) Blown Away by the unit (ever since). I understand there are a couple of replicas out there that allow you to have everything you would get from an original but with better noise specs, all for around the $2000 mark.

I should think that's a wise investment. Coupled with a 1073 pre and an LA2a or CL1b, it's the ultimate vocal chain for any decent quality LDC. JMHO.
Old 9th February 2016
Originally Posted by Empire Prod View Post
I have one particular blue stripe that is an absolute magical tone box. The compression is amazing, but just running through it even with compression disengaged is absolutely incredible. A person really has to hear it for themselves to understand how great it is. I'm not sure why certain ones are just magical like that. It might be an out of tolerance component or a combination of a few things.
Save the hyperbole and post some samples.
Old 9th February 2016
it is simply unreal how much people are charging for them on ebay.......
Old 10th February 2016
Gear Nut

I think I have posted this before, but I have owned and regularly used the UREI 1176LN in a commercial studio as well as the more recent 1176 variants. If you are going for that FET compressor/limiter sound there are numerous ways of getting there, not the least of which are the current offerings by the descendants of Bill Putnam. Even the lowly 1176-2 sounds close enough for rock 'n roll, plus you can unlink and keep one side setup for vocals and the other for bass: 1176 goodness on a project studio budget times two.

(I'm beginning to sound like a commercial, perhaps I will qualify for an endorsement)
Old 5th March 2016
Lives for gear
I'm loving my Hairball 500 kit. I doubt people can tell the difference.
Old 23rd February 2017
Gear Head

Hi Stitch333,

This ebay auction is using your picture:
1176 blue stripe...                                     really?UREI 1176 BLUE STRIPE COMPRESSOR LIMITER 1960s | eBay

Quite dilletante, as the rest of the pictures is an real blue strip with LED...
Ebay is quite messed up.
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