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Retro 176 Attack Knob Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 23rd January 2012
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
Mojo Man's Avatar
 

Retro 176 Attack Knob

I recently acquired a Retro 176 limiting amplifier, and I would be hard pressed to find any major flaws. I am, however, a bit confused about the nature of the push-pull attack knob. From the Retro 176 user manual:

Quote:
The Attack knob has a pull switch that disables the Retro 176 program-controlled time constant. The original UA 175B and 176 have a single time constant. By pulling the Attack knob OUT you can have that mode. The program-controlled time-constant (with the knob IN) makes the Retro 176 gain reduction more natural, better controlling dynamics with less distortion.
In my estimation, "program-controlled time constant" and "single time constant" sound like terms indicating variable attack time and fixed attack time respectively. Is this correct? I should say not because I also found this information on the Studio Electronics website:

Quote:
The UA 175A had stepped input and output attenuators, along with vernier controls for fine adjustment of In/Out levels. The hinged front panel dropped down to reveal Attack and Release time controls and calibration pots for GR Zero, Cathode Balance, and Plate Balance.
The UA 175B moved the Attack and Release controls out to the front panel. With the inside control panel removed, a slightly shallower chassis was used. The unit we're restoring has Langevin balanced pots on the input and output, instead of the stepped attenuators.
The UA 176 added a gain reduction selector switch, with 2:1, 4:1, 8:1, and 12:1 settings. A custom output transformer with balanced taps allowed the different ratios.
The UA 177 was just like the 176, but included no meter on the front panel. The rear terminal strip has connections for an external VU meter.
So it seems all iterations of the limiting amplifier provide some form of control over attack and release times.

So can anyone tell me exactly what is meant by "program-controlled time constant" and "single time constant." Further, can anyone tell me what exactly is achieved by pulling out the attack knob on the Retro 176? When the knob is pulled, does the 176 perform as would an original UA 176? Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Old 24th January 2012
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

I think it refers to a double time constant.
Old 24th January 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
nomoreflakes's Avatar
 

bump
Old 24th January 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
drew's Avatar
Why don't you call or email Phil? (Phil Moore from Retro)

He's always given me nothing but EXCELLENT customer service. I'm sure he'd help.
Old 25th January 2012
  #5
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ghostwriter's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojo Man View Post
When the knob is pulled, does the 176 perform as would an original UA 176? Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Yes, that is exactly what it does. With it out it behaves like the original.
Old 25th January 2012
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
Mojo Man's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostwriter View Post
Yes, that is exactly what it does. With it out it behaves like the original.
Thanks for the info. I am glad to at least have a practical understanding of the knob's function. Do you know what parameters change when the push/pull knob is engaged? I am still curious as the meaning of "program-controlled time constant" and "single time constant." As Drew mentioned, it may warrant a phone call to the manufacturer. In the meantime, if anyone has any further information about these terms and how they relate to the attack and/or release times, it would be greatly appreciated.
Old 25th January 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 
AllBread's Avatar
 

I feel like you get more aggressive attack times (the compressor gets lets smooth and grabs and yanks a bit more) on the faster side of the spectrum when the attack knob is pulled out.

Guess it's just like everything else though, pull it out and give it a spin and let it settle on whatever works.

Damn, that whole post just sounds pervy.
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