Black Lion Audio Seventeen by matthew11490
There are plenty of 1176 clone in the market, they are very affordable and sounds great. But Black Lion Audio Seventeen stood out among them. The name "Seventeen" on the front plate makes it clear that it's another compressor with the 1176 DNA (FET compressor) which you would expect.
Right off the bat, there're a few features that I really like. It is easy to use with the standard 1176 features plus new features like stepped knobs, side chain, build in HPF & LPF and dry/wet mix knob. Those are very thoughtful additions to the classic compressor, which adds a lot of versatility. It's a tone beast, it reminds me of the distressor with those extra functions and it lives in its own league in between an 1176 and distressor. The unit is very well built and I really like the brush metal front plate and buttons lit up when they are engaged.
With no compression, the transformer in the Seventeen adds a lot of color to the signal, very creamy and thick is what I would describe. I like the tone a lot on this thing. Being a mixer, I love to push a piece of equipment to its limit and see what it can brings to the table. I tested the classic "All Button Mode", smashing the signal that I ran it through, some very nice distortion from the Seventeen. I was able to get some really good distortion using the fast attack and release as well.The HPF and LPF helps to shapes the tone when the audio is excessively compressed. It rolls off the unpleasant harshness from the distorted signal or the low end that built up from the over compression. If you want a "cleaner" signal, you can also use the dry/wet knob to blend the dry signal in for parallel compression. Very thoughtful and useful features to have when someone like me who likes to compress a lot to get a creative sound.
It's very transparent using as a gentle compression, I can't really tell if it's based on anyone of the 1176 revision as it is such a versatile beast. It can be aggressive or it can be smooth depends on how to use it. It has a very nice tone and color to it that all it matters to me.
The side chain HPF is also a very great tool, you can select from 100hz up to 400 hz. I have used it on kick and bass so far but you can totally experiment with it.
The only thing I would like to point out is level matching when you are using the dry/wet knob, I think the output is pre dry/wet knob, therefore when you are using it as parallel distortion mode, it's difficult to level match and compare the sonic difference with the dry signal.
For a retail price of $650, I think it's a very unique piece of gear and it brings a lot to a table compares to a regular 1176, I would say it's a modern 1176. Whether it's gonna be your first FET compressor or just another hardware in your collection, it ll be a very reliable tool too have. You ll have fun with it!