The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Retro Instruments 176
4.9 4.9 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

My go-to compressor for anything!


30th October 2014

Retro Instruments 176 by DavidChampoux

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Retro Instruments 176

Can't say enough positive things about this compressor. Huge tone. Can go from subtle to super aggressive. Works like a charm on vocals, percussions, bass, strings, anything really... This would be my 'desert island' compressor!

27th January 2016

Retro Instruments 176 by ghostwriter

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Retro Instruments 176

The Retro Instruments 176 is designer Phil Moore's recreation (with some amazing additions) of Bill Putnam's classic 176.

A beautiful tube Vari-Mu design with an inter-stage transformer (located between the gain-reduction element and the output stage) that you can switch in and out of the signal path.

A favorite of mine, the “Asymmetry" function determines whether the detector reacts to the full waveform, or only to the positive or negative sides.

Continuously variable attack and release times, four compression ratio settings (2:1, 4:1, 8:1, 12:1), side chain high pass filter, the list goes on and on. Gentle compression to heavy handed, it is all there.

Used individually or as a stereo matched pair, the Retro 176 is stellar on everything it touches.

A very versatile beast.

3 weeks ago

Retro Instruments 176 by seawell

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Retro Instruments 176

After years of searching I've finally landed on what I consider to be the best compressor you can get for vocals. I've been through a ton of compressors over the years that had great tone but lacked flexibility in attack and release times. Other compressors were fast enough but didn't have the tone I was looking for.

The 176 has all the tube goodness a good vari mu comp brings but has the speed to lock a vocal in place as well or better than an 1776 or distressor. It's the best of all worlds to me.

I put together a video review here to show examples on many different instruments as well as vocals.