View Single Post
Old 19th September 2015
  #61
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?
No!

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...