thread: 1176 CLA Mod
View Single Post
Old 14th November 2013
Lives for gear
Aaron Rash's Avatar
1176 CLA Mod

Hey everyone I was looking around on ebay and ran into this 1176 blue stripe: UREI Universal Audio 1176 Rev B Bluestripe Vintage Limiter Compressor Unique Mod | eBay.

Here's the listing:

This auction is for a Urei 1176 bluestripe limiter, serial 698, revision B with a modification that is beyond rare. The unit has been modified to be exactly the same signal flow as the infamous "bluestripe lead vocal" compressor as used by one of the world's leading mixers.

I shared the same tech as this mixer about 5-10 years ago, and apparently he brought his blue stripe in and said... "fix the meter on this one, but don't change anything in the audio path on this b/c it's my favorite lead vocal compressor. It doesn't sound like my others, there may be something wrong with it or different about it but don't change that under any circumstances. I love the way it sounds." (paraphrasing here).

The tech took note of what made the unit different, a subtle wiring change. He was a good friend of mine and he offered to modify mine to be the same as said mixer's.

I've never seen any mention of this mod on any forum anywhere, and this unit is priced accordingly... as it is the only other unit in the world (to my knowledge) that has this option. It's not a terribly elaborate wiring change, but it does add quite a bit more 2nd order harmonic distortion to the sound, which is probably why it became the lead vocal compressor of choice on a lion's share of the world's most famous mixes. It adds quite an edge to the sound. It is not something you could "guess" on your own. This is not BS, I've heard the unit before and after and it's clear to me that this mod is a big part of the sound people associate with the most notorious use of this compressor, but until now had no way to replicate.

I recently had a (different) tech put the mod on a toggle on the back of the unit, so you can use the unit in it's original capacity, or in the higher distortion mode which would be great for vocals (in case you don't have two or more original bluestripes like the mixer who popularized it). This same tech put the unit up on an Audio Precision 1 to check the characteristics that the mod gave the unit... he said that basically it spec''d high for distortion when in the modded mode, which is probably why it sounds so good. It's a richening effect, gives the program density to cut through a busy mix.

I'm guessing the person who purchases this unit will either be a high-end mixer, or a plug-in developer who will want to model it (Waves has already modeled a unit like this one, but it would be great to see someone do an even better job). I'm not mixing anymore, hence the sale... although this was on my lead vocal track 95% of the time when I was.

The unit has had XLRs mounted on the back previous to my acquisition for ease of use. Otherwise the unit has its important original electronic components. It functions correctly and is in good electronic health, with some normal outward cosmetic signs of aging as seen in the pictures.

Do not email or message me re: the modification, I will not divulge it. If you want the mod, you need to purchase the unit.

There was a bluestripe 1176 posted with James Brown pedigree within the last year, which sold for nearly 8K on this auction site. I believe this unit to be far more valuable both as an important historic piece and in functionality.

No returns. Bid / offer with confidence, I've sold many high-dollar studio items by names like Pultec, Fairchild, Studer, Ampex, Neve etc. in the LA area and on eBay and have very high feedback.

Local pickup available as well.

First of all... Asking 11 grand for a single compressor is ridiculous... I doubt it will sale for that price. He states the CLAs tech performed a mod on it by changing a wire to a different spot for more harmonic distortion. Why would that be worth over $11,000 is beyond me but I would be interested to hear what mods are possible with this unit to possibly build a hairball 1176 with this mod done.