Producer Presets

The Best 1176 Compressor Presets

Posted 3 years ago by Ian Hughes

Of all the 1176 plugin presets, this vocal preset levels the signal without appearing to smash it.

There are a few 1176 compressor presets that got more use in my studio more than any others. Naturally, there’s no better way to hear how extreme an 1176 can be with the “All Buttons In” preset. Another popular “preset” is letting signal pass through a hardware unit without gain reduction engaged. This allows the subtle effect of the transformer stages to influence the signal, especially if you had one of the versions with input and output transformers (like the “Rev A” version). It’s pretty cool that the UA 1176 plugins can emulate this transformer effect, too.

Of all the presets that I’ve ever used on an 1176 compressor though, none has seen as much use as the “1176 Vocal Preset.” Does it really have a name? I don’t know!

1176 compressor vocal preset

The 1176 Vocal Preset

I don’t remember where I read about it 25 years ago, but when I heard this vocal preset, I think I used it on every single album I did that year. I was young and in hindsight, inexperienced. But the bands loved it. I loved it too because for the right kind of music, it seriously reduced the workload to make vocals intelligible. Vocalists who hadn’t learned mic technique were met with consistent and leveled perfection. The cost for that consistency? Mouth noises.

This preset works so well because it smashes the signal without appearing to smash it. Breathing and any clicking, popping, smacking, teeth grinding, cheek plucking noises will become instantly embedded inside your mind. They’ll annoy you and the band, but it’s relatively easy to edit those out or reduce the gain reduction to taste. Sometimes the cheek plucks work well though, so listen before you edit.

How to Use the 1176 Vocal Preset

You start with fast attack and release settings: 6 and 7 on the dial, respectively. The ratio is set to 12:1. The Input and Output settings will vary depending on your signal and the requirements of your next processor or interface.

Now that you have your 1176 all set up, run signal through. You’re looking to set the Input knob at around 20dB of gain reduction on average. You can do less and certainly more, but start at 20dB and adjust as you see fit.

Next, set the 1176’s Output knob so that you’re sending a good signal into the next stage. Be careful to not overload the next stage, or make it work too hard in terms of making up lost gain from an output set too low. Learning about gain staging is smart, especially when you start using a lot of compressors and eqs together. It’s not too hard to degrade the signal quality with poor staging.

The Result

This 1176 preset works great for keeping a vocal at one level no matter what the singer is doing on the mic. There are two scenarios when I’d often reach for this preset: heavy rock and poor mic technique. It can be a challenge for the vocal to compete with everything else in dense metal and hard rock mixes without many comps, manually riding it, or using heavy compression. You can approximate this result with other compressors that have fast attack and release settings, too.

When the singer uses poor mic technique and is quiet during the verse, then extremely loud for the chorus, this setting is a fast way to get great results.

Download the 1176 Vocal Preset

You can download the 1176 Vocal Preset for the following plugins here:

1176 all buttons in preset

The All Buttons In Preset

The famous “British mode” or “All Buttons In” preset for the 1176 compressor is probably as famous as the Konami Code. Instead of getting 30 extra lives, this preset smashes audio to bits and makes the signal come alive, while simultaneously killing it. It’s a great option alone, or when using parallel compression. It makes drums breathe, gives over-the-top vocal effects, and adds general, musical pumping to just about any type of track.

One new tidbit that Universal Audio noted on their blog is that only the outside (top and bottom) ratios are relevant when using any multi-button combinations.

Other 1176 Presets

The 1176 is such a great compressor for learning how to use compression because it is so fast. Whatever you do to a signal, the result is fairly apparent.

If you look at how the unit is arranged via the faceplate, you’ll see the logical grouping of the three controls which are most useful for preset creation and exploration: the attack, release, and ratio. The Input and Output are program-dependent, so other than extreme effect use, it’s best to tweak those knobs to your own needs.

1176 Plugins on Producer Presets

There are multiple 1176 plugins available from several vendors. Check them out below:

We’re looking forward to seeing more compressor presets on PP!

Share on these social networks: