Like IK Multimedia's recent compressor releases, Native Instruments' new Vintage Compressors range of plug-ins also includes a UREI 1176 emulation.
Developed in collaboration with Softube, the Native Instruments VC 76 operates inside NI's Guitar Rig 4 framework allowing standalone or plug-in operation and use of Guitar Player's free effects.
"Like the real thing, adding bite to bass is a breeze, and the fast attack settings have been captured very well."
NI's VC 76 ticks all the expected boxes, with the four main ratio settings (4:1, 8:1, 12:1 and 20:1) joined by the famous 'all buttons in' setting.
You'll also find the compressor circuit 'off' feature represented by a 1:1 ratio option.
Like the VC 2A, the VC 76 benefits from a Dry Level slider for parallel compression, and can also accept an external sidechain input.
In use, the full palette of 1176 sounds can easily be achieved, from precise vocal taming to pumping drum overheads. Like the real thing, adding bite to bass is a breeze, and the fast attack settings have been captured very well.
The 1176's coloured sound lends itself to parallel compression. Initially, we struggled slightly achieving this because the dry level, even when at full, can easily be overpowered by the compressed signal.
Our workaround was to start by setting the dry signal at 100% and then adjust the compressor output up from zero.
Even so, many 1176 users will find this counterintuitive.
The 1176 is also popular simply as a line amplifier, ie, with no compression applied. The effect here is subtle, but VC 76 does enhance the signal slightly in this mode, and fans of the hardware will welcome this option.
Although it has its benefits, not everyone will welcome the inconvenience of using VC 76 within Guitar Rig, and although it's not necessarily a deal breaker, you may want to consider how this would impact your own working methods.