It’s been a while since we got a first glimpse of the UK Sound 276 compressor at NAMM 2018, along with its single-channel sibling 176. The company has announced that it is now shipping the 276. As always when the two magic digits “76” are involved, it’s clear where this is going. The UK Sound 276 aims to deliver two channels of 1176-style FET compression at a reasonable price.
UK Sound is a division of BAE Audio. The company says that the 276 is designed to “emulate intuitive features” and the “renowned brightness, presence and energy” of the Universal Audio 1176. These days, you have a lot of options when you’re in the market for an 1176-style compressor. There’s something in every price range, and the Warm Audio WA76, Klark Teknik 1176-KT, and Stam Audio SA-76ADG are just some of the choices that come to mind.
Unlike many of these “clones”, the UK Sound 276 doesn’t bother imitating the 1176’s front panel layout and pushbuttons. Instead, it packs two channels of compression into a 1U enclosure. That’s great if you’re not after the looks and not willing to sacrifice four units of rack space for two channels of compression.
Settings and controls
The settings, however, mimic those of the venerable 1176: Input and output, four selectable ratios (4:1, 8:1, 12:1, 20:1), attack, release, and a bypass switch. The “!” switch activates the famous “all buttons mode”. There is also a side chain filter per channel. What’s missing is the 1176’s selectable meter modes. It appears that the meters of the UK Sound 276 only show gain reduction. The 276 also does not have a stereo link feature. It always operates as two independent mono compressors.
According to UK Sound, the 276 and its sibling 176 use OEP/Carnhill transformers. The company claims that they “are known for their warmth and clarity in the high end and natural-sounding harmonics in the low end”.
BAE Audio says that the UK Sound 276 is built in California “with carefully chosen components”. That considered, the price of USD 1399 seems very reasonable for a dual-channel compressor.