UAFX 1176 Studio Compressor Manual

This article contains complete operating instructions for the UAFX 1176 Studio Compressor pedal from Universal Audio.

In this article



A Letter From Bill Putnam, Jr.

Congratulations on your new UAFX pedal. We know that buying any new piece of gear requires an investment of time and money, and we aim to make your investment pay off!

At UA, we are dedicated to the idea of building "instant classics" — the type of music and audio gear that delivers album-worthy sounds to inspire you for decades.

UAFX pedals represent more than 20 years of research into vintage analog effects, coupled with next-generation digital engineering and rock-solid reliability.

Please let us know how we’re doing. Feel free to reach out to us via our website, and via our social media channels.

Thank you for your support, and enjoy your sonic exploration!


Bill Putnam Jr.



UAFX 1176 Quick Start


Download 1176 Quick Start



UAFX 1176 Studio Compressor Overview

Introduced in 1967, the Universal Audio 1176 remains the king of audio limiting, heard on more classic records than any other compressor. Built on the powerful UAFX engine, the 1176 Studio Compressor delivers the same punchy, expressive tones of the world-renowned hardware, now in a compact stompbox. 

1176 features individual controls for input, output, attack, release, and compressor ratio — including the unique “all buttons in” setting. 1176 includes three compression types based on classic 1176 applications — Single, Dual, and Sustain (see [Compressor Modes] for more information). True and buffered bypass, and a unique parallel mode, are also available. 

Key Features

  • Authentic emulation of the 1176LN Limiting Amplifier in a compact stompbox
  • Switchable true or buffered bypass, and parallel compression mode
  • Single, Dual, and Sustain types for unique compression and gain sounds
  • Input, Output, Attack, and Release settings true to original 1176 hardware 
  • Ratio knob includes unique “all buttons in” setting for squashed, gritty textures



UAFX 1176 Power

To learn how to power your UAFX pedal, go here.



UAFX 1176 Connections

To learn how to wire your UAFX pedals, go here.




UAFX 1176 Controls

The following controls are available on 1176. In Single mode, 1176’s controls are always "what you see is what you get." The sound from the pedal reflects the knob settings. In Dual and Sustain modes, the knobs control a combination of settings. All knob functions are described for Single mode. In Dual and Sustain mode, knobs control multiple settings on two independent 1176 compressors at the same time.


Adjusts the input level and compression threshold. As you increase the Input, compression becomes more pronounced and "squishy." At higher Input levels, harmonics and distortion occur. 


Adjusts the overall volume level out of the pedal. When the Output is set at noon (running direct or into other pedals), it will be roughly the same level as your bypassed level, depending on the amount of compression.

Compressor Modes

Selects the compression mode. Three modes are available.

Compressor Mode Description
SINGLE Standard single 1176 compressor. Compression sound is set by the knobs.

Dual 1176 compressors, configured for a direct recorded distortion sound based on the setup used for the guitar sound on the song “Black Dog” (see this article for historical details). 

Knobs control a combination of settings, and do not work exactly like Single mode. The primary control in this setting is the Input gain. Boost this until the distortion is to your taste. Because of the high gain level of the first compressor, changes to the Attack, Release, and Ratio knobs may be harder to hear.


Another type with two 1176 compressors, configured to provide maximum sustain and compression for soaring lead work and singing slide tones.

This configuration is based on the setup Lowell George used with Little Feat. Knobs control a combination of settings, and do not work exactly like Single mode. Tweak the knobs to taste.


  • For an authentic “Black Dog” tone in Dual mode, record the pedal output directly into your DAW or recorder (without an amplifier). You can also run this tone through an amp for a great crunchy overdrive.
  • Although controls for Dual and Sustain mode do not work exactly the same as they do for Single mode, they can create some interesting textures. Tweak the controls to find your sound!


Adjusts reaction time of the compressor after the signal crosses the threshold. Unlike most compressors, you rotate this control clockwise for faster attack (as with the original hardware). 

Tip: 1176 attack times are much faster than most compressor/limiters. 


Adjusts how long it takes for the signal to return to normal after compression. Unlike most compressors, you rotate this control clockwise for faster release (as with the original hardware). 

Tip: Set Attack and Release fully clockwise for extra harmonics and distortion. This is especially effective on bass. 


Adjusts the character and amount of compression applied to the signal. Higher compression ratios sound more compressed and squished.

Compression ratio Description
OFF The signal is colored by the 1176 circuitry, but no compression is applied. Input level increases gain and harmonics.
4:1, 8:1, 12:1, 20:1 The selected compression ratio is applied. The higher the ratio, the more compressed and squished the signal sounds.
ALL Special “all buttons in” compression mode, with heavy compression and unique character.


The footswitch toggles the effect on/off.

The LED is lit when the effect is active. The LED changes colors to indicate compressor activity.

  • Green – Lit when the compressor is not compressing the signal

  • Yellow – Lights when compression occurs, and indicates that compressor is moderately responding to the signal

  • Red – Lights with approximately -3 dB of compression, and indicates that the compressor is more heavily responding to the signal

Bypass Mode

You can switch between Buffered or True bypass modes using the slider switch on the back of the pedal. 

  • Buffer – The pedal’s output is buffered. Use buffered bypass to minimize high frequency loss from long cable runs, and to preserve your tone when you have multiple pedals in series. 
  • True – The pedal signal is true bypass when the effect is off.

Parallel Mode

You can switch between normal or parallel modes using the slider switch on the back of the pedal. This setting only applies when the effect is active.

  • Off – Normal mode; only the compressed signal is heard. 
  • On – Parallel mode; your unity dry signal is heard, and the output knob controls the level of the compressed signal. Use parallel compression when you want a more natural compressed sound.



UAFX 1176 Specifications

Note: All specifications are subject to change without notice.

Power requirements

(power supply sold separately)

Isolated 9VDC, center-negative, 250 mA minimum
Input ¼” unbalanced TS
Output ¼” unbalanced TS
Input impedance 1 Megohm
Output impedance 500 Ohms
Maximum input level 12.2 dBu
Maximum output level 12.2 dBu
Frequency response 20 Hz to 20 kHz, ±1 dB
USB Type-C For registration and firmware updates via computer


(with knobs and protrusions)

Height: 2.29 inches, 5.81 cm

Width: 2.58 inches, 6.55 cm

Depth: 4.75 inches, 12.07 cm

Weight (unboxed)

0.66 lbs

0.299 kg



UAFX 1176 Safety


Caution: To help maintain the safety of your product, the chosen power supply must be a certified power supply complying with Limited Power Source (LPS) requirements with the following characteristics and electrical ratings: Isolated 9VDC, center-negative, 250 mA minimum, 2.1x5.5 mm barrel connector. Additional details at


Before using this unit, be sure to carefully read the applicable items of these operating instructions and the safety suggestions. Afterwards, keep them handy for future reference. Take special care to follow the warnings indicated on the unit, as well as in the operating instructions.

  • Read the instructions.
  • Keep these instructions.
  • Heed all warnings.
  • Follow all instructions.
  • Do not use this apparatus near water.
  • Clean only with dry cloth.
  • Do not block any ventilation openings. Install in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Do not install near any heat source such as radiators, heat registers, stoves, or other apparatus (including amplifiers) that produce heat.
  • Do not defeat the safety purpose of the polarized or grounding-type plug. A polarized plug has two blades with one wider than the other. • Protect the power cord from being walked on or pinched particularly at plugs, convenience receptacles, and the point where they exit from the apparatus.
  • Only use with attachments/accessories specified by the manufacturer.
  • Refer all servicing to qualified service personnel. Servicing is required when the apparatus has been damaged in any way, such as power-supply cord or plug is damaged, liquid has been spilled or objects have fallen into the apparatus, the apparatus has been exposed to rain or moisture, does not operate normally, or has been dropped.
  • This equipment does not contain a fuse or any other user-replaceable parts.
  • A compliance marking label is provided on bottom of the unit.

Japanese Class B Manual Statement

この装置は、クラスB機器です。この装置は、住宅環境で使用することを目的としています が、この装置がラジオやテレビジョン受信機に近接して使用されると、受信障害を引き起こ すことがあります。取扱説明書に従って正しい取り扱いをして下さい。VCCI-B

(This is Class B equipment. Although this equipment is intended for use in residential environments, it could cause poor reception if used near a radio television receiver. Please follow all instructions in the instruction manual.)


Used electrical and electronic equipment should not be mixed with general household waste. Please dispose in accordance with local regulations.


Articles in this section

See more