Here’s an example of how to use the Universal Audio 1176 compressor (either hardware version or software plug-in) in its famous All-Button Mode on drums. A drum kit is great for this because the kit has such a wide range of frequencies. Remember, the 1176 is program (signal) dependent, meaning it reacts to differences in frequency and dynamic range. You can use that feature to utilize the 1176 in a musical, percussive way.
Set up your 1176 by pressing all four ratio buttons (on the 1176LN hardware or the 1176LN software plug-in) or by selecting “All” on the ratio knob (on the 2-1176 dual model). Let’s say you have a medium tempo, 4/4 rock beat (an excellent scenario for using All-Button mode). First the kick causes that great All-Button concussion which is enhanced by the unique All-Button distortion. The other frequencies “suck in” and then comes an exaggerated release and recovery, and the rest of the frequencies return. Now you can fine-tune this classic use of All-Button Mode.
The four basic controls on the 1176 are Input, Attack, Release and Output. The Input knob doubles as the threshold control. However, cranking up the Input also affects post-compression output levels. The Output knob controls make-up gain and, therefore, the final output level. You need to balance the two controls until you hear the “punch” and distortion you want. This quickly becomes a familiar process. To achieve the described application with the drums, you will probably have a lot of Input, a fairly slow Attack, and a quick Release – and of course, all Ratio buttons in!