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Rating and Reviews: Warm Audio WA76

Get that signature mega-fast attack. Warm Audio's modern take on the 1176 compressor, the WA76's discrete signal path features USA-made CineMag transformers.

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"WA76" submitted December 8, 2015

By dave e in chico, CA
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Musical Background: pro, multi instrument, tour, produce, teach college recording
Music Style: all styles!!
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VERIFIED BUYER
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Overall: Really great unit. have used it on vocals and acoustic guitar for tracking. adds that classic sound, acts just fast enough, and super versatile. used it to process some stems in a mix, and was great for keys and bass. even at 8:1 it was very smooth, not killing transients, and feeling really natural. I need another one! just recommended it to my students in the recording arts classes I teach. cant wait to bring it in and share. great work. accidentally put 3 stars for support, I haven't had to deal with them yet, its working great.
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"This is a no brainer!!!!!!! " submitted April 5, 2015

By Jay F in Newport, OR
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Musical Background: over 32 years recording, session, mixing, working band
Music Style: Southern Rock, Country, Good ole fashioned ROCK AND ROLL
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Overall: Not at all what I expected. This far surpasses what I anticipated. It reacts very much like the 1176 and on some things I have tried it on actually sounds better. Service is outstanding as well. Are you spurious right now is all I can really say.
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"Sounds Warm!" submitted November 30, 2014

By Greg Johnson in Minneapolis, MN
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Musical Background: I've been playing music all of my life, and I've been recording for 10 years. I play all of the instruments.
Music Style: I mainly play synth-pop and I produce/perform rap music. Aside from that, I play all of the genres, except for country.
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Overall: This review is based on my comparison between the WA76 with the waves CLA-76 and the NI VC76 -- i did NOT compare this to an actual 1176. What I CAN say is that this thing sounds smooth and dark. Compared to all of the plugins, the WA76 is less grabby and really "glues" your signal together better than the plugs. It also has a much darker color. I used it on vocals recorded through a Telefunken CU29 and a Summit 2BA-221 and I found the it induced a low-mid harmonic which colored the tone much differently than the plugins. This guy is versatile, and works quite well on any source. I also notably liked it on Snare, as it added a dark and thick punch, wit hour getting too grabby. I can imagine this thing sounding really good on bass, also, but I haven't tried that out yet. It's also very easy to use -- just dial it in quick and you're good to go! It being an analog unit, there is a standard about of noise. I'm 100% happy with this purchase and I want to buy a second!
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"Spirit of '76" submitted March 23, 2016

By Scot S in Hutchinson, KS
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Musical Background: Three-and-a-half decades of music and recording
Music Style: Art rock, psychedelic
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
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Overall: Warm Audio seem hell-bent on bringing high-end audio down to Earth. Case in point: the WA76 Discrete Compressor. Here we have a nearly indistinguishable clone of the Urei 1176LN in a unit costing only a quarter of that of the "official" reissue. Some corners have been cut, to be sure, the most obvious of which are the use of an external power supply and a somewhat generic enclosure. However, the inside is loaded with the "good stuff" (tantalum caps, Cinemag transformers) a fact which becomes apparent once you plumb a signal through the thing. It does just what you want from an 1176. It's a familiar tone from countless records made over the past (almost) five decades and it's a thrill to hear it one's home studio. I myself have primarily used it on vocal tracks thus far. On its own, the WA76 provided presence, clarity and an instantly recognizable vintage vibe. I got my best results with the WA76 slotted between Warm Audio's EQP-WA and a vintage Urei LA-3A - a combination that sounded like a million bucks. The WA76 breaks no new ground in design. It looks like an 1176LN (with the exception of two splashes of gaudy orange legending). You get the same Attack and Release controls, the same four Ratio buttons (and yes, you can do the famous "all buttons in" trick), the same four buttons for selecting the VU meter's display options (with an "Off" button at the bottom) and, of course, the big Input and Output knobs for dialing in your input level/threshold and make-up gain levels, respectively. I have yet to experience any issues. Upon arrival, the VU meter required adjustment - due, according to Warm Audio, to the temperature in the surrounding environment. Minor calibration is facilitated by a trim pot easily accessed from the front panel. Broader adjustments are made with a pot accessed around back. Initial versions apparently required opening the case to access the latter - it's rather nice to see that the company is willing to implement such design changes to make life easier for users. I was pleasantly surprised with the WA76. Sure, it's gotten a lot of good press and word-of-mouth, but I always take such things with a grain of salt - after all, we all would like to believe we've scored a great deal. In this case, the scuttlebutt is on the money. This is a terrific compressor for a ridiculously low price.
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