New Music Gear Monday: Pulsar 1178 Compressor Plugin

Pulsar 1178 plugin image

One of the most iconic and most copied hardware compressors is the UREI 1176. It’s been used successfully in so many applications over the years, but one limitation was that it was mono. When you tried to use 2 of them in a stereo application, the sound would lean to one side because you could never set them identically, thanks to analog just being analog and the fact that the 2 separate detectors would trigger at different times. Enter the 1178, a stereo version of the unit made just for stereo applications. Now the Pulsar 1178 goes beyond just emulating the analog unit to create something really usable in todays digital music world.

The Pulsar 1178 has everything that you’d expect from the original unit – dual Input and Output controls, dual VU-style meters, and the push-button Ratio controls. There’s a lot more though, like dual Attack and Release controls, a Link control so both channels track the same, a Mix control for parallel compression, and an All button to simulate the famous “all buttons depressed” mode of the original hardware units.

But There’s Even More

But there’s even more than that. When it comes to compression, having more control over the sidechain signal can bring a mix to the next level. The dynamics of a drum groove hinge on how compression is triggered by both the kick drum and the snare. With Pulsar 1178’s full-featured sidechain EQ section, you can make each one hit just the right amount of gain reduction as you’re able to precisely set the EQ (not just the HPF) from a separate UI.

Taking those visuals another step is Pulsar 1178’s modern metering section, which has peak meters that show the overall dynamics, RMS meters to let you monitor loudness and match levels, and a scrolling view so you can visualize how the attack and release settings are affecting the gain reduction. There’s even a “look-ahead” mode so that the plug can operate like a modern digital mastering compressor.

To round it all out, instead of the meter set buttons on the original unit, Pulsar has replaced them with four flavors of saturation: Tape, Triode, Warm and Clip modes. These modes are fully-integrated into the compressor’s gain reduction system with pre or post saturation available.

Bottom Line

There are a lot of 1176 clone plugins available, but very few built around the 1178. That said, the Pulsar 1178 goes above and beyond what you’ll find on just about any other 1176-style plugin.

The Pulsar 1178 is available for both Mac and PC and for all plugin formats. It’s normally priced at $149, but you can get it now for just $89.

Find out more here, or watch the video below for more details.

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