Line balanced and XLR inputs. Join switch. You can use separately or linked. I love this unit and I do mean love this unit. I was hesitant to buy it and it was the very last pre amp I will buy for this year. We buy so many pre amps over a given year and most we just sell and move on to others.
I love this pre amp and I think that this review should help you decide if you want to spend the money. If you have never used an 1176 compressor then you may not know how to find the right sound but I am sure you have used the Bomb Factory 1176 so use that as a gauge of whether or not you will be able to use this unit correctly as it is a very pricey unit for a mono unit. The input has one BIG EASY TO READ knob that is very simple to use. There is shelving on the highs and lows and I normally just take everything out at 100hz and I cut the high mid as well. There is not much to the input of the 610 side but the thing you need to know is that if you are doing vocals, start out with the compressor out or no gain reduction. This will help you get a feel for the pre amp side. I really don't hear much difference when using really expensive mics and or mid level mics such as the Blue Bottle with the B8 capsule. I think that you will learn this pre amp better and faster if you don't start with the compressor engaged. Let the singer get warmed up or the guitarist. Get use to the input stages and the 610 will not let you down. It has a really fantastic sound but it is colored a bit. It has an old school sound and you will notice it right away. If you are not prepared to deal with playing with the unit and being patient then don't get this unit. It will not work for you at all. You have to have a great deal of time to dial in the right sound but when you do it is unmatched by to many pre amps out on the market today. There are few that can provide the same power that this unit has.
Once you have your input stage down start with a slight compression such as 2:1 or 4:1 and get a fast attack setting with a medium release and you will start to immediately hear the compression kicking in on high level inputs. I like the fact that the 610 input stage works so well with the input gain knob on the compressor side. You will find that you will be constantly editing the settings. I like to have one setting for the softer parts of a song and another for the louder parts of the songs. This allows me to control my compression levels and the sound of the compression. I like the chorus settings on a song to have less compression and some producers don't use the compression side rather only the 610 pre amp side. I like a bit of compression going in the unit so for me I like using the Join switch.
A bit colored sounding but old school in a good way. If your ears are not trained to hear compression then this unit will not be the one for you. Most kids new to the engineering world tend to talk about a unit and what is does but they can't hear it. If you can't hear it on this unit you probably should not be engineering.
Yes I have the luxury of owning so many pre amps so getting this one was a no brainer. If you have the money this unit is worth it.
The 6176 is a composite two of universal audio’s finest pieces: the preamp of the 610 series coupled with the compression of the 1176. This is an analog unit with tube circuitry- not to be confused with the starved plate designs of inexpensive units, this preamp delivers actual tube warmth.
There is a direct input available, which (for me) excelled in di bass recording situations. The typical xlr connectors allow mic inputs. There is a solid needle; I owned cheaper units where the needle bounced around so much it was basically useless. This UA meter responds the way it should, presenting the critical information needed to dial in a great sound.
It may be hard to jump in and get a great sound with this unit. The preamp is notorious for having a large number of criticisms, particularly in the preamp gain staging. With quick dialing, it appears difficult to get a hot level to disk, it seems to go from low/moderate gains to ugly breakup. The key is to use the pad (when necessary) and …get ready for it…dial with your ears, not your eyes. The interplay between the settings is symbiotic; everything has a drastic impact on other parameters and thus the end product. Also know that most of us are no longer recording to tape, but to disk, so extremely hot track levels are unnecessary and mostly ill advised.
I would not describe this preamp as transparent; it is a character piece. That being said, you could dial in some decent clean tones, but if that is your goal, look elsewhere. This preamp loves old school gristle and delivers in a big way. Sinatra to Van Halen, UA has been on a lot of legendary records. This unit helps to take the edge of that surgical clarity that cpu recording tends to deliver.
I spent most of this review speaking of the preamp, but the compressor is beyond glorious! It slays in every application I throw at it: kick drums, overhead, room, VOCALS (YES!), bass guitar, acoustics…it can give cool special fx with the all buttons in. I love that compressor, the preamp on the other hand was more love/hate. The gain staging is not an easy task, and there are many units that will deliver more accurate results. So if you are looking for 1 killer preamp, I may not recommend this unless you are a Sinatra type performer. But if you have an array of modern preamps and need one that will be unique flavor, look right here. Sadly, I flipped this piece…regretted it a year later, than proceeded to flip that one too. I’m just not getting the business nor utilizing my studio enough to warrant a preamp of this cost…but if I run into a (2) 1176 at a good price, I would pounce. I think the biggest flaw in the 6176 is knowing that you will want two to serve as a stereo set, making it a costly investment. Perhaps the day will come when I can swing that….
The Universal Audio 6176 is an analog channel strip consisting of a pre amp, built in EQ, and a compressor. It has XLR connections in the back and a 1/4 inch input in front if you want to plug your instrument directly into this. It is indeed a rack mountable piece of gear and will take up take rack spaces.
The make up of Universal Audio 6176 is generally pretty easy to follow. The sections are clearly marked and the parameters are all pretty familiar. Starting from the left, you've got the mic pre section containing knobs for level, gain, mic/line, and a high and low EQ band. It also has switches for a -15db pad, phase, and to choose a fixed frequency for the EQ. On the other side you've got a compressor containing parameters for attack, release, input, output, ratio, and a switch to choose what comes up on the VU meter. There are also phantom power and a compressor bypass switches. I haven't had a need to look at the manual, so I can't say if it would be helpful or not.
The overall sound of the Universal Audio 6176 is pretty awesome. It definitely sounds a lot similar to the other modern Universal Audio gear, which is a good thing as far as I am concerned because it is a great sound. It won't color your sound beyond doing its job and is all around a clean sounding unit. The compressor I believe is modeled after an 1176 and definitely has a similar sound to one that is great for a variety of applications. Since this strip is so versatile, I really think that you can use this with just about any instrument.
The Universal Audio 6176 is overall a very impressive unit. It has a great sound and is very easy to use granted that you know the basics for mic pres, EQ, and compression. While the price is definitely reasonable, it is still probably out of reach for most home studio owners. Having said that, I do think it would make the perfect channel strip for a home studio owner looking to get a warmer sound without having to get a console. I'd definitely recommend the 6176 to both home and professional studio owners.
This is a tube preamp in 4U rack. There is also a compressor and an equalizer. It has XLR connectors and a high impedance input jack 6.35.
Configuration is very simple, however, the settings are very thin. The manual is clear but for this type of gear, better knowledge of the operation and trust his ears.
The sound quality is excellent, but not transparent. When used for the vocals, you get a nice presence, and slightly discolored.
I use it for over 2 years. I also work regularly with a VT-737 Avalon. I appreciate this preamp for its color, unlike the Avalon, I find it more transparent. I find the quality / price ratio good enough. With experience, I would do this choice without hesitation.