Black Lion Unveil "Bluey" at Messe 2019
At Musikmesse 2019 this month Chicago-based studio outboard and modification wizards Black Lion Audio introduced yet another innovative vintage outboard reissue with a little help from Chris Lord-Alge’s studio – Mix L.A.
Lord-Alge is a long-time user of the original UA 1176 FET limiting amplifiers and has used them on countless mixes. However of the four individual models in his possession, one particular blue-striped unit exhibits - in his own words - a little extra ‘mojo’ and a unique shine in mixes that is unmatched by the other three.
Lord-Alge’s passion for the unit combined with its use on over 14,000 vocal recordings caught the attention of Black Lion Audio, who dispatched Head Design Engineer Jesus Ortiz and modification technician Preston Whiting to open up the hood for a closer look at what made the compressor special.
According to Black Lion’s findings, Lord-Alge’s affectionately named ‘Bluey’ is a 1176 built with many of UA’s Revision A traits, some from Revision B, and even an array of custom modifications made over the years by Lord-Alge himself.
Bring on the BLA Bluey
With the unveiling of the BLA Bluey, Black Lion Audio are bringing the particular secret sauce that brings phenomenal energy to mixes - to the masses. Bluey offers a little more of a mid-forward timbre compared to rival limiting amplifiers and sounds phoenomenal not only on vocals, but also kick drums, bass and a wealth of other instruments.
Balancing the mix
Bluey is an exact replica of Chris Lord Alge’s favourite original blue-stripe 1176 with one important distinction, a wet/dry mix potentiometer has also been added. This enables parallel compression and the opportunity to dial any amount of dry signal back into the mix where engineers may feel the sound is becoming too saturated.
When certain components became unavailable, techs were forced to change the circuit, creating a one of a kind compressor that has been heard on countless hits.