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SKU

9135

Retro Instruments 176 Tube Limiting Amplifier

An outstanding tube-limiting amplifier for drums, bass, synth lines and thicker vocals
MFR# 176

Product Description

With a name paying homage to its legendary roots, the Retro Instruments 176 delivers every ounce of that magic, classic sound. Retro went out of their way to make the 176 faithful to the extraordinarily versatile Sinatra-era design we've all come to love, while incorporating the features you wish the original had. For example, there's a highpass filter, a hardwire bypass switch, and stereo linking. Plus, you can choose from even more colors by flipping a switch and bypassing the interstage transformer — perfect for bass and husky vocals. All in all, the 176 successfully honors the classic tube limiting amplifier while updating it for today's engineer, earning it "go-to" status from the likes of Jacquire King and Chris Lord-Alge. All in all, the Retro Instruments 176 is all about delivering that classic sound, without the classic's limitations — and doing it with the consistency and reliability you expect from a brand-new, boutique piece of gear.



  • Everything you love about the classic limiting amp
  • Faithfully designed with updates for the modern studio
  • Explore more colors with interstage transformer bypass
  • Retro Instruments: History inspired, made for today


Everything you love about the classic limiting amp
When you see the numbers 1, 7, and 6 show up on this tube limiting amplifier, you can know Retro Instruments more than earned the reference. This premium-limiting amp was made to sound and perform with every ounce of the versatility, energy, and "magic" that defined its namesake. The bottom line is, the Retro Instruments 176 delivers the essence of the classic, in a reliable, brand-new piece of boutique gear that's been fine-tuned for modern music production. You can't go wrong here.
 
Faithfully designed with updates for the modern studio
Although we all love vintage designs, when you put them through their paces, it's hard not to make "wish list" of features you wish they had. Fulfilling that wish list, while retaining the soul of the original, is precisely what Retro Instruments aims to do — a delicate balance perfectly showcased in the 176. For starters, Retro added a highpass filter, letting you smoothly rein in the low end that's retained in digital recording, in a way the original never needed to contemplate. Retro also added a hardwire bypass switch, so when it's out of the chain, it's out of the chain. And, for those of us in need of stereo linking, the 176's stereo link control ensures the two sides perfectly track together, so your image stays locked into place. There's also a front-panel meter zero adjust, so you no longer have to open the panel to get to it. With these additions, the 176 is right at home in the modern workflow.
 
Explore more colors with interstage transformer bypass
One feature that may not have been on your "wish list," but you'll love getting to know, is the addition of an interstage transformer bypass. With the classic, the interstage transformer was always engaged — and it's hard to go wrong with that sound. But, flip the bypass switch and you can work without the transformer, lending a sound that you'll find more than useful.
 
Retro Instruments: History inspired, made for today
They don't make them like they used to — and that's a good thing. Retro Instruments is all about taking a vintage product and building it the old way, with the old sound, while carefully selecting features that make the classic more usable in modern recording. It's a hybrid approach that's won the attention of countless top-level engineers, causing them to retire their vintage units and lean on Retro for delivering that classic sound in day-to-day use. If it's timeless sound you want — without the challenges in consistency and reliability of a 50-year-old unit — you'll find what you're looking for in Retro Instruments.

Product Specifications

Condition New
Tube or Solid State Tube
Channels Single-Channel
Chassis 19-inch Rack-mount
Rack Spaces 2u
Digital I/O No
Input Connectors Analog XLR
Output Connectors Analog XLR

Product Reviews

5 out of 5 stars.
Review Count (1)

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I was struggling a lot to try and find a certain sound - I even had a handful of nice standby compressors that are great on a lot of things - but I still couldn't get this particular sound on vocals. I would find myself running multiple compressors in series often, and usually just satisfied with the results. After some help from VK, I wound up getting the Retro 176, which I have to say, has exactly that sound I was looking for. It has the ability to be aggressive, transparent, and everywhere in between. It's versatile, yet unique, and just makes stuff pop out of the mix and brings it right to your attention. I don't often like compressors that sound like "nothing," if you know what I mean. This thing has a SOUND, and it's GOOD. It's possibly the best vocal compressor I've used to date, and I've been using it on rock, jazz, country, and pop vocals with great results. It's a little pricey, but unfortunately, you get what you pay for. Let's just say I've gotten a LOT less vibe and versatility from units costing the same price or more. Solid build, very low noise, very consistent, quick and easy to dial in. I love it! Thanks VK.

By K. Osborne on September 15, 2014

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I would like to thank VK for the wonderful sales assistance, service and prices. This was my first purchase with you and it won't be my last. I only wish I'd discovered you years ago!
Matthew R.
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Ryan F.
In almost 20 years in Pro audio buying, never did I receive a unit so well packed and exactly as described. Works flawlessly. The whole process has been so smooth. I will never hesitate to do business with you guys in the future and will recommend you to everyone I know.
Martin C.
This was my first experience buying something from Vintage King (although I surf the "used" categories on the website frequently!), and, despite being on the other side of the world, I had absolutely no trouble and everything went very smoothly.
Phil T.
The speed of delivery exceeded my expectations! I was VERY pleased that my shipment arrived in time for a scheduled vocal tracking session. The packing insured that my order arrived safely. And the sales staff responded quickly to questions regarding the product.
James P.
Thank you so much! Vintage King has been so fair and easy to work with. I can't thank you enough. It feels good to trust such a hefty purchase to folks who are so helpful and knowledgeable. Vintage King is a sound designers dream store.
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From the minute I placed my order I was kept well-informed through each step in your process. Even though I was buying a comparatively modest piece of gear, your attention to detail made me feel like I was purchasing a six-figure mixing desk.
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