A custom mod on a classic circuit
Pulsar Smasher is an unprecedented custom modification of the 1176 compressor circuit, which we stumbled upon while fine-tuning other algorithms.
The original 1176 compressor has 4 selectable ratios. But it just so happens that all 4 buttons can be pressed at the same time, this is called “all buttons mode” or “British Mode”. Although probably an unanticipated feature, this mode has become very popular because of its distorted, explosive and highly compressed sound. Think of it as something halfway between a compressor and a saturation.
While remaining very close to the original circuitry, this modification adds definition to the transients and makes the whole tone more aggressive. Decidedly not versatile, this effect is especially useful to enhance the ambience in drum busses, but many other creative uses are possible.
Typical effects you can get with the Smasher are the raw and gritty sounds of bands such as Vulfpeck, The Whitefield Brothers or The Black Keys.
Why it’s unique
The 1176 is a vintage FET (field effect transistor) compressor. Based on an internal feedback configuration, these designs are known to be fast and colorful, capable from soft limiting to heavily saturated tones.
In all-button mode, several things happen in the circuit, including changes in the bias voltages. For the first time, all these phenomena are perfectly reproduced, with all the associated sound peculiarities.
With our unique tuning and its beautiful and uncomplicated interface, the Pulsar Smasher gives this mythical circuit a new personality.
How does it sound ?
It can add thickness and grit to any drum or bass track, or completely crush a bus, producing an aggressive sound, impossible to achieve with other plugins.
On a snare drum
Used on a snare drum, the Smasher adds body and sustain. We strongly encourage you to try to thicken your snare drum by reaching between -6 and -10dB of gain reduction, and then try to mix a few percent of the resulting huge snare drum sound into your dry sound.
On a drum buss
On a drum track, the Smasher will provide the typical sound of a 1176 in all-buttons mode, with the signature sound of the delayed transient squashing. The result is an explosive sound which will instantly put your drums in the front of the mix.
On a bass
Since the bass track often requires a combination of compression and saturation, the Smasher is the ideal tool to get it dirty. You will be able to control precisely how much grit to add. For example, use the Mix knob to add just a small amount of fuzzy saturation.
On lead vocals
Please don’t try this at home.