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UREI / JBL 7110 Compressor / Limiter


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SKU: urei-7110 Category: Tags: , , , ,


Bill Putnam and UREI (Universal Recording Electronics Industries) were responsible for many of the studio innovations we now take for granted. Their product line includes the 176, LA-2A, 1176 and later compressors like the LA22 and the 7110. Following the sale of UREI to Harman some products were sold under the JBL brand name. Hence the 7100 is described as a UREI / JBL compressor

“Bill Putnam was the father of recording as we know it today” – Bruce Swedien

The UREI 7110 is a single-channel compressor in conventional format with attack & release controls and variable ratio. Unlike the 176 & LA-2A (valve) and the 1176 (FET) it uses a VCA as the gain control element. The front panel has the usual stereo link switch and an auto switch for program-dependent settings. There is no bypass switch

First impressions are that the 7110 is pretty audible in operation and has tons of character. It responds well to changes in both threshold & ratio and, unlike many compressors, when using ratios above about 8:1 it’s still possible to hear a change in character. It’s very responsive to attack & release settings – fast attack will neuter drum hits very effectively

The sidechain detector is a little unusual – response can be varied from RMS (averaged) to Peak or anywhere in between. This turns out to be the 7110’s secret weapon. The detector controls how the sidechain responds to transients and, in combination with attack & release controls, it’s possible to have a slow-acting compressor acting on average levels, a faster compressor reading peaks or any combination of these variables. This transforms the 7110 into a very serious compressor indeed. So much so, I’m surprised this feature isn’t on more compressors

I had lots of fun testing the 7110 on drum tracks. It’s easy to produce a dbx 160X-like thwack on drum transients. Super-fast compression, Valley People Dynamite-style , is possible too. With higher compression ratios and detector set to peak, you can achieve serious squashing a bit like an SSL talkback compressor. What’s surprising is that all these sounds are so easily accessible from a simple front panel

Quite why the UREI 7110 is not a studio legend I don’t know. It’s now in the “Honourable Mentions” section of my Top 5 Compressor List

“I’m always shocked at how great this compressor sounds on drums, vocals, acoustic guitar ect. anyone ever tried running a whole mix through a pair? It’s aggressive but still has an expensive sound”

“It is a fantastic comp for bass, with a big full low end, a smooth warm sound, and low noise”

“The more I use them, the more I appreciate how cool they are. The real magic with these units is the knob that is variable between a peak and RMS detector. With it set on peak, it’ll get aggessive as all hell with tons of distortion, and even get pretty close to the distessor nuke thing as a limiter”

“The peak-RMS morphing is unique in compressor land. I can’t really compare it with high end compressors but it has a certain smack , probably comparable with units like the distressor or 1176”

“I’ve found it work great for smashing the room mic. For that alone its worth having”

“Best all-around compressors I have ever owned. Few compressors work well on various sources like these do”

“Awesome underrated compressors. I have 2x7110s, 2xLA-12s, and 2xLA-22s in my arsenal. They should be up there with the 1176s and LA2As. No studio should be without them”

“7110’s are a very well kept secret, along with my Urei LA-22’s. I use them like my lungs”

“and it can do nasty nasty as well…”

“very mean.. kinda grainy.. the Peak/RMS knob is the best feature.. great for smashing drum loops… better than distressors for this job”

“this is one great sounding compressor, especially for current used prices. aside from the FMR Audio RNC, it’s probably the only sub-$1000 compressor worth owning. Unlike the RNc however, this box ads a pretty substantial degree of color to the sound”

“The 7110 also kicks butt, just differently”


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The 7100 is packaged in a typically tough American 1U steel case. Internal construction is simple with a single PCB & through-hole components so it will be repairable in the future. The power transformer has been replaced with a 220 Volt unit for use in the UK / EU. Mains input is 220 Volts AC with a rear-panel fuseholder and a short, captive 3-core cable terminated in an IEC socket. A standard UK or Euro Schuko IEC cable will be supplied on request The unit has a balanced input & unbalanced output on XLRs, jack sockets and barrier strip. The detector input is on a jack socket. Like a dbx 160X, the circuit board has a space for an optional output transformer
Service manual Flyer Youtube demo (of modified unit) SonicState Review
In excellent used condition. Tested & working 100%. Recapped, upgraded power supply Vintage gear All vintage gear will have case scratches and marks. It may also have, or develop, noisy pots and switches. I make my descriptions as accurate as possible and note any existing defects. I test each item before shipping, and and supply a test sheet for it, but please understand that vintage gear will not be perfect and adjust your expectations accordingly