Sunday, April 24, 2011

On a tight budget but still want that Fairchild sound? Try the UAD Fairchild 670 plugin

There are a couple of plugin emulations of the Fairchild Limiter but UAD's Fairchild 670 is my favorite.
The above pic shows the setting I used for Ricky Martin's vocals on "Drop It On Me" (produced by Luney Tunes). The UAD Fairchild 670 plugin ($149) is a faithful replica of the 1950's hardware 670 which goes for over $30,000 on the vintage gear market. This compressor is one of the most sought after compressors ever made and with good reason. The smooth sonic quality of the unit is unmatched by any other but comes at a high price and requires a great deal of maintenance. Thank you UAD for making this 670 emulation. It's definitely easier on the pocket and allows me to use as many instances as the UAD cards can handle (approximately 76 stereo or 88 mono instances on a UAD QUAD card). The main controls consist of Input Gain, Threshold and Time Constants. The compression ratio is determined by the interaction between the input and threshold controls similar to the LA2A. The attack and release of the 670 is controlled by The Time Constants which has 6 modes. Mode 1 is the fastest, 4 the slowest and 5 and 6 are program dependent. The Metering, Link / Unlink and Output controls are self explanatory. The DC Bias controls are best left alone unless you know exactly what they do. See the manual for details. The UAD Fairchild is different from most compressors in that it offers the LAT / VERT mode (see AGC switch in pic) which allows you to process the mono and stereo elements of a M / S signal separately. In this mode the left input is for the mono signal and the right input controls the stereo signal. Back in the days of vinyl this was very important as it enabled the mastering engineer to have precise control over the cutting head of the lathe. Too wide or too deep a groove could destroy the vinyl masters. You can use this function in your DAW to play around with the stereo imaging / mono presence of a sound or groups of sounds. In the LEFT / RIGHT mode the 670 acts like a regular compressor / limiter and can be used on mono tracks if so desired. If you unlink the controls it operates as two mono compressors which is a great way to control the left / right balance of a loop, guitars or background vocals. I've used the 670 on a variety of sounds including vocals, bass, drum buss and string sections. For more details on the UAD Fairchild 670 go to

ADL 670 Stereo Tube Mastering Limiter

There's no doubt that the original Fairchild 670 was and still is the "Big Daddy" of tube compressors. That's why people don't hesitate to pay over $30,000 for one if they can find it. Unfortunately, most of these units are getting very old and unreliable and don't sound as great as they once did. Well, what if you could buy a brand new one today...with a warranty...for substantially less!!! Can't be...well, guess again!!

The ADL 670 is a perfect copy of the original Fairchild 670. After years of testing and research, Anthony DeMaria Labs has matched part for part the specs and sound of the original unit. Every detail has been scrutinized to corners were cut. Yes...believe it or not, ADL has painstakingly sourced all the parts of this puzzle to offer a very limited run on these uncompromised, untouchable sonic giants!!! Many in the past have attempted to reproduce the sound of the classic Fairchild 670 but no one until now has taken it to the level ADL has with the ADL 670 compressor. With it's beautiful "military strength" chassis, stand alone PSU, 20 vacuum tubes and 14 doesn't get fatter than this. Call ADL today to find out more.
They also carry direct replacement parts based on original Fairchild 670 design. Please call ADL today for further details: 
845 255-4695

Here's an excerpt from a TapeOp review by Pete Weiss on the ADL 670:

" I was able to check out the ADL 670 and A/B it with a vintage Fairchild
670...running identical material through them with matched settings I would be hard pressed to say there was any difference in the two. They both made the mixes louder and thicker without sacrificing any high or low end or distorting in any audible way."

The ADL 670 can also be purchased at Vintage King:


  • All tube design (no IC's or chips)
  • All parts are designed based on the original Fairchild 670
  • All capacitors and resisters match values as per original
  • XLR input / output
  • Handbuilt in the USA
  • Heavy-Duty Chassis
  • Handles located on front and sides
  • Great for analog & digital recording, tracking, mastering, as well as live 
  • One Year limited warranty
  • Vents on front and sides for maximum air flow
  • Two 24 volt fans (voltage set at 20 volts for silent operation)
  • One Bottom PCB (Hinged Standoff)
  • One Top PCB (Hinged Standoff)
  • Two Back PCB's

+4 input / 600-ohm LoadUnit Gain Clockwise :
15.1dB @ +4 Output
Noise-82.6 with 400-Hz Filter = 89.2
THD0.028% @ 100-Hz : 0.189%
Frequency  Response50-Hz............20-k (± 1db)
Input / Output Impedance600-ohm
Output Level+4 or +8 VU (+27 dBm clipping point)
Gain7 db (no limiting)
Attack Time (adjustable)0.2 milliseconds in Pos-1, 2 and 6
0.4 milliseconds in Pos-3 and 5
0.8 milliseconds in Pos-4
Transformers14 total - same as original
Tube Complement-8- 6386
-2- 12AX7A
-2- 12BH7A
-4- 6973
Main Unit Rack Space6-U high, 13-1/2"depth
Main Unit Shipping Weight    

45 lbs

GML 8200 Equalizer- An Industry Standard

The GML 8200 by George Massenburg has been an industry standard for over twenty years that can be found in virtually every major recording studio. The 8200 has five broadly-overlapping bands which offer 15dB of Boost or Cut and adjustable bandwidth (or “Q”) from 0.4 to 4. The lowest and highest bands can also be used as shelving eqs. Its extraordinary resolution, surgical precision,  transparency and tons of headroom have made the 8200 the reference for many other equalizers.
This 8200 gets used on the stereo buss of many consoles but also sounds great on vocals, guitar, piano, strings and brass.

Here's a Youtube video with George Massenburg showing the 8200 being used on acoustic piano:

The GML 8200 can be purchased at Sweetwater Sound: