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Analogue Tube AT-101. The Fairchild 670 Recreation.

June 17th, 2010 | 36 Comments   « Previous  |  Episode 19  |  Next »

I do not mean to make you jealous but I just spent a week playing with the Analogue Tube AT-101 compressor, trying to answer the question: Could one ever justify spending $19,000 on a stereo compressor. The AT-101 is designed as a faithful recreation of the Fairchild 670 variable bias compressor, made famous on classic recordings by the Who and the Beatles and many others. Sorry gang, my review is typically long winded. Big thanks to producer, Bruno Fornazza, from Brazil for helping with some of the testing.

Other compressors I mention in this episode are the Manley Variable-Mu (Vari-Mu), The Signal Audio Workshop Gain Rider and the A Designs Nail.

Audio Samples without the compressor ++++   Audio Samples with AT-101

The audio samples contain clips of: Jibilian/SetarTay zondayTerry Bozzio + Kathleen Blackwell

Download the M4v version for your ipod or ipad

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Rating: 4.6/5 (22 votes cast)
36 Comments ~ Speak your mind »
  1. Dave K.

    Yet another great episode – well done!

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    Rating: 4.3/5 (3 votes cast)
  2. Kathleen Blackwell

    Hey Ronan! Your new hair-style looks amazing: “Beautiful & Gorgeous!” Wink. Oh yeah, that’s not what I was here for… rather, “WOW… Great Show! Fantabulous!” Kathleen

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    Rating: 4.2/5 (5 votes cast)
  3. Dan Terlep

    Awesome show!! I always look forward to them!

    How do you feel about the UAD Fairchild emulation? I’m considering getting it, I’d love to get some of that low-mid saturation on my tracks – just don’t have 17k to drop at the moment…

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    Rating: 3.0/5 (4 votes cast)
  4. Bruno Fornazza

    hey Ronan! great video !!! that trully is a amazing piece of gear!! it was really fun to test it!! best wishes to you my friend! cheers!

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    Rating: 4.3/5 (3 votes cast)
  5. Ronan

    Hey Dan, I really want to try the UAD fairchild emulation one of these days (also really curious about the new Manley Massive Passive emulation they do), but I do not have a UAD card so I will have to find some other way to check them out.

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  6. Alvin

    Great video! There’s a world of difference between the bypassed audio samples and the one that went thru this compressor. I was able to discern all the individual instruments and all the low level sounds were brought to life! There was also an “airiness” that wasn’t present in the bypassed samples. If only the rest of us mere mortals could afford it…

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  7. Robert McCormick

    Wow, what a fantastic review! Thanks Ronan!

    Robert McCormick/Analoguetube AT-101

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  8. Anton Evans

    Well that’s an amazing difference between processed and unprocessed tracks. .Warm tight low mids and lows and a very pleasing slight revision of the relative levels. I’ll take 4 of these please!
    Got to do some catching up on episodes missed. Great stuff Ronan

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  9. Skye

    Great feature here. I haven’t used a 670 either, but I have enjoyed the TRacks emulation (based on its own merits of course.)

    I liked what the AT-101 did here until the last track. It gets too grabby on the kick and makes things sound very compressed. I don’t use the TRacks clone on the master buss, and while that’s not a direct comparison to a (nicer-sounding and more expensive) hardware version, it does have that spongy quality to it. Bass, vocals, and drums however – like in the preceding examples – show a distinct flavor which I enjoyed a lot.

    Thanks for another great show Ronan.

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  10. Steve

    WOW, thats expensive. Still, as “beautiful” as it must have been, You can buy 10 channels of other “beautiful” compressors for the same$

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  11. nir

    hi – thx for mentioning the gainrider. .

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  12. NYMorningstar

    Another great show Ronan WTG. I think you figured out what warm means :) Table for four Cartwright… darn I hate when that happens.

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  13. Bob

    Nice review of a great product!!

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  14. Dave

    Variable-Mu doesn’t mean variable compression ratio! It’s the technical name of a circuit topology for a variable gain amplifier which has existed for more than 50 years.

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  15. Ronan

    Dave, Thanks for clarifying.

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  16. Mike 3rd

    Interesting! I wonder what’s goin’ on having the AT 101 and the Studer C37 working together … mmmm …

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  17. John

    Why would you buy this when you can build you own for a fraction of the cost?…even getting a tech to build one for you would come under a third the cost of this.

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  18. Michael G

    I own two UAD cards in my studio, and I have the UAD 670 emulation plugin. If you would somebody to do a video review of it, I would be happy to do it. Also, if you had any specific features that you would like me to test to compare against the AT-101, I would be interested in that as well.

    Also, great episode. I know that Alan Sides has a real 670, and the AT-101 looks like home run!!

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  19. jenski

    drewll….

    i’m loving the coloring on the low end, but the cutting on the hi end… i’m not so sure if that can be brought back with some simple eq-ing

    but still, i’m searching for napkin’s here,
    awesome unit. great review

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  20. midnightsun

    Ronan– wondering if you have worked with the Pendulum ES8. Specifically I would be curious how it compares to the AT 101

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  21. Ronan

    I have not used any of the Pendulum stuff yet, but I would love to try it!!! I have heard really good things.

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  22. midnightsun

    The Pendulum ES8 is a variable mu type of compressor/limiter that has preset attach/release including multistage release. It is my understanding that it was inspired by the Fairchild!! I would certainly encourage you to get your hands on one and put it through the paces. The variable mu certainly does something unique. I have no point of comparison as I have never heard a Fairchild, Manley Vari Mu, AT 101.

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  23. Allen Wagner

    Doh! Poor Ronan, there’s a now a void in his like and his control room. :(

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  24. Don McKinzie

    Ronan! Tell me you did run some sweeps through the AT101 for the convolution processirs out here! Great Show!!

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  25. Ronan


    Ronan! Tell me you did run some sweeps through the AT101 for the convolution processors out here! Great Show!!


    I think the complexity of what this thing does is beyond what an impulse response could capture. Guess I am going to have to save my pennies for the real thing (that is a lot of pennies unfortunately.

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  26. Angus Woodhead

    Yep – I’m definately keen to get one of these once I can afford it.
    Big thumbs up to Analogue Tube for going the extra mile to get accuracy in there reproduction of arguably the world’s best stereo compressor / limiter.
    :-)

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  27. T

    I am so jealous. Just to even get to play with one is pretty cool. But without Beatle Money, the rest of us will have to be satisfied with more affordable outboard gear and the Abbey Road plug-ins. But with today’s digital compromise world of microwave food and micro chip music? Give me more tubes in my signal chain please. The more Miller Effect the better! Mmm Mmm Good! Nice warm tubes make yummy ear candy!

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  28. T Zero

    Wow! Again. Wow! It’s not so much like a veil was lifted. More like I ate some spice food and my ears popped!

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  29. James Dawson

    Thank you for an informative and fascinating video! I am a new subscriber.

    I first found out the Fairchild when researching classic recordings at Capital Studios in LA during the 50’s.

    Would it be possible for you to test the Anamod AM670 and run the same clips?

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  30. Ronan

    James would be fun to test the AM670 one day, but I need to get my hands on one first.

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  31. Jezza

    For those of you who are handy with a soldering iron, you can build the 670 for 1/20th the price. Drip audio sells the original circuit on a PCB along with a parts list and VERY detailed assembly instructions. Get the circuit board from them, the parts from mouser, and put the puzzle together. It will take some time, but you’ll save a TON of money.

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  32. dylan

    your videos are perfect

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  33. Chris

    Considering how far up the kick is mixed in the last track (waaay high imo) the AT101 is coping ‘quite well’, to say the least.

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  34. Doug

    Dude, rent an hour or two at a studio with a Fairchild. You lost me forever at “I never actually used a Fairchild”. Even I’ve used one and that’s not saying much.

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  35. analoguetube AT-1, a new Fairchild 660 Beatles Compressor | Recording Boot Camp™ - recording classes and audio training

    [...] can also see my review of analoguetube’s AT-101, the Fairchild 670 recreation. Share this on: Recommend on Facebook Tweet about it Leave a [...]

  36. Joey Daddario

    Is it true that the carrying case for the AT-1 is an early 60’s VW Bus(s) ???
    Thanks for the review.

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