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

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