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Can someone explain the Fairchild 660/670 to me???
Old 27th January 2010
  #1
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Bubbakron's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Can someone explain the Fairchild 660/670 to me???

So this thing has 14 transformers and 20 tubes in it. The compressor is not opto probably, so do the tubes do the compressing??

Lets say I just ran a track through with no compression set, how much would those transformers and tubes change the sound?? Can I get a Hi-Fi but colored sound out of it??

Is there a similar 1:1 transformer box where I could get a similar sound if I dont want to use any compression at all??

I want a very classic sound, but I read that the Mercury in the transformers is not the same as this vintage stuff. Can I get just some type of vintage transformers for this type of DEEP vintage tone??

Thanks
Old 27th January 2010
  #2
Gear Guru
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
It's a vari-my compressor, so yes the tubes are doing the compressing. You probably don't want one unless you have a lot of money lying around, or you are quite handy with a soldering iron and want to build a DIY one, since the originals are stupidly expensive and even commercially made re-makes of them are pretty dang expensive.

There are various other types of vari-my compressors around though, which are a lot more practical and really nice.
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Beware of the "vintage" tone... that can mean anything from the character of a well-maintained Fairchild (which odds are you have not heard) to "vintage" as in old and not up to spec.

While I'm a vintage lover, I also have to say that there is PLENTY of new gear that can give you fantastic character that you would surely call ''vintage" by ear. The Chandler TG-1 being a good example.
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 10 years
What I want is to run modern music through those old transformers, and maybe a couple tubes to give it that "sonic quality". I want it on the buss to give more character than lets say just an API or NEVE tranny. Imagine hard electronic music bounced through a 670 with no compression. The transformers has to give some sweet texture. I would like true vintage transformers for uniqueness. I just want "that" sound- 50's 60's but still have a good fidelity and presence. I can find a studio, and just bounce through their fairchild- or get a custom box built for straight Tranny bouncing. thoughts anyone??
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Hi
A valve 'line amp' is what you need with a couple or 3 valves and a transformer in and out.
You COULD use a mic amp but you would have to pad the input and it's extra gain would give you extra noise (think racing car with a large concrete block tied to the back).
There is no mercury in a transformer, simply iron / steel, copper and some insulation.
Matt S
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #6
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unit7's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Syson ➑️
There is no mercury in a transformer, simply iron / steel, copper and some insulation.
Matt S
I believe the OP is referring to the transformer in the Mercury 66 compressor
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #7
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Aisle 6's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbakron ➑️
What I want is to run modern music through those old transformers, and maybe a couple tubes to give it that "sonic quality". I want it on the buss to give more character than lets say just an API or NEVE tranny.
This exactly why I removed the line amps from my Ampex A440 tape machine and had them modified to pass audio as stand alone units. They have mojo.
In fact i run them across the master buss in parallel as they have a very strong signature. I guess I am saying that you can do what you are wanting without parting with a boatload of cash. You really only want a 660/670 for compression and then you must REALLY want it.
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #8
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airmate's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbakron ➑️
What I want is to run modern music through those old transformers, and maybe a couple tubes to give it that "sonic quality". I want it on the buss to give more character than lets say just an API or NEVE tranny. Imagine hard electronic music bounced through a 670 with no compression. The transformers has to give some sweet texture. I would like true vintage transformers for uniqueness. I just want "that" sound- 50's 60's but still have a good fidelity and presence. I can find a studio, and just bounce through their fairchild- or get a custom box built for straight Tranny bouncing. thoughts anyone??

I see many reasons for sending ITB signals through external analog devices.
However, doing this will not get you much closer to a 50s/60s-sound when your production is "hard electronic music". There's so much more to it - the composition, the arrangement, players, instruments, reverb...
Neither do I understand why it has to be a Fairchild 660/670 in your case. Its coloration will probably be too subtle for your goals.

I think you should just get a Thermionic Culture Vulture and call it a day!
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #9
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unit7's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey ➑️
It's a vari-my compressor
O-bla-di, o-bla-da....Vari-me, vari-my, vari-MUUU-UUUheh
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #10
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
When I got kicked out of my nerd's hideout in the mastering closet and into the recording studio at Motown around 1968, the only compressor I had for doing vocals was a Fairchild 660.

We generally ran it in parallel with the uncompressed mike feed because otherwise the vocals lost a great deal of presence. We also had to replace the tubes every six months in order to keep the thing up to spec.
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #11
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airmate's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➑️
When I got kicked out of my nerd's hideout in the mastering closet and into the recording studio at Motown around 1968, the only compressor I had for doing vocals was a Fairchild 660.

We generally ran it in parallel with the uncompressed mike feed because otherwise the vocals lost a great deal of presence. We also had to replace the tubes every six months in order to keep the thing up to spec.

Bob, this is a bit off topic, but have you ever intentionally used the 660 as a frequency selective compressor / de-esser?

I assume they did this for instance on Lennons lead vocals on "Come together", and that vocal sound is just spectacular, so incredibly smooth.
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #12
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by airmate ➑️
Bob, this is a bit off topic, but have you ever intentionally used the 660 as a frequency selective compressor / de-esser?

I assume they did this for instance on Lennons lead vocals on "Come together", and that vocal sound is just spectacular, so incredibly smooth.
Not really. I also wouldn't assume a Fairchild was used on "Come Together."

The solid state consoles that were used for Abbey Road had a limiter/compressor on every channel. I actually saw them the year before and was utterly amazed because nobody in the U.S. had that.

On the other hand I could brag about our 16 track machines.
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbakron ➑️
What I want is to run modern music through those old transformers, and maybe a couple tubes to give it that "sonic quality". I want it on the buss to give more character than lets say just an API or NEVE tranny. Imagine hard electronic music bounced through a 670 with no compression. The transformers has to give some sweet texture. I would like true vintage transformers for uniqueness. I just want "that" sound- 50's 60's but still have a good fidelity and presence. I can find a studio, and just bounce through their fairchild- or get a custom box built for straight Tranny bouncing. thoughts anyone??
I put together a rack with 6 octal plugs for the old Altec.Peerless tranny's.. I/O for each side of transformer.. I can chain 6 in a row or have three each stereo and match or mismatch the impedence ..
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #14
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airmate's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➑️
Not really. I also wouldn't assume a Fairchild was used on "Come Together."

The solid state consoles that were used for Abbey Road had a limiter/compressor on every channel. I actually saw them the year before and was utterly amazed because nobody in the U.S. had that.

On the other hand I could brag about our 16 track machines.

Yes, you are right about the TG console. However, the limiters on the desk did not have sidechain routing capabilities, and the Fairchilds and RS124 units remained in use after the TG had been installed at Abbey Road.

I recently found this BBC excerpt: http://waxy.org/random/audio/beatles...metogether.mp3

...and in some parts it definitely sounds like a de-esser has been used on the lead vocals. This probably would have been the Fairchild, as it has been used as a de-esser on earlier Beatles sessions (pre-TG era), too.
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #15
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fuddfar's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➑️
When I got kicked out of my nerd's hideout in the mastering closet and into the recording studio at Motown around 1968, the only compressor I had for doing vocals was a Fairchild 660.

We generally ran it in parallel with the uncompressed mike feed because otherwise the vocals lost a great deal of presence. We also had to replace the tubes every six months in order to keep the thing up to spec.
Not sure what the deal was there. Our 670 loses very little high end presence on vocals...that what it's about. For the equivalent amount of gain reduction, our vintage LA2A is pumping at about -15 to -20 and ridiculously audible. Dan Zellman has explained that the 670 runs the signal out of phase through transformers and thus the hi fi level of compression. I wish I understood it better.
Old 27th January 2010
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
fuddfar's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbakron ➑️
So this thing has 14 transformers and 20 tubes in it. The compressor is not opto probably, so do the tubes do the compressing??

Lets say I just ran a track through with no compression set, how much would those transformers and tubes change the sound?? Can I get a Hi-Fi but colored sound out of it??

Is there a similar 1:1 transformer box where I could get a similar sound if I dont want to use any compression at all??

I want a very classic sound, but I read that the Mercury in the transformers is not the same as this vintage stuff. Can I get just some type of vintage transformers for this type of DEEP vintage tone??

Thanks
I would suggest looking at the Anamod 670. I recently had the pleasure of working with the elecrtonic group EOTO. After two mastering attempts elsewhere we accomplished what they wanted by running the PT sessions through our Neve 31115 eqs and then the Fairchild 670 set at the "1" position for very fast release. We own an Anamod 660 and I can tell you that it sounds really close to the real deal.
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #17
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Marcocet's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by airmate ➑️
Its coloration will probably be too subtle for your goals.
Mind you I'm working with an ADL 670 (#002, one Anthony has told me is closest to a vintage 670) but subtle is the only word to explain the coloration of the signal path. Switching it on and off of an insert people are always amazed that such a big expensive box can do so little. But it does something that I haven't found another piece of gear that will even kind of replicate yet. I had a pair of Anamod 660's for a while and they had the reaction of the compressor pretty well duplicated but there was something missing about the qualities of the amplification stage.

It's only going to take you so far but it's a step that it's hard to find anywhere else.
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #18
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcocet ➑️
Mind you I'm working with an ADL 670 (#002, one Anthony has told me is closest to a vintage 670) but subtle is the only word to explain the coloration of the signal path. Switching it on and off of an insert people are always amazed that such a big expensive box can do so little. But it does something that I haven't found another piece of gear that will even kind of replicate yet. I had a pair of Anamod 660's for a while and they had the reaction of the compressor pretty well duplicated but there was something missing about the qualities of the amplification stage.

It's only going to take you so far but it's a step that it's hard to find anywhere else.
I have some experience with a vintage 670 and I agree with you that it - even though the coloration is so subtle - does some very nice things to a signal, that otherwise would be hard to obtain.

But the OP is looking for some outboard treatment for "hard electronic music", and I think the sonic imprint of a 670 might be too subtle or at least somewhat limited for that application. Hence I recommended the Culture Vulture. It doesn't have anything to do with tha Fairchild sound, but it is very versatile and a great tool for synths and (programmed) drums.
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #19
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mu6gr8's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by airmate ➑️
But the OP is looking for some outboard treatment for "hard electronic music", and I think the sonic imprint of a 670 might be too subtle or at least somewhat limited for that application. Hence I recommended the Culture Vulture.
Although I'm a big analog fan, I must say that the SoundToys Decapitator plugin might do the trick for the OP. It's actually quite good, and it has some Culture Vulture emulation or modeling.
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #20
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unit7's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Analoguetube AT101 user here (the Fairchild recreation made in England by Simon Saywood). And I agree. It's not an "instant vintage" unit. Just adds something great. Sounds so fat and yet compresses so swift and effortless.
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Guru
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by unit7 ➑️
O-bla-di, o-bla-da....Vari-me, vari-my, vari-MUUU-UUUheh
Oops, it was late. I plead sleep deprivation.
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #22
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unit7's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey ➑️
Oops, it was late. I plead sleep deprivation.
Pardoned. But don't let it happen again.
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #23
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by airmate ➑️
......and in some parts it definitely sounds like a de-esser has been used on the lead vocals. ..
I wonder if a 670 is being confused with a Conax which was Fairchild's high frequency limiter. At that time we were using a Neumann cutting system HF limiter in the mix room and an Ortofon in the mastering room. I wouldn't be surprised if they were also using the Neumann, it sounded lots better than the Fairchild.
Old 27th January 2010 | Show parent
  #24
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuddfar ➑️
... Our 670 loses very little high end presence on vocals...that what it's about...
FWIW we were running an all tube control room until you got to the MM-1000 tape machine.
Old 28th January 2010 | Show parent
  #25
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Bubbakron's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by airmate ➑️
I have some experience with a vintage 670 and I agree with you that it - even though the coloration is so subtle - does some very nice things to a signal, that otherwise would be hard to obtain.

But the OP is looking for some outboard treatment for "hard electronic music", and I think the sonic imprint of a 670 might be too subtle or at least somewhat limited for that application. Hence I recommended the Culture Vulture. It doesn't have anything to do with tha Fairchild sound, but it is very versatile and a great tool for synths and (programmed) drums.

I was just using Hard electronic music as an example to get my point accross. I actually do blues fusion, I just want modern music to not sound modern. I play through 1970 plexi and really old tube amps- pure analog effects and all. I have the feeling that "real " color will stand out dramatically in tyoday's market. The info I was looking for how subtle it is. How subtle is it??
Old 28th January 2010 | Show parent
  #26
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerbrain ➑️
I put together a rack with 6 octal plugs for the old Altec.Peerless tranny's.. I/O for each side of transformer.. I can chain 6 in a row or have three each stereo and match or mismatch the impedence ..
This is the route im probably going!!!!
Old 28th January 2010 | Show parent
  #27
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Bubbakron's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➑️
I wonder if a 670 is being confused with a Conax which was Fairchild's high frequency limiter. At that time we were using a Neumann cutting system HF limiter in the mix room and an Ortofon in the mastering room. I wouldn't be surprised if they were also using the Neumann, it sounded lots better than the Fairchild.
Theres a Conax 600 on Ebay- what kind of sound would those trannys give??

Thanks a lot you guys, I appreciate the help!!!
Old 28th January 2010 | Show parent
  #28
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airmate's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbakron ➑️
I was just using Hard electronic music as an example to get my point accross. I actually do blues fusion, I just want modern music to not sound modern. I play through 1970 plexi and really old tube amps- pure analog effects and all. I have the feeling that "real " color will stand out dramatically in tyoday's market. The info I was looking for how subtle it is. How subtle is it??
Ok, I see your point. And I totally agree that a production with a "real analogue" sound (whatever that would exactly be) can stand out in today's market, as so many producers and studios have abandoned analogue technology.

However, a single Fairchild across a "digital" production will only get you so far, as it is just one (very expensive) tool among many others. Don't get me wrong, it's absolutely nice, but there are definitely other more affordable and more versatile options.

If you already have great instruments and amplifiers I would suggest to concentrate on room treatment, microphones and preamps (in that order) to make sure you are capturing nothing but GREAT signals. If you do so, you can get very far even if you will mix completely ITB. Get the things right at the source, then everything else will fall into place almost on its own.
Old 28th January 2010 | Show parent
  #29
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airmate's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➑️
I wonder if a 670 is being confused with a Conax which was Fairchild's high frequency limiter. At that time we were using a Neumann cutting system HF limiter in the mix room and an Ortofon in the mastering room. I wouldn't be surprised if they were also using the Neumann, it sounded lots better than the Fairchild.
I am pretty sure that the Conax has not been used during the Beatles sessions at Abbey Road at all. There's nothing but the RS124s, 660s and perhaps 666s in the photos.
Old 28th January 2010 | Show parent
  #30
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Bubbakron's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by airmate ➑️
Ok, I see your point. And I totally agree that a production with a "real analogue" sound (whatever that would exactly be) can stand out in today's market, as so many producers and studios have abandoned analogue technology.

However, a single Fairchild across a "digital" production will only get you so far, as it is just one (very expensive) tool among many others. Don't get me wrong, it's absolutely nice, but there are definitely other more affordable and more versatile options.

If you already have great instruments and amplifiers I would suggest to concentrate on room treatment, microphones and preamps (in that order) to make sure you are capturing nothing but GREAT signals. If you do so, you can get very far even if you will mix completely ITB. Get the things right at the source, then everything else will fall into place almost on its own.
I mix OTB- I have outboard Neve/api/SSl- great mics. A fully treated facility, not at my house. B&W speakers-Studer A80- 1915 piano- Even fossilized mammoth bone nuts in my strats and pauls etc etc. Im an analog freak- looking for that last Bounce through piece of gear. Im selling my Neve 8816, because this Carnhill tranny is just not good enough for me- looking for something more unique and special. I realized the 8816 is only worth the trannys inside. What do you reccomend?? Thanks
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