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Fairchild 670 software emulations

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Fairchild 670 software emulations

Postby Tristan Jove » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:01 pm

What recommendations and experiences can my esteemed colleagues share regarding software emulations of the legendary Fairchild 670 limiter, specifically ones that are compatable with Macs and the Logic DAW.
I ask because of my recent listening to The Beatles marvellous music. I guess that the Fairchild is largely responsible for the thick, creamy, present vocal sound which pervades their oeuvre, and which seems to make their sometimes quite average voices and performances sound brilliant. Is it also the Fairchild unit that is at least partly the cause of the compression used for the bass sound in songs such as "Rain" or all of Sgt Peppers, or the super present brass sound in "Got To Get You In To My Life".
Happy New Year,
Tristan.
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Re: Fairchild 670 software emulations

Postby desmond » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:07 pm

It's probably too much to attribute all the positive characteristics you hear from some recordings to just on unit - it's just a compressor after all.

I use the UAD one and have always liked it for particularly sources, it does have a slow, flabby chunky character which I really like on some sources, but of course it doesn't work on everything and does have a "sound".

The IK Fairchild also wasn't bad, from what I remember - doesn't sound the same as the UASD Fairchild though...
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Re: Fairchild 670 software emulations

Postby Exalted Wombat » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:13 pm

Google for "Fairchild 670 plugin" and you'll find some. People speak highly of the Waves one.

Others say that, unless you're actually looking at the pretty graphics, it's hard to tell WHAT vintage unit is being emulated, and you would be better off making the best use of today's tools - just like the Beatles' engineers did :-)
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Re: Fairchild 670 software emulations

Postby Jack Ruston » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:26 pm

Honestly none of them.

It's not so much the compression that makes those things magical as much as the rest of it...All those valves and transformers...It's the distortion that makes the thing sound so wonderful. And no plug in can really help you with that. You're better off looking for an old pair of valve pres or something and running line level into them to add colour. If you have lots of money there are other options...Like the Anamod 670 which is really good, or certain valve compressors which impart a lot of character.

You are better off saving that 100 or 200 quid towards something 'real'.

The ITB emulations will get closer when we have a lot more power to play with, but it's not there yet.

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Re: Fairchild 670 software emulations

Postby tomdot » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:31 pm

Yeah, I would say that owning decent music equipment, extreme talent, picking the greatest up and coming engineers, greatly experienced producers, world class meticulous recording facilities on tap, and a 1960's record label budget and support would all come before the magical qualities of the Fairchild.

There are tons on the market that supposedly offer up a good emulation - Waves PuigChild, UAD, IK to name but three.

That being said, it doesn't matter to me what recreations sound like because I've never used an original. I bought the Nomad Factory Blue Tubes bundle a few years ago and I use them all the time - they're all based on vintage equipment, but I couldn't tell you how accurate it is. Alongisde some Pultech EQ's, there's a very transparent compressor, a brickwall limiter, a standard limiter, and finally what I suppose is a Fairchild emulation - it's called the 770 and the GUI is the familiar one anyway.

I find it's good. It's my go to vocal compressor and I cant tell the difference in an A/B between it and the Voxengo Voxformer if that is an indication so it has some quality to it. For a modern slant on it's usage, I recall seeing a Christina Aguilera screenshot where the Fairchild was the main compressor so it seems like it still has uses today.

For other instruments it's not my go to compressor - I find it's too light and transparent for other levelling applications, but maybe that's just this plugin, or my talent shining through.

Do bear in mind though that it wasn't via choice that they used the Fairchild - I recall an interview with Geoff Emerick in which he said that it was all they had so they used it on everything. It would go on drums during tracking, and then vocals as an overdub.

Emerick also said that he would multi compress Paul's bass too with Altech compressors, so it might not always be the Fairchild you hear. To paraphrase George Martin, whateever you hear on record isn't necessarily what is happening.
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Re: Fairchild 670 software emulations

Postby Exalted Wombat » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:43 pm

It's interesting that a couple of emulations I've just looked at include a switch to add mains hum at either 50 or 60 Hz. :-)
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Re: Fairchild 670 software emulations

Postby tomdot » Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:04 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:It's interesting that a couple of emulations I've just looked at include a switch to add mains hum at either 50 or 60 Hz. :-)

Yeah the PuigChild does that! According to one review it also adds "vintage, tube, classic" white noise.

Don't you think that 99% of the time, people wanting a plugin that emulates "X" piece of hardware isn't down to wanting or needing that sound on their instrument, but more of "I wonder how it sounds on my instrument?"

As I said above, I've never used any of these pieces of hardware, or mics, or anything at all. Rather I have a set of plugins and mics, and they amplify or compress or EQ or reverberate. This is what I make music with and that's the sound that it is. Who cares about whether it sounds like a Fairchild or an 1176, or anything. I'm under no illusions that adding a realistic emulation of a tube Altec compressor will turn my Bass DI track into the warmest baby Jesus hugs ever. My bass is just compressed with a compressor and it compresses.

Of course, specific styles of compressor may do good things and be more suited. I love an 1176 style compressor on basses and vocals, but not because of it's pedigree - just because it sounded great. I don't have one now, but so what? I have other compressors that do good things too so they get used.

TL; DR - There's no magic in stuff, and you might not be able to tell what's what anyway. Just go ahead and press record and use the tools available the best you can (as mentioned above).
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Re: Fairchild 670 software emulations

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:46 pm

As has been said, there's likely a lot more going on with those recordings than just the use of a Fairchild!

My view on plug ins is that I'll use them if they provide a sound I'm after and I can easily manipulate them to achieve that sound, so not necessarily related to emulation, but as it happens, I've found many of the UAD plugins provide this for me. My two favourite UAD compressors are the LA2A and Fairchild. The Fairchild gets used often on the master buss.

But I don't care whether its an accurate emulation, I like it because of how it sounds in the box. If I was offered a real Fairchild, I'd sell it tomorrow - it wouldn't suit my work flow and I do not possess the skills to maintain it.

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Re: Fairchild 670 software emulations

Postby sc1460 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:40 pm

Err... Sometimes quite average voices? Really? Not sure about that!

Anyway, I remember a band asking me to make their song sound like Revolver era Beatles, "She Said". As I asked them about their source equipment there was about zero correlation! Guitars, Rickenbacker, gibson SG or epiphone? No. Bass, Hofner? No. Did you use a valve mic to record your instruments? No. Did it go through a EMI-like desk? ;-) NO, NO, NO. So you want me to make this mix sound like Revolver then? Yes. Hehehehehehehe......

What newcomers don't get is that the sound is made by the ENTIRE source chain and not one component.

Now I wonder what would happen if you emulated the entire chain of hardware and put it on a signal. Say you first recorded vocals using a Rhode mic, through a focus rite Pre-amp , then a DBX compressor, into Logic or whatever, and then applied this emulation:

Antares mic modeller emulating a Neumann U47', a Slate RCA mixer to mimic a EMI RED console, a UAD Fairchild, the Abbey Road EQ plugins, then into a yet to be released UAD or Slate emulation of the 4 track tape machine at abbey Road, would that get you close to a Beatles vocal sound?

Hmmm..... Not sure it would, but maybe this generation wouldnt give a toss, as theyd be listening to it through £10 earphones!

I'd focus on the source sound first.

PS I have the UAD Fairchild and I love it for certain sounds, but typically you need a handful of compressors in your toolkit. I'd recommend 1176s, Empirical Distressor, LA-2, Neve 33609, Cytomic Glue, and I'm hoping to get one from Kush Audio. Does it matter if it's from UAD, waves or IK etc I don't think so....hardly anyone can tell the difference in a final mix because the source sound is far more important...

Tristan Jove wrote:What recommendations and experiences can my esteemed colleagues share regarding software emulations of the legendary Fairchild 670 limiter, specifically ones that are compatable with Macs and the Logic DAW.
I ask because of my recent listening to The Beatles marvellous music. I guess that the Fairchild is largely responsible for the thick, creamy, present vocal sound which pervades their oeuvre, and which seems to make their sometimes quite average voices and performances sound brilliant. Is it also the Fairchild unit that is at least partly the cause of the compression used for the bass sound in songs such as "Rain" or all of Sgt Peppers, or the super present brass sound in "Got To Get You In To My Life".
Happy New Year,
Tristan.
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Re: Fairchild 670 software emulations

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:35 pm

Is it also the Fairchild unit that is at least partly the cause of the compression used for the bass sound in songs such as "Rain" or all of Sgt Peppers,


I think bass is actually one of the few things that they didn't put through the Fairchilds but through an Altec compressor instead, if memory serves?
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Re: Fairchild 670 software emulations

Postby tomdot » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:26 pm

Huge Longjohns wrote:I think bass is actually one of the few things that they didn't put through the Fairchilds but through an Altec compressor instead, if memory serves?

Yeah I said that above - I read about it in Behind The Glass. He said that the Pepper's bass lines were recorded as an overdub after hours with a nice big Neumann Tube mic about 2 feet away from the cab. He reckoned that these were multi compressed with the Altecs. From the sounds of it, they spent as much time on the bass guitar as everything else on the record.
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Re: Fairchild 670 software emulations

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:42 pm

So you did, sorry!
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