Fairchild 670

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Marcus Golde
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Fairchild 670

Post by Marcus Golde » Mon Jul 26, 2004 3:38 pm

I'm a studio owner/operator from Wisconsin. I've been dreaming of owning a Fairchild 670 for some time but it looks like I won't be buying one anytime soon. I'd like to see if my hunch is right...that part of the magic of many classic records ,from the days of vinyl, was the 670 before the cutting lathe and not just the fact that it was vinyl. I do hear a character on some modern/retro CDs that reminds me of days gone by.
Beck's Sea Change and Radiohead's OK Computer sure do remind me of Dark Side of the Moon and Sgt. Pepper.
Anyway, I'm looking for a studio somewhere in the Midwest that has one that I could run some mixes through and find out for myself. Does anyone out there know of one? I'd also like to here from anybody experienced with this unit.
Thanks, Marc.
Marc Golde
Rock Garden Studio
1006 S. Lawe St.
Appleton, WI 54915
rockgardenstudio@tds.net
rockgardenstudio.net

rimbaud234
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Re: Fairchild 670

Post by rimbaud234 » Mon Jul 26, 2004 5:51 pm

I know many people, including myself, who swear by the 670 and it's fantastic sound and it is, as you say, responsible for some great classic sounds. The bad news is that they're around $30K if you can find one.

The GREAT news is that Universal Audio has just put out an emulation for it for their UAD-1 card. I have 2 of the cards and bought the new 670 plugin for... for... $150. It is an absolutely magical piece of digital wizardry and I'm using it all the time. It was modeled after the 670 at Ocean Way in LA and imparts something no other piece of gear seems to.
I don't know how into the digital realm you are, but the UAD-1 670 alone is worth getting a computer for audio running and having the UAD-1 in there. The cool thing is that the card comes with killer Pultec, 1176 and LA2A emulations standard as well.

B.


[quote="Marcus Golde"]I'm a studio owner/operator from Wisconsin. I've been dreaming of owning a Fairchild 670 for some time but it looks like I won't be buying one anytime soon. I'd like to see if my hunch is right...that part of the magic of many classic records ,from the days of vinyl, was the 670 before the cutting lathe and not just the fact that it was vinyl. I do hear a character on some modern/retro CDs that reminds me of days gone by.
Beck's Sea Change and Radiohead's OK Computer sure do remind me of Dark Side of the Moon and Sgt. Pepper.
Anyway, I'm looking for a studio somewhere in the Midwest that has one that I could run some mixes through and find out for myself. Does anyone out there know of one? I'd also like to here from anybody experienced with this unit.
Thanks, Marc.[/quote]

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Re: Fairchild 670

Post by dumbangel » Mon Jul 26, 2004 6:15 pm

Rimbaud,

i know it's impossible to accurately describe sound with words ultimately, but still could you tell us what you get from using that 670 plugin sonically?

Color? thickness? width? slowness?

Why is it so good?

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Re: Fairchild 670

Post by @?,*???&? » Mon Jul 26, 2004 9:11 pm

The coloration you get from a Fairchild 670 is about that of a line amp. There are only about 2 usable settings on these boxes and any kind of active compression and they get really, really sloppy. These would be the last in a signal chain with a more aggressive, transparent compressor or limiter first doing nearly all the work. The tube sound is earthy, grainy, dark and has a particular 'grrrr' to it. Best sonic example I've heard is Soundgarden's "Superunknown". Several people I've spoke to have confirmed a Fairchild was across the buss at Studio X at least some of the time. Renting them is expensive. Buying one is insane. For what they actually yield, I'd say extremely over-rated. For $30K you set up a studio- why dump that money into a single piece of esoteric gear? I think when you finally do get to hear what it does, you'll probably be non-plussed. If you have the budget, simply travel to one of the coasts and use a studio that has one for the thrill of it.

As for the plugin, it has a few more usable settings than the real deal. The same tonal shift is evident and makes it right as that last thing in the chain. It'll make your bass drum much more 'Bill Price' and sometimes that's a good thing. Get the plug.

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Re: Fairchild 670

Post by Dot » Mon Jul 26, 2004 11:14 pm

A serious and possibly more realistic alternative ( around $10K ) worthy of consideration http://www.fairman.dk/p2.htm
Dan Richards
Pro Studio Reviews

rimbaud234
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Re: Fairchild 670

Post by rimbaud234 » Mon Jul 26, 2004 11:32 pm

For me the 670 plugin does great things like "glue" a mix together. It also has this wild characteristic in that it seems to widen the stereo field of mixes by about 30%.
Another feature of the UAD that I really like is that, like the original, it gives access to the tube bias controls. These change the compression curve profiles in such a way that you can really make drums "pop" more. For example, I've used it on a stereo buss with it very lightly engaged (not giving more that about a dB or two of gain reduction) and it's fantastic.

That said, it definitely has a sonic quality that doesn't always work. On other mixes it seems to muddy things up too much. I wouldn't use it on a rap mix, but would definitely try it on rock mixes. It's a complex beast with lots of settings that demand tweaking and fiddling but it can do amazing things.

Like I also said, if you get a UAD-1 card you can get this for $150. Even more amazing given that the card comes with Pultec EQ, an 1176 and LA2A
plugins (that also sound killer).

Marcus Golde
audio school graduate
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Re: Fairchild 670

Post by Marcus Golde » Tue Jul 27, 2004 7:17 am

Don't bother posting replies about plugins. I have yet to hear one that sounds true (to my ear anyway). Sometimes it seems like I'm the only one that can hear the difference. The Fairman reply was useful. I might just try to find one of those.
Has anyone seen a Fairman or Fairchild in Chicago?

P.S. I know I'm a vintage snob, but that's OK.
Marc Golde
Rock Garden Studio
1006 S. Lawe St.
Appleton, WI 54915
rockgardenstudio@tds.net
rockgardenstudio.net

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Re: Fairchild 670

Post by gyraf » Tue Jul 27, 2004 8:31 am

..or try a Gyraf Audio G10:

http://www.gyraf.dk/g10/g10_review.jpg

(review from "Resolution Magazine")

They should be available from "Primal Gear", Nashville.

..then again, I may be a bit biased about this..

:-)

Jakob E.
Gyraf Audio

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Re: Fairchild 670

Post by rimbaud234 » Tue Jul 27, 2004 11:31 am

Have you compared the UA plugins to the hardware? I have and they stand up completely.
You can be a snob all you want, but I've got a virtual rack of 1176s, LA2As, Pultecs and Fairchilds. I'm content to wallow in the mud with these "fakes".
:lol:

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Re: Fairchild 670

Post by jmligt » Tue Jul 27, 2004 4:02 pm

Don't bother posting replies about plugins. I have yet to hear one that sounds true (to my ear anyway). Sometimes it seems like I'm the only one that can hear the difference.
Well, if you're the only one that can hear the difference, it shouldn't matter, right? Unless you're making these mixes solely for yourself. I've used the 1176 and Fairchild plugins and been very pleased. Maybe not 30k worth of pleasin', but pleased none the less.

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Re: Fairchild 670

Post by trodden » Tue Jul 27, 2004 4:35 pm

I'm going to be a dick here, and hijack...

How would any of you compare the UA 1176, LA2A, and Pultec EQ to the Bomb Factory versions.

I have the BF plugz, and the 1176 gets used the most out of all of my plugs. Just curious.

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wayne kerr
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Re: Fairchild 670

Post by wayne kerr » Tue Jul 27, 2004 9:27 pm

Marcus,

I'll bet Paisley has one... rumor is they're back in business.

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Re: Fairchild 670

Post by rimbaud234 » Tue Jul 27, 2004 11:20 pm

Regardless of the very poor rep of their previous owner, I've heard good things about the old BF plugins (now owned by Digi). Now that BF is no more and UA is cranking out new plugs (the UA Fairchild knocks dead the BF 660 and even more ridiculous BF "670") I really see them as dominating the emulated hardware plugin realm.
As I said before I'm happy to roll around in the mud with these "fake" "vintage" tools. :lol:

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Re: Fairchild 670

Post by HoneyBear » Wed Jul 28, 2004 12:15 am

I have the reissue of the 1176 and 2 LA2A's (one original one reissue) as well as the plugins for Protools. They each have a different sonic quality. The plugins sound good and the real things sound good - but they aren't identical. When you press all 4 button in on the real 1176 it sounds nothing like the plugin. When you squash something with the real LA2A it sound distinctly different from the plugin. This is neither good nor bad - both sounds have their place. I generally use the real thing when I'm tracking and the plugins when I mix because I often don't feel that the small difference in sound is worth the time it takes to print it or because I might be mixing an album and want to import the settings from one mix I'm happy with to another as a quick starting point.

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Dan Phelps
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Re: Fairchild 670

Post by Dan Phelps » Wed Jul 28, 2004 1:06 am

Bouncing back to the Fairchild topic, I came in contact with one of these guys for the first time about two months ago, so here are some thoughts.

Not all Fairchilds are MAINTAINED equally. The one we had rented (will the idea we might buy it) had been seriously mucked around with. Our tech (who built everything 'tween the diaphram and the lathe for Sheffield Labs) spent a while tidying it up.

It was used on some guitar overdubs. I was playing, not engineering. Several mics (Royer 121, 408, 67) thru a 6 channel Neve mixer (Oh! Serious Envy!!!) to Pro Tools. The guitar was a 70's Les Paul Deluxe thru the studio's Bassman. We tried the Neve compressor on it, which sounded very nice, but sort of dulled the chime in the high end of the guitar. Just for fun we plugged into one of the Fairchild channels...and WHOA! The compression "effect" was subtle, but it doubled the sonic footprint of the guitar. It definitely brought out more of the pleasant mid-range CLANG (slightly dead strings) that I was going for. I was impressed mainly because so many pieces of gear seem to add thier particular sonic character but at the cost of some component from the original sound. In this instance, the FC just made it sound better.

I don't think I could say for sure it was 30k better :lol: but if I had one lying around :D I would use it all the time.

Peace,
Dan

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