Aug 10, 2010

The latest addition to the Abbey Road Plugins lineup is the RS124 compressor. The RS124 was a compressor that Abbey Road was known to make great use of throughout the 60’s, and it was considered to be an integral part of their drum sound on many famous recordings.

Many of the custom pieces of gear from Abbey Road were actually modified versions of existing units.  For example, the preamps in their famous REDD consoles, also used throughout the 60’s, were in-house modified Telefunken pres.  In the case of the RS124, the EMI engineering team at Abbey Road took the American-made Altec 436B tube compressor and made it their own.  Mainly, they took steps to make it work more efficiently with their gear and added a few important features – an output level knob and a “recovery” knob, which controls the release time.

So, the RS124 units are basically pieces of gear to die for.  Although I haven’t used the real units myself, I can safely say that this is a really great sounding compressor with its own unique sonic footprint: very smooth and slightly punchy with a lot of character.  I found it very usable on everything, but for me this compressor really wowed on bass.  I have a penchant for 60’s hollow body basses with flat wound strings, and the RS124 really brought out that quirky thumpiness that I live for without over-woofing the low end.

To make the software version, Abbey Road modeled the three best units that they had in their collection, so you actually get three different RS124’s!  It’s awesome to be able to pick from the slightly different units – it gives you that added flexibility and that added analog feel.  Amazingly, it goes for only $335 for the RTAS/VST/AU version and $560 for the TDM version.  Check out www.abbeyroadplugins.com for more info.

by Michael Vecchio

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