1965 Fairchild 660 Compressor/Limiter

This is a vintage 1965 Fairchild 660 compressor/limiter. This particular example, serial number 530, is in extremely excellent original condition. Throughout the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, the original Fairchild 660 compressor was ubiquitous: From the recording studio to the record lathe, the Fairchild is renowned for its advanced compression techniques and incomparable sound. When describing a piece like the Fairchild 660, it sometimes feels unnecessary to go in to great detail, especially when you have such extraordinary real life examples, including, but not limited to: being used on every great album ever. The Fairchild 660 and 670 are in greater demand than ever, and it is becoming increasingly more difficult find beautiful examples such as this. Do yourself a huge favor and buy this Fairchild, as a similar opportunity might not arise for quite some time.

I purchased this Fairchild as the ultimate addition to my recording studio. While I hold originality and condition in utmost esteem, the sound quality was of most importance. When the opportunity arose to purchase this one, I wanted to be sure that it was a particularly good-sounding unit. I rented out a studio, and pulled a few strings which resulted in a master comparison between this Fairchild and FIVE others, four of which were for sale. During this shoot out, I was determined to purchase the one that sounded the best. I assumed that the process would be painstaking, but I was surprised to find that the hands-down winner was obvious, as it was much better than the next best example. The best sounding Fairchild I was able to purchase is the one being sold.

This particular 660 also happens to be in extremely excellent cosmetic condition and beautifully intact original condition. Aside from the inevitable servicing of the electrolytic capacitors and 2 other caps, this unit is 100% original and fully functional. It works perfectly, and is studio ready.

The Fairchild 660 uses a basic stage of push-pull amplification with an extremely high voltage control. This basically means the unit doesn’t produce any audible thumps, and unlike other limiters, the 660 has low distortion and noise under all conditions. The 660 has an extremely fast attack time of 1/5000 of a second, meaning it can catch quick transients that would otherwise peak on other limiters. The release time of .3 to 25 seconds provides a range of flexibility.

The Time Constant controls the attack and release with 6 different settings: Position 1: Attack – .2 milliseconds, Release – .3 seconds Position 2: Attack – .2 milliseconds, Release – .8 seconds Position 3: Attack – .4 milliseconds, Release – 2 seconds Position 4: Attack – .4 milliseconds, Release – 5 seconds Position 5 and 6: Automatic function of program material – 2 seconds for individual peaks, 10 seconds for multiple peaks and 25 seconds for consistently high program level.

Ample and accessible input controls, threshold controls, attack and release time and metering controls. The unit can be used as a limiter or compressor, depending upon personal taste and program material. A 2:1 ratio as a Compressor with a threshold 5b below average level, and as a peak limiter with a 30:1 ratio with a threshold 10 db above normal program level. The unit can also be easily adjusted to operate anywhere in between these two extremes. This particular example is in exceptional cosmetic condition and perfect working condition.