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Fairchild 660/670


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Fairchild 660/670

Category:  Products / fx & processors / compressor

Added: 17-Jan-09  |  Author: admin

New price: discontinued  |   S/H price: 25,000 - 30,000 USD

Fairchild 660/670

The Fairchild 670 has attained legendary, and almost mythical status as a piece of recording studio equipment and carries a price-tag to match if you can find one for sale... You can get a UAD plugin emulation of this beastie if required cos let's face it; the chance of owning a real one is... well there's not much chance, lol... read on!

Inside the 670

The following info/text is from bavodekker.com, vintage audio equipment dealers: www.bavodekker.com/670.html

If you examine any monophonic or stereo record or tape available today, from any major labels throughout the world, it undoubtedly uses a FAIRCHILD limiter in its production somewhere along the line. More and more companies throughout the world specify and use the FAIRCHILD limiters, Model 660 or 670 for the following reasons:

1. Complete absence of audible thumps normally associated with other limiter designs and a complete absence of distortion or noise normally associated with conventional limiters.

2. Extremely fast attack time, the FAIRCHILD 660 or 670 can produce full limiting in the first 5.000th of a second.

3. Variable release time. The FAIRCHILD 660 or 670 allow a variable from .3 of a second to 25 seconds, conveniently available on the front panel in the form of a 6-position switch.

4. Can be used as a limiter or a compressor depending on the program material and personal preference.

5. Reliability and stability.

6. Two models available: single channel Model 670 or the unique stereo model 670.

The FAIRCHILD limiter is available in two versions - the monophonic single channel unit, the Model 660, and the unique stereo version, the Model 670. The following basic design points apply to both.

The basic design uses a singl push-pull stage of amplification with an extremely high control voltage. The result: the unit never produces any audible or observable thumps and, unlike other conventionally-designed limiters, the unit has extremely low distortion and noise under all conditions, either as a limiter or a straight through amplifier.

The attack time is very fast - 50 microseconds (1/5000 of a second) - and catches short transients that can, in other limiters, negate the limiting effect. The release time of 3. to 25 seconds provides real flexibility. Three positions (six are available) make the release time a function of program material, fast recovery of program level should the program level remain high.

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 to 1 ratio as a Compressor with a threshold 5b below average level, and as a peak limiter with a 30 to 1 ratio with a threshold 10 db above normal program level. The unit can also be adjusted to operate anywhere between these two extremes.

Reliability and stability: all components operate well below their rated maximums, insuring, trouble-free performance, and guarantee of day-in-day-out performance results. Masters made one day can be duplicated months later and with the same control settings. Two models are available : the single channel monophonic version, model 660, or the versatile two-channel stereo version, model 670.

In addition, the Model 670 is designed for stereo level control problems specifically. The 670 on one chassis incorporates two independent limiters that will act on left and right channels or which will act on the lateral and vertical (sum and difference) components of the two stereo channels. This latter is accomplished by first bringing the two stereo channels through a matrixing network and then dividing them into their respective lateral and vertical components, limiting these lateral and vertical components and then combining through a second matrixing network into left and right channels again. Using this FAIRCHILD matrix limiter design, thousands upon thousands of stereo masters have been cut with maximum useable level and efficient use of available groove space, resulting in high level recordings with long playing times.This Limit-Matrix system of the 670 now finds the same importance in the new art of stereo broadcasting. No wonder that the FAIRCHILD limiters are used by the major labels and major recording services and quality conscious radio stations throughout the world.

(Each channel, unless otherwise specified)

  • INPUT IMPEDANCE: 600 ohms
  • OUTPUT IMPEDANCE: 600 ohms
  • RANGE OF INPUT LEVEL: 0 dbm to +16 dbm. (-4 dbm to +16 dbm) (model 660) OUTPUT LEVEL: +4 or +8 dbm (+27 dbm clipping point)
  • GAIN: 7db (16db Model 660)
  • FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20 cycles to 15 kc +/- 1db.
  • SEPARATION: A-B position: 60 db vertical-lateral position: 40 db (does not apply to 660)
  • NOISE LEVEL: 70db below +4 dbm
  • LIMITING NOISES: Below audibility
  • INTERMODULATION OR HARMONIC DISTORTION: Less than 1% at any level up to + 18 dbm output (no limiting) Less than 1% at db limiting +12dbm output
  • ATTACK TIME: .2 milliseconds on positions 1, 2 and 6 .4 milliseconds on positions 3,4 and 5 (adjustable)
  • RELEASE TIME: Position 1: .3 sec Position 2: .8 seconds Position 3: 2 seconds Position 4: 5 seconds Position 5: Automatic function of program material: 2 seconds for individual peaks. 10 seconds for multiple peaks. 25 seconds for consistently high program level.
  • COMPRESSION RATIO: A function of the amount of limiting as well as setting of the two threshold controls which can be set to operate at ratios from 1:2 to 1:30
  • POWER REQUIREMENTS: 115 volts, 50-60 cycles AC, 3 amps.
  • STABILITY: Unit maintains stability of gain, gain reduction and balance over the range of line voltage fluctuations from 100 to 127 volts.


  • 2 Input Gain controls: Step attenuator: 1 db per step.
  • 2 Threshold Controls: continuously variable.
  • 2 Time Constant Switches: 6 positions so as to provide fixed and variable time constants for any type of program material.
  • 2 Metering Switches: 3 positions so as to measure plate current of each control tube, or as a limiting indicator.
  • Mode Switch: A-B positions: 2 independent limiters. Vertical-Lateral position: matrixing input and output, left and right in and out, limiting action vertical-lateral.
  • On-off switch

MECHANICAL DIMENSIONS: Standard 19" rack, 14" panel space, depth behind panel 11"
WEIGHT: Approximately 65 lbs.
TUBE COMPLEMENT: 8-6386; 1-6084; 1-5651; 2-12AX7; 2-12BH7; 1-EL34; 4-6973; 1-GZ34(5V4).

The model 660 is a single channel Fairchild Limiter. The above specifications apply with the following exceptions: no separation figure needed on the 660; all controls are single, not double as in 670; only half the number of vacuum tubes are used; and an additional 8 DB of gain is available in the 660.

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Last added comment

Product:  Fairchild - 660/670
Name: Anto
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: part-timer
Date: 03-Aug-12

I feel the decision whteher to mix though eq and dynamics controllers has to be made case by case. Different styles, applications and personal taste play a big part in choices made. If a style has an inherantly delicate characteristic it would make no sense at all the squeeze space out of the mix. With classical' music transparency is the primary objective and there is a spectrum which spans from this approach to the all-out multiband monster required for styles like punk rock or hip-hop. The latter kinds of styles often require a method of mixing where the peaks can be exaggerated into the limits of a dynamics controller; this will ineveitably cause other elements of the track to dip but this is where that jumpin' out the speakers' style of rock'n'roll mix gets it's attitude and excitement. Leaving it to the mastering lab leads to a polite compromise which is fine if you require polite'.Mixing though VCA's tends to take years of practice before it starts to sound right but the skills are definitely worth aquiring.Go on! Be brave! xsx

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