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Fairchild Compressor Comparison Thread (Hardware only)
Old 13th May 2019
  #1
Fairchild Compressor Comparison Thread (Hardware only)

There have been other threads on the Fairchild but this thread will hopefully be the gathering place for files, comparisons, photos, and info on the various clones. (Original owners please post anything you like.)

Been wanting a Fairchild forever and since I know it's unlikely that I'll own an original, I've started this thread to hear from owners of the various clones.

Please, owners and any users of the POM Fairchild, UnFairchild, forthcoming Stamchild, plus any and all other hardware clone-units, post examples, A/B's, and opinions on the variance unit's performance. Hardware only please. Comparison shootouts of original to various clones would be super.

Manufacturers most welcome, please post your files and pitch us on why yours is best.

Last edited by Wizards Machine; 13th May 2019 at 08:11 PM..
Old 13th May 2019
  #2
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Looking forward to hearing this. Don't think it'd hurt to have some real Fairchild clips in there, too.
Old 13th May 2019
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Looking forward to hearing this. Don't think it'd hurt to have some real Fairchild clips in there, too.
Oh yes, to be clear; original Fairchild clips most welcome.
Old 13th May 2019
  #4
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Sigma's Avatar
Lol ..dude that did Hotel California ..was hiding out in Philly..I go to studio he was working out of... Fairchild with a pillow stuffed in back on console deck
Old 13th May 2019
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
Lol ..dude that did Hotel California ..was hiding out in Philly..I go to studio he was working out of... Fairchild with a pillow stuffed in back on console deck
The producer, Bill Smyzmzck (sp?)or one of the engineers?
Old 13th May 2019
  #6
I'm enjoying my Mercury m66. No idea if it sounds anything like a 660, but Dave seems to think it does.

Happy to post sample vocals both raw and processed when time permits if that's useful..

Wonder if a posting a few dry audio clips for people to process might be good for reference.

Anyways.. I'll follow back when time permits.

It's possible that some of this ground has already been covered in the hardware compressor comparison thread:
The Hardware Compressor & Limiter Comparison Thread (With Audio Files)

I know Paul G posted a POM 670 mkii sample up there.

fun!
Old 13th May 2019
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by themiracle View Post
I'm enjoying my Mercury m66. No idea if it sounds anything like a 660, but Dave seems to think it does.

Happy to post sample vocals both raw and processed when time permits if that's useful..

Wonder if a posting a few dry audio clips for people to process might be good for reference.

Anyways.. I'll follow back when time permits.

fun!
Looking forward to your samples. Yes, I've heard great things about the M66. One of the funniest posts ever on GS concerning that box:
Attached Thumbnails
Fairchild Compressor Comparison Thread (Hardware only)-screen-shot-2019-05-13-4.52.53-pm.jpg  
Old 13th May 2019
  #8
Gear Addict
 

Very interested to see this thread develop. I’m currently building a Fairchild 670 using the v3 pcbs from Drip.
Sowter transformers arriving in a couple weeks, then should be able to fire it up and run some audio through
Old 15th May 2019
  #9
I've reached out to POM (who legally owns the Fairchild name and makes new versions using vintage transformers,) and asked how much difference the vintage transformers will make on the sound. He makes two versions one with 4 vintage trans and one with 2, replacing 2 with modern equivalents. Haven't heard back as yet.

Stam is making their version with modern equivalents. Both companies eliminate tubes in the non-audio path to improve the design (and lessen the tube headaches.)

I've heard raves about the POM, and to date we've heard nothing about the Stam's performance.

Any thoughts on the importance of vintage trans vs modern?
Old 15th May 2019
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wizards Machine View Post
I've reached out to POM (who legally owns the Fairchild name and makes new versions using vintage transformers,) and asked how much difference the vintage transformers will make on the sound. He makes two versions one with 4 vintage trans and one with 2, replacing 2 with modern equivalents. Haven't heard back as yet.

Stam is making their version with modern equivalents. Both companies eliminate tubes in the non-audio path to improve the design (and lessen the tube headaches.)

I've heard raves about the POM, and to date we've heard nothing about the Stam's performance.

Any thoughts on the importance of vintage trans vs modern?
So they’ve removed the tube voltage regulator and rectifier from the power supply? But have retained the tubes in the control amp circuit and output stage?
Old 15th May 2019
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by acidlab View Post
So they’ve removed the tube voltage regulator and rectifier from the power supply? But have retained the tubes in the control amp circuit and output stage?
I believe so. Supposedly it will not affect sound one bit. The tubes are where they need to be.

But about those Transformers... POM has two versions, one has four vintage original trans, and the other puts two new ones on the output I believe. The one with four orig trans costs a thousand pounds more. Can you hear it, or is it just because "all the trans are originals."?
Old 15th May 2019
  #12
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wizards Machine View Post

Stam is making their version with modern equivalents.
Are they, though?
Old 15th May 2019
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wizards Machine View Post
The producer, Bill Smyzmzck (sp?)or one of the engineers?
Bill has lived here in Charlotte for years. Nice guy and what an insane discography he's got.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
Old 15th May 2019
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Are they, though?
Well, 'equivalent' is subjective. Probably a better word is 'replacement'.

I'm learning more day by day on the inner workings and the magic of the Fairchild. Those original transformers are certainly part of the sound. 'Bright' 'focused', 'great stereo', are some terms I've heard in description. Now, I have also heard some not-so-good things about the Sowters.

POM new legally owns the Fairchild name, and uses the identical tubes and ORIGINAL transformers (and in a recent communication, he explained why.)
Although I've only heard a couple of samples, but from his customer list and from rave reviews, I'd say its more than a clone, It' a re-issue.

Let's face it, a big part of the Fairchild attraction is the look. Is it possible that other clones are really just great compressors that happen to look like a Fairchild? I mean there's a lot of equity in that black panel and big knobs, right? Looks cool in the rack.

But how do you change tubes and transformers and cop the EXACT sound? I'm no electro genius, but it makes sense that SOMETHING has to be different. Discuss.
Old 15th May 2019
  #15
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wizards Machine View Post
Well, 'equivalent' is subjective. Probably a better word is 'replacement'.

I'm learning more day by day on the inner workings and the magic of the Fairchild. Those original transformers are certainly part of the sound. 'Bright' 'focused', 'great stereo', are some terms I've heard in description. Now, I have also heard some not-so-good things about the Sowters.

POM new legally owns the Fairchild name, and uses the identical tubes and ORIGINAL transformers (and in a recent communication, he explained why.)
Although I've only heard a couple of samples, but from his customer list and from rave reviews, I'd say its more than a clone, It' a re-issue.

Let's face it, a big part of the Fairchild attraction is the look. Is it possible that other clones are really just great compressors that happen to look like a Fairchild? I mean there's a lot of equity in that black panel and big knobs, right? Looks cool in the rack.

But how do you change tubes and transformers and cop the EXACT sound? I'm no electro genius, but it makes sense that SOMETHING has to be different. Discuss.
That's interesting. It wasn't the "modern replacement" part I was eluding to...
Old 15th May 2019
  #16
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wizards Machine View Post
Let's face it, a big part of the Fairchild attraction is the look.
If the look part is big, the sound part is ultra-ginormous.
Old 16th May 2019
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by themiracle View Post
I'm enjoying my Mercury m66. No idea if it sounds anything like a 660, but Dave seems to think it does.

Happy to post sample vocals both raw and processed when time permits if that's useful..

Wonder if a posting a few dry audio clips for people to process might be good for reference.

Anyways.. I'll follow back when time permits.

It's possible that some of this ground has already been covered in the hardware compressor comparison thread:
The Hardware Compressor & Limiter Comparison Thread (With Audio Files)

I know Paul G posted a POM 670 mkii sample up there.

fun!
The M66 sounds very similar.
Old 16th May 2019
  #18
An ex- Eagle bought one of POM's.

Does the Stam use the JJ 6386 tube ? Does the Unfairchild?
Old 16th May 2019
  #19
[QUOTE=
But how do you change tubes and transformers and cop the EXACT sound? I'm no electro genius, but it makes sense that SOMETHING has to be different. Discuss.[/QUOTE]

Just for fun I got POM to put a Sowter in an "1176 A" clone on a switch. It sounds nice but nothing like the 1176 sound when engaged. I dread to think what it would do to a Fairchild. Stam users save yourselves while you still can If the tubes are JJ 6386 then that'll be a grand at least. It might seem cheap now but just replacing all those mismatched tubes will be fun.

POM's clone transformers are hand wired by an a Gentleman that has just retired I believe. His originals are what it says on the tin.
Old 16th May 2019
  #20
Gear Addict
 

Of course POM are going to say “their original transformers sound best” and “sowters have issues”. They want you to buy their FC units instead of a high quality 1:1 clone.
Old 16th May 2019
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
An ex- Eagle bought one of POM's.

Does the Stam use the JJ 6386 tube ? Does the Unfairchild?
UTA UnFairchild uses the JJ 6386
Old 16th May 2019
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by acidlab View Post
Of course POM are going to say “their original transformers sound best” and “sowters have issues”. They want you to buy their FC units instead of a high quality 1:1 clone.
I know who I’d trust. I like Sowter but the chance of them pulling off a convincing clone is very slim.
Old 16th May 2019
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumhead57 View Post
UTA UnFairchild uses the JJ 6386
Damn how many?
Old 16th May 2019
  #24
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don't mix:analog have a fairchaild 670 clone that anyone can run stuff through online? I'm not sure which variety of clone it is.. (obviously it contains their automated adjustment trickery now rather than pots)..

they just say:"No corners were cut. We followed the blueprint to a tee, the components used are either new-old-stock originals or tested and trusted replacements, used for original units' repair today. It weighs 35kgs"
Old 16th May 2019
  #25
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_G View Post
Damn how many?
I'll have to move things around (no easy feat) take the metal shroud off and count them. There are 14 tubes in all, not sure the count on the JJ 6386s.
Old 16th May 2019
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumhead57 View Post
I'll have to move things around (no easy feat) take the metal shroud off and count them. There are 14 tubes in all, not sure the count on the JJ 6386s.
Don't worry then, I'll do some online research. Thanks though.
Old 16th May 2019
  #27
Some neat videos of the UnFairchild in action:

http://www.undertoneaudio.com/videos
Old 16th May 2019
  #28
In this video the UnFairchild is described as having fourteen tubes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmbZ8BKDlzs

It's around the five minute mark wherein he is describing switching the box to Feed-FORWARD compression as opposed to the normal Fairchild feed-BACK type. So, I don't know the workings of this unit, but maybe those extra tubes are for the feed-Forward??

In any case, the POM reissue of the Fairchild uses 8 tubes, and purportedly, the Stam will use 6. (Though they are going to be more-common tubes.)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmbZ8BKDlzs

Last edited by Wizards Machine; 16th May 2019 at 09:49 PM..
Old 16th May 2019
  #29
Lives for gear
Word back from Tim at UTA - UnFairchild has eight JJ 6386s total
Attached Thumbnails
Fairchild Compressor Comparison Thread (Hardware only)-tubes.jpg  
Old 17th May 2019
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumhead57 View Post
Word back from Tim at UTA - UnFairchild has eight JJ 6386s total
Yes, and I guess the 6 others are not for the audio. The Fairchild by POM, also uses 8 JJ6386 tubes. They go for about a hundred and half each, I can't imagine what a matched set is. Yikes.
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