While the current rage seems to
be digital models of vintage gear, Dave Amels and Greg Gualtieri are making
analog models. That’s right, modeling gear with gear. The AM660 is
the duo’s stab at recreating the Fairchild 660 limiter. From the
kidney bean VU meter to the retro-looking knobs, this guy looks like someone
zapped a Fairchild with the shrink ray. Controls include input gain, threshold,
and 8 pre-set attack/release combinations called “Time Constant.” A bypass
button allows for quick before and after comparisons.
The AM660 possesses a very hi-fi sound and we found that it gave excellent
results on nearly anything we threw at it – provided you spend the time
to choose an appropriate time constant. It was also one of the only
units that could tame some of the weird square wave synth patches Soy Sos
brought. It was a stand out on electric bass, especially
when the player had extreme jumps in volume. (I believe someone called
it the ‘last word on bass compression.’) Unless pushed, the AM660
didn’t sound like it was compressing, which I found most impressive.
If funds permit, a pair of these could take your career and your recordings
Strengths: Most audiophile
sounding compressor in the group, you have to try to make it sound bad,
adds a smooth, buttery layer to drums, bass, and guitars.
Limitations: Slight changes
in knob rotation can lead to big changes in sound, pricey.