Chandler Limited, recognized globally for signal processing and related music and audio products that deliver the classic analog sounds recording and professional musicians seek, expands its acclaimed historic Abbey Road Studios series with addition of the RS124 Compressor.
First designed in 1960 by Abbey Road Head of Technical Bill Livey, Deputy Head Len Page and seasoned EMI Audio Designer Mike Batchelor, the EMI/Abbey Road RS124 compressor is one of the most coveted pieces of recording gear ever developed.
During the late 1950’s, EMI acquired Altec tube compressors for use at their studios and soon realized the units were insufficient for critical recording applications. Livey, Page and Batchelor worked to modify the Altec units to meet their standards and ultimately ended up designing an entirely new compressor in the process, the EMI/Abbey Road RS124.
From the beginning it was clear to Abbey Road Studios’ engineers that the RS124 was special, not only in the way it flattered the sound, but also how it handled source material. The sonic enhancements provided by the RS124 added heaps of unique character to single instruments, rhythm busses and entire mixes. They where so integral to the recording and mixing process that a pair can be seen in almost every control room photo in Abbey Road during the 60s period.
Still in use today at Abbey Road Studios, and most recognized for its use at virtually every Beatles recording session, the RS124’s true inner-workings have remained an enigma to recording engineers.
Through the years, from incomplete information and supposition, some have tried to recreate the RS124 compressor, though never fully realizing the elusive signal processor.
Schematics themselves only told part of the story, and access to Abbey Road Studios’ historic units and various hand written modification notes would prove paramount towards understanding the true nature of the Abbey Road RS124 compressor, and variances between units.
The RS124, a “variable-mu” type compressor, and its multiple personalities, was never commercially available outside of Abbey Road Studios, until now.
Today more than five decades later, Chandler Limited, the only company in the world licensed to develop and manufacture Abbey Road Studios ‘official equipment’, coupled with its unique relationship and special access to the famed studios’ historic hardware, unveils the modern RS124, the Chandler Limited RS124 Compressor.
Chandler Limited’s re-imagination of the RS124 is significant not only for its heritage and modern features, it also captures the unique personalities of Abbey Road Studios’ historic units in one piece of hardware for the first time ever.
Chandler Limited founder and chief designer, Wade Goeke, offered insight into the development of the RS124, “Once under way, we quickly found each of the favorite historic RS124s at Abbey Road Studios had their own character and nuances... At that point we felt we had to include all of them under one hood; you’re not simply getting one RS124, you’re getting them all.”
The Chandler Limited RS124 not only harnesses multiple historic RS124s in one chassis (accessible via selectable serial number from the faceplate), it adds modern facilities not available on the original devices, including adjustable attack, switchable 200/600ohm impedance, and a special twist. Wade Goeke – “there’s a really exciting feature that we put into the compressor... The fuse on the front panel isn’t a fuse at all; it’s a switch!” Excitedly, Wade added- “when activated, it sets the compressor into another personality all together, like Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde...”
Passionate about this historic release, Abbey Road Studios’ Head of Audio Products, Mirek Stiles, added- “ I first heard an RS124 in 1999 when a producer I was working with managed to persuade legendary Abbey Road technician Lester Smith to pull a unit out from one of his ‘private’ cupboards. It needed some attention, having not been used for over 20 years, but Lester had it in perfect working order in no time. We immediately patched it over a bass guitar and that was the sound, it was unlike any other compressor I had heard before. Now in 2015 that sound is available again for tracking and mixing by engineers, musicians and producers all over the world. Finding the original historic Abbey Road hand written notes and technical documents in the archives was key to unlocking the first true modern RS124 hardware device. I compared the new Chandler model against our original units directly and Wade has nailed the original character. Even the prototypes from Wade were immediately snapped up by the Abbey Road engineers and used over mix busses, it’s the real deal”
When can you you get a Chandler Limited RS124? Chandler Limited will begin shipping RS124 compressors to dealers worldwide November 2015.
U.S. street price: $2,875