Overloud Gem Comp670 Compressor/ Limiter

New Gear/ New Toy Review: Overloud Gem Comp670 Compressor/ Limiter

Based in Modena, Italy, Overloud releases the Comp670 ver 1.1 plug-in, a recreation of the rare and legendary Fairchild 670 tube compressor/limiter. Considered the 'holy grail' of all tube limiters, a lot of its distinctive tone is because of all the custom-made transformers and the many tubes in its uniquely-designed audio signal path.

I've always found that original Fairchild limiters each sound different from studio-to-studio because of its individual maintenance history, odd tube changes, miss-alignment, incorrect tube biasing, aging component tolerances and various other changes over time.

To give you a choice, Overloud sampled three different noteworthy and vintage Fairchild 670s from studios in London, Los Angeles and Milan, Italy. So you have a choice of three different vintages of Fairchild 670s--quite a luxury I might add! They are each distinctive in their own way(s).

Overloud is using their brand new fourth generation DSP technology on the Comp670 and added modern touches like a side-chain filter--something I always wished for in the old hardware units to constrain how much the units compress/limit the low frequencies. You can dial in just the right side-chain frequency to compress bass, kick drums and close-to-the-mic vocals.

There is also a Wet/Dry control that was unheard of in the 1950s when the original Fairchild came out and you also have a soft/hard compression knee control using the on-screen DC Threshold control knob. I've been experimenting with this and it is useful. Version 1.1 adds the Harmonic Control for dialing in just the right amount of vintage warmth versus clean and pristine.

Comp670 finishes with Overload's unique Scribble Strips where you can add notes anywhere on the plug-in panel. All plug-ins should have this feature. There are also four different meter calibration choices.

I'm using the Comp670 all over my mixes these days--mostly on individual vocals, guitars, bass and keyboards. I like the Mid/Side feature for compression and expanding the width of stereo pads and orchestral stems effectively. The conventional stereo mode is good for drum overheads and grand pianos.

With loads of great presets included, the GEM Comp670 sells for $139 download. It is a friendly beast with lots of colorful compression and sound.


Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com