Abbey Road RS124 Compressor

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The Holy Grail of Smooth Compressors


Give your music the sound of silky-smooth Abbey Road RS124 compression – the legendary velvety tones heard on every Beatles recording made at Abbey Road. With two distinct flavors to choose from, this classic tube model is the only software emulation of the ultra-rare RS124s, approved by Abbey Road Studios.

Few pieces of gear define music history as the RS124 does. The custom-built RS124 compressors were the secret weapon of Abbey Road engineers during the ‘60s – favored by Geoff Emerick for punchy bass sounds; by Ken Scott for lush guitar treatment; by Norman Smith for lightly gluing the entire rhythm bus. RS124 was also a popular choice for mastering in Abbey Road’s cutting rooms.

The RS124 sound is especially famous for the thick, creamy bass tones it produced on Beatles classics such as “Rain” and “Come Together.” Abbey Road engineers would typically push the input of the RS124 deep into 15-20 dB of gain reduction, producing wonderfully lush results on numerous sources.

Today, Grammy®-winning pop/R&B and hip hop engineer Tony Maserati consistently applies RS124 tones to his vocal tracks, including those of Beyoncé and Alicia Keys, to supplement their stunning voice qualities.

The RS124 was actually an extensive in-house modification of the American Altec 436B compressor. It is believed only 25 units were ever created, and each serial number was hand-built by Abbey Road/EMI technical legends Bill Livy, Len Page and Mike Bachelor.

Naturally, no RS124 unit sounded exactly the same. Each had different sonic qualities and attack/release times, due to constant tinkering of the components used. As a result, some units were more suited for tracking, others for bus compression and disc cutting/mastering duties.

Accordingly, the Waves Abbey Road plugin features two distinct RS124 flavors, modeled from the original hardware:

  • Studio models RS124 serial no. 60070B – a favorite unit used for tracking at Abbey Road from the late ‘50s into the ‘60s, due to its faster attack and release times. This is the more aggressive sound of the RS124, which creates a beautiful “squashed” sound on transients.

  • Cutter is a modification with slower attack and release times. The slower RS124s were favored for studio reduction mixes and in Abbey Road’s cutting rooms during the ‘60s. The more relaxed attack made these units suitable and more forgiving for bus compression and mastering purposes.

The RS124 is a feedback compressor with a variable recovery. Want it to become more aggressive? The included “Super Fuse” mode matches release time to attack time, creating a brutal compression character that sounds like it’s “fighting against itself.” Try this on your drum bus for complete room destruction.

The legendary RS124 left a huge sonic fingerprint on the Abbey Road ‘60s sound. Since its rediscovery in the early 2000s, this important, rare and unique compressor is still being used at Abbey Road Studios today. Now, its one-of-a-kind sound is yours.
  • Precise modeling of Abbey Road’s ultra-rare RS124 tube compressor
  • Silky-smooth tones for vocals, bass, drums, bus compression & mastering
  • Developed with Abbey Road Studios
  • Heard on every Beatles recording made at Abbey Road
  • The go-to creamy compression tone for classic recordings: From Paul McCartney’s bass to Beyoncé’s vocals
  • Two distinctive RS124 tube flavors included: “Studio” and “Cutter”
  • Super-Fuse mode added for more aggressive results
  • SC-HP, Mix knob and MS options included
  • High-Frequency Roll-Off option included

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