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Saturation Redefined: Behind the Abbey Road Saturator Plugin

Dec 02, 2019 | 57,493 Views

Waves Abbey Road Saturator combines the musical analog saturation sounds we love from the REDD valve and TG transistor consoles with excitement from the ultra-rare EMI TG12321 Compander module. Abbey Road’s Mirek Stiles takes us through the classic technique revived by the plugin.

Modeled directly from time-proven saturation chains at Abbey Road Studios, Abbey Road Saturator provides inspiring saturation and distortion unlike any other device.

In 1962, EMI patented a tape noise reduction system called the TG12321 “Compander,” which compressed on input (encoding) and expanded on output (decoding). The first generation of pop engineers at Abbey Road discovered that using the encode-only process, before feeding the signal to the console preamp, resulted in a beautiful high-frequency emphasis that added air and excitement to the sound.

Abbey Road Saturator models the original TG12321 unit feeding into the crunchy tube REDD desk and the rounded solid-state TG12345 console for a one-of-a-kind saturation effect.