J. Rockett Airchild Six Sixty

While the pedal market starts feeling a little saturated with compressors voiced after the Teletronix LA2A and the uRei 1176 studio units, there aren’t many pedals inspired by what’s perhaps the most legendary studio compressor of all times: the Fairchild 660. Enter the Rockett Airchild Six Sixty.

Studio rats say that the Fairchild makes everything sound better even when it’s not doing anything, and the Nashville-based pedal builder tried to recreate that with the Airchild.  However, they weren’t entirely faithful to the control set of the vintage unit, which featured an Input gain knob (replaced here by an Output one), a Threshold control (check) and a Time Constant one, aka Ratio, which is not present in this pedal recreation; the J Rockett team chose to stick to a fixed ratio that’s optimal for electric guitars.

However, the Airchild features two extra knobs not present in the original: Tone, extremely useful for recovering some of the signal “shine” lost because of the compressor, and Blend, which compensates for the absence of the Ratio control by allowing to reintegrate some of the dry signal. This has the effect of reintroducing more dynamics for a less compressed signal.

The Output knob has enough volume to push any amp into saturation (which is also a form of compression), and it’s highly interactive with the Threshold control, which determines the amount of compression applied to the signal. Used together, they can produce a variety of effects, from subtle sustain to harmonic enhancement or more squished tones.

Have a listen to them in the videos below.