Compander #GearThatMadeUs

Compander #GearThatMadeUs

3rd February 2022

The TG12321 Companison Unit was patented on 7 June 1962 by EMI inventors Edward Trendell and William Percival, with the first units being built and implemented at Abbey Road in early 1964.

Designed with the intention to reduce tape hiss in the quiet moments of classical recordings, the compander works by compressing on input (encoding) and expanding on output (decoding).


Always looking for ways to create new sounds, engineers such as Peter Bown and Geoff Emerick discovered in the ‘60s they could use these units to overload the preamps on a REDD desk, thus creating a unique high-frequency saturation.

As a result, the compander was often applied to individual instruments including Paul McCartney’s piano on Lovely Rita in 1967.

#GearThatMadeUs #Compander #TG12321 #AbbeyRoad90

The Compander was recently made in to a plugin in collaboration with Waves Audio.

Learn what it's capable of from Abbey Road's head of audio products, Mirek Stiles.


Analog Saturation with a Twist: The Waves Abbey Road Saturator

Modelled directly from time-proven saturation chains at Abbey Road Studios, Abbey Road Saturator provides inspiring saturation and distortion unlike any other device. The plugin offers two versatile desk distortion flavours: the crunchy tube REDD sound, and the rounded solid-state TG12345 tone.

Abbey Road Saturator models the original TG12321 unit, feeding into the REDD or TG desks, for a one-of-a-kind saturation effect. The plugin also gives you flexible control over the Compander’s crossover frequencies, allowing it to focus in on different ranges depending on the source material: lower settings will be at home on bass and kick drums, higher values will afford unmistakable shine to vocals. The added phase knob causes the saturation to work in parallel, dramatically altering the personality of the distortion harmonics.

From subtle harmonic enhancement that helps any instrument poke through a mix, to powerful distortion effects that strip an instrument of its original character and create an entirely new beast—Abbey Road Saturator is a singular twist on what we know saturation and distortion plugins to be.

Watch the video and click here to try it for yourself.


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