Sometimes, it pays to reinvent the wheel, and other times, there’s no point in messing with perfection. That’s the case with the Analoguetube AT-101 Stereo Limiter. Rather than completely building this device from the ground up, Analoguetube instead revisited the Fairchild 670. Created by Rein Narma for Les Paul back in the 1950s, the Fairchild 670 limited audio programs going to disc-cutting amplifiers. Some considered it to be the best in audio limiters. However, the Fairchild 670 did have some problems, such as being somewhat unreliable. Analoguetube took this inconsistent product and greatly improved upon it, created the AT-101 Stereo Limiter. It brings in the best of the Fairchild while making a number of advancements and improvements on the design.
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The AT-101 features four transformers per audio channel. It’s completely handmade with point-to-point connections with silver-stranded wire just like was used in 1950. To get around one of the biggest issues the Fairchild had, Analoguetube specially commissioned a company to recreate the GE Five Star 6386 tubes, tubes that have not been made for years. The AT-101 uses four matched sets of these tubes for each channel. These tubes, along with the high-voltage control signal, transformers, and power supply design, are what gave the Fairchild and now the AT-101 that amazing sound that they are known for.
The AT-101 performs admirably in the studio. You don’t have to worry about setting the record or mix levels perfectly to account for a singer’s sudden increase or decrease in levels. It really is one of the top of the line limiters for just about any source. While the Fairchild 670 was certainly innovative and amazing for its time, the AT-101 is the next evolution in limiters. It’s exactly what you need in an audio limiter. The only downside is that it costs $19,000, putting it out of range for some people.