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PuigChild 670, Andrew Scheps & its harmonic generation

In multiple interviews with the beloved Andrew Scheps, he said “I have Waves PuigChild on my master bus. Sometimes I don’t even use it for compression – I just like the way it sounds to have it there.”

Later on in a more recent interview he did say, “My master bus changes a lot over time, and I realized PuigChild was just adding a gain boost that I liked so I ended up removing it because it was tricking my ears.” (Rough quote based on memory.)

However – he was right the first time! He DID like “how it sounds” to pass audio through even without adding compression. It wasn’t just a gain boost he was hearing — I ran a 100hz sine wave through PuigChild 670 and it’s actually doing a lot!

In fact, PuigChild 670 adds significant harmonics to what passes through it even when the compression is turned off! So you can put it on a track or master bus, switch off the compression, and still get analog style harmonics.

I suspect Scheps never did this test, and he thought he was imagining an improvement before removing the plugin… But he wasn’t! His ears were telling him the truth when he liked the sound, because he was getting analog style saturation even when he had the compression turned off.

For comparison, I tried the same test with the SSL Master Bus compressor and it does add analog style saturation — but not nearly as much as PuigChild. PuigChild does a NOT! It’s VERY colored, and that’s amazing. That makes sense, since SSL Master Bus Compressor is VCA based, and the PuigChild is modeled after a tube based compressor.

Anyhow, the more I study 100/1000hz sine Waves and pink noise through Waves plugins with a spectrum viewer, the more I realize there’s a LOT going on, and I wasn’t imagining the differences I was hearing. And neither was Scheps!

Owing to its multiple tube and variable-mu (gain) architecture the Fairchild adds a lot of harmonic whenever you simply pass audio through it, even without applying any gain reduction. Your results verifies this.

Not surprisingly as time went on manufactures sought to create a cleaner signal chain as harmonic distortion as viewed as a bad thing. For the time the SSL Buss Compressor was the best they could do to achieve a low harmonic distortion compressor. It’s not perfect though and still inject its own character on the audio, but at much improved lower levels. A lot of this was due to abandoning the tubes and using solid state components and utilising a VCA type topology.

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