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Waves’ RS124 plugin puts the compressor that was used on every Abbey Road Beatles recording in your DAW

The RS124 compressor is something of a legend in audio engineering circles - it was used on every Beatles recording made at Abbey Road and considered a studio secret weapon. Now, thanks to Waves, it’s available as a plugin for your DAW.

The RS124 was actually based on the American Altec 436B compressor - this was heavily modded by Abbey Road’s in-house team. It’s believed that only 25 were ever made.

The units were used by Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick, who employed it on bass sounds (check out Rain and Come Together) and Ken Scott, who wrangled lush guitars out of it. Norman Smith, meanwhile, liked to use it to add glue to the rhythm bus.

Because of their unusual heritage, each RS124 sounded different, so Waves’ version contains two distinct sonic flavours. Studio is more aggressive, with faster attack and release times making it more suitable for tracking, while Cutter’s more relaxed attack makes it ideal for bus compression and mastering.

There’s also a Super Fuse mode that matches the release time to the attack time, giving you a brutal, destructive sound that could work wonders on your drum bus.

The RS124 is still being used at Abbey Road today, and the Waves plugin was developed in collaboration with the famous studios. It’s available now at the introductory price of $40 (regular price $199) in VST/AU/AAX formats for PC and Mac. A demo can be downloaded, too.

Don’t forget, too, that Waves’ ‘Buy two plugins, get two free’ Cyber Monday deal is still live.

Find out more on the Waves website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Group Content Manager for MusicRadar, specialising in all things tech. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 20 of which I’ve also spent writing about music technology. 

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