“We decided to try and make that sonic signature available to the guitar community without the $100k price tag”: J. Rockett launches the Airchild Six Sixty – a new pedal inspired by “the best compressor ever made”

 J. Rockett Airchild Six Sixty.
J. Rockett Airchild Six Sixty.
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J. Rockett Audio Designs has introduced its latest compressor pedal, the Airchild Six Sixty.

With the launch of this nifty utility stompbox, J. Rockett becomes the latest firm to release a stompbox inspired by a classic studio compressor, with this launch looking to channel the “sonic signature” of what the company introduces as “the best compressor ever made”.

Specifically, the Airchild Six Sixty takes cues from the Fairchild 660 rack unit, which, the brand notes, has been used as a studio stalwart alongside its 670 compression companion.

The flagship tube-based single-channel audio compressor dates back to 1959 and was originally masterminded by Rein Narma, who had been asked to build a compressor/limiter by Les Paul.

Sherman Fairchild would later license Narma’s compressor design, which would go on to become a fixture in numerous studios and feature on countless classic tracks. It can be found in Abbey Road Studios, for example, and was used on recording sessions for the Beatles.

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J. Rockett Airchild Six Sixty
J. Rockett Airchild Six Sixty

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J. Rockett Airchild Six Sixty
J. Rockett Airchild Six Sixty

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J. Rockett Airchild Six Sixty
J. Rockett Airchild Six Sixty

Because of this track record – and because of the sheer scarcity of physical Fairchild 660/670 compressors – original units command an absurd price on the vintage gear market, with J. Rockett noting that some examples can sell for upwards of $100k.

To that end, audio specialist Vintage King dubs the original Fairchild 660 as “the granddaddy of all tube-based compressors” and “probably the single most expensive piece of mass-produced audio gear” currently available.

It is this unit that J. Rockett has sought to eternalize in pedal form, with the Airchild Six Sixty looking to recreate “that classic 660 growl” by enhancing harmonic richness and smoothing out transients, without “crushing the entire spectrum”.

As for usability, conventional Blend and Threshold controls are positioned underneath Output and Tone knobs, the latter of which serves as a Tilt-EQ parameter that simultaneously boosts highs and cuts lows, or vice versa, depending on how it is set.

And, in terms of tones, J. Rockett has paid particular attention to channeling the slide tones of Lowell George, as well as the lead and rhythm tones of Mark Knopfler.

Functionally speaking, top-mounted inputs and outputs make it pedalboard-friendly, with J. Rockett also noting its Airchild Six Sixty is “built like a tank”.

In terms of price, it's a lot more affordable than the original unit, weighing in at $229.

Head over to J. Rockett to find out more.