Abbey Road RS135 The Abbey Road Brilliance Pack ($499 TDM, $249 LE/AU/VST) is a plug-in bundle modeled after the original circuit schematics for the three vintage EMI “presence boxes.” Each plug-in maintains the visual, sonic, and operational characteristics of the RS127 and RS135 hardware versions.
In 1962, EMI supplemented its studio’s REDD mixing desk’s EQ; its treble EQ was fixed at 5 kHz, and engineers wanted additional control in this area, thus the development of the RS127 (designed to mount in patchbay racks). The simple box provided passive treble control with two knobs, one selecting a center frequency (2.7, 3.5, or 10 kHz) and the other boosting or cutting up to 10 dB in 2 dB increments. Its popularity led to the construction of a second RS127, which had identical circuits and controls but was portable. The addition of an interfacing transformer in the later RS127 provided exaggerated EQ curves and a different sound than the original RS127.
Later, the RS135 was built and eventually became known as the “8 kHz box” since its center frequency is set at 8 kHz; it is the simplest of the group with only one control for boosting 8 kHz up to 10 dB in 2 dB increments. [According to EMI/Abbey Road Plug-Ins, “The addition of the interfacing transformer to the RS127 was much later (than the early 1960s). The RS127 and RS135 were originally plugged directly into the REDD desk as their impedances were designed to match that of the desk. But due to changes in impedance since the ‘60s, the transformer was needed to make the RS127 compatible with modern mixing consoles. This ‘transformer effect’ was thus discovered much later, as a kind of ‘happy accident.’” — Ed.]
While the RS127 Box is more aggressive than the RS127 Rack, they are fairly interchangeable, and I’ve found that I enjoy the RS127 Rack on piano, drum overheads, and backing vocals. I prefer the RS127 Box on lead vocals, kick and snare drums, and electric guitars. The RS1235’s frequency and bandwidth are perfect for making vocals and instruments pop out of a mix without actually getting louder, and all three plug-ins work well when strapped across the stereo bus.
I have found myself frequently running multiple instances of either the RS127 Box or Rack on the same channel so I could adjust multiple frequency bands. I achieved a great grand piano sound by simultaneously running three RS127 Racks (each set on a different frequency) and one RS135.
One could easily argue that Abbey Road should have developed the Brilliance Pack plug-ins with more adjustable parameters but that would keep them from being true to the original, and, frankly, I find it inspiring to work with some of the same limitations that Geoff Emerick worked with while engineering all those great Beatles albums.
The Abbey Road Brilliance Pack is in no way a jack-of-alltrades bundle; it does one thing, and does it amazingly well. As a matter of fact, I’d be inclined to say it does that one thing better than any other plug-in to date. Anyone looking to add a vintage sparkle to their in-the-box mixes should make this part of their plug-in collection.
Contact: Abbey Road Plug-Ins | www.abbeyroadplugins.com
Russ Long has been producing and engineering since the late 1980s.www.russlong.ws