Available for download, Waves Abbey Road Saturator is a plug-in that emulates gear used in Abbey Road studios, a classic room. This gear is used to process the dynamics of sound sources, though it also provides saturation emulations for adding harmonic distortion to signals. Use it on elements in your mix to add character, vibe, and to tame transients is a very specific way. It was developed in partnership with Abbey Road.
One tool this Saturator emulates is a compander—a hardware device that compresses a signal, passes it through a filtering section, and then expands it. Compression reduces the dynamic range of a signal, while expansion does the opposite: it increases a signal's dynamic range. Companders were initially used in communications, but in musical applications, the process can add high-end excitement to material, allowing it to cut through the mix.
The saturator part of this plug-in emulates the EMI REDD 17 and the EMI TG12345, one is a valve mixing desk, the other a transistor-based console. Both have their own characters, and in this plug-in, you have access to both sounds.
The plug-in itself is quite easy to use. Your instrument goes through an input section with a level trim and a pre-EQ section for emphasizing or curtailing the lows, mids, and/or highs. Next comes the Compander, which enacts the process described. It gives you Ratio and Blend controls, combined with EQ emphasis switches.
This feeds the saturator section, which can be mixed in to your desire or shut off altogether. Finally, you have an additional post-EQ section for final tweaking, and an output level knob.
The plug-in operates in mono, stereo, or M/S (mid/side) mode. It is available for Mac and Windows platforms, and operates in AU, AudioSuite, AAX, and VST formats.