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Harrison Lineage

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by DonnyThompson, Sep 27, 2014.

  1. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    A rackmount, 8 ch mic pre that provides 4 pairs of Harrison mic pre's, each pair from a different era of Harrison consoles and strips.


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jS8Hties6nI
    pcrecord and Kurt Foster like this.
  2. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Sick!!! Jw wondering what ur experiences w Harrison are? What is their sonic signature like? Any things snares, acoustics, fiddles ect,that a Harrison pre would a typical goto for?
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I have recorded on a Harrison Model 10. I also own the Harrison EQ package from UA. From my memories of the Harrison console it was a huge dimensional sound with clarity and depth of field. There are lots of examples of Harrison consoles in recorded music history not the least of is Michael Jackson's recording with Bruce Swedien. That console may not be an average Harrison but none of the great consoles are. That one is a 32C and the EQs are modeled after the ones in Bruce's console. I would put the Harrison's in the same league as API, Neve, MCI, AMEK. Dave Harrison is responsible for designing the first in-line console which was an MCI-400.
    kmetal likes this.
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    There is no current proof on this but my experienced ears including witnessed old video's I saw years ago, now removed from the public tell me that even though Thriller was recorded on a console, the drums are the LM2 (Roger Linn) and later the MPC's. MJ was smarter than many gave him credit for. He knew Pop music was about the beat and the "beat" in pop was almost all LM2 or MPC libraries. I used the exact cabassa, SS, kick and snares, including New England Digital . So, I don't doubt the console but I do bet Billy Jean/ Thriller and mass hits he did are samples mixed in during or after the fact that Bruce either is unaware of or never discussing.
    I feel for the engineers who continue to believe and strive for that sound I have never heard from any acoustic kit to this day. .
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    According to wiki, the personnel involved on the album would indicate that very few - if any - programmed drums were actually used. The drummers on the album, Jeff Porcaro and Leon "Ndugu" Chancler, played real drum tracks.

    While it's possible that an LM1 was perhaps used sporadically, wiki doesn't mention any programmer involved on the album credits, and the album was almost done by the time the LM 1 was released... As far as the LM2, I don't believe it was possible for it to have been on that album. Thriller was recorded and mixed between April and May of 1982. The Linn LM2 wasn't released until late '83.

    Now, what is interesting - and what does support your opinion that no acoustic kit on its own can provide the drum sounds on that album - is that Jackson added various forms of "alternative" percussion to the drum tracks, including things like a "drum case beater" and a "bathroom stomp board". So your statement about getting those sounds out of just an acoustic kit still holds true, as does the fact that Jackson felt that pop music was about the beat. He knew that the beat was everything, especially on tracks like Beat It, Thriller and Billy Jean.


  6. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Cool stuff. I have to admit I was disappointed when I realized how many albums used samples and I never knew it, like nirvanas Nevermind. Up until a couple years ago I thought drum replace/reinforcement was like DAW thing, and fairly new! I wonder what the first commercial recording to do this sort of thing was?
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I'm betting on Roger Nichols, which would lead one to believe that Steely Dan would have likely been one of the first recipients of the technology.
    I have no proof other than the fact that Nichols was a pioneer of clock sync - back in the 70's, he actually invented a nuclear clock for the studio to improve the accuracy of syncing various pieces of equipment.

    Many of his early ideas were laughed at by his counterparts...so few saw the value of what he was doing at the time.... of course these were the same people who ended up calling him 3 years later for advice on how to achieve more accurate synchronization between synths/samplers and recording gear. ;)

    IMHO of course.
    kmetal likes this.
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Its a Linn, there is no question to me. When you own and grow up with these tools, you pick up on the things others think are "real". I made a living programming with this stuff.
    What they say and what it is, is a different story in my book. Jeff may have played but it isn't that kit on MJ. The LM1, LM2 no difference really, Donny, they sounded the same. If I recall, I jumped on the LM2 because it had more sequencing space and a new way to switch the eproms.
    It could be that MJ was using something Roger Linn even gave him during beta. Back then, we all wanted to have the first sounds on an album before others.


    It could be that, they used that album for the Linn Library. I never thought about that. But, whatever is on Thriller is what the original chipset was in the LM2. Crashes, hats, including the sound of the HH open/close slide so and detuning.... ;)

    This was my introduction into the secret world of mixing. Maybe Quincy will chime in and tell us more. I don't think Bruce even knows about it. There are stories that Quincy and MJ took the tracks away and it came back sounding awesome.

    Back to the OP. I'm sure the Harrison is a console we would all love to have.
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Nichols invented a machine called "Wendel" .... with carts (i think) you could switch for snare , kick ....
    DonnyAir likes this.
  10. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Sometimes I have great difficulty referring to myself as an "engineer" - and it's because of what Kurt just mentioned. Cats like Roger Nichols, Ken Townsend from Abbey Road, Bill Putnam... these guys were true engineers; not only acting as recording and balance engineers, but also as inventors of audio technology, much of which became industry standard equipment and methods... that we still use today.

    I won't have any legacy like that. I'm just another studio guy who can record and mix fairly competently.

    There's a huge difference between me, and someone like Dan Flickinger - who invented the first sweepable parametric EQ.

  11. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I got my first electronic drum in 84' (I was 14yo). By the time drum machines and electronic drums were put on the market, I bet the same year they would have been used on an album somewhere.

    Back then being an audio engineer ment knowing audio and electronics equally. (almost) ;)
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    There is a lot more to say on this subject but its foolish talking about the details publicly. Its a can of worms. If you can't get the drums the way you want, call a mixer that knows his craft.

  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    drum machines have been around for decades. nothing new there.

    back in the 50's a lot of ice cream and pizza parlors used to feature Organ or Accordion players and they had these big box's with rows of buttons for the different beats. waltz / samba / western / rock / foxtrot etc. and they would play four bar loops. some organs even had the things built in.

    McCartny used one on Band On The Run. Sly Stone was abusing drum machines for years before that. the real breakthrough came with the Linn and program-ability. Ballroom Dancing was the first thing i remember where the Linn was used.
  14. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I've often wondered if Hall and Oates' I Can't Go For That had one of those Kimball or Wurli Organ "beat Boxes" running through the track...sounds pretty close to me. Unless it's a skewed Linn, and speaking of which...

    I was in a local band here in Cleveland back in the early 80's and around 1982, the drummer, Sammy Merendino, bought a Linn, learned it inside and out, and moved to NYC with it. Within a year, his Linn programming was being heard on more than just a few hits - Hall and Oates (Man Eater) Cameo ( Word Up) The Weather Girls (It's Raining Men) - and many others. He was a great real drummer too, but he was smart enough to see ahead into the future and figure out that, at least at that time, that this was where drum tracking was headed.

    Last time I heard, maybe 5 years ago or so, he was Cyndi Lauper's drummer.

    While he was certainly talented enough to land a gig as a real drummer (and obviously he eventually did) getting that Linn, learning how to program it, and moving to a city where that knowledge would be in demand, was a brilliant move. Okay, so maybe "brilliant" is a bit over the top... LOL... But he was certainly a lot smarter and far more intuitive than me.


  15. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    There are definitely drum machines along with the live drummers on Steely Dan material. Yes, Wendel. Wendel was a sampling computer. Or so it seems
  16. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    from wiki
  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Nichols was one of "those" engineers... one of those all to rare people in the craft who saw a need for a certain task - and then actually invented and created a particular device or process to achieve it.

    I consider people like Bill Putnam, Ken Townsend, Tom Scholtz, Tom Dowd, John Eargle and George Massenberg to be in the same class - those musicians and engineers who, through their own innovation and passion for the craft, made major changes in how instruments were recorded and mixed, and how records were made. And somewhere in there, acoustical engineers like Wallace Sabine and Hermann Von Hemholtz are also deserving of places of honor.

    Although, I suppose that if one were to consider the beginning foundations of audio recording, Thomas Edison (or Nikola Tesla, depending on whom you believe to be the first) was the one who deserves the most credit...

    If I stop to think about what these people did in terms of invention and accomplishment, and just how intelligent and innovative they were, then truthfully, I am really no more of an audio engineer than my dog is. LOL



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