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Beatles Altec compressors

Hello Everyone,
I've always heard that Paul's bass went through a TUBE version of the Altec comp. Maybe a 436 or 438C. Now while looking at page 165 of "the complete Beatles Recording Sessions" I'm seeing what appear to be Altec comps, but they appear closer to the 1591A.
436/438's all have one knob (volume) to the left of the meter. These have two knobs in that position like the 1591A.
I'd love to know once and for all just what model it was. Would someone be a lamb and tell me.
Thanks, Jules

Comments

Treena Foster Tue, 08/05/2003 - 15:14

Originally posted by Julius Borges:
Hello Everyone,
I've always heard that Paul's bass went through a TUBE version of the Altec comp. Maybe a 436 or 438C. Now while looking at page 165 of "the complete Beatles Recording Sessions" I'm seeing what appear to be Altec comps, but they appear closer to the 1591A.
436/438's all have one knob (volume) to the left of the meter. These have two knobs in that position like the 1591A.
I'd love to know once and for all just what model it was. Would someone be a lamb and tell me.
Thanks, Jules

:(

:h: Treena

Kurt Foster Tue, 08/05/2003 - 17:07

Originally posted by Treena Foster:

Originally posted by Julius Borges:
Hello Everyone,
I've always heard that Paul's bass went through a TUBE version of the Altec comp. Maybe a 436 or 438C. Now while looking at page 165 of "the complete Beatles Recording Sessions" I'm seeing what appear to be Altec comps, but they appear closer to the 1591A.
436/438's all have one knob (volume) to the left of the meter. These have two knobs in that position like the 1591A.
I'd love to know once and for all just what model it was. Would someone be a lamb and tell me.
Thanks, Jules

:(

:h: Treena

You gotta love her!

Treena Foster Tue, 08/05/2003 - 19:46

Originally posted by Treena Foster:

Originally posted by Julius Borges:
Hello Everyone,
I've always heard that Paul's bass went through a TUBE version of the Altec comp. Maybe a 436 or 438C. Now while looking at page 165 of "the complete Beatles Recording Sessions" I'm seeing what appear to be Altec comps, but they appear closer to the 1591A.
436/438's all have one knob (volume) to the left of the meter. These have two knobs in that position like the 1591A.
I'd love to know once and for all just what model it was. Would someone be a lamb and tell me.
Thanks, Jules

:(

:h: Treena

Davedog Wed, 08/06/2003 - 06:19

Hi ya'll...perhaps if you post this question over to the 'hardware' section you'll get a response.My knowledge of the hardware on this is limited, but I know how they got the bass so big.All Beatle recordings were done in stages and then 'reduced' from three or four tracks to one or two.Paul usually cut the final bass part at the end thus making it a first generation and the ONLY first generation in the mix.

That being said it seems I read somewhere the in an interview Geoff Emerick,the main engineer, said that there was a Fairchild or an EMI of some kind in use for this very purpose.

RecorderMan Wed, 08/06/2003 - 14:31

Originally posted by Treena Foster:

Originally posted by Julius Borges:
Hello Everyone,
I've always heard that Paul's bass went through a TUBE version of the Altec comp. Maybe a 436 or 438C. Now while looking at page 165 of "the complete Beatles Recording Sessions" I'm seeing what appear to be Altec comps, but they appear closer to the 1591A.
436/438's all have one knob (volume) to the left of the meter. These have two knobs in that position like the 1591A.
I'd love to know once and for all just what model it was. Would someone be a lamb and tell me.
Thanks, Jules

:(

:h: Treena

Sorry...but I'd like to answer that when I worked with Ringo, The Producer asked Paul what strings he used on the bass (expecting some wisdom)...Paul just said in pure Beatle fashion... "I don't knwo...long silver ones I think..."

I don't know the real answer... but when you find out let us know....

anonymous Wed, 08/06/2003 - 15:11

hey davedog,

thanks for posting. in an interview in "behind the glass" by howard massey, geoff emerick says that he used a c12 in figure of eight and an altec compressor on paul's bass.
he mentions that the fairchild was used on drums and that john loved it on his voice.
sorry i'm not using capital letters, i've got a broken wrist so i'm back to typing with one finger!
best wishes, jules

Davedog Wed, 08/06/2003 - 16:52

Julius...I do believe yer right ...and I'm thinking thats where I read that.Isnt that a collection of RE's reminincing about famous sessions??

It was a good move to this locale for this subject as theres more than likely to be more folks who'll answer here.I mean guitarists and bassists are really only one link in the food chain from ......drummers.(hiya Rod)....

Oh wait....I'M ONE OF THOSE!!!! :eek: :d:

anonymous Wed, 08/06/2003 - 20:03

hey there davedog and treena,
geoff emerick went on to say that "the fairchild couldn't take the bass signal, because the attack time was too fast". i know we all hold our tube gear quite dear, but wouldn't it be a hoot if the the compressor that gave us(played a major role, paul had a lot to do with it) one of the all time classic bass sounds was the lowly solid state altec ? 1591a.

come on, come on, come on, come on(sounds like a hook) somebodies gotta know! but take a good look at that picture that's not any 436/438 i've ever seen. then again i haven't seen them all.
jules

RecorderMan Wed, 08/06/2003 - 20:22

Originally posted by Julius Borges:
[QB wouldn't it be a hoot if the the compressor that gave us(played a major role, paul had a lot to do with it) one of the all time classic bass sounds was the lowly solid state altec ? 1591a. [/QB]

Well along those lines comes this...I hung with Geoff through a mix and he was using an 1176 on the BASS.
want to know the settings? they were enlightening to me because he was using it(the 1176) very much the way that Bones Howe (Another '60's era Engineer/Producer) used the same device...with-out knowing of the other.

RecorderMan Thu, 08/07/2003 - 19:05

Originally posted by Julius Borges:
hello recorderman,

please tell us about geoff's 1176 settings. it would be a great insight.

thanks, jules

Hey Julius.

What's cool (for me) about Geoff's and Bones Howe's approach to the 1176 peak limiter, is that they use it as such...a peak limiter. Alot of the time people use it as a compressor (4:1).
Geoff used it on bass.
attack=2 (medium slow; aka 9 o'clock)
release= 7 fast; aka 5 o'clock)
ratio=8:1
hitting it pretty good ; 6db gaoin reduction on average.

So this sounds pretty similar to what he was doing with the altec. If he had an 1176 in 67 I bet he would have used it. The slow attavk allows the top to stay in there and still be able to squeeze it really good.

wwittman Thu, 08/07/2003 - 21:54

I'm not sure that's true, as Geoff was very much a valve gear type (always felt the transistor mic pres didn't sound as good as the older EMI desks with valve pres).
And he was always a big 'Fairchild on the vocals' fan as well.

I still, personally, feel the Altec 436 is a much better sounding bass guitar limiter than an 1176.
And I agree slowish attack is the key.

I know AIR had (has?) a 436 and I'm willing to bet that's what he used at Abbey Road as well.

anonymous Sun, 08/10/2003 - 13:34

com'on kev!!

throw us a bone, we're the ones that're gonna buy your book. don't be a tease!!!!!! give us this one little fact just to prove your books got the juice we're all looking for. we'll be your friends. it's nice having friends. it beats having people cheesed off at you.

be nice and tell us, PLEASE.
there i said PLEASE.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE. IT'S KILLIN ME, I JUST WANNA KNOW!!!!

regards, jules

anonymous Sun, 08/17/2003 - 13:53

Hello Henrik,

Model A has all parameters fixed.
Model B has variable input attenuation.
Model C has variable input attenuation plus variable recovery (release) and threshold. Model A is grey, Models B and C are dark green.
All user variable parameters are factory modifications to the basic 436A.

Jules

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