For everyone who might be interested, but tagging Kurt (Kurt Foster ) in particular, because of his love for analog...
My friend Terry gave me a wonderful gift today, a huge book.. "Recording The Beatles".
This is not a book you hold and read - LOL - it's heavy, and big, and best read while it's on a table.
This is as in-depth as I've ever seen, covering every piece of gear ever used on The Beatles's sessions.
There were pieces of gear mentioned and explained in this book that I'd never even heard of - ( although I'd be surprised if Kurt hasn't); like The Fairchild 666 Compressor, the EMI 128 Limiter, every mic they ever used; the complete evolution of all the REDD consoles - with explanations of differences for each one - the tape machines, modifications, monitors, mic positioning, routing, you name it, it's covered in this book of nearly 500 pages.
This is the ultimate in vintage gear porn. Pictures of old C12's, Neumann M50's, Telefunkens; the positioning of instruments and vocalists for certain songs, the "bounce down" processes that were used when they were still working with 4 track machines...
Anyway, just thought I'd share this terrific book.
that was a great score Donny. enjoy. i'm envious.
Kurt Foster, post: 448719, member: 7836 wrote: that was a great score Donny. enjoy. i'm envious.
The chapters are organized by subject; A chapter dedicated to EMI's history and its staff during the Beatles' era, Chapter 2 is all the studio equipment used, and this is also broken down into sub sections for Mixers, OB Gear, Mics, Tape Machines, and Speakers/Amplifiers. Chapter 3 is Effects, and Chapter 4 is all about production, broken down by years, from 1962 - 1970.
Check this out, pal ... :) this is just two pages of this awesome book:
"Without a doubt, the EMI RS114 Limiter was a significant component of the Beatles' 1962-1964 period. It was used on nearly every session and was a major contributing sound to the group's first records. Unfortunately, it has been virtually forgotten in the decades since.
Prior to the mid-1950's, automatic gain control devices were not to be found in Abbey Road's equipment collection. By 1955, EMI had recognized the need for a device to stop - or "limit" - extreme volumes peaks, while leaving the "normal" material unaffected. As a result, the research department at EMI developed a limiter known as the RS98; however, less than a year later they had returned with a "new and improved" design, developed in response to the staff's praise for the Fairchild limiters some had seen and heard used at Capitol Records ( EMI's sister American label). This new version, the RS114, was a mono limiter-amplifier with a delay line ( the delay was not an echo-type delay but was the early description of what we now know as "attack" time).
The RS114 was developed by Mike Batchelor, who also designed several other great devices that were used on many Beatles records. In 1956, EMI authorized the construction of six of these RS114 Limiters; One for each control room, two were dedicated to cutting rooms, and one for remote recordings. In 1957, six more followed.
Although originally designed with disc cutting in mind, the new limiter turned out to be a significant addition to the studios as well; pre-dating the Altec compressors by several years. The RS114 proved itself to be a useful tool on pop recordings and saw a great deal of use. Beatles' engineer Norman Smith was particularly fond of this limiter, and a pair of them could be typically found in a rolling rack next to the console(s) when he was working a session, not only for the Beatles, but for other pop groups that were also signed to EMI at the time.
Smith's fondness for these limiters ensured that they were used and responsible for shaping much of the vocal and guitar sounds on the Beatles' first three albums - Please Please Me, With The Beatles, and A Hard Day's Night, as well as all of the group's singles well into 1964.
There were some engineers who didn't share Norman Smith's fondness for the RS114, however. Malcolm Addey and Stuart Etham noted that the valve circuits would often drift out of calibration, causing some noticeable artifacts on some particular sounds. Stuart Etham commented that, " RS114 was not my favorite piece of equipment, you could hear it operating, chopping off loud forte passages of music, it sounded like chopped-off toothpaste".
The RS 114 had features that are still very common on modern limiters; input and output levels, attack and recovery time adjustments, and an in/out switch.
The main problem on the RS114 was its instability. It was a complex design for the time, using push-pull amplifier stages - valve circuits that required exacting adjustments to create a balance between two opposing sides. If not balanced properly, the RS114 reacted strangely; the meter on the front could be switched to read the voltage levels of the valves, and additional switches selected which valve current was being read. There were five balancing adjustments to make, and 14 valve readings to verify - certainly quite an extensive checklist for a single piece of equipment. Malcolm Addey said that, "It was a real pain in the neck to keep all those push-pull circuits in balance for the length of a session."
Despite the unit's finicky nature, it did work when set up properly, and was one of the first gain control devices that the studio engineers had access to at EMI. In comparison to later limiters, such as those from Fairchild, the RS114 was not "exceptional", but it served its function well in an era when there were so few options..." *
*The above is an excerpt from "Recording The Beatles"; © 2006 Curvebender Publishing / Kevin Ryan & Brian Kehew
thanks for that Donny. did you have to type that all in or is there a place where you can cut and paste it?
Kurt Foster, post: 448732, member: 7836 wrote: thanks for that Donny. did you have to type that all in or is there a place where you can cut and paste it?
I typed it...and I copied it exactly, (I didn't add anything of my own)... but still made sure to give credit to the publisher and authors.
( I love the name of the publisher of the book : "Curvebender". I wonder how many people would get the connection... ;) )
I really didn't mind doing it, Kurt. I knew there would be a few members who would enjoy reading it. ;)
well thank you for the effort. i did enjoy.
Kurt Foster, post: 448735, member: 7836 wrote: well thank you for the effort. i did enjoy.
You're welcome. :)
btw, the thought that your transcription contained any errors didn't even cross my mind. my question was more to the effort you put forth to do the transcription, not that there were typos or whatever. again, thank you for the work. and you were right. this stuff is my cuppa' tea.
Yes, it's a great book, Donny. I got my copy about two years ago, and made the mistake (seen in retrospect) of dipping in and reading bits from lots of places. I became annoyed that I might have missed a few vital sections, so I went back and made myself read it all in strict order from cover to cover. This took me a while (several months), but it was well worth it. Since I did my short stint at Abbey Road Studio 2 in the period covered by the book, it brought a lot of detail back to me, as well as (of course) a huge amount that I was not aware of when I was there.
Love this book... I've had mine for a couple of years. Read it cover-to-cover first, now dabble in various sections as my curiosity leads me. I especially love the section where the sessions specific for specific songs are detailed to the Nth degree. As thorough as any book could ever be, and well worth the price. I paid $100 US for mine and would do it again in a minute. I highly recommend!
Kurt Foster, post: 448741, member: 7836 wrote: this stuff is my cuppa' tea.
One more for today... enjoy. ;)
AKG C12 Valve Mic
"The C12, a valve operated condenser, was a marvelous mic", said George Martin. "It was very sensitive and could pick up things with great clarity from quite a distance away - it was a very "hot" mic as the Americans would say."
The most common use of the AKG C12 mic on Beatles' sessions was as a bass mic, and it was in this capacity that it made the biggest contribution to the group's recordings. When Geoff Emerick first stepped in as The Beatles' engineer in 1966, he recorded bass guitar with the AKG D20, just as his mentor Norman Smith had done. However, by the time the sessions commenced for Sgt. Pepper, Emerick had developed a preference for the C12, a mic that other EMI engineers had been using on bass since the late 1950's. While in the past these engineers had usually placed the mic a foot or so from the bass amp, Emerick began experimenting with alternate placement, around the time of Sgt.Pepper, in order to achieve a different quality. "On Pepper, we did most of the bass as overdubs", he recalled. "We would reserve reserve a track for the bass and Paul would stay behind and we'd overdub the bass. We would place his amp out in the middle of Studio 2, and I would use the C12 to mic it, sometimes it would be set on Figure 8, and I would position it 4-5 feet away, occasionally as much as 8 feet away from the amp. I would sometimes use a second mic even further away and then combine the signals; I wanted to capture the 'roundness' of Studio 2. It gave a very slight coloration, which was quite nice. You can hear it on some of those Pepper tracks - the bass has a different quality..."
For the remainder of the group's sessions at Abbey Road, the C12 would be the primary choice for recording Paul's bass - although this was often supplemented by Direct Injection.
The C12 did serve other purposes on Beatles' sessions, and was frequently used to record both strings and piano. It was used in Studio 1 on the orchestral session for A Day In The Life, and Something.
The C12 can also be seen in photos from the Let It Be sessions at Apple Studios. *
*Excerpt from page 184, Recording The Beatles ©2006 Curvebender Publishing; Kevin Ryan & Brian Kehew
i had a C24 @ KFRS ... stereo version of the C12. i also had a c12a which was the predecessor to the 414 and really a different animal. the only thing in common was they both used the same capsule. . i would never had thought to try them on a bass cab. i wish i had now. i used them mostly for vocals and on grand piano. the c24 was nice on drum overheads as well but it was a bit nerve racking placing it up high on a stand over the drums.
Kurt Foster, post: 448747, member: 7836 wrote: the c24 was nice on drum overheads as well but it was a bit nerve racking placing it up high on a stand over the drums.
LOL.. I would think. Having one of those puts you in the position of not ever wanting it to leave the ground... even on a stand of normal height. ;)
There was a member here a few years ago - I don't remember who, it's been a few years - who mentioned that they had a stereo mic that they were unfamiliar with - it turned out to be a C24.
As I recall, this person had picked it up really cheap, from someone else who didn't know what they had, either.
Kinda made me want to poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick, LOL... to hear from someone who had a mic like that, and to not even realize its worth - in both recording applications ... and money. ;)
when i bought it in '95, i paid $5000 for it. i got it from David Ferguson , the same guy i bought my JH636 from in SF and i remember driving home with it on the front seat of my car thinking to myself, "what did i just do? this thing is worth more than this car!" lol! what they're worth now just blows my mind.
Amazon have the book ........ £750!!!!!
Kurt Foster - love those photos you break out once in a while! I still have the couple shots of KFRS last year, save in w my pics.
That Beatles book sounds cool, gonna have to check it out. There's a great full cover book on the history of abbey road itself, from its beginnings as an actual house/mansion to its multiple makeovers. Doesn't get in depth on the gear as much, as the one D is talking about, it's more about the studio building/history. Worth a look for sure. I used the labraries cuz it's like $150 cover price lol.
kmetal, post: 448762, member: 37533 wrote: Kurt Foster - love those photos you break out once in a while! I still have the couple shots of KFRS last year, save in w my pics.
that one is a picture of the same console i bought but at CD Studios in the mid '80's.
i wish i had more shots of KFRS. no digital phone cameras back then. it was still all film.
paulears, post: 448754, member: 47782 wrote: Amazon have the book ........ £750!!!!!
yep. i looked it up too. $100 from the publisher but they're out of print / sold out / none available.
a new edition is on the way. you really scored Donny.
on Amazon they are selling used copies asking $850 USD. whether or not they get it is another question ....
Kurt Foster, post: 448767, member: 7836 wrote: you really scored Donny
There were two if not three different versions of the book available. All had the same text, but they got more elaborate in presentation and inclusions as you went up in price. The version I got was the middle one at about £120. This included a hard slip-cover and some fold-out large-scale photos, but no copies of the promotional material and other "bonus items" that came with the DeLuxe edition.
Incidentlally, the Curvebender site says that they are bringing out another edition with all the material for only $100.
Kurt Foster, post: 448767, member: 7836 wrote: on Amazon they are selling used copies asking $850 USD. whether or not they get it is another question ....
Well, that's the thing, isn't it? Asking that price is one thing, getting it is entirely another. Not that I don't feel it's worth that; the information is incredible.
(As a funny side note, (Kurt Foster ) at one point, I actually thought to myself, "If Kurt ever got a hold of this book we'd never see him again... he'd just disappear with it and go totally MIA on us." LOL)
I have to say again that I didn't buy this book... Terry Fairfax and his wife Mary gave it to me as a gift. When I opened the package, and scrolled through some of the pages at first glance, I was like, Oh My God Oh My God Oh My GOD!!!"..LOL
And then I got tears in my eyes over the thoughtfulness of the gift, and of its personal nature, touched by the fact that they know me so well, that they knew just how much I would love this. :love:
It really is an incredible piece of work. As I'm reading through it, I'm thinking, "Man, these guys really did a huge amount of research here". The way they presented the equipment, to not only mention this gear, but to then go on and explain what certain pieces did, as well as providing the technical specs, and comparing differences between other similar pieces... that's a huge job, but I can't help but wonder if these guys put this together out of the same love for the same craft that we all share as audiophiles.
The chapter on the EMI REDD / TG Consoles alone is worth its weight in gear-porn GOLD.
They provide a model-by-model explanation and description of the desks, from the very first one first used in '62 to the last TG12345 model used when they stopped recording in 1970.
They show pics and diagrams of the input channels, ( what we now refer to as "channel strips", but at that time were referred to on the TG Series Desks as "Microphone Cassettes") as well as the entire rear side of the desks, and for the control surface sides, they provide a detailed picture, with side-bar numeric codes explaining what each and every component, knob, fader, switch, meter, and other functions were for.
It really is an incredible book, and for guys like us ( not just Beatles fans, but Beatles fans who are also audio cats), it's a gigantic source of information... and I've not yet even scratched the surface of what is in the book.
So far, I've just kinda been opening the book to a random page and reading whatever opens up. LOL
I can't even begin to imagine the time and research ( and dedication) that it took for Kevin Ryan & Brian Kehew to put this book together. The mind boggles.
I'll probably post some more excerpts from the book in the days to come, ( if nobody has any objection), and if there's something in particular you'd like me to look up and then post, I'd be more than happy to do that. ;)
RS92 Neumann Mic EQ
In the early 50's, the "tone control" facilities on Abbey Road's pre-REDD mixers were fairly crude. However, EMI took a uniquely-designed approach to address these EQ needs.
In October of '53, the development team designed several different "microphone specific" equalizers, each one customized for a certain mic model. The RS86, for example, "corrected" certain qualities of the EMI RM1B mic, providing various options for frequency cutting or boosting. RS86 did the same thing for the RCA 44BX, the RS89 covered the STC 4033A mic, and so on. The most vital of these mic specific EQ's found on the most Beatles' sessions was the RS92.
The RS92 was EMI's Neumann EQ, ( or at least one of them) designed to work with the U47, M49, and M50 mics. The RS92 had a switch in the upper-left corner with two options: "Flat" and "Boost Extreme Top". The "Flat" description was a bit misleading, as the circuit actually introduced a -3db cut at 7.9k ( 8k), compensating for the "rise" that these Neumann mics inherently had. The "Boost Extreme Top" circuit setting apparently left this "rise" uncorrected, allowing the natural top end response of the Neumanns to remain intact.
Another switch on the lower-right offered various options for cutting low-end. Clearly, the Neumanns had a tendency to be too "boomy", and this EQ box provided several ways to counter this problem and correct proximity effect.
There were three settings; "Steep Bass Cut", "Bass Roll-Off" and "Cut Extreme Bass". The "Steep Bass Cut" was a -6db shelf at 182Hz, while Bass-Roll-Off was a -3db shelf at this same frequency.
The third setting, "Cut Extreme Bass" was a -3db shelf at 91Hz ( exactly one octave below the other low-end settings).
Another switch/circuit on the upper-right offered an overall boost of 10 or 15db, as well as a "Gain Normal" setting, where neither boost was engaged.
( OP note: the authors state that these various EQ boxes suffered from a loss of anywhere between -10db and -15 db in signal gain when the mic was patched in... presumably, the 10db and 15db boosts were amplifiers designed to make up the difference on the output stage, to correct the inherent loss of gain these EQ boxes presented when they were used with the relative mic(s) connected. - - d.t.)
AKG D19C Microphone
The AKG D19C was one of Abbey Road's true workhorse mics, and it was used on just about everything at one time or another. From the mid 1964 and forward, it was used on nearly every single Beatles recording session in various capacities.
AKG released the D19 line of mics in the mid 50's. Product literature at the time described the D19 as a "dynamic cardioid mic for semi-pro requirements", though quite obviously, Abbey Road found the D19C quite suitable for professional work.
The mic was intended primarily for speech, and its cardioid pattern was purported to "help the recordist, even under relatively primitive studio acoustics".
The D19C also featured a row of "vents" along the body of the mic, which were described by AKG as "adjustable rear sound entries for reduced proximity effect".
Norman Smith and the D19
Abbey Road acquired its first D19's in late 1963. The mic did not make its first appearance on a Beatles session though, until 1964. It was then that EMI engineer Norman Smith began using it as a drum overhead mic. This switch to the D19 from the previously used STC-4038 for overhead was likely due to the fact that the D19 was inherently brighter than the STC. This increased high-frequency response helped the drums to cut through the mix more, and gave them more "sizzle". The mic was also slightly more "deader" than the 4038, and allowed Smith to reduce the amount of instrument and vocal leakage onto the rhythm track. ( OP Note: I think that by "dead", they are referring to its sensitivity, not its tone - - d.t.)
Such isolation gave him more freedom to compress the drums more if he wished, without simultaneous compression - and therefore accentuating - the bass and electric guitar leakage.
(Around this time, the D19C was also installed as a talk-back mic on the REDD 51 desk).
Geoff Emerick and the D19
Norman Smith had always used just two mics on Ringo's drums, and by the time he stepped down as The Beatles' engineer in late 1965, his mic choice was a combination of the AKG D20 on bass drum, and a D19C as the overhead.
Geoff Emerick - in deference to Smith's seniority and obviously successful work methods - continued with this set up for drums when work began on The Beatles' landmark Revolver album in April of '66.
Emerick eventually began to experiment with alternative drum mic'ing setups, and by the time the recording got underway for Sgt. Pepper, he had arrived at a comparatively expansive setup, involving up to five D19's for drum mics ( though he usually used only 4). In a typical setup, a D19 was placed over the floor tom, one under the rack tom, one on hi-hat, and one as an overhead, roughly level with Ringo's head, situated so that it would pick up the top of the snare and a bit of rack tom.
This overhead mic was almost always supplemented with a Neumann KM56 placed below the snare, and both those mics were then usually mixed together at the console on channels 4 and 4A.
The remaining D19's were sent to an RS144 "premix box" where their relative levels were set before being routed to one of the desk's channels. (OP note... assuming the RS144 was a type of sub-mixer ? - - d.t.)
Though it may have been used most frequently on drums, the D19C was also utilized on many other applications; Ringo's Congas, Spot-Mic'ing for orchestral overdubs for A Day In The Life, scratch vocals for Hey Bulldog, acoustic guitar on Hey Jude, and, even on piano. According to EMI engineer Ken Townsend, it was frequently used on pianos, too, especially upright. The distinctive piano sound heard on many Beatles records is the product of a D19c, place in the middle of the piano, and then it would be run through either an Altec compressor or a Fairchild limiter. "It was a pretty universal microphone", remembers Townsend, "It might literally have been used on anything at any time." **
**From "Recording The Beatles", ©2006 Curvebender Publishing; Kevin Ryan & Brian Kehew
Would I ever love to have this book:
Here is our amazon affiliate link to it: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0978520009/?tag=r06fa-20
audiokid, post: 448803, member: 1 wrote: Would I ever love to have this book:
Here is our amazon affiliate link to it: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0978520009/?tag=r06fa-20
Trust me when I tell you that if you did get it, you'd disappear to a quiet place, and you'd do nothing else but read it for the next year... I haven't been able to put it down since the minute it was given to me.
In fact, I now just refer to it as "The Book".
Making a cup of coffee, while reading The Book. Making and eating lunch while reading The Book. Have a cig while I'm reading The Book. Let my dog Jojo out to pee, while I read The Book. Log onto RO, read and type excerpts from The Book.
I think I forgot to pay my cell phone bill this week, because I was busy reading The Book. I haven't yet gone as far as to drive and read The Book, but I'm not yet willing to rule that out as a possibility. :LOL:
EMI RS168 Prototype Zener Diode Compressor/Limiter
In early 1966, a new limiter design was being developed and tested at Hayes laboratories ( an external EMI design facility located in Hayes, Hillingdon; that originally developed radar technology during WW2, and that after, helped to design and build audio devices for Abbey Road).
It was a solid state device, and the absence of valve circuits and external power supply made possible a unit that was lighter, cheaper, and more portable than the heavy Fairchild limiters already in use.
The prototype of the RS168 arrived at Abbey Road during the recording of Sgt. Pepper, and it can be seen in photos of Control Room #2 during this era.
The design would later undergo several changes and eventually earned the status of a "proper" EMI product, with world-wide distribution.
The new design was initially known as the Vanderlyn/Trendell Compressor, as it had been designed by Hayes/EMI engineers Philip Vanderlyn and Edward Trendell.
Available paperwork suggests that the design was largely the brain child of Trendell, although Vanderlyn was a senior engineer at EMI, so his name may have been added because of his involvement.
(Philip Vanderlyn had already been a major contributor to audio design at EMI, having worked with Alan Blumlein on his stereo experiments in the 1930's).
On the front of the RS168 was a four-position "Compress" knob that offered different amounts of compression and limiting. The "standard" setting was a 2:1 ratio, but one position of this switch allowed for a "double compression" setting, which was likely a 4:1 ratio. A Threshold control adjusted the amount of compression that would take place, and, like the Altec RS124, there was also a six-position "Recover" switch that offered various Recovery ( Release) times. There were input and output controls, and a meter to show how much the signal was being reduced. Overall, it was a very simple device to use.
Photos have shown the RS168 in the control room of Studio 2 in March of '67, during the Sgt. Pepper sessions. Later that month, chief engineer Bill Livy made extensive notes on the overall behavior of the device. These notes showed that the RS168 was essentially "flat" in response, with no major EQ being induced to the signal. The attack time was a fraction, 1 millisecond, which was comparable to the Fairchild, but significantly faster than the Altecs. The recovery time ranged from a small fraction of a millisecond ( in position 1) to 1.5 seconds (in position 6).
As promising as it was, this new RS168 compressor did not replace the various beloved Fairchild and Altec compressor/limiters. While some of the former staff of AR have vague recollections of the RS168 being around, very few recall it ever actually being used; however, it must have proved at least somewhat useful; because in January of 1969 it was among the equipment taken to The Beatles' new basement studio at Apple for the Let It Be Sessions. **
(OP note: this may have been because the RS168 was far lighter and easier to move than the Fairchild's and Altec's... ? but that's just a guess on my part. - - d.t. )
**From " Recording The Beatles", ©2006 Curvebender Publishing; Kevin Ryan & Brian Kehew
TG12345 Mixing Console Origins
The TG12345 was the culmination of all the mixing consoles that came before it in the REDD Series of desks at Abbey Road over the decade-long tenure of The Beatles' recording sessions at EMI, in terms of what the engineers discussed in regard to features.
The design was driven through the needs ( and wants) of the various engineers who worked on The Beatles' sessions; as well as the added track counts of newer tape machines. The introduction of 8 Track tape machines in 1968 had stretched the capabilities of the REDD Series ( .37 and .51 models) that had been used on everything before that time. Although, EMI had already begun laying plans for a new transistorized console to replace the valve-driven REDD desks a full year before the 3M 8 Track Tape Machines had arrived at Abbey Road. Meetings had taken place in 1967 between the staff at Abbey Road and the design engineers at EMI's Central Research Labs ( CRL), the goal of these meetings was to establish a design for a new large and comprehensive mixing console, one capable of handling every current and foreseeable recording requirement.
The first prototype of the TG Console arrived at Abbey Road in early summer of '68 - The "TG" Prefix on the model was an abbreviation of "The Gramophone Company", which was EMI's parent entity dating back to the 1920's.
The "TG" appeared many times over many years, it was a prefix designated to hundreds of different designs, and not limited to only the new mixing desk. For example, EMI's Compander Unit was designated as 12321. These numbers were assigned by order in which they were designed and released; the numerical sequence of "12345" had no other "significance"... the code didn't mean anything, it was simply the next sequential code in line for assignment when the console was designed.
After a trial period with the prototype, where the engineers put the console through testing - and after these engineers were suitably impressed by the mixing console's sound and performance - it was permanently installed in the control room of Studio 2 on November 23, 1968, where it was used in conjunction with the new 3M 8 Track tape machine.
While most EMI engineers liked the way the console sounded, not everyone was happy.
Geoff Emerick was not immediately taken with the TG desk. Emerick said, "We used the new TG transistorized desk for the first time while recording the Abbey Road album, and in no way could I re-create the same bass drum, snare drum, or guitar sounds that I'd been able to get on the REDD valve consoles. I'd only used the REDD valve consoles (and tape machines) on Beatles sessions up to that point, and I think that the tubes played a big part in those sounds. I found that the transistors clipped everything, they wouldn't let any low end distortion go through."
This was frustrating for Emerick, who had spent years becoming intimately familiar with the REDD series, developing an intuitive understanding of what needed to be done to achieve certain sounds. The introduction of the TG definitely required a period of adjustment. Emerick said that, "If you listen to Paperback Writer, a good example, you really hear the bass guitar and the kick of the bass drum, There was no way you could get that sound on a transistorized desk. There are many theories - unnatural harmonics, distortion, whatever - but we couldn't create those sounds anymore. However, the new desk was a lot smoother though, a lot "mellower", which gave the Abbey Road album its own distinctive texture...it's still a great album." **
**From Recording The Beatles, ©2006 Curvebender Publishing; Kevin Ryan & Brian Kehew
I'll be picking up my copy after I finish Geoff's book.
I LOVE mine. I have had it since it was released. Not bragging but I got an early signed by the authors copy as one of the first thousand if I remember correctly. It came in a Tape box with track sheets. It was a present at the time. I see them now for ridiculous numbers but I will never sell mine. The most interesting part for me has been the section about the additional gear that was used. A LOT of the little boxes that were used in the production were one-off pieces built by the engineers upstairs and on-staff. Someone needs a filter that operates at a particular frequency, and it magically shows up in a grey box with old-school Dymo labels that give it a name.
And people think they can actually replicate the Beatles sound without these little trick boxes.......
Love that book. Soon after it first came out, a guy asked me to convert 5 of his 60 minute tapes of his singer/songwriter songs (just vocal and guitar) onto CD. Nuthin' fancy, just transfer, a little mild hiss reduction, and create CDs out of them. He wanted them left exactly as they were, including vocal left, guitar right (except for the hiss reduction). Well, that was easy. I told him I'd do it for a 12-pack.
Instead of the 12-pack, he brought over that book. Said it was interesting to look through, but way too technical, and he didn't care about all that. I think someone gifted it to him, actually, and he was probably short on cash at the time, and figured I might accept that, instead. I told him he really didn't have to do that, but he insisted.
Very interesting stuff in that book. Some amusing anectdotes sprinkled throughout. One of the more amusing things was about the "Echo Chambers", which were nothing but concrete rooms with a speaker to blast at a microphone set up inside, and then fed back in. Apparently, they got very damp in there, and that would, of course, change the character of the reverb. I had to chuckle when they said they'd go in to inspect the speakers, and "they had mildew and mushrooms growing on the diaphragm". Yeah... that can't be good for speakers!
The book came in handy just recently, after I picked up a copy of the "Sgt. Pepper's" 50th anniversary remix. Curious as to what they might have done, I looked up several of the songs that were in the book listing the "reduction mixes", and tried to imagine what they might have decided to differently. I figured that since they could possibly use mostly the first recorded tracks of each subsequent tape, and had a choice of using or losing any "reduction mix" tracks, it was possible that they could have used nothing but the first separate track of each (unless something was actually dubbed ALONG with the mixdown track(s) on the way to a new track, which would require its use), and totally ignore any reduction track in the final mix, with each original master track in the computer now available to process individually, including panning. I realize that might be a chore, getting them all to line up perfectly, and they might have had to do some tweaking to possibly account for very minor fluctuations in tape speed as recorded, etc.?
Anyway, I broke the songs up (the ones flowing one into another stayed together), and made a CD with "original CD" first, "Anniversary CD" playing immeduiately after, for each song, so I could listen in headphones, in the car, on the stereo, and see if I could pick out things. There were some subtle differences, and some more obvious ones, but I could tell that it was all still the exact same tracks used. While listening in headphones at home, I referred to the "Reduction Mix" listings of the songs that were included, just to try to see what they might have changed.
It was just interesting to me. BTW, the Annivesary CD DOES sound pretty good.
Anyway, I was glad to have gotten that book. I show it to people, and most of their eyes just glaze over like "that's cool, but nothing I'D want to read!"
Not me. I've read every page, and still look at it from time to time.
Personally I am neutral with the Sgt. Peppers remix, I neither love it or hate it.
If you listen to the original "Lucy In the Sky" compared to the new remix, the entire original mix is a quarter tone higher in pitch due to original intended manipulation of the tape machines speed knob.
Geoff himself is not a fan of the remix's due to many changed character/vibe variables like the aforementioned.
However, I would assume Paul and Ringo signed off on this "anniversary addition".
I do wonder what John and both George's would've thought though..
Good chance that these variables were simply overlooked.
just for fun
Yes I saw this recently. It was fun to watch. Not to shabby for 74 yrs old .;)
hey thats pretty darn cool.!