Great observations everyone, I will attempt to answer all in this entry.
Yes the album has a brightness to it, but i tend to think of it as a "sheen ". Because it was tracked mostly through a SSL E series , with the exception of the Power Station sessions which were through a Neve, it was easy to accumulate a bite to any sound. Peter and Dan wanted the record to sound soulfull but joyous at the same time and we all tried to avoid over processing a particular sound. Whatever eq curve was employed during recording was not copied for the mix.
The basic tracks were laid to two Studer A80's ( one was heavily modified by a local boffin, Colin Broad). We tried to create character sounds during that portion ( some drum verbs were printed etc etc). During overdubs, Peter , Dan and David Rhodes would often combine three instruments into one part. We had our effects constantly ready to print to tape and it was not uncommon to recirculate one effect into another almost to the point of uncontrollable feedback.
We also employed a lot or reamping, either through the PA set up in the studio or sometimes using the headphone output on the producers desk to drive a pair of small AIWA speakers. They definitely had a sound !!!
We monitored through Tannoy's, NS10's
, Auratone's strapped to a pair of Radio Shack Minimus Sevens. All the sounds had to past muster with those systems. It was kind of Lo tech Hi Fi but it translated really well into the outside world.
Peter's lyrics evolve over a period of time so it was important to be able to pick back up where we had last left off. Total recall was used endlessly, as were copius handwritten detailed notes that were supported by polaroids.
As the project progressed we started running out of tracks, so we brought in a 32 track Mitsubishi and consolidated performances and arrangements for the final push. We were in a "mix mode" for the last 4-5 months , adding overdubs and vocals, editing parts. We finally mixed to half inch and Ian Cooper of the Townhouse mastered the album.
In terms of effects we relied heavily on the following
AMS 1580 Delay
AMS RMX 16 reverb
Delta Lab DL2 Delay
Quantec Room Simulator Lexicon 224
Decca Tube compressors
Lots of stomp boxes.
Unbelieable songs and performances
Lots of fun
When I compare i do think the remastered versions are a tad brighter but whether that was a subjective choice of the mastering engineer or just the limitations of the original vinyl, is anybodies guess. They only way to truly know is to find those half inch masters !!!!!!!
Does that help?