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Deramic Sound System?
Old 26th March 2007
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moonpi's Avatar

Thread Starter
Deramic Sound System?

Today, I listened to Days Of Future Passed by The Moody Blues and realized that ever since I got turned onto this album (1996) I have wondered what in the world this DERAMIC SOUND SYSTEM was/is.

Anyone have any clues as to what exactly it is? Was it basically a custom built studio, console, and recorders? That's what I am inclined to believe. I've done several searches, but only get info from Hi-Fi guys who offer that DOFP was recorded as a showpiece for the Deramic Sound System.

Old 27th March 2007
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electricsound's Avatar

Deram was their record label. Seems to me like it might be more marketing than a technique or studio - but of course I could be wrong.
Old 27th March 2007
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mxeryus's Avatar

Found via Google on the Sound on Sound website :
It is essentially multitrack stereo mixing with a few twists. Prior to Deramic, stereo tended to be left, right or middle only.

To that end, every trick in the book was thrown into the recording. The orchestra is very heavily over-reverbed in source recording, as is some of the vocals, in order to create the Deramic sense of 'space' that was sought after by Decca. Decca's classic reverb technique was to use real concert halls, but it could easily be multiple revebs layered together. Later remasterings of the original vinyl versions also tend to try and "clean up" the original recording and make the reverb more modern.
Old 27th March 2007
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moonpi's Avatar

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That makes a lot of sense. To my memory it really sounds like it's the first really sincere effort to blur the LCR method into what became the modern stereo sound-stage.

I had always been curious about this album because it really doesn't sound like anything else out of 1967's "Swinging London", with the possible exception of a couple of tunes like Peak Hour. On the whole it has a very unique character and the perception of more body compared to other albums. I'm not expert on what was actually happening at that time, but I'd like to know more about the technical history of this album as it pertains to the console, tape machines, etc, which is why I thought to ask on this forum.

Perhaps Sound On Sound has some more info... I love those Classic Tracks articles.
Old 7th November 2017
Here for the gear

The Deramic Sound System was basically an attempt to get a more natural stereo sounds a he using four track recorders which were all Decca had at the time. It was essentially a return to twin track recording methods except now the "tracks" were stereo pairs - the four track tapes were arranged as two stereo pairs rather than four tracks of mono. In a pop record, the backing would be presented in a natural sounding stereo prefix with the instruments placed as they normally would be live, and the vocals could also be stereo. Like twin track, overdubbing was done by playing along with the tape as all four tracks were remixed live to a second four track machine.

The confusion stems from the fact that Days of Future Passed ended up not being recorded this way. Decca wanted the group to collaborate with Peter Knight on a "group and orchestra" arrangement of Dvorak's New World Symphony, but the band had other ideas. Wanting to do their own material, they awkwardly crammed several songs into a concept of "a day in the life of an everyday man", recorded the songs conventionally (four mono tracks), and gave the stereo mixes to Knight who transferred them to four track and recorded orchestral parts (mostly interludes but occasionally playing alongside the band) on the remaining two tracks using a Decca tree. So for the most part only the orchestra sounds as Decca intended. This is the main reason no mono mix exists of the album - there really isn't anything to remix short of a fold down. It also points out a fatal flaw with the DSS - it compromised mono for stereo's sake at a time (and within a genre) where mono was more important. Once Decca started using eight track recorders the system became obsolete, but the Deram label was established to the point that it was used without connection to DSS as another outlet within the Decca label family.
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