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WHY!?!?!?
Old 2nd November 2003
  #1
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Mark's Avatar
 

WHY!?!?!?

Was Abbey Road still using 1" 4 Track machines when nearly every other major studio in the civilised world had moved onto 8 Track?
Old 2nd November 2003
  #2
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Midlandmorgan's Avatar
 

Maybe they knew (know) something we don't...there is still some debate about the tape width vs track width vs track count...

Or maybe they saw no compelling need to upgrade...

Or maybe they saw the 'limitation' of 4 track as a catalyst for creativity...

Whatever the reason, it seems to have been a good choice...

Ken
Old 2nd November 2003
  #3
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Steve Smith's Avatar
 

I have heard first hand accounts of British engineers and session players wondering why thier amaricancounterparts needed so many tracks. One in particular remembers sitting around a meal table trying to figure out what the heak you would do with 16 tracks.. "how on earth could you fill it.. I mean, what are they gonna do, give each drum thier own track!?!?!"
Old 2nd November 2003
  #4
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Yes, but look at all the bouncing they had to do on the Beatles recordings. Surely there was some advantage to trading narrower track widths for less bounces?
Old 2nd November 2003
  #5
Well, if I'm not mistaken, the US embraced stereo before our UK counterparts. Requires a lot more tracks once you start panning...
Old 2nd November 2003
  #6
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To add to my previos post, I think also there is an element of being an "islander" ( and I am one ) that leaves people a bit reserved about being conquested by anything. technoligy, culture, etc. I am sure there was a fair amount of pride wrapped up in the " why do you need that" statement.

ood news is that when they did grap on, they made some kick ass records with it! ( just as the boys 'cross the pond had done"
Old 2nd November 2003
  #7
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Mark's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Brad Blackwood
Well, if I'm not mistaken, the US embraced stereo before our UK counterparts. Requires a lot more tracks once you start panning...
I Hear A New World was recorded in stereo in 1959.

As this article from Electronic Musician testifies.
Old 2nd November 2003
  #8
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Drumsound's Avatar
Re: WHY!?!?!?

Quote:
Originally posted by Mark
Was Abbey Road still using 1" 4 Track machines when nearly every other major studio in the civilised world had moved onto 8 Track?
I think it had to do with the conservative nature of the EMI company. Geoff Emerick had to get special authorization just to get the BD mic closer to the BD, and could only put it that close for the Beatles.

The Beatles were the only trendsetters working at EMI. They were the rogues of the company.
Old 2nd November 2003
  #9
Quote:
Originally posted by Mark
I Hear A New World was recorded in stereo in 1959.

As this article from Electronic Musician testifies.
I didn't say Americans were pioneers, just that it was embraced earlier, thus more in demand...
Old 2nd November 2003
  #10
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Re: WHY!?!?!?

Quote:
Originally posted by Mark
Was Abbey Road still using 1" 4 Track machines when nearly every other major studio in the civilised world had moved onto 8 Track?
Abbey Road did not have an 8 buss console at the time. The same happened when they finally commissioned Malcolm Toft at Trident to build Abbey Road a custom 16 buss board. Abbey Road was always behind when Trident Studios was in business. That is why the Beatles left Abbey Road to record at Trident.

Of course Abbey Road finally did get the board they needed and the Beatles came back to Abbey Road. It was an interesting time when the two studios were doing battle. Malcolm has some great stories of those times as he was not only lead engineer at Trident, but he was also head guy at Trident Consoles.

Finally Roy Thomas Baker took over for Malcolm at Trident Studios so Malcolm could spend all his time on designing and building Trident consoles.
Old 3rd November 2003
  #11
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Re: Re: WHY!?!?!?

Quote:
Originally posted by Drumsound
I think it had to do with the conservative nature of the EMI company. Geoff Emerick had to get special authorization just to get the BD mic closer to the BD, and could only put it that close for the Beatles.
The above is correct and answers the question.

Not only were EMI conservative they also treated musicians as second class citizens.
It was The Beatles that caused a shift in power towards musicians/artists at EMI/Abbey Road which enabled them, and the people involved with them, to start making demands regarding comparitive competitiveness with other studios and the equipment that went with it.

The funny thing is, in typical EMI style of the time, when they did eventually move to 8 tracks, most of the other studios were looking to installing 16 track machines.
Old 3rd November 2003
  #12
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What a lot of people outside the UK probably don't realise is that the subsidiary of EMI that The Beatles were signed to (Parlophone) was better known for it's Novelty and Comedy albums.
Old 3rd November 2003
  #13
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Building up tracks with overdubs was very unusual even at the American major labels at that time. When I started at Motown in 1965 the musicians' union had a rule against overdubbing and this may have also been the case in England. The first actual operating eight track studios in the world were at Atlantic and Motown and the first overdubbed records were apparently made by Capitol before they were acquired by EMI.

And yes, Parlophone was NOT a music label, the Beatles were indeed signed to a comedy label. The production techniques employed were very common in broadcasting but not in music recording.
Old 3rd November 2003
  #14
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Don't forget about the economics of it too. If the 4-track decks were paid for and clients weren't requesting 8-track why make the upgrade?

I'd love to find a band that would let me record them on only 8-tracks. Man that would be fun. I'd get to see how much I suck as an AE.
Old 3rd November 2003
  #15
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Since everybody playing on a session was getting paid $30 an hour or more in 1965, the cost of acquiring gear was not a factor while the cost of a key piece failing was catastrophic.
Old 4th November 2003
  #16
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Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Did that also hold true for the bands that were in a studio and recording?

Did they have to sign their own checks and recoup it out of sales?
Old 5th November 2003
  #17
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At first. Then the labels got a union rule that allowed them to pay 1 session's worth of pay flat rate per tune to royalty artists.
Old 5th November 2003
  #18
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Bernd G's Avatar
 

Re: Re: Re: WHY!?!?!?

Quote:
Not only were EMI conservative they also treated musicians as second class citizens.
[/B]
You mean, POP musicians. I am not sure people like Otto Klemperer would have taken too kindly to being treated as second class citizens. Their attitude towards the former must have had to do with their affinity to Classical music recording.... such snobs.

Cheers
Old 6th November 2003
  #19
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England had a very strong musicians union in the late '60s. I'll never forget lifting a curtain at Top Of The Pops and finding 20 string players sitting there on the clock. England and Europe also pay artists for playing their records on the air. I don't know about EMI but I know in general Europe takes much much better care of musicians and songwriters than anybody in the US does.
Old 6th November 2003
  #20
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I am not so sure that this is true all around, Bob. The British system for session players incl. symphony orchestras is much worse in terms of pay and security than those of the top American orchestras. This is partly why the London Symphony Orchestra has to do so many "gigs" on the side, ie. movie scores, "sampling library" sessions for Hans Zimmer, etc. Also, the U.K. is quite different from orchestras in Germany, France, Italy etc. In Europe itself, U.K. musicians are considered to be worse off than professional musicians in some other European countries. The U.K. of course has a much more accomodating social system than the U.S. - ie. socialized medical care, unemployment pay, etc. - no doubt, which makes it possible for people in "bands" to be "on the dole" even though they have never had a job before - right out of highschool, from what I remember. This takes pressure off of music making - and partly explains why the pop music system in the U.K. is so vibrant - here in the U.S. everyone has to worry constantly about making a buck.... .


Cheers
Old 12th November 2003
  #21
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Re: Re: Re: Re: WHY!?!?!?

Quote:
Originally posted by Bernd G
I am not sure people like Otto Klemperer would have taken too kindly to being treated as second class citizens. Their attitude towards the former must have had to do with their affinity to Classical music recording.... such snobs.

Cheers
Otto Klemperer, I loved him on Hogan's Heroes.heh
Old 12th November 2003
  #22
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WHY!?!?!?

Quote:
Originally posted by TinderArts
Otto Klemperer, I loved him on Hogan's Heroes.heh
Klemperer being Jewish I think that would have been a bit inappropriate, you don't think??

Old 13th November 2003
  #23
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WHY!?!?!?

Quote:
Originally posted by Bernd G
Klemperer being Jewish I think that would have been a bit inappropriate, you don't think??

Werner (Col. Klink) was Otto's son, and a musician in his own right.
Old 13th November 2003
  #24
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WHY!?!?!?

Quote:
Originally posted by seriousfun
Werner (Col. Klink) was Otto's son, and a musician in his own right.
I finally get the irony of it. Thank you SERIOUSFUN. No wonder, actually, Otto Klemperer, the father was not known to have much of a sense of humor... . heh. Speaking of SERIOUS and no FUN.

Cheers
Old 13th November 2003
  #25
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WHY!?!?!?

Quote:
Originally posted by Bernd G
I finally get the irony of it. Thank you SERIOUSFUN. No wonder, actually, Otto Klemperer, the father was not known to have much of a sense of humor... . heh. Speaking of SERIOUS and no FUN.

Cheers
ok, spank me
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