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History of CBS Records 30th Street Studio NYC (many pictures)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by DMortensen, Oct 21, 2014.

  1. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    As @ad180 pointed out, the boxes we see are power supplies for tube mics. Each type of mic had its own power supply, as power needs differed from mic to mic. And with some mics (notably the M49) the power supply is where you changed the pattern.

    P48 was introduced for solid state mics in 1966, but it wasn’t initially ubiquitous like it is today. The U87 could run either on P48 or via 2 22.5V batteries. My guess is in 1970 CBS was running them with batteries.

    Neumann Models U 87 and U 87 Ai

    Now…maybe that’s not the problem we see/hear at all. Not sure.
     
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  2. GLouie

    GLouie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    "Check the chords."

    At least by the mid 70s, we were commonly adding P48 battery boxes where needed. Most device inputs were still transformer isolated, we just added a box with XLRs, 2 of those weird 22.5 volt batteries and the 6.8k resistors. They would last for months if not years. I think Neumann offered a similar mains-powered P48 adapter.
     
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  3. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Seattle, WA USA
    Always glad to learn something new about old stuff.

    For the mics that had the tube-heating boxes, was that also the charging supply for the diaphragms? I assume so, but my earlier assumption was wrong, so...

    I'm not sure I've ever seen any of those venerable mics in person, and certainly have never used any. FWIW my first mixers (Gately and Soundcraft) had no phantom power, and Mac Perkins helped me build at that time an outboard AC-powered phantom supply for 6 mics, with separate XLR ins/outs for each mic.
     
  4. GLouie

    GLouie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    I also do not know the whole history of the U87. The mounts in Company are not a direct XLR into the back here - is this just a mount option?

    [​IMG]
     
  5. ad180

    ad180 Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    That's a Neumann U67. The XLR is plugged into the power supply, the mic uses a multi-pin cable to connect to the power supply.

    Here's an example from Reverb.com, without the microphone:

    [​IMG]

    here's another image I found on Google Images:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. GLouie

    GLouie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    My misunderstanding - Stritch uses a U87 and others had U67, it seems.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yes, that mic was definitely a U87. XLR connector and a rectangular opening to see the battery status (not visible in that shot).

    That said, one has to look closely at the other mics to see if they were U67s or U87s. It's been a while, but I *think* a similar mount was available for the U87. Ah yes, here we go:

    I think the key is the battery window. In 1970, if there is one, it's a U87. If not, it's a U67. I haven't gone back to closely look at all of the mics in the film.

    Yes.
     
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  8. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    FYI, watching some more, there were at least 2 U87s. You can see both during The Little Things You Do Together:

    U67 - sound effects guy
    U67 - Barbara Barrie
    U87 - Charles Kimbrough
    U67 - Teri Ralston/Beth Howland/etc
    U87 - Elaine Stritch/etc

    At the end of Side By Side you can see the power supplies for the U67s.

    Didn't realize until just now that Kimbrough and Howland were married from 2002 until her death in 2015.
     
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  9. GLouie

    GLouie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    OK, now you may identify the mics for the orchestra and figure how Fred routed them onto 8 tracks.

    I also see that Co-op did not have 3 matching vocal mics....
     
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  10. BCox

    BCox Active Member

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Hi folks, just joined the forums today to post on this thread.

    I have just acquired (via trade for a Moog Voyager) an Ampex AG-440b 1/4" 2-track tape machine that is claimed to have come from the 30th Street studio. I don't have any reason to disbelieve this, but I'd love to be able to confirm it, and all I have now is the seller's word for it. (And he seems like a stand-up guy.)

    Obviously since I have the unit, I can get the serial numbers, etc., and as many photos of it as needed. It's in a distinctive angle-mount case, and does have some distinguishing marks on it.

    I've looked at all the photos I can find online (most from this thread!) of tape decks in 30th Street, but I haven't seen an Ampex 440 in a single one. However, most of the photos I can find are from the 50s and 60s, and this model wasn't introduced until 1967 (and I think this unit was built in 1969). I was hoping that as this thread got to the later years, we might see some tape-room pics, but naturally the photos tend to be of the various people coming through and not the machines.

    So I wonder if anyone has suggestions of resources I might be able to find that might tie this machine (or un-tie it) to 30th Street.

    [​IMG]

    The cabinet is evidently original, except that it was brown until it was refinished (and a base with casters added) by my seller.

    (And if my seller is on this board and reading this: hi again, and please chime in with as much as you know about the provenance of the machine!)
     
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  11. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    In Company you can see that 440s were used for 8-track. I’m not sure about stereo machines.

    I never realized the 440 transport looks like it’s cut off on top until now. Odd.
     
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  12. BCox

    BCox Active Member

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Right, I do remember seeing the corner of an 8-track stack of the repro/playback units at the edge of at least one photo. But the transport wasn't visible so I couldn't tell if it was a 440 or not. I haven't yet watched Company.
     
  13. GLouie

    GLouie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    I'm no expert, but don't recall seeing any photos of an AG440 2-track at 30th St. Of course it's quite possible they had some for various uses. The console looks home-brew to me; I haven't seen a genuine Ampex one like that, but could be wrong.

    I don't know if anyone kept something like the Ampex serial numbers/customers list. The Ampex listserv might know if you join:
    Ampex Info Page

    You might also inspect the unit very carefully for any CBS inventory tags or etching. How does it run?
     
  14. BCox

    BCox Active Member

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    The console is definitely and unabashedly home brew (by "original" I meant "original to 30th Street" not "original from Ampex"). I don't see any CBS etching on the outside, but I haven't opened anything up yet. I have yet to run it (my takeup reels are arriving today), but the seller sent me a video demonstrating it in working condition (and sounding good) the night before we met up.

    I did hear back from the seller today about the history of the machine. The machine was owned by "Frankie Dawn" which was the stage name for a sax player who recorded at 30th Street and was a friend of "the long time tape tech there" (whose name we don't know). Frankie passed this year, and his son (whose name is on the test papers from JRF as the client) is apparently selling off his dad's studio, including this unit, another AG440b, and some vintage U47s and Pultecs, among other things. The eBay listing is probably by the son; it ended with 0 bids, probably because my seller bought it from him via Craigslist. Frankie's son is evidently handy with tape machines also, and calibrated this unit for my seller.

    I've also emailed the son, to see if he can offer any further info about the history of the machine. And I'll check out the Ampex list, thanks for the link.
     
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  15. GLouie

    GLouie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    I'm putting the height of 30th St. at about 52 feet. I don't think we've stated the height, although we have estimated the studio room length/width (83ft (with old control room) by 57ft.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    The certificate of occupancy specified 47':

     
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  17. GLouie

    GLouie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    Maybe an average of the compound ceiling?
     
  18. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Is there any evidence that Duke Ellington may have recorded at CBS a piece that was released on Verve (as a courtesy/loan-out as part of a songbook release by Ella Fitzgerald) in 1958 (probably recorded August or September of 1957)? It's a 16 minute suite called "Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald," with four sections titled, Royal Ancestry, All Heart, Beyond Category, and Total Jazz.

    Other selections were recorded in June at Fine Recording, but the suite, which did not stem from those June sessions, sounds more like a Columbia recording to me. Just curious!
     
  19. Joe Lopez

    Joe Lopez Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    There’s an online Ellington discography that runs chronologically session-by-seasion. For these titles, it says only that they were recorded on September 2, 1957 in Chicago. No actual recording venue listed.

    It’s at:
    1951-1960 | Ellingtonia
     
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  20. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Thank you for that, @Joe Lopez! Maybe recorded at Universal in Chicago? Could be. The narration, though, was apparently done in NYC -- maybe at CBS?
    From the site you linked:
    Screen Shot 2021-09-19 at 3.25.02 PM.png Screen Shot 2021-09-19 at 3.25.54 PM.png
     
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  21. Joe Lopez

    Joe Lopez Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    Maybe recorded at Universal in Chicago?

    Yes! I just checked and discovered that an older (1999) CD reissue of the Ellington Songbook contains a photo of the Universal/Chicago box that houses the 9/2/57 Portrait band recordings. Unfortunately, the liner booklet is tightly bound in a way that makes grabbing an image of it difficult without four hands.
     
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  22. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Seattle, WA USA
    For those who would like to get the updated version of "Company", Criterion is having a 50% off store-wide (?) sale that ends tomorrow with the Blu Ray for US$19.97 and the DVD for $14.97. Shipping is probably extra.

    Original Cast Album: “Company”

    I just now found out about it.

    You're welcome.
     
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  23. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    50% off all DVDs and BDs in stock.

    Shipping is free once you've spent a certain amount, but I don't know what that is offhand. I spent $60 earlier today and got free shipping.
     
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  24. Robbie California

    Robbie California Forum Resident

    It’s been great reading through this thread. Thanks to all the contributors.
     
  25. thekid777

    thekid777 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    france
    What a fantastic thread! as a fan of.this place and the music made there it was a nice read!
    Anyone would know which microphone preamps they used in the 50's?
    The console was custom and I wonder what was the mic pres used? rca? collins? altec?
    Thanks
     
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