SH Spotlight Studio Historians - 1950's-'60's typical recording studio setup & use

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Tim S, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    If you're interested in experiments Paul Klipsch did in regards to the 2 speakers + a fill speaker in the center playback track down the Journal of Audio Engineering Society April 1958, Volume 6, Number 2 issue; it has an article Klipsch wrote up concerning some things he tried out. I have a copy of the article in Dope From Hope, a newsletter sent out to dealers regarding the Klipsch line and what PK and his folks were up to in their Arkansas production site.
     
  2. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    I sold my McIntosh C28 back in 1990, but my long-term recollection is that it had some sort of center channel capability. Can anybody confirm that?
     
  3. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey

    Makes sense, and in general I agree. That Melrose stuff around 1953-55 pretty much always had the echo levels dead on. Wasn't as great of an echo chamber as the ones they built at the Tower, but its use in the mix pretty much always sounded right. John Palladino told me that when he worked at Melrose, he never went up to the roof to see the echo chamber there.
     
  4. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
  5. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Probably had a tech to take care of the chamber. At the Tower they have an Echo Tech (basically a 24 hour maintenance guy). Those chambers are spooky.

    Martin,

    Listen to the echo sound (and level/ratio to music) on Frank Sinatra's SONGS FOR YOUNG LOVERS. Just about perfect. I use that as my benchmark for all things echo.
     
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    I think so, yes. Bunch of receivers did then but I don't think it ever worked. Really screwed up the balance of stereo mixes.
     
  7. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey

    Yeah, he never really had to actually do anything with the Melrose chamber (besides use it in the studio), but I was surprised when he told me he had never seen it. I have pictures of it that someone sent me, taken earlier this decade. It was full of "stuff" from the then current occupant when taken, but still intact. I had sent copies of the pictures to John, and he told me it was the first time he'd ever seen it. I don't have access to a scanner at the moment to put them up...
     
  8. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Didn't somebody post some shots of the Melrose chambers here a few years ago? Modern shots...
     
  9. I know this is an ancient thread, but thought I could add a few thoughts on it:

    1. Someone asked about Bunny Robyn recording Fats Domino in LA at Master Recorders. I'm not sure how many times Fats recorded there, mostly he recorded in New Orleans. I do know that quite a few of the earlier tracks (by Fats Domino and others) recorded by Cosimo in New Orleans were dry (no effects) and the tapes were sent to Bunny in LA to put echo chamber on them for release on Imperial Records.

    2. Regarding three-channel studios, here's an interesting photo of Owen Bradley's studio in Nashville, debuting their 3-track equipment in 1958. Note: 3 Klipschs. I think the Klipschs were gone pretty soon after that, replaced by Altec A7's in a 3-track array:

    http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/n...rol-room-standing-behind-news-photo/521924187

    Here's a slightly later photo, you can see the ALtec's in there (with angled horns on the left and right--yeow!):

    http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/n...room-l-to-r-owen-bradley-news-photo/521927597

    3. Lastly, in regards to the actual CONCEPT of 3-channel recordings, I know that the few times I've heard proper 3-channel stereo imaging it was by far the most lifelike stereo imaging I've ever heard, with my own two ears.... Paul McManus had a setup at his house a long time ago where he played me a 3-track master tape from an Ampex 300-3 through his Universal Audio board into 3 Altec 604's, set up very properly for imaging--it was an experience I won't forget. I'm guessing due to cost, and consumer electronics manufacturers pressure, and probably the very real impossibility of cutting 3-channel L-C-R grooves on a record, this idea was scrapped, but I have to think the inventors thought it was the stereo imaging of the future when they invented it.
     
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  10. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    I presume Master Recorders was another studio which, on 45 lacquers cut on Scully lathes, used the 2-pitch lead-out groove followed by a turn or two of catch groove before reaching the concentric locked groove? And which other labels besides Imperial used Master Recorders-cut lacquers? Liberty and Dot, perhaps?
     
  11. W.B.--

    There is so little known about Bunny Robyn, and I'm not sure I've ever seen a photo of the studio control room at Master Recorders. Somewhere I'd like to think the Robyn family has a file cabinet of photos and such, but I doubt it.

    The story I heard about why Master Recorders closed (and please, somebody correct me if I'm wrong, this is just a rumor) is that one of the east coast record companies didn't like the competition and so they booked Master Recorders on a lockout. Even though he was making money, Bunny just sat around not doing anything, and so after a couple years of this arrangement, he closed the studio.

    I'm assuming that Master Recorders had a Scully lathe and cut the lacquers for all the West Coast Imperial and Specialty stuff, but again, I've never seen a picture of a lathe at Master Recorders, so I don't know.

    Gold Star had a pair of Scully lathes, Capitol had Scully lathes, I've never seen pictures of any cutting lathes at Radio Recorders, Liberty Recorders, United-Western, the Annex, American Studios etc but obviously they had them. I'm just not sure what they were because I've never seen photos.

    Did Dot have their own LA studios? I've never heard that, if they did. I know they had offices at Sunset and Vine.

    Deke
     
  12. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    I know Radio Recorders (and their Annex which was later spun off into the unaffiliated Annex Studios) had Scullys, as did United/Western. I'm pretty much able to tell who cut which by numerous variables. Gold Star must've used pre-1950 Scullys by what I've seen of the lead-in and lead-out spacing. Capitol, there're a hundred threads on this forum about this very issue.

    As for Dot, to my knowledge they never had their own studios. They largely used others, i.e. Radio Recorders, the Annex, United/Western, RCA's two "Music Centers of the World" (Sunset and Vine and later Sunset and Ivar), probably Liberty and maybe Gold Star as well. On both Liberty and Imperial (after the former took over the latter), I've seen lacquers from "other" sources - namely United/Western, RCA Hollywood (on Si Zentner's "Up A Lazy River" single), and Annex Studios (on The Hollies' "Stop Stop Stop" single); and LP's cut at Columbia's Hollywood studios.
     
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  13. Deke Dickerson likes this.
  14. Thanks for the replies!

    I should also add that Electro-Vox studios on Melrose (almost directly across from the original Capitol Melrose studios) had a mastering room in the back. There were about 4-5 of these very primitive lathes from the 30's, made by and imprinted with the original owner's last name-- Gottschallk if I remember correctly. They were mono and were equipped with RCA cutting heads. In the mid-1990's I had an opportunity to buy them at 500 a pop, I declined.

    Electro-Vox did cut a lot of small independent records, including at least one small hit, "You Cheated" by the Shields.

    Deke
     
  15. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Truth.
     
    I Love Music likes this.
  16. wcarroll

    wcarroll Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Are those Klipsch? I'm no expert... but are they actually Karlson Enclosures? (And upside down?)

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Reopened by request..
     
  18. .crystalised.

    .crystalised. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Edmonton
    Great photos, thanks for sharing.

    Can anyone confirm how reverb was applied to recordings made at Bradley's studio? From what I've heard of Patsy Cline, Burl Ives, Brenda Lee, Bobby Helms, etc., it seems as if only the center channel (vocalist) received live reverb on the three-track, and then reverb was applied to everything later, during a two-track reduction for a stereo compilation. The band tracks sound dry when sourced from three-track versus two-track, the latter being much wetter and containing more distortion (and extra reverb on the vocals because it was already "live" on the center channel). The mono mixes from Bradley in that era are much dryer.

    When I listen to a stereo mix of any era, I actually prefer mono reverb on the vocalist only, rather than stereo reverb clear across; it gives a spotlight to the performer that is impactful and emotional. That seems to be a trademark of the Bradley sound.

    The only true three-track recordings I've heard are what Steve did for the AP Nat King Cole SACDs, but I agree, there is some imaging magic there. The phantom illusion is strong and gets 90% of the way there, but there's something to be said for hearing music recorded to three-track with three actual speakers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  19. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Bradley recorded three channel for Decca and all the echo was on there. Nothing was added later, nothing was ever reduced to two track. Why? Decca cut their stereo LP's from the three-channel tape. So, it had to be completely finished. Two track mix dubs were made in the late 1960s for cassette, eight track, etc.
     
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  20. .crystalised.

    .crystalised. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Edmonton
    Then why is Patsy Cline's Greatest Hits drowned in reverb compared to Patsy Cline Showcase, for example? Is that because the GH compilation came out in the late 60s and listeners wanted more reverb to suit the times?
     
  21. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Greatest Hits dub tape prepared in New York. Sounds terrible. Totally different story. I'm speaking of anything that was recorded at Bradley in 1958-65 (or even Decca NYC for that matter). Those albums were cut direct from the threes. Company policy.

    Stuff from LA studios (like Rick Nelson) were mixed at Western to two channel and LPs cut from those. Eventually everything was cut from the standard two.
     
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  22. yasujiro

    yasujiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    tokyo
    What happened in February 1953?
     
  23. .crystalised.

    .crystalised. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Edmonton
    Ah, makes sense, thanks. That would explain why some sessions from Sentimentally Yours sound better in mono because there was too much reverb mixed live to three track.

    Why'd the Decca bosses feel the need to make a NY dub tape for GH? And why did Analogue Productions use it again for the audiophile reissue? It's frustrating. I've always preferred your less-is-more approach to reverb. Nat's "Ramblin' Rose" is a great example of your good work.
     
  24. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Read my first sentence again. It's all there.
     
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  25. .crystalised.

    .crystalised. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Edmonton
    Three giant horns placed directly in front of the mixing board. Wouldn't that shear the poor engineer's head off?

    It's how I feel when I play something mastered too brightly on my system.
     

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