Early RUPERT NEVE consoles and their stories | PART FOUR: 1968 – 1969 | ’From black to blue-grey’
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Researched and written by DAVID TAYLOR
With information and photographs by JOHN TURNER
With the help of John Turner, who joined Rupert Neve at Little Shelford in 1968 and is still with AMS-Neve today, this series of articles is trying to give an as accurate as possible account of the history of the early Rupert Neve mixing consoles. We’ll document these up until 1975, which was when Rupert himself left the Neve company.
[Click on Section Nos. to ‘jump’ – use browser ‘back-button’ to return here]
21| 1968: ‘Blue-grey with Marconi controls‘ – The 24 channel 8 Neve for Pye Studio One
21a| The Neve 2057 EQ and 1861 switching modules
21b| The Neve 1059 mic-amp module
21c| Records from the first Pye Studios Neve
22| 1968: ‘From The North’ – Granada TV’s 24 plus 12 channel Neve – ‘Serial ‘67111’
22a| The Neve 1866 switching and 1865 gain/pfl modules
22b| The Neve 1060 mic-amp module
22c| Programmes from the Granada TV Studios, Manchester
1968 : Early Neve Module Metalwork
1968/9: ‘Urban Blues in a Skyscraper’ – Chicago Sound Studio’s Neves
23| 1968: ‘First In The US’ – Sound Studios 8 channel 4 group Neve – ‘Serial 2001’
23a| The Neve 2060 EQ and 1868 switching modules
24| 1968: ‘The shape of Neve’s to come’ – Chicago Sound Studios 16 input 8 output Neve – ‘Serial 67123’
24a| The Neve 1057 mic-amp module (revised)
24b| The Neve 1867 switching module
Ernest Turner PPM’s
24c| The studios and music of Chicago’s ‘Sound Studios’
1968: Neve – desperately in need of a bigger workspace
25| 1968: The Neve 8 channel ‘Reduction’ mixer for Philips
25a| The Neve 1062 mic-amp and 1874 switching modules
25b| Something left in the Philips tape-store
1968/9: ‘A Masonic Temple and a Skyscraper Church’ – Vanguard in 23rd Street, New York
26| 1968: ‘New York’s first Neve’ – Vanguard Records -16 channel 4 output Neve
26a| The Neve 1061 mic-amp module
26b| The Neve 1873 switching module
27| 1968/9:‘The coming of 16 tracks’ – Vanguard Records 24 channel 16 group Neve – ‘Serial 2008’
27a| The Neve 1870 and 1871 switching and 1877 Echo Return modules
27b| Recording at Vanguard 23rd Street
27c| The first Dolby’s in the US
27d| The first ‘Quad’ in the US
27e| Music from Vanguard 23rd Street
28| 1969: ‘The Star Wars Neve’ – Anvil Films 24 channel ‘scoring console’ – ‘Serial 2017’
28a| Eric Tomlinson, the Anvil Neve and the changes in movie music
1969: Neve move into their new Melbourn factory
1969: ‘Rupert changes the faders‘ – the arrival of Penny & Giles
21| 1968: ‘Blue-grey with Marconi controls‘ – The 24 channel 8 output Neve for Pye Studio One
In 1968 the standard for recording in the UK was still 4-track, but groups like the Rolling Stones had already booked into American studios in search of 8-track facilities. It was obvious that the British studios needed to provide this too:
The 8-track “Consul” mixing desk …..is of course a ‘mixing console’, and that was to be a Neve.
Pye specified a 24 channel 8 group desk for their Studio 1 to go with their forthcoming move to 8-track, and although it would appear that it was ordered by Bob Auger, Pye’s Technical Manager, it looks like it was the senior balance engineer, Ray Prickett who undertook the designing.
“Neve came down to see us and they said ,’What do you want?’ I said, ‘Well I don’t want anything that’s shiny and black, and I felt that was not a colour to have in a control room. So we spent a day down at their factory to talk things over, and they said , ‘What colour would you like?’. They gave me a sheath of about 40 different pieces of metal with different colours, and they said, ‘Pick your colour out of that’. I picked the one that most of the desks use even today – sort of a grey-blue with a matte finish. The other thing I asked them to do was colour-coding. I think it was the first desk they built where all the reverb sends were one colour, all the foldbacks another etc. It’s a standard thing they do even today. But more importantly, the sound of the desk was brilliant.” 
“We had to decide for a colour scheme for the modules, and those wide 2.8 inch modules, were all black; shiny black. And then somebody told me that was a bad thing, because it gave people the a kind of connotation of the ‘kitchen stove’. The old black stove; it’s not something that comes to mind these days but it did in those days, where people were still on coal and wood in this old black range, so they didn’t want their modules to look black too. It’s a farfetched idea, but anyway there it was.
How were we going to choose a colour? The traditional equipment colour, of technical test gear for instance, was a grey; a kind of slightly greenish grey. I didn’t want to copy that and eventually settled for this ‘RAF blue-grey’, roughly the colour of the RAF, the Royal Air Force uniforms, which was quite attractive.
Also we had to find knobs that were suitable, and I had; I still have, this ideal that a knob that is going to operate on a potentiometer, is a continuous travel; has to be round.
And a knob that is going to operate on a switch, which is going ‘click, click, click’, round the circle; should be a kind of bar-knob, which can be gripped more easily and you can actually see without having to depend upon the pointer; you can actually see where it’s pointing more easily.
And that was my theory. The best knobs that I’d ever come across were actually used by Marconi test gear and I had several pieces of Marconi test gear which was quite good and I took the knobs off the test gear and tried them on these modules and they looked good, and so finally I approached Marconi Instruments and did a deal with them. They said “How many do you want?”. So I was looking at a console and they were quite surprised at the number of knobs that I was going to want. If I’d wanted fewer, they probably wouldn’t have interested; if I’d wanted a lot more, they wouldn’t have been able to but, the quantity that I asked for initially, just happened to suit them and so they sent me a box full of knobs. And then a week later there was another order for knobs and we didn’t look back for a long time; those knobs became pretty standard. And all that I just expressed as a theory, actually worked out; those bar-knobs and round-knobs, they really worked. People liked them and the colour scheme worked quite well ; the panel colour. So that was the way in which these early modules developed.” 
So Rupert was certainly already considering a change in the paint finish of his consoles, and it was certainly his decision to go over to those Marconi style of knobs, but it looks like we have Ray Prickett to thank for the ‘RAF Blue-grey’ colour that became the standard Neve finish for some years to come.
A few months later, the same music magazine was able to report:
So it was in and working by September and although it was not quite, as they said ‘the biggest one they ever produced’, it was the first 8 group desk.
Here’s what it looked like:
The above photo was the first I’d seen of the Pye Studio 1 desk, and I was intrigued by the unusual looking layout. It wasn’t until I analysed John Turner’s photos of the desk however that I realised just how very different it was.
It would need a colour photo to tell if it has that completely different blue-grey paint finish that Ray Prickett asked for, but it certainly has that other big change in using ‘Marconi’ knobs throughout – completely gone are the black bakelite ones. Ray Prickett also stated he was the first to change the colour of the ‘FB’ and ‘Echo’ knobs to make them standout.
The Pye Studio 1 24 channel also has a completely different layout to any previous desks, with a lowered height profile but as the photo below shows the switching modules still made it a fairly ‘deep’ desk.
THE TECHNICAL STUFF:
Strangely, the channel strips don’t have any mic amp modules in them at all, but ‘high-level’ 2057 EQ modules are installed in the sloping front, along with the 1861 switching modules which are on the flat surface above the EMT faders. The mic amps are actually new 1059 modules, and are all located off on the right side in the 19″ racks. The 1059’s are totally ‘minimalist’, in that they are only fitted with the usual Neve ‘coarse gain’ mic level control and a simple Hpf; all the rest of the channel EQ is in those 2057 modules at the top of each channel strip. The jackfield is also the first use of ‘Mosses and Mitchell’ jackstrip units that we’ve seen.
Let’s sit down at the new Neve and take a look. Here’s a view of the channel strip:
21a| The Neve 2057 EQ and 1861 switching modules
As you can see, those are just EQ units in each channel; the 2057’s. The mic amp signal from the 1059 modules has to come over from the rack to your right; therefore another output stage and set of transformers in the circuit.
The switching units in this channel strip are the new 1861’s designed for this desk.
Here’s an even closer view of the channel strip:
The 2057 is a straight forward high-level input EQ unit, with a fixed ‘HF’ boost and cut; an MF ‘Presence’ that goes from ‘1.5/3.0/5.0/and 7.0 K/cs’ with the highest frequency on the left this time. The ‘LF’ goes from ’35/60/and 100 c/s’ with boost and cut. The high-pass filter is over on the 1059 mic amp as we’ll see.
The oblique shot makes it difficult to see the 1861 controls, but at the top are the ‘Foldback’ keyswitches, on the left ‘Pre/Off/Post’ and on the right the selector for ‘1, 1+2 or 2’, with a Foldback ‘Level’ pot.
Next comes the selector keyswitches for a grand total of eight Echo Sends. Yes that’s eight! The choices on the keyswitches are; top left ‘1/Off/5’; top right ‘4/Off/8’. Then comes the ‘Level’ pot. The lower left keyswitch is ‘2/Off/2-7’ and the right ‘3/Off/3-6’. So what are ‘2-7’ and ‘3-6’, presumably stereo?
The Eight Groups, each given a letter instead of a number, are selected in the next section of four keyswitches. These follow the same logic as the Echo’s. So top left ‘A/Off/E’; top right ‘D/Off/H‘. Lower left ‘B/Off/B-G’ and lower right ‘C/Off/C-F’. The pan-pot is labelled ‘B-G’ and ‘C-F’, so I guess they would be stereo groups.
I do find the logic of the group identification lettering counter-intuitive. With four two-way keyswitches to select eight Echo’s…..you’d think each key would select two of the eight, but not so.
There had already been Neves using a bank of isostat push buttons, as both the Philips and Wessex desks already had sets of push buttons for the groups. The Pye decision to go for keyswitches can’t really have saved space and in fact the buttons were being used on this Pye desk’s monitor panel, and the use of separate mic amp and EQ modules meant using two large modules as well.
The 1861 switching module interior is shown in the photo above. This illustrates how simple such a module could be, as this only contained a single circuit board, shown here withdrawn from its socket.
21b| The Neve 1059 mic-amp module
Here’s the new 1059 mic amp that wasa located in the side rack, with its ‘minimum facilities’, it’s still a big unit and the 1059 has the usual -80 to +20 dBm gain switch, with ‘Line’ switching incorporated in it. It also has a 3 position high-pass filter and a mute switch. The circuit diagram below shows the first stage uses the B100 and then a couple of B105’s are added for the Hpf and the muting and a B104/20 to drive the balanced output .
An ex-maintenance engineer at Pye Studios at this time, remarked to John Turner:
“The first Neve at Pye was the one in Studio 1, with the Gardners, octal-based transformers. The output transistors were germanium devices – OC22s, I think. It all operated on a -24 volt supply”
Phil Newell of course was later a famous recording studio designer, with a couple of important books to his credit as well.
Here’s the drawing of the circuit for the B104 line amplifier, done by Rupert, that was used as the output stage in the 1059:
The B104 shows that Rupert and his fellow designers had started using both silicon (BC109) and germanium transistors (NKT216 and OC36) together. The gain can be changed by the external ‘R’ and ‘C’.
The Studio 1 Neve monitoring panel
The big photo of the Studio 1 Neve desk shows it has those two raised side sections; this one on the left being for the group monitoring selections:
The groups/ancilliary feeds and the speaker monitoring are separated in this Pye desk and on the left side, the selection panel is for the eight recording groups, to and from the 8-Track recorder. However in the top left is the ‘Monitor Matrix’ for the selecting whether you listen to 2-Track and 4-Track feeds to and from those tape decks. The ‘4T’ position will put the speaker selectors below on all four monitoring loudspeakers. The ‘2T’ has a pair of pan-pots, labelled ‘Pan 2’ and ‘Pan 3’. Any of the 8T sources selected to speakers 2 or 3 can be panned off to 1 and 4. I guess this simulates ‘stereo loudspeakers’ and is the first time I’ve seen this.
The upper right controls are a ‘Volume’ pot and ‘On’ switch for that console loudspeaker hiding under that rather dramatic looking grill.
The other switch selects the ‘Studio’ loudspeaker to‘Off/On’, with an indicator neon.
The eight groups and 8-track playback controls start below the speaker grill, with selector keyswitches for the ‘Echo Send On Monitor Groups’, each with a level pot. The ‘Echo Return On Monitor’ is therefore on the extreme right, with four selector push buttons for the four monitoring speakers.
Each of the eight groups has the same selector buttons and a calibrated level pot beneath.
Bottom left are two ‘Cue’ keyswitches for studio cue lights, with indicator neons. Next along the ‘Tape/Line/Ancilliaries’ rotary switch. In the ‘Tape’ position puts the outputs of the 8-Track deck on the monitoring selector push buttons above of course. The ‘Ancilliaries’ choices are ‘Echo Sends 1-8/FB1/FB2/ and PFL’. There is level pot for the ‘PFL’ and possibly the ‘Ancilliaries’ as well.
There isn’t a close-up photo of the unit on the right-side of the desk, but if you look back at the big console photo, on the top row are all the eight ‘Echo Returns’ and these are fitted with a variation of the 1861 module allowing the returns to be fed to the groups. Each has a small VU meter as well.
The lower row has the line amps for the eight ‘Echo Sends’, and these line amps also have VU’s fitted; so that’s a total of 16 VU’s in two rows. With some much of their desk taken up with it, the guys at Pye were obviously ‘big on Echo’ for 1968!
There are some other line amps at the top of the flat panel, that is immediately above the eight group faders. The remainder of that has the usual TB keys and gain controls.
Later, when another new Neve went into Studio 1, the 24 channel 8 group went into the second of the Pye re-mix rooms:
The Pye Studios
Pye Studios, ATV House, Great Cumberland Place, London W1
Considering it was one of the major label studios, the entrance to Pye was a disappointment, as it was at the back of ATV house, an uninspiring ’60s building:
Pye Records, long since separated from the Pye companies in Cambridge, had been in the ATV building in Great Cumberland Place, near Marble Arch since 1959, when ATV had obtained a 50% share in the company. The entrance to the studios was at the rear of ATV House, in Bryanston Street and the recording studios had taken over what had been used for a while by ATV as a TV studio, located in the large basement of the building. Bob Auger supervised the conversion to two main studios, a voice-over studio and a couple of re-mix rooms. They also had their own disc-cutting and tape-copying rooms.
So why the split layout of the Studio 1 Neve desk, with the mic amps at the side and the dropped front? Well presumably either Ray Prickett or his predecessor Bob Auger was keen to maintain the sight line in the Studio 1 control room as the studio was slightly below it. The size of the control room would have been a factor as well, as it was 20ft wide but was only 10ft deep, and therefore not only the height but the ‘front to back’ depth of the Neve was important.
At least with the Neve, having the mic amps in a rack beside you was some improvement, as recalling the period with the Telefunken desk:
“The pre-amps were down on the floor and my job was to run down and move the attenuator 10dB, 20dB.” 
I recall visiting Pye in 1971 and seeing a string quartet set up for recording in Studio 1, with a pair of U-87’s on tall boom arms about 10 feet up.
For a while the rock bands had a period of using the big studio as they wanted to use the new 8-track, but they returned to Studio 2 once that also got a bigger Neve.
Here’s the 1968 Pye Studios Rate Card:
Fairly standard rates and the usual ‘overtime’ after 6pm and at weekends. Pye were probably the first independent studio to have Dolby, apart from Decca where it had been taken up well before.
On the Rate Card, there’s also the ‘Frequency Generator for Tape Speed Variation’, which is the ‘vari-speed’ unit they nicknamed ‘The Savage’. Bob Auger had purchased Ampex tape decks fitted with American 110 volt motors, which at least allowed them to be connected to ‘The Savage’; a rack of 25-watt Pamphonic amplifiers linked to an oscillator, that produced the necessary 100 volts to give variable capstan speeds when required by altering the drive oscillator’s frequency. 
21c| Records from the first Pye Studios Neve
Studio 1 was 40ft x 30 ft x 18ft. (12 x 9 x 5.5 metres) and being the largest studio was usually used for orchestras, while Studio 2 did the pop sessions. Studio 1 had lino on concrete floors and slotted wooden panels left from the TV studio and also retained its the tall ceiling. 
‘The Kinks’ – Recording at Pye since 1964 (Engineers: Bob Auger, Alan Mackenzie, Alan O’Duffy and Ray Prickett)
Pye had been recording ‘The Kinks’ since 1964 in the ‘pop studio’, Studio 2. Initially the American Shel Talmy did all the producing, but after a few successful records Ray Davies began to also move more into the production, to make sure of getting the sound he wanted the band to have:
“I had good engineers: Bob Auger, Alan Mackenzie, Alan O’Duffy, Ray Prickett, all employees at Pye, all really good solid studio guys. I learnt a lot from those people. They had to know their sonics, those guys.”
“I remember the first time – I think it was the first time – there was feedback on a record, on “I Need You.” It was a mistake, but as I was doing the count-in, Dave’s guitar went off. Bob Auger was engineering it, and this man with all his experience just knew what to do and that was the take. It was a combination of new, young musicians like The Kinks coming through with radical ideas, and then very knowledgeable, experienced people who knew how to record it. There’s a real debt owed to those engineers working with us.” 
‘Sounds Orchestral’ LP’s (Engineer: Ray Prickett)
Studios like Pye recorded every type of music and being in the biggest studio, the new Neve was used on the bigger sessions, like the many ‘Sounds Orchestral’ albums that Pye recorded with Ray Prickett engineering. ‘Sounds Orchestral’ was led by pianist Johnny Pearson, and produced by John Schroeder and was comparable to the other ‘orchestras doing pop’ that EMI, Philips and Decca were also recording and Pearson and Schroeder had been producing these albums since their first in 1964, which had a version of jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi’s ‘Cast Your Fate To The Wind’.
Coping with arrangements that were rhythm section led, with ‘strings’ and ‘woods’ etc was great fun for any engineer, as you had to keep the rhythm sounding tight with a room full of ‘high mics’ for the big string section; all recorded ‘as live’ without any overdubbing of course….well except any sessions with vocals afterwards most probably.
Alas, despite sometimes having some good arrangements, these orchestral pops tended to become boring very quickly and it’s surprising that such albums sold so well.
Ray Prickett had recorded many hits and there’s a great article HERE ; a Sound On Sound article about his 1964 recording of Petula Clark’s ‘Downtown’, written and produced by Tony Hatch. It’s worth reading to get an overview of the techniques Ray used.
Craig Douglas – ‘Don’t Mind If I Cry’ (Engineer n/a)
A typical vocal session with ‘orchestra’ though was perhaps this Craig Douglas recording of another Tony Hatch production, ‘Don’t Mind If I Cry’ released in December 1969. This would be Studio 1 on the Neve. The opening strings are very obviously close miked and that HF is very shrill initially, but you can hear that it’s a ‘big open studio’ and the engineer’s trying his best to beat the spill with Kenny Clare’s drums and Herbie Flower’s bass. There’s some compression on Herbie’s bass to keep it driving and give that much favoured ‘clicky’ edge.
This is from a mono Pye 45 and yes, despite his high voice, Craig is a guy!
AUDIO: Craig Douglas – ‘Don’t Mind If I Cry’ – 1969
The ‘A’ side of this 45 was ‘Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head’ and I don’t know who the engineer was, it possibly could have been any of them, such as Ray Prickett, Alan McKenzie, or Alan Florence.
Sue Wilshaw –‘Empty Sunday’ (Engineer: Brian Humphries)
Simon Napier-Bell with his writing partner at the time Vicki Wickham, were trying for another hit like they’d had with Dusty Springfield when they took Sue Wiltshaw into Pye Studio 1. And it’s another biggish band, surely done ‘in one’ with vocals then overdubbed, all on the 8-track. Alas it’s just another perfectly well produced and recorded song, that’s not at all memorable!
AUDIO: Sue Wiltshaw-‘Empty Sunday’ – 1968
The Neve in use, showing the nearness of the back wall.
Anyone know what happened to Pye’s first Neve from Studio 1?
22| 1968: ‘From The North’ – Granada TV’s 24 plus 12 channel Neve – ‘Serial ‘67111/2042’
Granada TV in Manchester had the ITV contract for the weekdays in the North of England since 1956, but in the newly allocated contracts handed out in 1968, Granada lost the east of its region to a new company ‘Yorkshire TV’ and instead got the whole of the week in the area covered by the Winter Hill ITV transmitter.
Granada still were using ageing valve sound mixers made by Pye of Cambridge, and needed to re-equip and convert to colour which was arriving in 1969. In 1970 Granada was able to claim:
“The Granada TV Centre was the first building in Britain specifically designed and built for television. It covers a five-acre site in the centre of Manchester, with an eight-storey administrative building topped by a 100 foot tower, a landmark on the skyline of the new city. A £3,500,00 technical re-equipment scheme is being completed which will make it a highly modern and efficient production unit. Granada has three large drama studios (the largest, Studio 12, of 8,000 sq.ft. floor-space) and current-affairs and continuity studios.” 
The Neve in the newly refurbished Granada TV sound control room in Manchester, was a 24 channel main desk, along with a 12 channel extension unit. The Neve paperwork for the desk’s new 1060/1865/1866 and 2059 modules refers to to ‘Granada 67111’, whilst a little later the metalwork for the jackfield is for ‘Granada 2042’.
This new mixer in this colour shot doesn’t look ‘blue-grey’ though and the metalwork appears to match the colour of the Marconi knobs. This therefore seems to help this assertion of John and Derek’s:
“Although Rupert implies in one of his interviews that the colour change was from shiny black to RAF Blue, both Derek Stoddart and myself think there was an intermediate colour used for a very short period which likely included the Granada TV mixer.”
“There was just one different colour which I believe was a lighter grey colour”
Like most of this period, this TV sound control room looks down on the studio floor below. It was however soon realised that this was now of little value and in the years following, when new TV studio centres were built, they usually opted for control rooms down at studio floor level.
These consoles for Granada TV illustrate the need to squeeze as many audio channels as possible into a fairly small sound control room. TV studios have a number of different control rooms for Production, Lighting, Vision and Sound; all vying for the available space, and the compromise arrived at here is fitting the sound mixer with an additional sideways mounted 12 channel desk to augment the main 24 channel desk. There is a free standing jackfield also housing the compressors and more output amps, and there’s a single sideways mounted Lockwood speaker and an EMI BTR4 tape deck off to the side.
This is the ‘pre-delivery photo’ of the main Granada desk. The floor in the photo shows that this was still in the Priesthaus workshop in Little Shelford.
The rear of the main console shows us how Neve made a TV desk like this have a reduced width compared with the recording studio ones. The ‘Line Amps’ are kept off the front face of the desk, and the plug-in Gardners transformers are in the more open central space, with relays beneath them. The bottom row houses the channel ‘line input’ transformers. Locating clips for the wiring looms can be seen hanging under the chassis.
22a| The Neve 1866 switching and 1865 gain/pfl modules
The channel strips have the 1866 switching modules at the top, which have a rotary ‘Group Selector’ switch with choice of the 6 groups. An ‘Echo’ switch with choice of ‘1’ or ‘2’ and a ‘PA’ send pot with the associated switch giving ‘Pre PA’ and ‘Post PA’. Finally a ‘Foldback’ switch, but there’s no ‘send pot’, as the channel’s foldback just follows the fader gain, with overall master levels on the centre panel.
Beneath the 1060 mic amps are the simple 1865 modules which just have a’ fine gain’ control for the mic-amps of probably 10dBm range and then a light-blue coloured ‘PFL’ button.
Because in television the dynamic range can change enormously and you often use the same mic for numerous artists during a show, having a ‘fine gain control’ was considered very useful by operators.
22b| The Neve 1060 mic-amp module
The 1060 mic amp, has two interesting changes; the gain control switch has been moved to the bottom of the module and it must be the first module to have an EQ ’In/Out’ switch. All the previous Neve mic amps had the EQ permanently in circuit.
Looking firstly at the top, there is the fixed frequency ‘HF’ with boost or cut, followed by the mid-range with the frequencies ‘7.0 / 5.0 /3.5 / 2.5 / and 1.75′ KHz. The EQ ‘In / Out’ is then above that ‘-80 to +20’ dBm coarse gain, with its ‘Mic / Line’ switching. The 1060 module shown in the photo above though, is in the blue-grey’ that became the Neve standard colour.
Granada TV Neve monitoring panel
On the Monitor Panel on the upstand, two Ernest Turner PPM’s are provided. If you have a big enough screen, the labelling on the upstand can easily be read, so I won’t repeat it. Note however that you could monitor the 2 separate outputs, each of the Groups and both ‘Studio Output’ and ‘Main Output’ on the left PPM and the Monitor speaker’s selector.
The ‘Main Amp’ is the ‘Sound Distribution Amp’ feeding off the ‘the world outside’, whereas the ‘Studio Output’ was the Neve line-amp feeding to that ‘Main Amp’. It would be better to monitor the ‘Main Amp’ to prove all is well with the signal leaving you.
The ‘Tapes 1 /2/3’ and ‘Gram’ are local machines. The channel ‘PFL’ appears to only be available on a small desk loudspeaker.
Beneath the Monitor Panel, the ‘Groups’ section has 2 master ‘FB Sends’ on the top left, and across from them, the selectors for each of the 6 Groups. I can’t tell what the rotary selector switches are for; and in fact there are two types – the centre two having what looks like a ‘FB’ or ‘Echo’ gain pot. Each group has keyswitches to select the 2‘ Outputs’ though. On the upper right are the main ‘Echo Send‘ controls. The EMT faders are flush mounted here and the Group faders don’t have the ‘PFL’ button that is available on the channels.
The lower section of this panel has a TB speaker control on the left. Four of the Groups have 2059 High Pass/Low Pass EQ modules and the middle of the panel has some TB keys and the wand for mounting a TB mic. On the right are the ‘PFL/Prog’ mini speaker selector and level controls. The mini speakers on either side of the console are visible in the colour photo at the top.
There’s one other part to Neve’s Granada equipment:
The jackfield rows from top to bottom are:
‘Mixer Feeds’: Outgoing feeds from desk Groups, FB’s, Echo’s and Outputs:
‘Auxiliaries’: Aux outputs from desk
‘Insertion Points’: 2 x 18 row jacks for 36 channels, plus a third row for Groups etc.
‘Microphone Points’: 4 rows of incoming mic lines from the studio floor and the lighting grid.
‘Mic Channel Inputs’: 2 x 18 mic inputs to desk.
‘High Level Channel Inputs’: 2 x 18 HL inputs to desk.
‘High Level Sources’: High level inputs from external sources and local ‘grams’.
Connections to the desk are on multipin connectors on ‘tails’. There are four Neve 2252 compressors and an Oscillator unit at the bottom of the bay and rack space for more ‘Sound Distribution Amps’ to feed off the various outputs.
22c| Programmes from the Granada TV Studios, Manchester
Granada Television, Granada TV Centre, Quay Street, Manchester M60 9EA
The Neve was for Granada Studio 12, their largest 8,000sq.ft studio, which along with Studio 8 had been constructed in 1958. Studio 12 was converted to colour in 1969 but Studio 8 was left incomplete until about 1972, when it got operational with EMI 2001 cameras. 
The Chairman Sidney Bernstein was vain enough to number his studios ‘even numbers’ only, so as to appear to have even more than the BBC, but ‘canny’ enough to not complete Studio 8 until it was really needed.
The scenery storage ‘scene-dock’ area at the back of these two studios where the above photo is taken, was nicknamed ‘M1′ after the motorway. Here’s the inside of Studio 12:
‘Family At War’ – Granada 1970-1972
In 1969, having invested in all the new equipment required to convert to colour, Granada, like the other ITV stations, was keen to use their new studio colour cameras and one way was to produce a successful drama series. Granada produced ‘Family At War’ .
The writer of the series tells us about the preparation for recording an episode:
“The 52 episodes of the series were broadcast on the ITV network between April 1970 and February 1972. I believe the first 13 episodes were scheduled in consecutive weeks but, because each episode took at least two weeks to make, we had to have more than half of them in the can before transmission could begin.
This two week production schedule for each episode was based on a method which has been abandoned now but was, in the early decades of TV drama, a most economical pattern. On the morning of day 1 (which was usually a Wednesday) the cast assembled for a read-through of the script and there was then a discussion between the writer, the director and producer about the length of the piece and any necessary changes. That afternoon we would rehearse the scenes to be filmed on location in the following two days. Then everybody had a weekend off.
The second week was devoted to rehearsals for the studio scenes which made up the major portion of the show. These took place in a large room where the ground plan of the sets was marked out in adhesive tape, a different colour for each set. The furniture was rudimentary, the props were laughable but by Thursday of that week the director and the cast were ready to show the lighting director, technical supervisor and senior cameraman what they would have to shoot on the following Tuesday.
Rehearsals on the Friday of week 2 were devoted to fine tuning the acting performances of the cast and making any minor changes deemed necessary at the technical run-through on the previous day. After that the director completed his camera script which was typed by his production assistant. Our studio would have been used for another programme on that Friday – those sets were struck on Friday night and our sets put in their place. These were lit over the weekend and sometimes we had a walk-through on Sunday to familiarise ourselves with the actual sets. Then, we were ready for camera rehearsal on Monday morning.
This was the first time that the rest of the camera crew, the sound crew, the vision mixer and most of the technical staff had seen the show. So we would progress slowly through it, scene by scene, until everyone knew what they had to do when the time for recording arrived on the following day. At that time we recorded on videotape the whole piece from opening titles to closing captions, playing in the film inserts and stopping only for the advertising breaks. Mistakes could be edited out at a later stage but this was not popular. The aim was to make a recorded programme on the same basis as a live transmission.” 
From ‘Coronation Street’ and ‘World In Action’ to ‘Doing Their Thing’
The longest lasting and possibly most famous programme to come out of Granada though has been the soap ‘Coronation Street’. It initially was recorded in Studio 2, but in 1968 they purchased adjacent land and built a complete ‘street’ of timber and ply, supported by scaffolding, in which to make the programme. The next year, with the coming of colour, the houses were re-constructed in brick. The series wouldn’t ever have seen the big Studio 12 though.
Their biggest film dramas, ‘Brideshead Revisited‘ and ‘The Jewel In The Crown’ were shown around the world, and ‘World In Action’ came to the ITV Network from Granada. ‘World In Action’ went where other investigative current-affairs programmes weren’t prepared to go and had many a battle with both ‘The Establishment’ and Tory Governments over the years. Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher was extremely antagonistic to ITV over her years in office.
The company was brave in other ways too, they made some good rock shows, usually under the guidance of producer Johnnie Hamp, such ‘Doing Their Thing’ which had ‘Deep Purple’ on in 1970; not the usual music on ITV at that time. Here’s another show from a few years later that, like the BBC’s ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’, also tried to get away from the way ‘pop’ was presented at the time. It is usually remembered for putting the new punk bands, when no one else in TV would do so –‘So It Goes’:
‘So It Goes’ – Granada TV -1976/7
Below is the Studio 12 floorplan for a dry-run of the Granada music/comedy show ‘So It Goes’. I think the date is 9th February 1976, which was some months before the show started being transmitted. This ‘pilot programme’ has two live bands, ‘Gallagher and Lyle’, and ‘Be-Bop Deluxe’. It ran for two series from 3 July-21 August 1976 and 9 October-11 Dec 1977, but was only shown in a few ITV regions.
A big Xeroxed floorplan like this was produced for every production, and this one was drawn up by the Designer Colin Abernathy, after discussions with the Producer Chris Pye and Director Peter Walker. It would then have been shown to the Lighting Director, Senior Cameraman and Sound Supervisor at a planning meeting, so that each could make the arrangements their departments required. The four ‘arrows’ labelled ‘1,2’ and ‘3,4’, are the cabling routes for the studio cameras. This ‘pilot programme’ has marked in positions for ‘Be-bop Deluxe’ at the top left and ‘Gallagher and Lyle’ towards the centre. A piano is in the middle, labelled ‘concert-grand’, with a violin position and a ‘dance area’.
The two squared off areas are rostrums for ‘audience -approx 198′ (all on chairs)’. Separate positions are shown for the presenter Tony Wilson and for Clive James, who got a weekly ‘slot’.
Below is the first page of the script for that same pilot programme:
The Director prepares this ‘Camera Script’, which is actually typed out by his ‘PA’, who during the programme, sits beside him in ‘the production gallery’ and calls out the camera cuts and rolls the ‘T/C’ and ‘VTR’ in when needed. The pre-planned camera cuts are detailed, although the Director can change those at will of course during the camera rehearsal, and here the Camera numbers and the other sources, the Telecine (film) and VTR are already written in, with their durations.
All staff use their own copies of this script to write up their own specific instructions, and the Sound Supervisor would write in fader level settings from his rehearsal. The cameramen use a reduced version on easier to read ‘shot cards’, relating just to their own camera shots.
Presenter Tony Wilson would be using an ‘Autocue’ with these words typed up on it. In pre-computer days, the Autocue operator had to re-type and insert into the long scrolled ‘roll’, any script changes like those above.
‘SO IT GOES’:
“Episode 9 – Granada ITV, TX 28 August 1976). ‘Gentlemen’ (in the studio) performing ‘My Ego’s Killing Me’, ‘The Bowles Brothers’ (in the studio) performing ‘Charlie’s Nuts’, Jerry Lee Lewis extracted from the 1964 Granada special, ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’, ‘The Sex Pistols’ making their UK TV debut performing ‘Anarchy In The UK’ live in the studio. Amazingly, because the other ITV stations who had been carrying the show, namely, LWT, ATV, Grampian and Border, had decided not to transmit this final episode of the first series, Granada Television became the only ITV station to broadcast this legendary ‘Sex Pistols’ performance at the time.” 
Here’s a video clip of the opening and the first live band from the show of 28th August 1976. This starts with the ‘VT Clock’, that was recorded at the start of every videotaped programme. Even in 1976 this VT Clock was still a crude wind-up clock, as it did all that was required, it identified the programme tape and enabled it to be ‘cued’ accurately when transmitted. These were still the days of enormous 2″ Quad VTR machines, and the studio cameras are the great EMI 2001’s:
VIDEO: Press ‘Play’ bottom left
As was usual at this time, the Sound Supervisor didn’t get a credit.
Afterlife: Well maybe……
I spotted this very extensively modified Neve, that turned up in California back in 2010. It is equipped with twenty-four 1060 mic amp modules, but it’s the presence of what looks like the same 1866 switching modules, which I doubt if anyone else was likely to have used, that leads me to speculate that it was one of the Granada TV desks in an earlier life! I say ‘one of’, because I think with a total of four TV studios, Granada would have had similar Neves that we don’t have the documentation for.
Can anyone help with information on Granada’s early Neve mixers?
The VU’s and the rebuilt centre section in the above console confuse the issue and the faders aren’t the EMTs; but they’ve often been swopped for the later P&Gs. Also it’s ‘blue-grey’, and the little 1865 ‘gain’ modules at the bottom have been changed into pan-pots I think…… it’s interesting though.
1968 : Early Neve Module Metalwork
Thanks to a set of photos posted on a web forum, here’s a look at the construction of one of those early modules, the 1060 mic amp that we’ve looked at in the Granada consoles. 
If you take the Marconi control knobs off a very ‘weary’ looking module, you get this:
Remove the etched top plate and underneath are a couple of ‘spacers’ allowing access for the nuts on the threaded shafts for the control switches and pots:
The spacers are obviously hand made and filed to shape with the vice-marks still visible. Turning it sideways to to view the spacers:
Lifting off the spacers:
An improved method of producing these locating panel mounts was just part of the many changes introduced right through the Neve sheet metalwork.
“Manolo used to make all the metalwork just using a vice and drilling machine, so Rupert asked what was needed to improve the time and accuracy of Manolo’s work, and I told him he needed a ‘Fly Press’ and sets of punches to match the various common sizes plus a Vee-bending Press tool.
I went with Rupert to look at Fly Presses etc and we bought a good one plus tools, and at the same time the module metalwork was being designed to be later made of thinner gauge steel and bright nickel plated.”
Looking well equipped by 1971, the Melbourn metalwork department.
1968/9: ‘Urban Blues in a Skyscraper’ – Chicago Sound Studio’s Neves
” The first Console into the U.S. was to Sound Studios Inc. in Chicago. Very cold January or February day!” 
That first Neve in the US went into this imposing building:
THE CARBIDE AND CARBON BUILDING:
“A dazzling building on Chicago’s skyline, the Carbide and Carbon Building epitomizes the lavish excitement of Art Deco. The facade is composed of luxurious polished black granite, green and gold terra-cota and gold leaf with bronze trim. The building’s interior is known for its extravagant lobby, originally used to display the company’s products. Frosted glass fixtures and Belgian marble greet visitors at its Michigan Avenue entrance.
The building’s cap is ornamented with genuine 24 karat gold, though it is only one five-thousandths of an inch thick. Bronze trim extends from the tip of the spire to the ground.” 
Yes, the top of the building was capped in 24 karat gold!
Quite a place for a recording studio, but this was Chicago, home of Bill Putnam’s Universal ‘A’ and Chess Studios, and I couldn’t help wondering how did such a fairly minor studio discover ‘Rupert Neve’ in the early years of his desk manufacturing? The answer was found in a music magazine:
The above would have been the console in Chicago’s Sound Studios that Ron Pickup undertook to replace.
Pickup had been an engineer at the Regent Sound ‘Studio A’ in Tottenham Court Road, the newer of the two Regent Sound studios.
Another Regent engineer, remembered:
“I worked with Ron Pickup on the alternate shift and I recorded artists such as The Who for their 1st rock-opera “A Quick One While He’s Away”, I did two sessions with George Martin, the 1st a harmonised vocal of the Weather Forecast and the 2nd a demo with Billy J. Kramer and a studio full of musos (George used to take off my Aussie accent). I felt at the time that I helped bring The Beatles to Regent (09/2/67) to record “Fixing A Hole” for the classic Sgt Peppers album, but Adrian (Adrian Ibbetson) was given that session, and he did a great job, of course!” 
Noel returned to Australia and became a well respected TV mixer with ABC.
Looking at the new transistor desk in the photo above, that Ron Pickup had used at Regent Sound Studio just off Tottenham Court Road, it’s obvious why he would look to the UK for a new mixer and in the piece quoted above it says ‘three Rupert Neve mixers’. We know of two of them, but confirming the order that they were delivered is harder to pin down.
Two consoles appear in the Neve Drawings Register immediately after each other. The first is labelled ‘Chicago’; and with the number ‘67123’, which we know was a 16 input 8 group desk, and the other ‘Chicago Red’ (for Reduction) and that’s console ‘2001′; an 8 channel 4 group desk.
Why such different serials? Unfortunately we don’t know why seemingly consecutive Neve’s got such completely different numbering in the early days.
Anyway, if the ‘67123’ design drawings were started first, as implied by the Neve document, it doesn’t explain why it still hadn’t appeared in the Billboard Directory entry for the studio in 1970:
Studio 1 shows as having the ‘8 input Neve’, which is given as ‘8 output’, but that was common in linking a console to a multitrack.
Studio 2 has a ‘4 input 4 output Neve’, and there is no sign of the expected ’16 into 8 Neve’ desk.
Sound Studio Inc’s. Studio 1 was 35ft x 16ft, and ‘accomodates 10’ it says above, so the 8 input would ‘get them by’ until the bigger desk arrived. As for the other studio with a Neve 4 into 4; a small one just for ‘voice-overs’ is likely, as there are photos of a small room being used for that at the studio.
23| 1968:‘First In The US’ – Chicago Sound Studios 8 channel 4 group Neve – ‘Serial 2001’
Anyway lets look at that 8 channel closer:
The Neve documentation refers to Sound Studios 8 channel Neve ‘2001’, as ‘Chicago Red’ which was short-hand for ‘reduction’. Though unlike the Chappell’s or the Regson ‘reduction mixers’ in Part Three, this mixer was built for recording, and we know it was used in the Studio first. It was however just a ‘4-track’ desk.
23a| The Neve 2060 EQ and 1868 switching modules
The Sound Studios channel strips are fitted with now well established 1058 mic amps, that we saw on the Spanish TV and Rediffusion mixers (see Part Two), which here are re-styled in the new blue-grey colour and have better silk-screening and the Marconi knobs. Beneath each 1058 is a new 1868 switching module.
However, looking at the left side of the mixer, at the top are a pair of 2060 modules, which are line-level High Pass and Lo Pass Filters. They have an input level pot, with a switch beneath choosing the Hpf frequencies of ‘Off/45/70/160/and 360 c/s’. This is followed by the Lpf frequencies of ‘Off/18/14/10/8 and 6 Kc/s’. These would be inserted as required, via the jackfield, typically in the Echo Send or Returns or very possibly also in channels, as the EQ units on the 1058’s don’t have any Hpf or Lpf’s.
The 1868 switching units have a ‘pan-pot’ at the top, with a pair of keyswitches to select the pan-pot in the up position, so you could make stereo groups of ‘1-3’ and ‘2-4’. In the down position it’s mono ‘1’ or ‘2’ only.
The single ‘Foldback’ has on the left a ‘Pre/Post’ keyswitch and on the right a small ‘FB’ level pot.
Likewise ‘Echo’ has a ‘Pre/Post’ on the left and on the right the keyswitch selects ‘1’ or ‘2’ , with ‘1-2’ in the centre position. The Echo level pot is then bigger than the ‘FB’ one.
The Sound Studios 4 Group Neve monitoring panel
Looking at the right side, are the groups and monitor controls:
Top left the 1260 Line Amplifiers, starting with ‘Echo 1’, ‘Echo 2’ and ‘Foldback’. The next four would be for the Groups. Beneath them are four 1869 Direct Input modules; these are ‘line-level’ inputs, which feed into the groups via a ‘pan-pot’ and the keyswitches ‘1’, ‘1-2’ and ‘2’, with a level pot.
“I think that by this time the use of the dark blue knobs and black switch caps were being used universally in the Echo Send and Return circuits. So the ‘Direct Inputs’ would be used as Echo Returns.”
There’s a ‘Talkback’ 1653 module and an ‘Oscillator’ 1453, plus 2 more 1260 Line amps.
The ‘Monitor panel’ section has given up the idea of selectors for four loudspeakers, as was still common, and now we have just two monitor speakers. There are four keyswitches to select the four groups to ‘Monitor L’, and another four for ‘Monitor R’. During recording the you’d have to work out how you wanted to listen to any of mono or stereo groups groups in the speakers stereo image. A keyswitch also then lets you choose either a ‘Mono’ or ‘Stereo’ speaker configuration.
The keyswitch next along selects between ‘Playback’ / Off / Sel-Sync To Foldback’. The ‘Playback’ position allows the choice of the 4 tape tracks and is ‘Playback To Foldback’. Then another set of 4 similar keyswitches, this time ‘Playback To Echo 1’
I find the labelling ‘Sel-Sync To Foldback’ interesting. Does it show that the 4-track tape deck in use, which was probably an Ampex, had separate ‘Record’ and ‘Replay’ tape head outputs that were available on the Neve’s monitor inputs? ‘Sel-sync’ was the replay from the ‘Record’ head and on the later multi-track machines, like a Scully, a selector on the tape deck electronics itself was where you choose the tape output from either the ‘Record’ head or the ‘Replay’ head.
“On the original Ampex Sel-Sync machines, you needed to do two things when punching in – switching the record head back to the record electronics, and switching the track output from the playback electronics to the record electronics so the player could hear himself. The reason why there was a “tape op” was because, given that the engineer might need a finger on a level control, a punch-in took three hands.” 
The bottom row starts on the left with the big ‘Monitor’ level pot and beside it the selector ‘Outputs/Playback/Echo 1/Echo 2 and Foldback’. A ‘Meters’ switch has ‘Playback/Output/Anc’ selection, the later being paired with ‘Off/Echo 1/Echo 2/Foldback’.
The ‘Output Matrix’ selector chooses from ‘Mono/2 Track/4 Track’. The ‘4 Track’ having two pan-pots, ‘Pan 2’ and ‘Pan 3’ which pans tracks 2 and 3 from the 4T to the speakers.
An ‘Oscillator’ keyswitch routes it to either ‘Output’ or ‘Groups’. Finally is the ‘Monitor Echo Return’, with keyswitches for ‘L’, ‘R’ or via a pan-pot.
I think it’s likely that having got the 8 channel Neve in use in the main studio, and a little 4 in 4 out Neve in their second ‘voice’ studio, that Sound Studios Inc. delayed putting in their bigger desk, as although it surely was delivered earlier, it finally showed up listed in the Billboard Studios Directory mid-1971 issue.
24| 1968:‘The shape of Neve’s to come’ – Chicago Sound Studios 16 input 8 output Neve – ‘Serial 67123’
Once Rupert had introduced the change of colour and the newer control knobs, he fairly quickly set the look that continued for years, as surely this Chicago desk is the first Neve that looks like what later became the ’80 Series’. It’s the way every sound engineer expects ‘a classic Neve’ to look.
The Chicago Sound Studios 24 channel was 8 group, but fitted with 13 ‘monitors’; so it was ready for the move to a future anticipated 12-track recorder. It is fitted with 1057 mic amps and a new 1867 switching module, and once again, like the 1058 on ‘2001’, the 1057 mic amps, which had started life in the ‘black finish’ days, here are in ‘blue-grey’ with the new Marconi control knobs.
From the left are the 16 channel strips of 1057 mic amps and the 1867’s. Next along the 8 groups with more 1867’s, above which are a mix of four 2057 EQ’s, and then two 2060 High Pass /Low Pass EQ’s, and two groups without EQ. Four 1872 Rev Returns are on the extreme right, above the line-amps.
Having 1867 switching modules above the eight group faders means you can re-route groups to other groups and also feed to the 2 ‘FB’s’ and 4 ‘Echo’s’ like the channels.
Above the 1867’s on the first four groups, are those four 2057 EQ modules and the next two have 2060 Hpf/Lpf modules, and these would most probably be ‘patchable’ and not assigned to those groups only.
The panel on the upper right has four 1872 Reverb Return modules, which allow each of the four ‘Echo’s’ to be routed to groups with a pan if needed, and a ‘Return Level’ pot. Beneath them are the line amps; four ‘Echo Sends’ and a ‘Console Loudspeaker’, each with a level pot.
This is what the 1057 mic amp module that started with the Chappell’s Neve desk (see Part Three), now looks like in its new finish; quite a change.
24a| The Neve 1057 mic-amp module (revised)
24b| The Neve 1867 switching module
We don’t have a close-up of the 1867 switching module but here’s a view of them installed in the Sound Studios 8 group desk:
The 1867 has group switching via latching ‘isostat’ push-button switches. This isn’t the first time these have been used but they certainly make selecting the eight groups here much more obvious than the keyswitches on the Pye console. At the top of the module is the ‘Pan’ with a small white push button to select it in beneath it. Below the group selectors, the ‘Foldback’ on the left has a ‘Pre/Post’ toggle switch and a small level pot. Once again push-buttons are now used to choose ‘1’ or ‘2’. On the right are four ‘Echo’ selectors, with a similar ‘Pre/Post’ toggle and obviously four push-buttons. The ‘Level’ for the Echo is larger, which helps identification from the ‘FB’ of course. Finally at the bottom, a small ‘PFL’ non-locking push switch and another, locking this time for the channel ‘Cut‘.
The “Channel Cut” switches were initially EMI illuminated latching push button switches. For the USA these had red caps and “Cut” the audio signal when pressed and illuminated red. For the rest of the world these switches had green caps and were channel “ON” switches, switching the audio “On” when pressed and illuminating green.
Later these push button switches became a problem as operators (primarily in the pop studios) found that it was possible to do fast mutes by holding the “ON” switch cap down with a finger nail and then rapidly removing the finger nail in a flicking action. The switch return spring did the rest. Unfortunately this could also send the switch cap flying to the ceiling! Subsequently a different switch arrangement had to be used.”
On the right side, below the line-amps and ‘Echo Returns’, are some of the monitoring controls, along with two banks of keys. Surely they can’t all be for talkback. To the right of those, in front of the Mosses and Mitchell jackfield are the four speaker select pushbuttons and level pots, which as I said are for a future 12-track tape deck. Alongside them are ‘Monitor Echo’ and ‘FB’ selectors, with more direct/tape and ancilliary select switches.
Ernest Turner PPM’s
The big Simpson’s VU’s on a console like this are an impressive sight but at the end of the those VU’s is a very unusual thing to see on any console destined for the US at this time; an Ernest Turner ‘PPM’, a ‘Peak Programme Meter’. It’s not a classically styled BBC ‘PPM’, but an ‘EBU scale’ variation. The centre marking, which would be PPM 4 on the BBC scale, is here marked at ‘Test’, which in fact is where the line-up tone being shown on all the group VU’s meters is also indicating. Here’s the differing scale of both the BBC and EBU PPM’s:
Presumably ‘the British engineer’ Ron Pickup would be responsible for specifying a Peak Programme Meter on the bigger Chicago desk; perhaps he was BBC trained?
The PPM on that desk shows the line-up tone being used set at 0VU on those Simpson VU’s, which wouldn’t be how we in the UK set VU’s and PPM’s when both are used together. The ‘peak’ level on a BBC PPM that you don’t want to exceed with ‘programme’, is ‘6’, which on the EBU scale is +8dB. However the VU under-reads ‘peaks’, being an ‘averaging meter’ really and we always set 0VU tone to be at +4dB or PPM 5. So I would expect to see the tone on that EBU PPM at ‘Test’ ( ie 4 on the BBC scale) to be reading -4dB on those VU’s.
There is only one PPM on the desk though, so on reflection I think it’s most possible that an EBU PPM was just the easiest way to produce a meter with a wide range of ‘dB’s’ on it’s scale, for setting the desk oscillator output when lining-up the tape decks.
24c| The studios and music of Chicago’s ‘Sound Studios’
Sound Studios Inc., 230 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago 60601.
When you walked into the that impressive ‘Carbide and Carbon Building’ at 230 N Michigan Avenue, in central Chicago, the view above you in the amazing lobby was this:
In a building like this, obviously Sound Studios Inc. would want a smart reception area as well. Here it is below, complete with tasteful paintings on the wall…is that one of the Degas’ ‘ballerina’s’ there on left?:
The studio was 35ft long and only 16ft wide and seems to have had a minimal amount of conversion carried out to change it from ‘office space’, which the rest of the building must have remained:
There were many recording studios in Chicago, as it was the home of ‘the amplified blues’ in both it’s ‘electric guitar’ and ‘amplified harmonica’ forms. Along with lots of jazz, ranging from ‘Trad’ to ‘Avante-garde’, many of the studios made a living from the shear amount of ‘jingles’ being recorded for radio and TV.
The biggest and most famous of the Chicago studios was Universal, but owner Bill Putnam had sold his interest in Universal and moved to Hollywood in 1957. And of course Chicago was the home to Chess Records, which had grown on the strength of the Blues and R&B artists in the city, but around 1968/9 Leonard Chess had moved into radio and was suffering from worsening health. After selling Chess to GRT in 1969, the Chess studio was still at 2120 South Michigan Ave. but its output had nothing like the power on the world of Blues, R&B and Rock that it had in earlier years.
‘Chicago Blues’ , ‘Jazz – from Trad to Free’, and ‘so many Jingles’ – music from the Chicago Neves
Stu Black was an established engineer in Chicago, who moved from Sound Studios to Chess in 1968 and then returned a few years later. A place like Sound Studios recorded what ever came in the door, which included one of Chicago’s more ‘way out’ groups, the free jazz of ‘The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians’.
‘The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians’ – the Delmark sessions ( Engineers: Stu Black and Ron Pickup)
“The AACM was a nonprofit co-op, led initially by Muhal Richard Abrams, which helped to produce concerts of experimental jazz. The organization evolved in part out of the work of the Experimental Band, which began in 1961, also under Abrams’s leadership. The first recording of these musicians was the Roscoe Mitchell Sextet’s Sound, which was released on Bob Koester’s Delmark label in 1966. Up until that album, the Chicago-based label had released blues, traditional jazz, and bebop. While Delmark had not previously been involved in releasing such aggressively avant-garde music, Koester did have experience with recording studios. He was very happy with his experience recording at Hall Studios with engineer Stu Black. When Black went to work at Sound Studios, a converted radio station at 230 N. Michigan Avenue, Delmark’s business followed. While the main room at Sound was neither as large nor as alive as that at Hall Studios, it was big enough to comfortably position all of the musicians and their many instruments.” Delmark’s next three recording sessions continued in the by-now established pattern. Anthony Braxton’s first album as leader, Three Compositions of New Jazz, was recorded at Sound Studios, with its new staff engineer Ron Pickup. Koester says that “they’d brought an engineer into Sound from England, who’d once done a Beatles demo. That was his claim to fame. He made them re-equip to some extent.” 
I’ll not play anything quite so ‘experimental’…..
So here’s jazz of a totally different era.
‘Barney Bigard and Art Hodes- ‘Bucket’s Got a Hole In It’ LP’ – January 1968 (Engineeer: Ron Pickup)
It would appear that Ron Pickup didn’t stay at Chicago’s Sound Studios for very long and this is illustrated by the few albums credits for him in the Discogs website database. From 1968 there’s a totally unoriginal psychedelic rock band called ‘Little Boy Blues’; the free form avante-garde jazz of Anthony Braxton ‘Three Compositions of New Jazz’, already mentioned above; there’s a ‘traditional jazz’ album with the famous ex-Ellington clarinetist Barney Bigard, teaming up with pianist Art Hodes, and a ‘regular’ Chicago Blues album by slide guitarist J.B Hutto and His Hawks called ‘Hawk Squat’. Ron Pickup’s ‘English voice’ can be heard slating the start of the last track on that Hutto album.
Here’s a ‘blues’ but of a different sort. It’s Ellington’s ‘C-Jam Blues’ played by Bigard and Art Hodes from the session that Ron Pickup engineered in January, 1968 when Chicago’s public television station flew Bigard to Chicago to tape part of a jazz series. Delmark took the opportunity to record the album “Bucket’s Got A Hole In It.”
I think it’s a pity that ‘C-Jam Blues’ however wasn’t on that LP release and was only added to the reissued CD version.
AUDIO: “C-Jam Blues” with Art Hodes piano, Barney Bigard clarinet, Rail Wilson bass and Barrett Deems drums.
Although always regarded as an Ellington tune, the melody of ‘C-Jam Blues’ is believed to have come from Barney Bigard in 1941.
The drums, bass and clarinet are recorded well, but Ron Pickup could have given more prominence and a better sound to that studio piano surely.
Magic Sam –“Black Magic” LP – October 1968
As Chicago was the home of ‘Urban Electric Blues’ the local Chess and Vee-Jay labels were among the few recording it in the early ’50’s into the 60’s. Vee-Jay went bankrupt in 1966, and Chess then spent more effort on ‘R&B’, so the little label Delmark, which started in 1957, carried on recording Blues along with it’s usual Jazz. Bob Koester who ran Delmark, favoured recording at Sound Studios Inc., so there was lots of ‘electric blues’ passing through those Neves.
The above picture shows it was a smallish studio, and although an earlier 1964 photo shows no acoustic treatment at all, by 1968 there appear to be lots of just ‘mid-range’ absorbers on the walls. The session is for the Delmark LP ‘Black Magic’ with the blues guitarist-singer Magic Sam.
The drummer, Odie Payne is behind the screens furthest away with Mack Thompson on bass seated close to Mighty Joe Young on guitar, and tenor player Eddie Shaw, nearest. The piano and Hammond with Lafayette Leake, are set up on the right. Magic Sam just out of vision on the right where that Neumann M-49 vocal mic is.
Magic Sam died of a heart attack shortly after the album was released on Delmark the next year.
‘Earl Hooker – ‘2 Bugs and a Roach’ LP – November 12th, 14th and 15th 1968 (Engineer: Dave Antler)
In November 1968, Chris Strachwitz, who ran Arhoolie Records, a blues label on the West Coast, came to Chicago to hear Earl Hooker, a great but rarely recorded blues guitarist who was playing again after a long 11 month bout of TB, from which he had long suffered. Strachwitz was impressed with Hooker and immediately brought him into Sound Studios for album sessions that started on November 12th, with Dave Antler at the new Neve desk. The sessions took three days and the Hooker group comprised Freddie Roulette, who played a Country & Western style ‘lap’ slide guitar, ‘Pinetop’ Perkins on piano, Carey Bell on harmonica, the vocalist B. B. Odom, Chester Skaggs on bass and either Levi Warren or Willie Williams on drums.
Earl Hooker only sang on two tracks, with Carey Bell or B. B. Odom doing some others. The album was titled “Two Bugs and A Roach”, a reference to the TB that had put Hooker in hospital again, and it was the name of one of the tunes on the album.
Hooker was the recognised by his peers such as B.B. King, as the most technically accomplished electric guitarist playing blues at that time and with the new interest being shown in ‘The Blues’ by white rock fans, Hooker was obviously set up at last to become a guitar star, which would have occurred had he not died of that TB the next year, after this disc was issued. He had wonderful technique and was the first blues guitar player to conquer the recently introduced ‘wah-wah’ pedal. But to really reach big audiences though with the ‘blues’ required vocal skill as well as instrumental ones and Hooker was never a confident vocalist, preferring to have other singers in his bands but he frequently used his accomplished ‘talking guitar’ techniques to imitate vocal lines.
This track is an illustration of his wah-wah technique, and shows how he could go from slide to straight picking in such a flowing manner as well.
The band comprises the ‘lap steel’ of Fred Roulette, ‘Pinetop’ Perkins on Hammond, Geno Skaggs on bass and Willie Williams on drums, and was recorded at Sound Studios on 14th November 1968. A very comprehensive summary of this session is included in a chapter of the book ‘Earl Hooker – Blues Master’ by the French musician and blues historian Sebastian Danchin.
AUDIO: Earl Hooker “Wah Wah Blues” from the ‘Two Bugs and A Roach’ LP
Jimmy Dawkins – “Fast Fingers” – January 1969 (Engineer: Dave Antler)
The layout shown for that Magic Sam session must have been pretty standard for doing small groups in the studio because it’s used again in a session with another Chicago Blues guitarist/singer Jimmy Dawkins in Sound Studios on 22nd January 1969:
Jimmy ‘Fast Fingers’ Dawkins behind some screens, with a Shure SM5 vocal mic. Jimmy was a straight guitarist, in that he didn’t play with a ‘slide’, the steel tube or bottle top which slide guitarists played on one finger of the ‘fretting’ hand. He was named ‘Fast Fingers’, after his fast runs and tremolo effects.
Here’s the rest of the band set up facing him:
Eddie Shaw, tenor (left), Mighty Joe Young, rhythm guitar (center), and Joe Harper, bass (rear) with drummer Lester Dorsie behind screens at the back and Lafyette Leake, the keyboard player just visible rear right with his piano and Hammond. That’s Dawkins guitar amp and U-47 mic behind Joe Young’s guitar, with the screen shielding it from the vocal mic. Here’s a more typical blues from Dawkins:
AUDIO: Jimmy Dawkins, “I’m Good For Nothing” from the ‘Fast Fingers’ LP.
The engineer on the Jimmy Dawkins session was Dave Antler and Bob Koester produced for his Delmark label. For cost reasons, it was probably done as a ‘straight to stereo mix’ .
‘Hound Dog Taylor and The House Rockers’ LP- May 25th and June 2nd 1971 (Engineer: Stu Black)
Stu Black had recorded the ‘Fleetwood Mac In Chicago’ album when he was at the Ter-Mar Chess studio in 1969, but was back at Sound Studios when he engineered the very first recording session that Bruce Iglauer made in 1971 for his new Alligator label, with a Chicago blues guitarist that he’d been angling to record for sometime, Hound Dog Taylor:
“Following Bob Koester’s example, I booked time at Sound Studios with engineer Stu Black, a former engineer for Chess Records who was Bob’s first choice for Delmark sessions. Stu, whose catchphrase was, “I’ve done it all, from Howlin’ Wolf to Steppenwolf,” had recorded dozens of blues sessions.
We set up the band members in the studio just as they normally arranged themselves in a club – Hound Dog on the left, Ted Harvey in the middle, and Brewer Phillips on the right. They used their own equipment. Hound Dog played his Kingston Japanese guitar through his Sears Roebuck Silvertone amplifier. Although the amp was manufactured be Danelectro, a company famous for its inexpensive fibreglass guitars, it had six Lansing speakers, a good brand. Two of the speakers, however, were cracked, which created distortion that the cheap guitar only added to. Ted had his trusty Slingerland drum set. Brewer plugged his beat-up Fender Telecaster into a relatively new Fender Concert amplifier that he had recently bought.
We recorded simply, with one microphone on each guitar amp, one vocal microphone for Hound Dog, and four microphones for the drums (one on the bass drum, one on the snare drum, and a stereo pair overhead). Stu asked me if I wanted any reverb, but I thought it would sound too slick and “studio-ish”. I told Stu, “No. Just make it sound like their instruments sound. Don’t do anything fancy”. My goal was to get a recording that captured as much as possible the spirit and feel of the band’s performances at Florence’s. I wanted to remove any possible barriers to making this happen un the studio.
Delmark sessions had taught me that musicians usually wore headphones in the studio so that they could clearly hear one another. I suggested to Stu that instead of using headphones, we point some smaller speakers toward the band, so that it would seem much more natural to musicians who weren’t used to being in a recording studio”.
“In the course of two evenings, we recorded twenty-five songs, with no more than four takes of any of them, and in many cases, one take only. To keep the budget down, we recorded directly to two-track, mixing as we went, which meant there would be no way to repair anything later. I knew that when we left the studio that we had the record we had dreamed of.
The total bill was nine hundred and seventy-five dollars. That’s pretty good for a record that went on to sell close to a hundred thousand copies in the United States alone”.
Bruce says “two of the speakers, however, were cracked, which created distortion that his cheap guitar only added to”. Guitar amp distortion was common with the Chicago blues players, but Hound Dog Taylor’s distortion was surely such a signature sound that I doubt if many would ever try and emulate it! The band’s just a ‘three piece’ with Brewer Philips adding to the distortion by playing that beaten up Telecaster like a bass, despite the fact that his amp couldn’t take it either. Drummer Ted Harvey keeps them both moving.
So note…it’s not your speakers that are ‘cracked’:
AUDIO: Hound Dog –“Wild About You Baby”From the LP ‘Hound Dog Taylor and The House Rockers’
Following the Hound Dog Taylor album, Bruce Iglauer used Stu Black to mix ‘Big Walther Horton with Carey Bell’ in 1972, ‘The Son Seals Blues Band’ in ’73, ‘Natural Boogie’ with Hound Dog and a Fenton Robinson LP in ’74 and Koko Taylor’s ‘I Got what It Takes’ in ’76 for Alligator.
The details above are from Bruce Iglauer’s excellent book ‘Bitten By The Blues’ telling the story of his Alligator label that was dedicated to the ‘Blues’, mainly in Chicago. That first Hound Dog album kick-started his new Alligator label, mainly because Bruce worked so very hard to push it in every likely radio station and to the young audiences he knew existed in the colleges at that time.
‘Ads, Jingles and music for radio and TV’ – how the record business slowly changed
The most famous Chicago studio was Universal, and Bruce Swedien, who had been working there since 1957 when Bill Putnam employed him to engineer in his new Universal Studio ‘B’, said that by 1966:
“The mainstay of the Chicago recording business had began to be largely the recording of commercial advertisements, jingles, and music for radio and television.”
However Bruce Swedien also maintained:
“The singers that I worked with everyday in the studios of Chicago were absolutely superb. The vocalists were amongst the best I have ever shared studio space with…….the musicians and leaders were fantastic too.”
Because the ‘jingle’ business had so overtaken music recording, Bruce followed Putnam and also moved West. 
Afterlife: ‘2001’ The first Neve in the US lives on
The 8 channel Neve was re-stored at a later date by the John Klett, based in Carmel, New York State, who earlier had worked on many consoles for Neve US, and he put a photo of Neve ‘2001-8’ on his website.
Here’s the Chicago Sound Studio’s little Neve, looking just the same, but an additional set of ‘DIY’ controls have been added on the right blanking panel.
“That 2001-8 is probably the earliest Neve console we ever had in the shop. The model number was 2001. It had a patchbay and “producer desk” on the right end of the frame and we removed that… replaced the back panel to update the connectors and include some multi-pins on there to lay out on a new external patch. All the internal wiring was replaced – the wire Neve used in these very early consoles had gone brittle. I am not sure where that went.
John was restoring it for a client, who then passed it on to another, so John lost track of the desk. 
More recently however ‘2001’ has re-appeared, having been put on the market by vintage audio dealer Sonic Circus:
In April 2018, the original Sound Studios Neve ‘2001’ was pictured in a posting by Vermont based Sonic Circus, as it was awaiting another owner. As John Klett said, the patchbay side of the desk has gone and I think the meter stack has been centred as well. Those are P&G faders now, not the EMT’s that were still there when was restored by Klett. Also the little blue Neve fitted cut buttons above the faders, have been replaced with a pair of new buttons; probably ‘Cut’ and ‘Solo’.
I do hope she keeps going for many more years!
Afterlife: ‘67123’ That other Neve also went on…..
In 1987 the bigger Sound Studios desk also re-appeared when the recording studio owner, Tom Wright contacted Neve searching for information about an old console he had bought for his Atlanta studio. Tony Cornwell replied:
Tony Cornwell thought ‘67123’ was then the oldest Neve and that letter was later forwarded to John Turner by Rupert himself, with this comment:
“It was then sold to Tom Wright in Atlanta who demonstrated to me that it was capable of huge levels! (deafened me!).” 
Since 1970, Tom Wright had been running studios in Atlanta that became Cheshire Sound Studios, however it was in 1987 that:
“Tom expanded the Melody/Cheshire organization to include Musiplex, next door to Cheshire. Musiplex included a sound stage, rehearsal rooms, a 24 track studio, and a full pro audio support facility for outside clients. It was also during this time that the famed Wright Monitors were developed, joining the wonderful sounding Wright Microphones that Tom had developed earlier. These incredibly accurate monitors and microphones, though never produced in large quantities, became a favourite of many engineers and producers, including the late great Tom Dowd.” 
Alas I’ve not found any photos of ‘67123’ from the Atlanta days or after.
1968: Neve – desperately in need of a bigger workspace
By mid 1968 Neve’s activities at the ‘Priesthaus’ were taking over so much of the available space and work on a number of consoles was now was being undertaken simultaneously. Rupert realised that Neve needed a factory building.
“In 1968, we realised that we could not continue in this house; it was far smaller than our needs were now developing and we had to build a factory. And the Planners were opposing us at every step of the way. Finally we had agreement from them, providing we did not exceed 10,000 sq. feet, to build a factory about 10 miles south of Cambridge, in the little town of Melbourn.” 
25| 1968/9: The Neve 8 channel ‘Reduction’ for Philips
In Part Two we pointed out that Philips at Stanhope Place consisted of a single studio, but it also had a small ‘reduction’ room, and a Neve drawing dated May 22nd 1968 shows that design for the 8 channel ‘reduction’ mixer was underway for this room.
Although it’s hard to see any recording taking place in the small Philips reduction room, the Philips 8 channel did receive a new mic amp module, the 1062, along with a new switching module, the 1874.
25a| The Neve 1062 mic-amp and 1874 switching modules
The 1062 was the last of the germanium mic amp circuits that Neve produced, and although we don’t have an external photo of a 1062, we can work out the facilities from the above circuit diagram.
There’s the usual ‘-80 to +20 dBm’ gain with a separate ‘Line’ input; a fixed frequency HF ‘Treble’ pot; an HpF of ’20/45/70/160 and a fairly high 360 c/s’; no ‘Mid’ though – but there’s the first ‘Low Pass Filter’ we’ve seen on a mic amp, with frequencies of ‘6/8/10/14 and 18 Kc/s’ and an ‘LF’ of ’35/60/110 and 220 c/s’ with a ‘boost and cut’ pot.
I wonder why Philips chose to have a LpF instead of the usual mid-frequency controls?
Anybody got a photo of a Neve 1062?
Let’s examine how the desk was fitted out, from the photo below:
Top left in the upstand are the ‘Oscillator’ and a ‘Talkback’ line-amps, with a smaller VU, presumably for checking ‘auxes’.
There are obviously both ‘Stereo’ and ‘Mono’ main outputs and these have the 3 larger VU’s. Next come 4 VU’s, which are fitted with a switch and a pot under each, these may be ‘Reverb Sends’.
The mixer has four ‘Reverb Return’ modules on the left, which can be routed to the outputs through a pan-pot and a set of four white isostat push buttons. Although there are four, the previous Philips desk used these to select to three outputs; two stereo and a mono. Beneath the Rev Returns are four EQ modules, with High and Low Pass Filters. On the bottom panel on the left are remote controls for three tape decks and this is another desk where the EMT faders once again sit ‘proud’ at the front and again Philips have opted for a Teuchal patchfield.
Above the eight 1062 mic amp modules are the 1874 switching modules. These can select the four ‘Rev’s’ and also to the outputs via a pan-pot and the white push buttons.
In the centre below the single large VU are a pair of Pye 4060 Compressors, which were still much favoured throughout the late ’60’s. I gave considerable details of Pye compressors in an early set of articles on Pye mixers. Beneath them come the monitoring controls.
Under the four grouped VU’s are a pair of Astronic Graphic Equalisers that we’ve seen previously on the Chappell Neve desks.
There are then six ‘Direct Input’ modules, which would be patchable, via the Teuchal patchbay in the side panel. I do wonder though what these six direct inputs would be used for as there’s no routing switching to send them to the outputs.
The germanium transistor Astronic Graphic EQ was fairly popular and had nine frequencies of ’50/100/160/320/640/1280/2560/5120 and 10,240 c/s’.
25b| Something left in the Philips tape-store
All studios recorded sessions that never went on to be released. One such was the final small group recording by the great British sax player Tubby Hayes, carried out on June 24th and 27th 1969. Tubby hadn’t recorded for two years and wanted to re-start his recording career and so went into Philips on Tuesday the 24th for the first session at 10.30 to 1.30, with his group comprising Mike Payne on piano, Ron Mathewson on bass and Spike Wells on drums:
AUDIO: The Tubby Hayes Quartet – ‘For Members Only’ -1969
Terry Brown produced the session and David Voyde was the engineer behind the 20 channel Philips Neve (See Part Two). This was finally issued on a CD and a fairly recent review says:
“Recording engineer David Voyde has a good track record of jazz recordings, including Graham Collier and other Tubby Hayes sessions.”
This of course is what ‘modern jazz’ recording sounded like in the late ’60’s, with certainly no more than 4 mics on the drum kit and no ‘blankets in the kick drum’ to give that ‘thud’, and a single mic on ‘the studio’ grand-piano. The musicians would be sitting close to each other, with no screens, so there’s lots of drum spill across the studio. It was meant to sound like the band was on the stand playing in a club of course.
By mid-1970 Philips had an Ampex 8-track, but at the time of this session it would have been recorded on their Philips 4-track. That meant David Voyde could allocate a track per person, or he could go for ‘stereo drums’, but he’d then have to mix them with say the upright bass. He stayed with ‘mono’, and the spread you hear is the spill, mainly on the bass mic as it’s not an electric pickup on it. David’s not compressing the bass either so the only dynamic control, apart from David’s fingers on faders, is possibly from a slight compress overall.
I met David when he also joined the new group of engineers when Capital Radio started in 1973 and, like me, was to find that the job wasn’t quite what he’d expected and David ‘beat me out of the door’, when he departed for the country life at the TV studios started up by the new Open University in Milton Keynes.
Afterlife: The Philips 8 channel Neve stays for a quiet life
The Philips Studio became Polygram in 1972 and they changed the main studio console to one made in Holland, but the little Neve continued, although now used in a ‘tape copying’ role. In 1983 the studio was sold to Paul Weller becoming ‘Solid Bond Studios’:
There was another change of main studio console to an SSL in 1985, but the 8 channel Neve continued working in the tape copying suite and was finally offered for sale at £2,500, when Solid Bond closed in 1991.
Solid Bond were selling three desks. The SSL, the previous Polygram from 1972 that had been stored and from 1968, the 8 channel Neve.
So the Neve was yet another of the early germanium transistor desks that had given a good long working life! 
1968/9: ‘A Masonic Temple and a Skyscraper Church’ – Vanguard in 23rd Street, New York
Shortly after the sale of the three Neve consoles to Chicago, came two for Vanguard Records. The first of these was a 16 channel 4 group ‘Reduction’ console, which went into the recently acquired 71 W 23rd Street administration building of Vanguard’s in 1968, equipping a re-mix room. This was joined in early 1969 by a bigger 24 channel 16 group console in a newly acquired studio further down 23rd Street, and it was probably in 1970 or ’71 that another Neve 16-4 console arrived to enable recording work in a large adjacent hall.
In 1950, two New York based brothers Seymour and Maynard Solomon founded their first record label ‘The Bach Guild’ because of their desire to record some of the, as then unrecorded pieces by Bach. They followed very soon with their Vanguard label and the wonderful name ‘The Vanguard Recording Society Inc.’
The Solomon’s picked their items well for many years and the Bach Guild and Vanguard labels had considerable successes with their classical recordings and although many were recorded in Europe, in the ’60’s and 70’s they produced recordings with the Utah Symphony with conductor Maurice Abravanel, including a complete Mahler cycle recorded in the enormous Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, with Seymour Solomon producing.
It had been a 1955 Carnegie Hall recording of ‘The Weavers’, including Pete Seeger in the group, that started them getting into other fields, and such as Vanguard recording the annual Newport Folk Festival. Veteran jazz producer John Hammond made a series of jazz recordings in the Brooklyn Masonic Temple in the ’50’s and Joan Baez signed to Vanguard and the younger brother Maynard Solomon’s interests in music brought in other artists included the jazz guitarist Larry Coryell and the blues guitarist Buddy Guy. The success of West Coast based ‘Country Joe and The Fish’ in 1966 started Vanguard recording other ‘psychedelic rock’ bands. Artists ranging from folk artists like Joan Baez and Buffy Sainte-Marie to bands such as ‘The Frost’ from Detroit, were recording both at Vanguard and elsewhere and an important voice in finding new talent for the label was producer Sam Charters. He brought some of the Blues orientated musicians from Chicago to record; the Siegel/Schwall Band, Charley Musselwhite’s South Side Band and Junior Wells. Vanguard also wasn’t afraid of doing the ‘P.D.Q. Bach’ comedy records of Peter Schickele. Unfortunately though the label slowly lost it’s way, and in 1985 the Solomon’s sold the label.
In the early days, like other New York recording companies, when Vanguard wanted do a session, they de-rigged equipment into one of the many large halls in the city, or travelled away to record at places like Newport, to record the annual Folk Festival. The equipment used for this location work was a 12 into 3 console designed and built by Chief Engineer Jack Bryant, and as requirements got bigger it was later joined by another Vanguard built 6 into 2, designed by Jack Bryant and built by Ed Friedner. Vanguard also undertook their large scale classical recordings using this same equipment, such as in Salt Lake City.
By 1966 Vanguard however had been doing well enough to move into new premises of two floors of offices and 3 re-mix rooms at 71 W 23rd Street and they then replaced one of their Vanguard built mixers with the first of their Neve consoles.
26| 1968: ‘New York’s first Neve’ – Vanguard Records -16 channel 4 output Neve
“The second one (console bought in the US) was to Vanguard in New York, notable because it was specializing in classical music. Entry into the studio was via a window many floors up. They stopped the traffic in the street below!” 
ED FRIEDNER (VANGUARD CHIEF ENGINEER):
“When we moved from 14th Street, which was just an office, up to 23rd Street. The new offices had 3 re-mixing rooms with editing rooms, but no studio.
The smaller Neve board was delivered to the 3rd floor in Vanguards office space/mixing & editing rooms. I doubt though that the Neve was ever delivered ‘through a window’ as that smaller desk would have fitted in the large freight elevator in that building.” 
. We don’t know how Seymour Solomon found out about Neve consoles, as Neve had no US office at this time or wasn’t doing any advertising in the US. Seymour though came to Europe every year, which had included coming to London.
“Seymour would be there in the summer, recording in the Sofiensaal in Vienna. He actually had a small office in Vienna that had equipment. mics and Ampexes and I believe he had an engineer also on staff.
The Sofiensaal had become a recording venue when Decca adopted it in the late ’50’s and famously recorded Solti’s ‘Ring’ cycle there.
“Seymour ordered the board, and I remember working with Rupert and Seymour to figure out some of the terminology; the English for headphones is ‘foldback’, and Seymour and I would look at each other and wonder “What’s this about ‘foldback’, what the heck is ‘foldback’?“
So although the the first US desks built for Chicago had kept the usual labelling, on the Vanguard’s ‘Foldback’, became ‘Cue’, along with ‘Echo’ being changed to ‘Rev’.
Although a similar shape, the first Vanguard desk differed from the Chicago ‘2001’ Neve, by using pushbuttons instead of keyswitches for routing in the new 1873 switching modules.
The mic amps are also yet another new module, the 1061.
26a| The Neve 1061 mic-amp module
Note that the ‘Line’ settings on the Neve 1061’s gain switch, going from ‘-20 to 0 dBm’, now have silk-screen markings in red. The 10k ‘HF’ boost and cut pot is beneath the gain switch, with the ‘Mid’ boost and cut and the control having ‘7/5/3.2.5 and .7 KHz‘, Finally an ‘LF’ boost and cut, with the frequency switch intriguingly labelled ‘LF/HF’, with ’60/100/220′ frequencies. Unlike the previous 1060’s, there is no EQ ‘In/Out’ on the 1061.
26b| The Neve 1873 switching module
The 1873’s have at the top push switches for two ‘Echo Sends’ and two ‘Cue’s’, both with small level pots. The four group push buttons beneath have the now standard ‘Pan’ in-button above and the ‘pan-pot’ below. And that’s either a channel ‘mute’ switch, or a ‘solo’, in the scribble rack as on the Chicago desks.
27| 1968/1969: ‘The coming of 16 tracks’ – Vanguard Records 24 channel 16 group Neve – ‘Serial 2008’
The second, bigger console, as advertised by Neve as taking “7 months from drawing board to installation”, and was delivered in early 1969:
“It came in on a flat-bed truck, and it was already unpacked, I guess by ‘Customs’.
So there’s this console, sitting on a truck and they have to lift it onto the street and they rolled it in on dollies, into the studio and put it up into the control room and of course it was ’empty’, it didn’t have any of the amplifiers or switching etc, because that would have made it too heavy.”
Despite Ron Pickup’s disparaging remarks about the state of studios he found in Chicago on joining Sound Studios Inc., the US studios embraced multitrack much more readily than the UK studios, with engineer Tom Dowd realising what benefits 8-track would bring to his Atlantic Studios as early as 1957. Finally the UK studios recognised that they needed to catch up, with Lansdowne and Advision installing 8-tracks in late 1967, and Trident and Olympic joining them in early 1968. In the US though 16 track was already a reality by then.
Vanguard Records, long regarded for their classical recordings, by the late ’60’s had managed to develop its folk and progressive rock catalogues and with rock bands needing more facilities a bigger Neve was ordered. Chief Engineer Ed Friedner worked with Seymour Solomon in specifying both of the Neve consoles and the 24 channel was the first 16 output console to be built by Neve. The previous Chief Engineer, Jack Bryant, who had trained Ed, had now left along with editor/engineer Marc Aubort, who became a noted classical specialist running his own ‘Elite recordings’.
27a| The Neve 1870 and 1871 switching and 1877 Echo Return modules
Vanguard equipped the 24 channel with the same 1061 mic amps as their smaller 16 channel Neve, and like the smaller desk it also has a pair of patchable 2060 HpF/LpF EQ modules on the left beside the 1061s. This bigger desk though got some more new modules; the 1870 Switching Module, for ‘Cue’ and ‘Echo’ gain and selection; the 1877 Echo Return Module and it got the 1871, which was the first Neve 16 Group selection module, that are seen at the top under the VU’s. The 16 output group selectors on the 1871 are different, not only in having the 16 push button-routing selectors, but there’s no ‘pan-pot’ mounted on the module, just a ‘pan in’ switch above the selectors. The ‘pan-pot’ is fitted along with the ‘Cue’ and ‘Echo’ controls down on 1870 modules. There are also small ‘PFL’ and ‘Cut’ buttons at the bottom of the 1870 modules, near the EMT faders.
Vanguard were obviously proud of their Neve consoles, and over the years repeatedly used it in their own advertising like the one above.
27b| Recording at Vanguard 23rd Street: The ‘Temple’ next door – and the ‘Studio in a church’ up the street
Vanguard Recording Studios, 214 West 23rd Street, New York, 10010.
The original Vanguard office and engineering department in 14th Street, was where Chief Engineer Jack Bryant had designed and built all the audio equipment ‘in house’, and Ed Friedner had built and wired Vanguard’s remote gear.
“We’d built a 12 input mixer 3-channel with Langevin plug-in 5116 trays (tube mic amps) and that was basically the main mixer for the office and it was also portable so we could take it out on sessions. And then at some point while I was there we built another mixer; 6 input 2 out for ‘remote’ sessions, with the same amplifiers. Most of the recordings we did in Salt Lake, those big works, Mahler Symphonies and etc, needed more than 12 inputs. We would ‘piggy-back’ both of those mixers together so that we had 18 inputs and basically that’s what we worked with out in Salt Lake. We would take both mixers including Ampex tape recorders, mics, speakers etc with us; ship them out by plane. We had cases made for all this equipment so they would ship safely.
The 14th street office had 3 remix rooms using the 12-3 and 6-2 mixers and a small studio we could record demo’s in.”
Large ‘halls’ in New York, were used as temporary recording venues which record companies booked as needed, such as the ballroom of the Manhattan Towers Hotel, and the independent engineer Rudy Van Gelder had used it for some jazz sessions in the late ’50’s. However when Vanguard engineer Marc Aubort recorded the first Joan Baez album there in 1960, it had become increasingly seedy:
“It took four nights. We were in some big, smelly ballroom at a hotel on Broadway. We couldn’t record on Wednesday nights because they played bingo there. I would be down there on this dirty old rug with two microphones, one for the voice and one for the guitar. I just did my set; it was probably all I knew.”
“Vanguard used to do most of its sessions, remotely, at Manhattan Towers. This is when we were down on 14th Street, like the Joan Baez session, like the ‘Walk Right In” Rooftops session (A ‘Rooftop Singers’ hit). Many of these folk sessions were done in the ballroom at the Manhattan Towers Hotel on 76th Street and Broadway. That had been a church also, but it was then converted into a ballroom and it was like 100 x 100 open space, with a 30ft or a 40ft ceiling. It was very live also; a lot of ‘The Weavers’ were done there; ‘Joan Baez’ was done there; ‘Odetta’. All our folk artists we did it with the 6 channel mixer that we had; we didn’t take the big mixer there because for folk music you had maybe 3 mics; on the singer and maybe on another guitar player or a bass player.”
Also before we had our studio, when we were down on 14th Street, we used Manhattan Centre, which is a big hall in New York on 34th Street, that we used a lot for Classical stuff, when we had big orchestras.”
We worked on Jazz; we worked on Folk, more folk music than anything else. We also went up to Newport, Rhode Island and recorded the Folk and the Jazz Festivals up there. We used the old mixer, the 12-3 up there in a truck, and a bunch of tape machines and microphones when we did the Newport Folk Festival. Newport had smaller venue’s, so at the same time Marc Aubort and I would use our cars to enable recording in three places at the same time.”
It was at the Manhattan Centre that Jack Bryant with Ed Friedner recorded Aaron Copland conducting his “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra”, with Menotti’s “Concerto in F” conducted by Jorge Mester, both with Earl Wild and the Symphony Of The Air (ie Toscanini’s old NBC Symphony) in 1961 – a well received, pretty ageless stereo recording.
“We never used EQ on any of those remote sessions. We never EQ’d when we did remotes. We chose different mics to help to get the sound we wanted instead of using EQ. If we did any EQ back at the studio it would be with the Pultecs and added a little brightness or a little low end.
The mic’s we used were AKG C-12’s, Neumann KM-56, and U-67’s, Schoeps 221-B, RCA A440 and RCA 77 BX both ribbon mic’s, used mostly on French Horns.”
After Vanguard had moved into their new 23rd Street Offices they found two answers to the problem of these temporary recording venues, both nearer home.
The 23rd Street ‘Skyscraper Church‘
Vanguard built a studio of their own in another building in 23rd Street, a few blocks away from their new offices.
214 W 23rd had been built in 1927 by the Chelsea Presbyterian Church as “a skyscraper church, a modern residential and transient hotel that would include a church auditorium and related facilities”.
The architect Emery Roth’s building was described as an “18 story Art-Deco building based on a Tuscan Villa”. Later financial difficulties meant the church inside changed to become ‘The Village Church’, before closing altogether. 
Vanguard converted the church within the ‘Carteret Hotel’ into their recording studio. Its origins as a church were perhaps soon forgotten as John Woram, who became Vanguard’s next Chief Engineer in the 1971, referred to it as the hotel’s ‘converted ballroom’, and in the item below from Billboard in 1966 calls it ‘the auditorium’. 
What a gorgeous recording space – for some types of recording. The studio was 30ft x 80ft x 20ft high and with a control room of 18ft x 24ft.
The wall behind the camera here was covered with a full height curtain, making this the ‘the dead end’ of the studio. Three AKG C-12’s and some Neumann’s including that central KM56, are set up for recording The Green Briar Boys in June 1966, when the studio was first opened. At this time an older 12-3 mixer was re-wired to become a 12-4, and although in 1967 the first Neve that was ordered went to the ‘offices’, by early 1969, when the 24 input 16 output Neve was delivered, the 23rd Street studio was going 16-track with a 3M machine.
Ed Friedner explained to me what he had to do to the room as music recording changed:
“When we got it, that space was still a church. It had a raised platform at one end. We eventually ripped that out and put the control room in, and the rest of the room had stained glass windows on one wall. So we had to take those out, block them all up with concrete. With the floor being concrete and all the walls and ceiling being plaster, it was a pretty live space. The ceiling I think was about 20 feet, and it also had two over-hangs on each side of the hall. So the hall was maybe 100 by 40 or 30 wide, but then there was a 10 foot over-hang on the long sides. Which was great, because what we were able to do was build walls in certain places. Under those overhangs, we had a drum booth under one; also a vocal booth fitted there as well. We could do a live Rock n’ Roll band actually. The other thing we did was cut the hall in half with a very heavy drape, that went from the floor to the ceiling. This gave us a live end and a dead end where we had a rug on the dead end part of the floor. So we could put strings and horns on the live side and acoustic instruments or a rhythm section on the dead side.
‘L’Histoire’ was done with the drapes open and some other orchestral works, with piano as well. It was great room for recording solo piano. String Quartets and vocals. Such a nice sound.”
“I’d never really recorded Rock n’ Roll. I’d recorded Folk music, a lot of Jazz and a lot of Classical. And when ‘Country Joe’ came in, I had set up how I normally set stuff up for other types of sessions and I was totally blown out of the water! All these Fender Twins stacked up on top of each other, and loud bass. Well we worked it out but it took a while. That’s when we built the drum booth, because we knew a set of loud drums in that room was just not going to work. So the drummer was always in the booth. Not their favourite way to work, but we got a good drum sound in the booth. We had another room, adjacent to the control room, because the control room was 25 feet wide, that you walked through and into the control room. We used that also as a vocal booth.
“When I started working on the Neve board, I couldn’t believe the Equalizers. You turned the knob and you got so much change. It gave so much control over instruments that you never had before. The Neve EQ’s were the best.
The 23rd Street Masonic Temple
The other ‘recording solution’ was even closer as the 71 West 23rd Street offices that Vanguard occupied were owned by The Masons and next door was an amazing building.
“Alongside of that building that we were in, the next building was a Masonic Temple and Seymour had gotten permission to record there and we did a lot of Classical recordings in that Temple, and eventually we ran mic lines over there, so we didn’t have to move equipment. We ran those lines to the larger re-mix room with the 16-4 Neve. The other re-mix room had the 6 to 2 mixer in it.
There’s a photograph of an opera recording taking place in the 23rd Street Mormon Temple, later on in this section.
27c| The first Dolby’s in the US
Vanguard made the first US Dolby recording in 1967, of Leopold Stokowski conducting Stravinsky’s ‘L’Historie du Soldat’ (The Soldier’s Tale). This work for a seven piece group and three voices, was recorded in the new 23rd Street Studio, which would have still have been using the 12 input Langevin mixer before the 24-channel Neve arrived.
“Ray Dolby was there along with his wife Dagmar and we recorded ‘L’Histoire du Soldat’ with Leopold Stokowski. We recorded it at 30 inches per second on our master recorder, and then we recorded Dolby on a second recorder, and then all of us guys with our supposedly ‘trained ears’ were trying to see if there was a difference between the two masters. We couldn’t imagine how you would get rid of ‘hiss’ without affecting the music. You know, we just didn’t believe it. We kept A-B’ing back and forth between our NAB master, and the Dolby master And we couldn’t hear any difference in the music. That convinced us to go with Dolby.”
Here’s a pipe smoking Seymour Solomon seated at the 16-channel Neve with racks loaded with the big Dolby 301’s:
27d| The first ‘Quad’ in the US
Another first for Vanguard was that they issued quadraphonic recordings in 1969, ahead of both RCA and Columbia, and initially these were marketed on open reel 7 1/2ips 4 track tapes, although you needed a deck converted to give 4 outputs. Later Vanguard got involved in the SQ/QS Quad disc nonsense of course, like all the other larger disc labels!
“In addition to the use of the Dolby Noise Suppression System, there were new methods of recording aimed at capturing the spatial ambience of the musical sound, the full effect of which will only become apparent in the Vanguard “Surround Sound” tape release of this recording, which requires four playback channels.”
From the ‘Berlioz Requiem’ sleeve notes by engineer Ed Friedner in 1969.
“All the Quad releases were mixed at 23rd St on the Neve 16-4, and one of our engineers Claude Karczmer designed a motorized 4 channel pan pot so we could spin things around the room.”
Through the ’70’s, Chief Engineer’s come and go
During the ’70’s, Seymour and Maynard Solomon remained working as producers but after Ed Friedner left, Vanguard swopped Chief Engineer’s fairly frequently with John Woram, David Baker and Jeff Zaraya taking the role, between 1971 to 1975. Woram and Baker were from outside but Jeff Zaraya had been mixing at Vanguard since at least 1972.
27e| Music from Vanguard 23rd Street
Country Joe and The Fish had come from a ‘folk’ background, but they went ‘electric’ and then after signing with Vanguard in 1966, recorded their first album ‘Electric Music for Mind and Body’ at Sierra Sound in Berkeley before they came to the Vanguard 23rd Street studio between July and September 1967 to record ‘I Feel Like I’m Fixing To Die’.
With The Vietnam War in ‘full flight’, this song from the album became an anthem for young disillusioned Americans. I travelled around the US in 1968, and having ‘thumbed a ride’ in an MGB with a young guy helping ‘draft-dodgers’ get to Canada, I saw just how powerful Country Joe’s anti-war song had become.…along with Arlo Guthrie’s ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ of course (anyone remember that?)
Country Joe And The Fish – ‘Here we Go Again’ LP (Engineer: Ed Friedner – 23rd Street Studio) – 1969
Here’s a track from the Country Joe and The Fish’s 4th album recorded by Ed Friedner in 1969, with Sam Charters. It’s a rock band’s version of ‘the blues’.
AUDIO: Country Joe And The Fish – ‘Crystal Blues’.
Country Joe (Joe McDonald) came from the West Coast and from Chicago came The Siegel-Schwall Band to record at the 23rd Street studio, also with Sam Charters producing.
The Siegel-Schwall Band – ‘Shake’ LP (Engineer: Ed Friedner – 23rd Street Studio) – 1968
The Siegel-Schwann Band was recorded in 1968.
AUDIO: The Siegel-Schwall Band – ‘Think’ .
There are a number of ‘rip-offs’ on that album….the track is credited to Mick Jagger/Keith Richards….but there’s no mention of BookerT and the MG’s ‘Green Onions’!
The Vanguard classical discs
Although most of the classical output from Vanguard was still recorded in Europe or away from the New York studio, the acoustic in that 23rd Street studio, the ex-‘ballroom/church was ‘live’ enough to also record classical pianists and string quartets. For instance Seymour Solomon recorded the Yale String Quartet with all the Late Beethoven Quartets in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s and the flutist Paula Robison with various other players at Vanguard, but I’ve noticed that both the ‘Studio’ and the Masonic Temple’ are credited as’ Vanguard 23rd Street Studio’, so it’s hard to be sure where a classical Vanguard album was made.
In 1970 the conductor Newell Jenkins and his Clarion Concerts Orchestra were recorded by Vanguard in the opera by Mayr “Medea In Corinto”, and they did a ‘Quad’ recording of the Cherubini “Missa Solemnis” in 1972.
Also in 1972, The Masonic Temple next to the Vanguard offices was certainly the venue for the first recording of another opera by Newell Jenkins and the Clarion, and it was the first recording of an early piece by Rossini:
Rossini –“La Pietra del Paragone” Engineer: probably John Woram– 23rd St. Masonic Temple) -1972
Although a poor quality image, we can see that the ‘chamber orchestra’ used, Newell Jenkin’s Clarion Orchestra is conventionally arranged for the recording with singers behind, as was the usual way in opera studio recordings. The chorus would be out of shot behind them I imagine.
Opera houses always seem to have dead-ish acoustics, but ‘studio’ recordings don’t and I was interested to hear how that big acoustic of the Mason’s Temple came out on disc. There is a big acoustic and certainly the soloists are ‘recessed’ compared with typical opera recordings from say Decca but you soon accept it. Here’s an excerpt from the re-issued stereo CD released in 1992.
AUDIO: Rossini: Excerpt ‘Mille vati al suondo io stendo?’ from the first Act of “La Pietra del Paragone”.
I thought I should play a section with José Carreras, as his is the outstanding voice here and this recording further helped him become a star ‘lyric tenor’. The second voice heard here is the poet ‘Giocondo’ sung by Carreras, engaged in verbal jousting with ‘Pacuvio’, another poet, sung by Justino Diaz, and ‘Microbio’, a journalist, sung by Andrew Foldi.
The photo above shows the Neve equipped re-mix room in the ‘office’ building that was used for the recording sessions in the Masonic Temple. Left to right: bass Andrew Foldi, tenor José Carreras, conductor Newell Jenkins and baritone John Reardon. Carreras had, within a couple of years rocketed to fame and as soon as Seymour Solomon heard him in London, he contracted to appear in this opera. With very restrictive Musician’s Union rules in the US, operas were expensive to record and for this one Vanguard was able to get financial help from a charitable trust.
In the autumn of 1972, when this was made John Woram was Chief Engineer, so it would have been him at the controls.[29*] The recording was, as usual at that time, made in ‘Quad’. There’s 4-track Scully in the background and are those the big Dolby 301’s stacked up behind?
STEREO REVIEW AUGUST 1973:
“The quadraphonic recording is neither a surround job nor a mere ambient one. The action takes place in front of you and to the sides, sometimes somewhat to the rear on the sides, but the experience is still essentially a theatrical one: you are not dropped into the middle of a whirling mass of music. The recorded sound itself is first-class-clear, sharp, pleasing in tonal quality.”
The Orpheus Trio –‘Debussy Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp’ (Engineer: probably Jeff Zaraha – 23rd Street Studio) -1980
Here’s a somewhat later recording of Paula Robison’s wonderful flute playing of the beautiful ‘Pastorale’ from Debussy’s ‘Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp’. This was recorded in the 23rd Street Vanguard studio and released in 1980.
AUDIO: Claude Debussy -“Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp, L.137: I. Pastorale” with Paula Robison, and Scott Nickrenz, viola and Heidi Lehwalder, harp.
The early ’80’s were a cross over period with digital recording having arrived, and although we all had Sony PCM-F1 two-track recorders by then, the recording studios were still sorting out the various new multitrack digital machines and finding them still problematic:
BILLBOARD NOVEMBER 1980:
“Vanguard Records chief engineer Jeff Zaraya bases his reaction to digital on experience with the Soundstream, Sony and Mitsubishi systems. One practical difficulty is the relative inflexibility and slowness today’s machines introduce into normal studio processes such as tape rewind, notes Zaraya. “All of them except the Mitsubishi are slow,” Zaraya says. “They’re very cumbersome and they take for-ever to rewind. “It’s so cumbersome and so slow”.
STEREO REVIEW AUGUST 1981:
“The legend on the record jacket speaks of a “Vanguard stereo digital master processed from an original four-track recording,” which suggests that this is not a “digital recording” in the presently understood sense of the word. But despite what seems to be the occasional intrusion of traffic noise from outside the recording studio (on 23rd Street in New York City), the sonics here are a model of their kind by whatever process they were achieved”.
“Try your hand at a 16-track mix on a Neve”
John Woram came to Vanguard 1971 when he left RCA in New York and at the time Woram was writing a column called ‘Sync Track’ in the American audio magazine ‘dB’. Woram was also influential in the Audio Engineering Society and when talking to the guys from Shure at a meeting, he had the idea of doing a recording just using Shure microphones. This idea became a ‘demo’ for both the Shure and Neve stands at the ’71 AES Show:
Lee Holdridge -‘The Burglars’ (Engineer: John Woram 23rd Street Studio – 1973)
John Woram didn’t stay long at Vanguard and became a freelance audio consultant on leaving. Composer Lee Holdridge embraced many styles of music and was working with Neil Diamond at this time, and won many awards for his film scores. Here’s a track from an album of ‘orchestral pops’ that Lee Holdridge recorded at Vanguard in 1973 with John Woram mixing. It’s a slowly building ‘riff’ that brings in the strings and brass as it winds along. The credits say ‘supervised by John Woram’ and the other engineers listed include New York A&R’s Phil Ramone and London CTS’s John Richardson.
AUDIO: Lee Holdridge and Orchestra – ‘The Burglars’ – 1973
Here’s a look at the listing for Vanguard from 1973, which now shows Vanguard with what has to be the Masonic Temple as ‘Studio 2’:
That mid-1973 Billboard Recording Studios Directory shows that Vanguard had grown to having 3 Neve’s in three studios. The Original 80ft x 30ft x 20ft studio still having its 24 channel 16 output ‘2008’, but Vanguard now had the Masonic Temple’s large 125ft x 100ft x 45ft ‘studio’ with another Neve of 16 channels and 4 outputs. The other original ‘Reduction Neve’ was still in the 20ft x 14ft re-mix room.
Note also that Vanguard in addition to listing that ‘Lee Holdridge and Orchestra’ LP, also list in their ‘Records’ at the bottom –‘Sandy Denny; Prod’r John Wood, Label A&M’ – so that’ll be Sandy Denny working with long standing engineer/producer John Wood from Sound Techniques, despite no listing of Vanguard anywhere that I know of. [30*]
Vanguard changes owners
BILLBOARD – October 1986:
“Despite the sale of Vanguard Records to the Welk Organization, the former label’s founders, Seymour and Maynard Solomon, will still figure prominently in music. Seymour Solomon will continue to occupy space at former Vanguard headquarters in New York and maintain operating rights to the adjacent Masonic hall, which has become one of the frequently used classical recording locations in the city. Sharing space with Solomon will be the Grammy- winning production/engineering team of Marc Aubort and Joanna Nickrenz.
Solomon says he will be recording and licensing new material to be released on a label still to be named. As with Vanguard, the repertoire range will reach beyond classics to include international, folk, and related material.
As for Maynard Solomon, most of his time will now be spent in research and writing. A noted musicologist, with a Beethoven biography on his list that has gained worldwide attention, he plans to do another Beethoven book as well as one on Schubert.”
The next ‘Chief Engineer’, David Baker who took over from John Woram in 1973, stayed until 1975. after which he worked as a freelance engineer.
“In 1986, when Seymour left 23rd Street he opened up an office with a remix room that he asked me to set up to remaster the classical catalog that he regained use of from Welk Records. Baker and I remastered most of the Vanguard catalog to CD using a new, at the time Sony Digital recorder with super bit mapping (SBM) it’s a system that converts 20 bit into 16 bit for CD’s. The name of Seymour’s new company was “Omega Records”.
Afterlife: ‘2008’ moves a few times, getting ‘re-built along the way
It looks like the 24 channel Neve ‘2008’ had been replaced and it was purchased around 1980, by Terry Dwyer from a couple of guys in LA, and had to be moved out of their 2nd floor home studio.
“I sold the Vanguard Neve to David Manley in 2003 after having used it in my studio from about 1980 to 1993. I still have a 1061 module from the console and some line amps and a few other items. It was a bit of a basket case when I got it. Wonderful console though. One of the best I’ve used in my 45 years in audio. We extended the desk (depthwise) and added Necam automation. It had an awful B&B Grouper VCA automation rack built into it when I bought it which was quickly removed. We cut tons of gospel albums, David Lindley, Ian McLagen, Bobby Carlisle, Chris Darrow, Shadow Morton, lots of others. Ben Harper cut his teeth on that thing. I think we cut the demo for ‘Like a Virgin’ on that desk. It was paired with an Ampex MM1200 24tr – great combo. Records we did on that desk still draw awes and oohs. They never age. [31*]
I spotted that the Vanguard 24 channel Neve was now part of a re-made console in Montreal, as the Studio’s website tells us:
“Vintage Custom Neve serial #2008 console circa 1968 (pre 80 series Neve). Refurbished by Hutch at Manley in 1994 (recapped, rewired, functionally upgraded). The first 16 buss Neve console ever produced. Originally hand-built by Rupert Neve himself in England. All internal summing uses original Neve summing amps and bussing protocols. Preamps use original Gardner input transformers. Line inputs are original Marinair. [32*]
John and I loved the thought of a 24 channel 16 output console being ‘hand-built by Rupert Neve himself’ in 1968/9, as he had sometime ago given up such tasks and was by then head of a team manufacturing an ever growing number of consoles, and all his time was taken with running the company and designing circuits.
Jace Lasek from the Breakglass Studio told me more of it’s background.
“We purchased our ‘2008’ in 2010. We don’t have much documentation on it sadly. It was owned by East Side Studios in NYC previous to us. Before then David Manley owned it and had made a number of modifications with the help of ‘Hutch“.
The Breakglass console is therefore a mixture now of Vanguard’s Neve ‘2008’ from 1969, a BBC Neve ‘A633’ from 1972/3 and Manley modules and custom panels. Alas it has the appearance that is a long way from how Neves looked ‘back in the day’! The 1061’s have disappeared under bland looking matt-black face-plates, but there are still some Marconi knobs used on the custom panels and there are pairs of both Neve 2252 Compressors and 2253 Limiters.
Those old Neve Compressors weren’t in the desk when Terry Dwyer had it though. Interestingly, Terry says it was ‘black’, and that he has bags of the old grey Neve Marconi knobs, which must have been on the desk. ‘2008’ wasn’t ‘black’ when it arrived with Vanguard, so it’d already had conversion work carried out by then; most probably getting it to be ’24-track’.
As Jace told me, after Terry it also past through East Side Sound in New York, run by Lou Holtzman, a studio that has been running since 1972.
28| 1969: ‘The Star Wars Neve’ – Anvil Films 24 channel ‘scoring console’ – ‘Serial 2017’
Eric Tomlinson, already an experienced film music mixer, moved from CTS in London to set up the ‘out of town’ film music scoring studio Anvil, at Denham.
The new Neve was installed by July 1969. Let’s look a bit closer to see what we can discern about Anvil’s desk:
It has 1060 mic amp modules, the same ones with the mic gain at the bottom of the module, that were used on the Granada TV console we’ve looked at earlier. There was a newly designed module built for the Anvil desk, a 1875, which the Neve Drawing Register says is a ‘Direct Input’ module.
The routing module in the channel strip is the same 1867 already used in the 24 Channel 8 group Chicago console ‘67123’, and it has a pan-pot with ‘in’ button above the eight group isostat push buttons and similar buttons to select four ‘Echos’ and two ‘FB’s’. The ‘FB’s’ have a small pot and the ‘Echos’ a larger one.
The same 1867 routing module is also provided further along for the eight groups, to allow group to group and feeds to ‘FB’ and ‘Echos’. Also above these group 1867’s, in the sloping panel, are the new 1875 ‘Direct Input’ modules. These must be to feed the 8 groups to the 3/4 mag-film record tracks. These 1875’s seem to have ‘FB’ selection as well. Finally there are 4 ‘Echo Return’ modules with the ‘FB’ master gains on the upper far right. TB and monitoring controls are all at the far end as well.
Eric Tomlinson recorded his main ‘left-centre-right’ mix to the 35mm three and four-track mag-film recorders that were regarded by Anvil, being a ‘film scoring studio’, as their ‘master recorders’. All of the film music output was for final re-mixing at the film dubbing stage, along with the all of the films dialogue and sound-effects tracks of course, and all would be coming off multiple mag-film recorders in a large ‘dubbing’ theatre. This usually required a number of ‘pre-mixes’ to cope with these numerous sources.
28a| Eric Tomlinson, the Anvil Neve and the changes in movie music
During his years at CTS in Bayswater, Eric recorded Frank Sinatra’s only LP recorded outside the US, and such major movie scores as the Bond films ‘Dr. No’, ‘From Russia With Love’, ‘Goldfinger’, ‘Thunderball’ and ‘You Only Live Twice’. He did also ‘A Shot In The Dark’, ‘The Ipcress File’, and ‘Born Free’ and many more.
A wonderfully idiosyncratic proud Scotsman Ken Cameron, himself a music mixer but now moving into administration, had heard Eric’s film work and offered him the post of Chief Engineer at the new ‘Anvil Film and Recording Group’, which was moving from Beaconsfield Studios and being setup within the old Denham Film Studios. This was part of what had been Alexander Korda’s original film studios, but the music studio was initially rather run down and grubby. Eric could obviously see the potential in the space though, which was listed in Billboard as 80 feet deep by 60 feet wide by 80 feet deep by 50 foot high and ‘accommodates 130’. It had a control room of 24ft x 18ft, with a further fairly large recording space beside it.
We’ll look at some of Eric Tomlinson’s work, but here’s just some of the other Anvil recorded scores, that he undertook on the Neve:
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) – Miklos Rozsa
Ryan’s Daughter (1970) – Maurice Jarre
Jane Eyre (1970) – John Williams
Frenzy (1972) – Ron Goodwin
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976) – John Addison
The Omen (1976) – Jerry Goldsmith
Superman (1978) – John Williams
The Boys from Brazil (1978) – Jerry Goldsmith
The Great Train Robbery (1978) – Jerry Goldsmith
Dracula (1979) – John Williams
Alien (1979) – Jerry Goldsmith
Flash Gordon (1980) – Howard Blake
The Australian movie soundtrack restoration expert Chris Malone, befriended Eric in his later years and thanks to Chris’s excellent survey of Eric Tomlinson’s history and his movie recordings, we know much more about Tomlinson and Anvil’s history:
“In 1970, after the new Neve was installed, Anvil recorded Maurice Jarre’s score for ‘Ryan’s Daughter’ to 35mm magnetic film employing Dolby A-type noise reduction. As a test of the relatively new noise reduction technology, the Pinewood Studios re-recording department was especially equipped to properly handle the music recordings and, in addition, much of the dubbing process incorporated the use of Dolby A. The resultant 6-track magnetic soundtrack was BAFTA and Academy Award nominated.
Also in 1970, John Williams recorded his exquisite and delicate music score for ‘Jane Eyre’ at Anvil. The TV film was submitted as an industry test case for the benefits of Dolby A, which was utilised during preparation of the optical print master.” [33*]
Jerry Bock (arranged John Williams) – ‘Fiddler On The Roof’ -1971
In 1971 Eric Tomlinson recorded the score for the musical ‘Fiddler On The Roof’, which at least had this Oscar winning score’s music very ‘up front’ throughout:
VIDEO: Press ‘Play’-bottom left if not otherwise visible.
Topol singing ‘Tradition’ from ‘Fiddler On The Roof’
Recording orchestral film music is similar to recording a large classical symphony orchestra, requiring moderately distant miking in a suitable acoustic. However the requirement to bring up solo instruments or sections to enhance the mood of a film sequence is more akin to pop recording. Very careful observation of the composer’s score is needed to enable these heightened musical adjustments when mixing directly to a stereo or 3-track recorder and certainly requires an experienced mixer.
Eric Tomlinson was such a mixer and at the beginning of 1971 I was working with two others in a small commercial recording studio and wanted to see how he undertook a large film session.
André Previn – ‘Blind Panic (‘See No Evil’ in US) – 1971
In March 1971 I visited Denham with my two colleagues to watch the Anvil recording session for a ‘psycho-drama’ movie which at the time was being called ‘Blind Panic’ (I see it is now usually called ‘Blind Terror’ in the UK and ‘See No Evil’ in the US). The score had been written by André Previn and he was recording it with ‘his band’, the London Symphony Orchestra. Previn, who had become famous as a jazz pianist and Hollywood movie composer, had been conductor for the LSO since 1968 and was much appreciated by British audiences and had brought the LSO a lot of TV and recording work. I personally think the LSO was at a real peak during his tenancy.
The film featured Previn’s wife Mia Farrow, who was obviously brought in to bring some of the success of ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, the Polanski film that made her a star.
We found it very thrilling watching Eric Tomlinson recording on the Neve at Anvil, with the studio filled with the full LSO and the large corner ‘isolation booth’ next to the control room also taken up with a loud ‘rock band’. In the sequences we watched Previn had the full orchestra alternating with loud injections from the ‘rock’ session musicians comprising bass, drums, guitar and ‘synth’.
Eric was mixing direct to to 3-track mag-film, but also running a Studer 8-track as backup. No over-dubbing of course.
Amazingly, the thrilling Previn score was rejected by the film’s Producer and Director. Previn was incensed with the way this was handled and wrote a caustic half-page article about it in The Guardian in July 1971:
ANDRÉ PREVIN :
“They had to have a scary kind of score. They had to have one because the picture is a blood bath. I hadn’t done a film score in eight years-with the exception of the Ken Russell Tchaikovsky film, which didn’t require any composition – but here was this film that Mia did, a small thing shot quickly, and they wanted a particular kind of score. I looked at the film, an unpretentious but quite nice thriller – a little too grisly for my taste, because it is about a particularly perverse mass murder – but for the sheer fun of scoring a film it’s always better to have a scary film. It’s nicer to do a score for ‘Psycho’ than one of the ‘Carry On’ series. So I thought OK, that’s fun: I’ll do this.”
“I wrote a fairly relentless score and I used a synthesiser to make some especially eerie electronic sounds, but merely within the orchestra as another instrument.
I wrote the score, and we recorded it, but at the recording sessions neither the producer, Leslie Linder, nor the director, Richard Fleischer, bothered to come: Fleischer was already doing another movie, and Linder was on a ski-ing holiday. Never in my experience of 57 film scores which I have written have I recorded for three days without either the producer or director being there at all.
His associate producer, Mr Basil Appleby, was there along with the film editor. Mr Appleby absolutely adored every semiquaver, and came running out with the wildest hyperbole after every take. I didn’t take much notice of that, but I was pleased when members of the orchestra were keen on the score, and also one or two composers present, including John Williams and Oliver Knussen. Myself, I thought it was quite the best score I had ever written for a dramatic movie.”
[This is an excerpt only, the full Previn article from The Guardian is so interesting, so I’ve made the text available at the end.]
Previn states that there were various requests by the film makers, including one for Previn to ‘keep the pretty bits and let someone else write new material, without crediting them’. The score was finally replaced with one written by another Hollywood stalwart, Elmer Bernstein. The film got ‘mixed reviews’ and wasn’t a great box-office success. Sadly Previn’s score and all tapes have been lost. [34*]
Same Neve – more tracks
By late 1973 Eric had replaced the 8-track with a 16-track Studer and upgraded the Neve for 16-track working with revised metering, and as the photo below shows the original 8 groups have been augmented by a further 8 faders on the left, whilst the 24 channels of Neve 1060 ‘germanium’ mic amp modules obviously remained adequate for Eric’s mixing requirements.
In November 1973 Studio Sound magazine had an article about Anvil:
“In the control room are a 24 input Neve mixer with Studer two, four, eight and 16 track recorders. Just outside are the 35 mm one, three, four and six track recorders. And here is an interesting sidelight. All these machines, including the 25 mm (1″) and 50 mm (2”) tape recorders, together with 16 other 35 mm machines scattered throughout the building, can be interlocked with the 35 mm picture projectors. They start together, they run up together, and they remain synchronous for as long as you like. The potential of this arrangement is enormous. Overdubbing and multi – tracking in sync with the picture are no longer the problems they were. They are now a straightforward, speedy and economical exercise.
The studio is, of course, fully equipped with Dolby units, together with a few little secret devices which are kept behind blank panels and closed doors!”
Well of course all film recording and dubbing used ‘Selsyn’ type motors that kept the mag-film recorders in step with both the film projector and each other. I really don’t know though how accurately they got a multitrack audio machine to ‘start’ at the correct time, although using 50Hz sync tracks give a stable speed to the multitrack machine’s motor was now becoming common.
John Williams –‘Star Wars’ – 1977
John Williams ‘Star Wars’ score required an orchestra of 26 violins,10 violas, 10 cellos, 6 basses, a woodwind section of 11, with 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, 2 tubas, 8 horns, and 3 percussion with timps, plus a piano and a celeste.
‘Cantina Band’ was a special music cue for a jazz group. This consisted of 2 saxes, a trumpet, clarinet and electric piano, plus drums and a synthesiser.
Interviewed between 2005 and 2007 by Chris Malone, both Eric Tomlinson and his assistant Alan Snelling revealed some of the techniques used:
Firstly the choices for miking showed Eric hadn’t gone completely over to phantom powered mics and that some of the original studio mic cupboard were still in use:
Violins-Neumann U-87; Violas – Neumann U-84; Cellos – Telefunken 251; Basses – Telefunken 250; Woods – Neumann U-84; Trumpets – RCA 44 Ribbon; Trombones – Neumann U-67; Horns – RCA ‘Bombs’; Tuba – Neumann U-84 and Percs – various dynamics.
(The ‘RCA Bombs’ were presumably RCA 77 Ribbons and the Telefunken Ela M 251 and 250 were interesting, being actually built by AKG using the CK12 capsule, so were similar to their C-12. (Interestingly Telefunken didn’t make mics, using Neumanns and AKG to do it)
The ‘Neumann U-84 is a very obscure microphone, so it’s possibly a typo and a KM84)
In this photo we can see that in addition to the extra 8 group faders at the far end of the console, the Neve now has a new ‘L’ section, with at least two 2254 Comp/Lims and additional monitoring. The ‘Star Wars’ recordings were being done to 6-track magnetic film with in addition to the usual ‘Left-Centre-Right’ channels, three more ‘ambience channels’ to aid the Surround mixes.
The Anvil studio above looks ‘practical, but not pretty’ with a mixture of old film ‘lazy arms’ supporting the string mics and a mess of Neumann valve power supplies in front of the rostrum, but then most studios don’t look smart!
“Equalisation was only used “very, very slightly, not a lot,” according to Tomlinson and dynamics processing avoided completely. “I don’t think I’ve ever used compression.” Despite an avoidance of compression and limiting the engineer related that, as they were recording entirely in the analog domain, setting levels a few dB hotter than normal produced an appealing sound. “John Williams and I had a gag. Where it says on the VU [Volume Unit] meters ‘VU’ he used to say ‘let’s have a bit of voo-voo land.’ Just get into the red to give it that edge, a little bit of crispness.”
“Live mixes were made in a left, centre, right (LCR) configuration to two 35mm magnetic film recorders, both encoded with Dolby A-type noise reduction. Peter Gray was the sound camera man who operated the RCA magnetic film machines. The recording was monitored through Tannoy speakers powered by individual 100 watt Radford amplifiers. Alan Snelling recalled that the three-channel film mix was also routed to tracks 1-3 of a Studer A80 16-track 2″ recorder, also encoded with Dolby A. Major sections of the orchestra were isolated on tracks 4-15 and a 50 Hz pilot tone allocated to track 16 for synchronisation with the motion picture. “I remember this so well,” reflected Alan Snelling with great fondness, “because I pressed that record button to record the ‘Main Titles.”
“The recording sessions took place in March 1977, over a period of 8 days, with three 3-hour sessions per day. As is common in film score recordings, the music was recorded out of sequence compared with the narrative of the film. A cue heard midway through the score, (titled “Chasm Crossfire” on the 1997 Special Edition CDs) as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia heroically swing across a gulf within the Death Star, was the first to be recorded on Saturday 3 March 1977. The “Main Title” was also recorded during this first day with five, now historic, takes made. At the commencement of the 3rd Take a musician can be heard remarking “got a good film.” The two “Cantina Band” cues were recorded on day four, Thursday 10 March 1977.“
The dates there are interesting as the LSO’s own Discography says the dates were ‘5,8,9,11,12,15 and 16th March’. At the time of recording ‘Star Wars’ Anvil had apparently given up their ‘echo chambers’ and gone over completely to EMT140 reverbs.
AUDIO: John Williams-‘Star Wars’ Main Theme – LSO (from a soundtrack re-mastered CD)
Eric Tomlinson, front left, with the ‘Star Wars’ director George Lucas, centre, and composer John Williams, with recording supervisor Lionel Newman and Producer Gary Kurtz standing behind.
The ‘Re-recording’ of ‘Star Wars’; that final film sound-dubbing stage, where all the components of dialogue, FX and music are combined into the soundtrack master, was undertaken in Hollywood.
“After scoring was completed the best takes from one of the 35mm magnetic recorders were edited by Ken Wannberg on a moviola. The 16-track tapes were also spliced with exactly the same edits for backup purposes and for preparation of the soundtrack album. Principally, the final edited cues were a combination of two or three different takes. Wannberg subsequently assimilated the score to film with lead music re-recording mixer Don MacDougall. The dubbing crew also included Ray West, balancing dialog, and Bob Minkler, balancing effects, and worked nights from 7pm to 7am each day at the Samuel Goldwyn Studios in West Hollywood.”
“I remember going to the cinema, not on the premiere but there was a studio showing in the West End of London, and we all stood up and cheered when the opening titles came on, it nearly blew us out of our seats, it sounded magnificent.”
The cinema that Eric Tomlinson referred to was obviously playing a ‘Dolby Stereo 70mm Six-Track’, which was at that time, the ultimate of the developing Dolby cinema technologies.
“Dolby Stereo’s breakthrough came with the release of “Star Wars” in 1977. Everyone sat up and took notice. Even though the 35mm optical sound quality was improved, the absolute creme-de-la-creme of movie sound was obtainable from magnetic sound available only from 70mm prints. Therefore, the 70mm format was reintroduced to cinemagoers, still with 6-track stereo, but now Dolby encoded.” [35*]
However only a few cinemas could play these discrete surround audio sound tracks…but Dolby had been working on that.
‘Star Wars’ was recorded using Doby ‘A’ type noise reduction on all the recorded tracks, both mag-film and multitrack. In addition the ‘re-recording’ dubbing mixing stage was now using the same Dolby ‘A’ throughout; so the world of ‘hissy’ multitrack music recording was conquered, and so were the film’s dialogue and FX sound tracks.
In the preceding years Dolby had also been busy ‘sorting out’ the terrible business of cinema ‘optical’ soundtracks, which were still the norm in most cinemas, with their appalling ‘Academy Curve’ EQ.
By the time of ‘Star Wars’, it was able to be released in ‘Dolby Stereo’. This wasn’t in fact just a ‘two channel stereo’ system, but used a ‘matrix encoder’ to produce a ‘centre’ channel along with a single ‘surround’ channel. That single ‘surround’ though was fed to many speakers at the sides and rear of a cinema, and although the images weren’t yet that ‘solid’ in the rear, it gave a basically satisfying ‘front and back’ audio field – all coming from a two channel audio source. These two channels were now known as ‘Left-Total’ and ‘Right-Total’ and by using 90-degree phase shifts, Dolby Stereo was backward compatible and could be used in old ‘mono’ cinemas as well:
“This centre channel information is carried by both LT and RT in phase, and surround channel information by both LT and RT, but out of phase. This gives good compatibility with both mono playback, which reproduces L, C and R from the mono speaker with C at a level 3dB higher than L or R, but surround information cancels out.”
Originally the dialogue on the ‘centre’ signal was only 3dB louder than that on the ‘left’ and ‘right’, so Dolby introduced improvements by adding a ‘logic’ system to the matrix decoder, so that the strongest of the ‘L-R’ or the ‘C-S’ channels would appear more in the ‘centre’.
(I remember that in the next few years, mixes for cinema clients were done by monitoring through both a Dolby Pro-Logic ‘Matrix encoder’ and matching ‘Matrix decoder’, to adjust for the cancellations that could, and would occur….aah, such fun!)
The ‘Star Wars’ soundtrack album – released in June 1977.
Eric was convinced that he’d already mixed ‘the film music score’; and that it could just be ‘transferred’, and not ‘re-mixed’ for a sound-track album.
“I did the mixing in everything for the film down to three-track, so it’s just a matter of transferring that three-track mix straight across – and diminishing the centre-track a little bit – and you’ve got your two-track.”
However the 88 minutes of ‘Star Wars’ music was reduced to 74-minutes and with much cross-fading and swopping items out of their original position, plus some tweaking of the stereo image, and adding some reverb and EQ for an LP. This was carried out by John Neal at Warner’s Burbank Studios under John Williams guidance.
John Williams – ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ – 1979
George Lucas and John Williams returned to using the LSO and recording at Anvil with Eric Tomlinson again for the second of the ‘Star Wars Trilogy’ two years later.
Here’s a photo of the orchestral layout for ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ recorded at the end of 1979. The LSO is arranged in a fairly standard classical orchestra formation, but with bigger gaps between ‘sections’ than on a concert platform.
The 1st Violins are on John William’s left with the 2nds just behind them. The violas are centre and cellos on his right with double basses behind them. Percussion is all to the rear left; the woodwinds rear centre. The horns are then behind the woods and have some screens to reflect their sound forward. All the brass are rear right. There are glass fronted screens at the bottom of this shot, presumably for further ‘quieter’ instruments. John Williams faces the the large projection screen, with a big ‘clock’ timer in front of him.
Eric still at the same, now 10 year-old Neve, with Lionel Newman score reading beside him. Alan Snelling is manning the tapes, which now comprise an MCI 24-track alongside the Studer 16T. Watching the recording, on the sofa in front of the desk are Producer Gary Kurtz, Writer and Executive Producer George Lucas and Director Irvin Kershner.
1980- Anvil closes – but Eric takes ‘his movies’ with him
In 1980 Anvil was forced to move:
“In 1980 the lease expired on the Korda studio complex and the Anvil scoring stage. A developer purchased the site and demolished it by mid-year. Consequently, the Anvil music team were forced to relocate. “Eric [Tomlinson] and myself formed a new company at the famous Abbey Rd studios,” related Alan Snelling, “called Anvil-Abbey Rd ScreenSound Ltd.”
“Due to a lack of interest in classical music recordings, Abbey Road management had been close to making drastic changes to Studio 1. “When we moved to Abbey Road we were actually the salvation of it,” explained Eric Tomlinson. “They were just about to cut Abbey Road 1 into two and put an underground car park in.”
As for the Anvil Neve, complete with it’s 1060 germanium mic amps that had produced such great work……anybody know where it went?
1969: Neve move into their new Melbourn factory
“The Melbourn factory opened in March 1969. I remember on one of the weekends, prior to moving into the factory, driving from Cambridge to Melbourn in a blizzard in order to wire up the mains supply to the new the wooden test benches for the test department.”
“By 1968/69 almost 50% of Neve consoles were exported with a turnover of approximately £360,000.
The Customer list at that time was impressive, even by today’s standards, with over 50 leading organisations in 15 countries being owners of Neve equipment.” 
The new 10,000 sq.ft. factory was featured in Studio Sound the following year. 
Initially all the console manufacture was carried out at Melbourn, but as the company carried on expanding Rupert was forced to go much further afield to find a location happy to take small manufacturing premises and he started a smaller factory in Kelso in the Scottish ‘Borders’ to undertake the construction of the desk modules.
Rupert became so involved with managing his company that he was rarely able to get his hands on any ‘engineering’:
By Christmas 1969 Neve had been building the consoles out of the new factory for some months, and the Neve Newsletter in December celebrated the fact in a number of ways:
The Melbourn Neve factory in the snow was the heading image, and Rupert gave some facts about the growing production:
“2,000 square feet to Melbourn’s 12,000 resulted in something like an explosion in production, once the initial disarray had been overcome. Everybody has carried an unusual burden during the past six months, and none more so than the Project Engineers, whose loyalty and dedication have achieved so much to keep customers happy during these difficult days. Thank you one and all.
And while we are thinking about growth – here are some figures!
The Neve Companies were formed on 1st December, 1966 to take over the business previously run privately by Mr. Neve.
Taking the last year before “becoming a Limited Company” as a base, the output of the business has been
1967 200% (double the previous year)
1968 400% (again double the previous year)
1969 1400% (31/2 – times the previous year)
Now, doubling every year cannot go on. For instance, if a Neve apprentice doubled his income every year, he would be earning a million a year by 1980! But we do have a growth target. We expect to achieve a further 80% growth in 1970 and between 30% and 40% in the years that follow up to 1975.
After that we shall have to think again.”
And humour was still to be found amongst all the hard work keeping up with the booming sales:
As John Turner had just been promoted to Senior Test Engineer, we assume that’s him under the console!
“The person who did do a final overall “sales acceptance” of each console prior to dispatch was Tony Cornwell or one of his sales engineering team. Tony had a great knack of finding the one thing which wasn’t quite right!”
“Life in those days was full of interest because from some points of view, no two consoles were the same; the input modules were pretty much all different, you’d go from one console to another and there would be different detail.
My Factory Manager Jim le-Hay, used to tear his hair out and say “Why in the world can’t we build two the same, it would be so much easier, instead of having to do 48 or 50 modules with one set of specs and another set, another 48, with some marginal differences. Can’t we make them the same?”
Well of course it did lead to making them the same and they became identified with numbers; those original wide modules that I mentioned earlier, the 2.8 inch; were the ’51 series’, the 1051’s and 1052’s and 1053’s. And they were all with germanium transistors and then we went down to the narrower modules; 1.8 inches wide and that was the ‘1060 series’, 1063, 1066 and so on.”
1969: ‘Rupert changes the faders‘ – the arrival of Penny & Giles
“Well you know in the early days of consoles the BBC were using what was known as ‘quadrant faders’. These were a handle that was on a hinged arm underneath the desk, and it was a series of 54 contacts and as your fader was moved up and down, so it made contact with one or other of these little contacts; little brass contacts. And as you moved the fader it would go ‘tic, tic, tic, tic, tic…’, electrical ‘tics’. Well we’d spent a lot of time making really quiet amplifiers and switches and all the rest of it, so I simply abhorred the idea of putting something into the console that was going to make noises like that. In any case this somehow gave the console a really old fashioned feel and look.
On the continent there were a couple of manufacturers who were making flat faders and they were not based on the same mechanical design at all. One firm was called Guiling and the other one was called EMT. The Guiling fader was a very nice fader but not all that reliable, the EMT fader was also a very nice; the movement of this fader was on little horizontal ball-race and everything was fine, except that every now and the ball-race would fall apart and you’d get little ball bearings splattering down onto the floor under the console, and the fader no longer working. 
“I still have one of these EMT faders with the ball bearings on my desk at Burnley, it still has a lovely smooth feel.”
Well our signature was reliability and it didn’t really matter whether it was our circuit that was not working reliably or whether it was some body’s fader that wasn’t working that wasn’t working reliably; the customer simply blamed Rupert Neve for an unreliable console, if the ball-bearings fell out of it, quite reasonably.
So I was trying to buy these faders in quantity but to a higher specification. The importer of these faders was charging a ridiculously high price for them and I thought I could do a deal with him. I went to him and said that if you could increase your quality and if you can keep your price down, we’d be prepared to buy…I forget the quantities, but I’d be prepared to place a contract for these faders. So this gentleman was German, and he wasn’t having any of that and he said: ““Who do you think you are Mr Neve, you think you can control my pricing and control my business; no I will not do this. If you want to buy more faders the price will be more not less”. (laughs).
I said “In that case we won’t buy anymore of your faders.”
“So how are you going to make your consoles?”
Luckily for Neve, ‘Penny & Giles’ arrived at the opportune moment.
“Well just about that time, we had been approached by a company who were in the aircraft industry and they were making parts for the aircraft industry; a sort of potentiometer type of effect – an actuator, which they said, the operating element was actually ‘conductive plastic’. Well I’m not even today, fully aware of what the difference was between ‘conductive plastic’ and the old high-quality ‘carbon’ fader but they came and said: “We would like to make faders for you and we’ve come to the conclusion; we’ve done a survey, that you are the largest consumer of faders in Europe, and we want you to tell us what fader we should make and we will make it for you.”
“Well I was astonished to find that we were ‘the largest of anything’; we’d always thought of ourselves as really quite small. We gave them a drawing showing them the scale that we wanted the fader to be and they made one that was reasonably close, but not close enough. And they eventually got that right after a few further attempts, but when the day came when we bought, oh I don’t know, fifty or so of these faders after a few further attempts; but there were no two the same. That was the first thing, we found that they all had different scales; they could not get consistency in these faders.”
Neve initially provided a jig to help with improving the consistency of the fader calibration but this still didn’t produce the required accuracy and after studying the unsatisfactory method used by Penny and Giles to vary the output from the fader track, equipment was made that finally provided the help that was needed.
“We provided them with a quality control jig, which meant they would set this up on an actual fader and move the fader to specified points along the scale were it had to read electrically certain values, and bit by bit they got this right. Well you can imagine it was an expensive process but Penny and Giles, despite of everything, did a good job and although we joke about the way in which they did it, they were the people who emerged ahead of anybody else who was trying to make faders at that time.”
‘Flat’ audio faders soon went from having ‘carbon tracks’ to ‘conductive plastic’, as soon lots of other manufacturers followed suit.
“Rupert, Geoff Watts and Derek Stoddart were involved in the introduction of the P&G ‘conductive plastic’ faders – another piece of brilliant British design.”
This is the ‘classic’ black Penny & Giles 1520 fader with the dual P&G and Neve logos in the 45mm width that suited the Neve modules being produced. About the time that the consoles started coming from the new Melbourn factory, they also started to be fitted with the new faders.
Coming In Part Five
We haven’t finished with the Neve consoles from 1969, so there’s Thames TV’s very innovative ‘free-grouping’ console and some more recording studio desks such as Recorded Sound’s 20-channel, the DJM and Bob Auger’s 16-8’s and the film dubbing console for Pathe and TV desk for the Eurovision Song Contest from Madrid. Neve had now become ‘the’ manufacturer for quality audio consoles in all areas of sound.
Credits and References:
In addition to all the help provided by John Turner, a great many thanks to the people who talked to both John and I about their ‘Neves’. In the order they appear in this article:
Phil Newell, Derek Stoddart, John Klett, Ed Friedner, Terry Dwyer, Jace Lasek and David Smith of Breakglass, and Chris Malone.
Anybody with information on the Neves detailed here I’d love to here from you.
 From Rupert Neve’s video series, ‘The Shelford Interviews’, on the Rupert Neve designs website : www.rupertneve.com. This series of videos available on YouTube, is a great resource and it’s wonderful to see Rupert talking about the early days of Neve. He recorded these in 2013 at the age of 86, so we can excuse a few lapses of memory that are revealed in the timeline of the products and their developments. Thanks to Rupert Neve Designs for keeping them available.
 Quote from Studio Sound article ‘Twenty Years of Neve’ by Noel Bell
 From the Studio Sound article ‘Neve in Focus’, by Keith Wicks, published June 1970.
 From Howard Massey’s book “The Great British Recording Studios”. The best all round summary of the 60’s and 70’s UK studios.
 From Sound On Sound magazine article of May 2010 ‘Ray Davies – 5 decades in the studio’
 From the IBA Yearbook 1970.
 For more information on the history of the Granada TV studios see: https://www.tvstudiohistory.co.uk/the-rest-of-the-uk-today/recent-itv-studios/
 The very talented John Finch wrote the complete series. For more on the series, see his website: https://johnfinch.com/a-family-at-war/[
 First page of the script from ‘Archives+’ a partnership of Manchester history groups https://manchesterarchiveplus.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/so-it-goes/
 From: https://recordcollectormag.com/articles/so-it-goes-the-show-that-rocked-the-box.
 Details from a posting by ‘Kid Squid’ on the stripping down and examination of a Neve 1060 module given on the GroupDIY forum in May 2020:
 Rupert Neve’s correspondence with John Turner
 Details and photos of the Carbide and Carbon building from: https://www.architecture.org/learn/resources/buildings-of-chicago/building/carbide-and-carbon-building/
 From the webpage of Regent Sounds owner James Baring (the 6th Baron Revelstoke), after receiving an email from Noel Cantrill in March 2007, from Australia: http://revelstoke.org.uk/RegentSound.html
Noel Cantrill was later an ABC TV Sound Supervisor.
 An interesting ‘reminder’ about the very earliest days of using ‘Sel-Sync’, from Mike Rivers, writing in a post – https://www.harmonycentral.com/forums/topic/96131-sel-sync/
(Because of the spacing between ‘Record’ and ‘Playback’ tape heads, ‘Sel-Sync’ was about keeping a newly recorded part in sync with previous parts.)
Authors note: In 1970, when I was ‘tape-op’ on a Scully 280-8, doing a drop in on a previously recorded part, you switched the track from ‘Sync’ (ie off the Record head’s playback output) to ‘Input’ at the moment of going into ‘Record’. This enabled the musician to go from hearing his played-back track to hearing himself (live) when you ‘dropped in’. It soon got even easier when the Dolby 361 units came with relay switching that feed the ‘input’ to the output when you went into ‘Record’.
 These are from the wonderful collection of Raeburn Flerlage’s photographs, many of Chicago recording sessions mainly taken at Sound Studios Inc., which are viewable on the Chicago History Museum website: https://images.chicagohistory.org/.
 From TapeOp magazine: https://tapeop.com/interviews/11/recording-history/
The Neves at Chicago Sound Studios obviously made their mark, but the author of this piece, Steve Silverstein can’t have been correct in saying ‘a Neve board’ in 1966 when the Roscoe Mitchell’s ‘Sound’ album was recorded there, as the arrival of the Neve was 1968.
Most are scanned rather too darkly alas….a stop or two of brightening helps!
 Sebastian Danchin’s excellent book “Earl Hooker-Blues Master” was published by the University of Mississippi in 2001
 From the book ‘Bitten By The Blues’ by Alligator records owner Bruce Iglauer. This is a great look at the running of an independent record label devoted to ‘the blues’.
 From Bruce Swedien’s book ‘Make Mine Music’ published by Hal Leonard.
 John Klett is still active servicing vintage equipment and his years working on Neves must make him worth talking to if you have servicing requirements. His website is: www.technicalaudio.com
 Tom Wright died in 2008, and this obituary sums up some of his achievements: https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/atlanta/name/thomas-wright-obituary?id=6804779
 From a review of the Tubby Hayes ‘lost tapes’ LP and CD at : https://londonjazzcollector.wordpress.com/2019/11/30/tubby-hayes-grits-beans-and-greens-the-lost-fontana-studio-session-1969-2019-universal/
 Philips and Solid Bond Studios information from ‘philsbook.com’. A great website that currently can only be accessed through web archives, but looks like it might be reappearing again soon.
 From a phone conversation with Ed Friedner in March 2021 and he gave me more information on his 13 years with Vanguard. Ed is still working and can be found at ‘Buttons Sound’ in NY.
 Details of the Hotel Carteret and The Chelsea Presbyterian Church at 214 W 23rd Street, NY from: http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-hotel-carteret-and-skyscraper.html
 Photo by the photographer, David Gahr. His Photos of The Vanguard Studio taken in June 1966 are available from Getty Images. Gahr was a great photographer of musicians and his book of images of Bruce Springsteen and if it’s still available, his ‘The Faces Of Folk Music’, are books worth finding.
 John Woram’s 1999 oral interview with Susan Schmidt-Horning can be listened to at: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt70p26q221g.
John Woram wrote, firstly in 1976, ‘The Recording Studio Handbook’, which even now is probably the ‘go to’ manual for analogue studio information.
[29*] Ed Friedner, who had already left Vanguard and doesn’t recall this opera, is however credited on the 1992 CD re-issue.
[30*] From the Sandy Denny discography- there’s no mention of the Vanguard studio though:
“Like An Old-Fashioned Walz (1974) Vinyl LP. Island, ILPS 9258. UK.
Artist(s) – Sandy Denny. Recorded May and August 1973 (released June 1974). Produced by Trevor Lucas. Engineered by John Wood.
Sandy’s third solo studio album was recorded at Sound Techniques, London and A & M Studios, Los Angeles. Island Records delayed the release from autumn 1973 to June 1974, by which time Sandy had re-joined Fairport Convention. The album did not chart in the UK or elsewhere.”
[31*] Terry Dwyer now runs Mixers Sound, North Hollywood.
[32*] Break Glass Studios in Montreal have a few small photos of the completed Neve after the rebuild on their website: https://www.breakglass.ca/studio-a.ph
[33*] From Chris Malone, who has superbly documented Anvil and Eric Tomlinson’s history: https://www.malonedigital.com/articles.html
[34*] The London Symphony Orchestra Discography tells me that the sessions for ‘Blind Terror/See No Evil’ were on the 4th and 5th March. It says “an attempt to locate the music in 2014 was unsuccessful”.
[35*] From the 70mm.com website
A .pdf copy of the article by Andre Previn in the The Guardian of 10th July 1971 is copyright, but the text is offered HERE (click link) – as an important ‘historical research’ document.
This website is for documenting the history of Recorded and Broadcast Sound and does not seek financial gain in any way. Copyrighted material is used because it reveals some of the interesting history that we seek to document. Full credits are given where possible.
All audio has levels as near to the recommended Broadcast EBU R128 ‘Loudness Levels as possible. You will therefore find that audio does not ‘shred your ears’ and you will most probably have to afterwards use your volume control to reset back to those full-peak digital levels that are still too prevalent on the internet.