Other Equipment

AIR Montserrat Neve recording console now in Toronto studio

2

Paul McCartney Tug of War album, among many others recorded on this. The studio was of course closed long time ago

3

Lots of mystique about Montserrat...the Neve board lore continues....

4

I tracked a couple of albums on a vintage Neve at a studio in Madrid.

Having used countless desks during my studio career, that old Neve was without doubt the best. An L-shaped combination of 1056 and 1073 modules that almost did the job for you.

I'd plug in a Neumann U67 or M49, push up a fader and pretty much everything and anything would sound pretty amazing from the get go.

Happy days...

5

I'd plug in a Neumann U67 or M49, push up a fader and pretty much everything and anything would sound pretty amazing from the get go.

Wellsir, you'd hope so. If money can buy quality, that combo ought to deliver the slam-dunk.

I've often found that truly high-end gear, so qualified by universal agreement of myriad users over time, is generally ridiculously easy to get great results from. While the Neve is covered in sliders, knobs, buttons, and meters (it does a lot of jobs), often other great gear seems to lack bells and whistles compared to flashier and more complicated competitors.

But when the circuits are great, you just don't need all the bells and whistles. It just works. And when the circuit isn't great, the bells and whistles don't help.

Sounds like a great experience, tracking with a Neumann through a Neve in Madrid.

I have, however, tracked with Audio Technicas through a Carvin in Pleasantville, OH!

7

The last time I recorded in a really good studio, the producer put the final digital mix through a Neve console and the transformation was fantastic; everything really warmed up and sounded fuller.

8

I've tried the same trick through a Mackie board with VLZ preamps. Still sounded better. Surely not as much better as the Neve made it.

The analog preamps in Tascam's old tape machines have decent reputations for "warmth," and I could also run digital outs through those channels (without rolling tape), and get some juice back. (Along with a touch of noise and slight smearing of high-end detail.) But it would sure sound tapier!

The Neve, of course, is more linear and transparent, better phase-aligned through all components, more accurate - but some of the effect is simply getting some analog preamps in the chain.

9

I'd plug in a Neumann U67 or M49, push up a fader and pretty much everything and anything would sound pretty amazing from the get go.

Wellsir, you'd hope so. If money can buy quality, that combo ought to deliver the slam-dunk.

I've often found that truly high-end gear, so qualified by universal agreement of myriad users over time, is generally ridiculously easy to get great results from. While the Neve is covered in sliders, knobs, buttons, and meters (it does a lot of jobs), often other great gear seems to lack bells and whistles compared to flashier and more complicated competitors.

But when the circuits are great, you just don't need all the bells and whistles. It just works. And when the circuit isn't great, the bells and whistles don't help.

Sounds like a great experience, tracking with a Neumann through a Neve in Madrid.

I have, however, tracked with Audio Technicas through a Carvin in Pleasantville, OH!

– Proteus

The idea that quality makes recording easier is true. Soon as I started buying high-end preamps and mics, I started having way more fun recording. It just takes so much less effort getting good tones. I have some modern studio flavours of Neve style goodness, a Portico 5012 and a BAE 1073MPF and although I'm sure that Air studio NEVE console is way better, I get why people love Neve pres.

10

What a shocking vision to see the remnants of the studio. A shimmering edifice of sumptuous 80s decadence, now a hollow festering shell. There's a metaphor in there somewhere.

Some wonderful music was made there. The McCartney album 'Tug Of War' is an especial favourite. I can't explain quite why this should be, but the high-gloss fidelity is so compelling and mesmerising, never overwhelming a really strong selection of material. The exquisite guitar fidelity on 'The Pound Is Sinking' is just about the greatest rendition of the McCartney patent Epi/Vox combination and worth the ticket all by itself-

Duran Duran were there in their pomp too, perfectly encapsulating all that was great and grotesque about the location.

In contrast, Stray Cats recorded their distressing second album 'Gonna Ball' there. It's a mushy record, more bluesy in approach to either the first or the third. The band seemed to try too hard to get an energy on tape to revive songs that were too often as flat as the production. I distinctly recall Setzer griping about the band's experience in balmy Montserrat with characteristic almost-grasp-of-historical-accuracy - "...I don't care if it's raining and crummy outside, if I want a Fender Twin Reverb from 1958 I want to make a call and get one. We had to wait two weeks for a damn echo box!"

11

Maybe my hearing has changed a lot over the years or maybe it's just the quality of sound tracks embedded in the article but nowadays it seems that you can get great clarity on a digital hand held recorder for $100. Of course, you don't get the 32 track mixer or multi-track recording but that never bothered me much as I always preferred my bands to play their music at the same time anyway.

I beliieve that track and the flip side were recorded in less than 25 minutes.

And, yes, Tim, if I ever need multitrack, I still record on a TEAC 4 -track reel machine mixed down to a TASCAM half track both of which have been amazingly reliable for 40 years.

12

Ah. My half-track (35-2B) is down, needs a drive belt. Do you know where those come from?

My MSR-16 has a rotted/gummy pinch roller, gotta get that to the guy online who re-mans them, then I can get access to my old masters again.

But the 80-8 - while acceleration is slower than when new, and the brakes not much better - is still fully functional.

I don't use those machines much, but I just can't seem to let go of spinning reels.

13

Tim,

Call Vic Mason at Plexi Palace in Victorville, CA and ask for Craig. He worked as a U.S. Air Force tech in Japan back in the eighties so knows his way around all of that stuff.

https://www.vintageandrare....

14

What a shocking vision to see the remnants of the studio. A shimmering edifice of sumptuous 80s decadence, now a hollow festering shell. There's a metaphor in there somewhere.

Some wonderful music was made there. The McCartney album 'Tug Of War' is an especial favourite. I can't explain quite why this should be, but the high-gloss fidelity is so compelling and mesmerising, never overwhelming a really strong selection of material. The exquisite guitar fidelity on 'The Pound Is Sinking' is just about the greatest rendition of the McCartney patent Epi/Vox combination and worth the ticket all by itself-

Duran Duran were there in their pomp too, perfectly encapsulating all that was great and grotesque about the location.

In contrast, Stray Cats recorded their distressing second album 'Gonna Ball' there. It's a mushy record, more bluesy in approach to either the first or the third. The band seemed to try too hard to get an energy on tape to revive songs that were too often as flat as the production. I distinctly recall Setzer griping about the band's experience in balmy Montserrat with characteristic almost-grasp-of-historical-accuracy - "...I don't care if it's raining and crummy outside, if I want a Fender Twin Reverb from 1958 I want to make a call and get one. We had to wait two weeks for a damn echo box!"

– ade

That really is a good guitar sound on the Pound Is Sinking!


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