Online Mastering at Abbey Road Studios
Mastering is the final process in the chain of music production in which a mixed track is made to sound the best that it possibly can in every playback situation as well as across multiple tracks in an EP or album release.
Online mastering allows anyone to have access to Abbey Road's world class mastering team and equipment as if they were right here in the Studios from the comfort of their own home.
Submit your tracks for mastering at Abbey Road right here.
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Online Mastering Relaunches
Prices starts at £90 ex VAT (approx US $130) for a single stereo track. For more information head over to abbeyroad.com/online-mastering
[Press Release available here]
Peter Cobbin Prints Available
This is a close-up of the infamous TG12345 Mk.II mixing console at Abbey Road. The first ever soild-state console from EMI, it epitomized the sound revolution of the 1960s and 1970s with its unique EQ and famous compressor/limiter. It was used to mix some of the biggest, era defining albums of the time including The Beatles’ Abbey Road album as well as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, and later on solo albums by John Lennon and Kate Bush.
This detailed shot comes from a selection of limited edition prints photographed by Peter Cobbin (Director of Engineering at Abbey Road Studios) are now available to purchase online and in-store exclusively from the Abbey Road Shop.
The 6 unique black and white prints give detail on some of the custom made and vintage equipment in use at the Studios. All prints are framed as well as signed by Peter Cobbin.
Have a browse at shop.abbeyroad.com.
Mastering at Abbey Road Studios
Abbey Road Red Incubator
Click here to watch video.
Seasonal Bundles Have Arrived At The Shop!
We’ve got everything from Abbey Road guitar straps and “I am the eggman” egg cups to engineer approved china mugs, Studio chocolates and specially designed playing cards. The bundles come in four different forms including Seasonal Studio Essentials, Studio Survival Kit, Session Musician Starter Pack and a Student Study Bundle.
If you’ve yet to visit the shop it’s located right next to the entrance to the Studios (as well as online) and you can purchase all sorts of Abbey Road Studios related bits and pieces – from Abbey Road Red’s pick of miniature synths to Beatles figurines, classic 12” Beatles LPs, crossing cushions, t shirts, graffiti notebooks and much more.
Have a browse at shop.abbeyroad.com
The Abbey Road Shop
Selling everything from T shirts and merchandise to vinyl and stationery, the shop will be open 7 days a week from 9.30 to 17.30 on Monday to Saturday, and 10.00 to 17.00 on Sunday. The entrance is located to the front right of the Studios
If you're coming to visit the Studios or crossing, then why not stop by and have a look around?
Of course if you can't make it in person, then you can always visit the online store right here.
Recording and Mixing at Abbey Road
Find out more about Abbey Road's world class recording & mixing team right here.
Abbey Road meets Alan Parsons
@Tom5576 - When you were growing up, what music were you listening to?
It started with the pop of the late 50s and early 60s on Radio Luxembourg - the only way to hear pop music. The Light Programme, the predecessor of Radio 1 hardly played any records because they were restricted from doing so by the Musicians’ Union.
Benjamin Thiessen (Facebook) - Does the convenience of digital recording contribute to a creative process or is being creative not dependent on a certain way of recording?
Even digital tape recorders allowed us to time shift and cut and paste which was really difficult in analog days. On hard disc it’s a piece of cake to do such things. I’d say it’s more time-saving than contributing to the creative process. I still follow old school principles in the digital age.
@Astraux_ - How did you get the vocals to sound so nice and so wide on pyramid? Plus – got any vocal recording secrets?
Thank you but no particular secrets except good singers, good mics, good limiters (Fairchild)
@tatioldfield - What are the current challenges for new record producers and sound engineers in terms of technology?
Hard to keep up with the myriad of new products. I listen to people who use DAWs/computers all day every day. You can’t use everything.
@mihajlopopovic - Any plans on releasing "fly on the wall" MCTS videos? Would be well worth paying for.
Possibly - There’s a lot of footage and the editing would be a challenge. I think most of the value of MCTSs is being there.
@christophermh44 - Music is expensive…any advice for a cheap sound engineer starter kit?
Good monitor speakers are what I would spend the most on. Next a good condenser mic, and next the best possible acoustics in your recording area.
@christophermh44 - What are your favourite decades in terms of audio mixing?
I think the 70s and 80s both had a distinctive and evolving style. There have been great recordings in every decade.
@HutchbBen - What's your favourite memory of working on the Beatles' Abbey Road album?
Working with Paul on Oh Darlin’ - he would come in at 2pm every day and sing it a couple of times until he finally got the take he liked.
@RuchieC711 – Would you have tweaked any songs by The Beatles or Pink Floyd to make them fit with today’s technology?
If only I had been given the opportunity to do so - quite possibly!
@TMB_Virtual - What actual recording system (or tool) would you recommend to record analog sound?
You need to read or watch The Art And Science Of Sound Recording!
@chip_uni - In "In the Lap of the Gods", what WERE the background singers singing?
“Hail to The King, Praise To The King, Hail to The King and Glory To His Name Forever - Hosannah - Gloria"
Robert Shorkey (Facebook) - What are the main microphones you use today?
I have discovered some mics from Nashville called MikTech which are amazing. I also favour Neumanns - notably the Km84 and AKG dynamics.
Gianmarco Baudazzi (Facebook) - Which are your future musical plans ?
Mostly live shows, although I am giving consideration to a new album but no solid plans yet.
Got a question for Alan Parsons?
Tickets are available for his Sleeve Notes lecture series in Studio Two this November in conjunction with Technics, which includes a Q&A, right here.
Abbey Road and Chandler release the RS124 Compressor
Still in use today at Abbey Road Studios, though most recognized for its use at virtually every Beatles recording session in the 1960s, the RS124’s true inner-workings have managed to remain an enigma to recording engineers to this day. Through the years, from incomplete information and supposition, some have tried to recreate the RS124 compressor, though no one has ever fully realized or replicated this elusive signal processor - until now.
To learn more about the RS124 compressor, click here.
Introducing Abbey Road Red
Abbey Road Red builds on a history of ground-breaking technological advances at the studios that started when the studios opened back in 1931 as the world’s first ever purpose-built recording complex. The original REDD (with two “D’s”) department stood for Record Engineering Development Department and was founded back in 1955 to work closely with the Abbey Road recording engineers and push the boundaries of recording technology to meet the demands of ambitious artists and producers.
Abbey Road Red looks to continue this legacy for 2015, launching as an open innovation department designed to support the endeavours of the brightest music tech entrepreneurs, researchers and developers.
Backed up by parent company, Universal Music, Red runs Europe’s only music tech specific incubator program, with the London based Titan Reality signed up as the first company to get help from Red. Titan Reality are due to launch their patented 3D sensing musical controller the Pulse the coming weeks.
Last night's launch party included a demonstration of Titan Reality's Pulse in action in Studio Two as the opening of a tech fair that featured displays from exciting music tech companies including Visualise, Jukedeck, mi.mu and Mogees as well as performances from Matthew Herbert and Hyperdub label boss Kode9.
Fancy getting involved? For more information on how Red can help you with your start-up or research idea click here, or to apply for their incubation program click here.
Keep up to date on the latest updates from Red by following them on Twitter @AbbeyRoadRed
Alan Parsons presents Sleeve Notes: From Mono To Infinity
During the talks he will be opening up about the development of his own skills and experience as an engineer, producer and recording artist at Abbey Road, placing these alongside the ongoing developments in music technology at the Studios that allowed him and others to create such ground-breaking records that continue to survive the test of time.
The talks will include audio, footage, photos and the vintage studio equipment used to create some of his and the Studios’ classic tracks. They will also include an audience Q&A co-hosted by David Hepworth whose journalistic and TV credits include work for The Guardian, NME, Q, Mojo and The Old Grey Whistle Test.
Alan Parsons' career at Abbey Road began when he was a trainee engineer on The Beatles’ final two albums, ‘Let It Be’ and ‘Abbey Road,’ and he went on to handle mixing duties on both Pink Floyd’s, ‘Atom Heart Mother’ and ‘Dark Side Of The Moon.’ As an artist and producer in his own right in the Alan Parsons Project he went on to record a series of memorable works throughout the 70s and 80s at Abbey Road including ‘Tales Of Mystery And Imagination’, ‘I Robot’, and ‘Eye In The Sky’.
Tickets are available here.
In between the weekend Alan will be bringing his popular recording masterclasses ‘Master Class Training Sessions’ to Abbey Road. Based on his award winning ‘Art and Science of Sound Recording’ video series and book, MCTS events offer attendees the chance to literally make a record with Alan Parsons in the studio.
He will also take time out of his schedule to deliver a private lecture exclusively for students at Abbey Road Institute, the Studios’ brand new audio engineering and music production education facility which opens later this month.
Abbey Road Red presents Titan Reality
Titan Reality are developing advanced musical interfaces and instruments using patented 3D sensing technologies. After 4 years of R&D, the company are now ready to start launching their hardware and software products.
Unlike other musical controllers their first product, the Pulse*, tracks movement and shapes in 3 dimensions, so can sense the size of any object placed over it, as well as its speed and position, allowing users to control software with really fine and expressive detail using just their hands - or whatever else they chose to place over its highly responsive sensors.
But that’s just the start. Titan Reality have big ambitions – their software platform, built from the ground up to run on most platforms, gives users access to a vast and ever expanding library of instruments and effects, including rare drums and other equipment.
We are looking forward to working alongside Titan Reality over the coming months.
Google Presents: Inside Abbey Road
Inside Abbey Road is an interactive experience that lets fans around the world explore the legendary studios, hear its stories and play with some of its famous equipment right from their computer, tablet or phone.
Inside Abbey Road is a new site created by Google and Abbey Road Studios, which lets people explore every nook and cranny of the three main studios and one mastering suite for the first time. Throughout the site, there are more than 150 different 360-degree panoramic images for visitors to explore. As they walk through the studios, they'll see YouTube videos and archival images from Abbey Road's history- right where it originally happened. From footage of Elgar and the London Symphony Orchestra opening the studios in 1931 to Jay Z discussing his Magna Carta album with Zane Lowe. Users can even play with pioneering equipment in specially designed interactive gadgets, such as the J37 4-track recorder that was used to record The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
For your chance to step Inside Abbey Road, click here.
Abbey Road's Guide To Glastonbury 2015
Whether it’s as a recording studio, live music venue or for mastering, here’s a brief list of some ways in which this year’s Glastonbury headliners have made use of Abbey Road Studios over time, as well as a rundown of some of our favourite acts playing the main stages this year.
Sure to be a sing-along favourite on Sunday, Lionel Richie’s easy-listening hit “Easy” as part of the Commodores was mastered for UK release on 7” single in 1977 by Abbey Road for the Motown Record Corporation. Abbey Road Studios would go on to master a series of Motown records for UK release throughout the rest of the 1970s.
A few years before they received more mainstream success in the mid-1980s, The Waterboys’ eponymous debut album released in 1983 – that eventually got them signed to Island Records paving the way for things to come - was mastered at Abbey Road. Later, during the mid-1990s, one of Motorhead’s earliest and rawest releases 1975’s “On Parole” was also digitally mixed and remastered by Abbey Road engineers.
Most of Belle & Sebastian’s album output from the 2000s (right up to their most recent release “Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance” earlier in 2015) was mastered at the hands of Abbey Road engineers, as were various releases by the Chemical Brothers, and the past 10 years have also seen Paul Weller, Alabama Shakes, The xx, James Bay, La Roux, Ella Eyre and Gorgon City all stop by to do live performances and interviews in the Studios.
Below is our pick of this year’s top headliners and up and coming acts, all of who have passed through our doors at one point or another to record some incredible studio works.
Florence + The Machine
Florence + The Machine recorded large parts of their breakthrough 2011 album “Ceremonials” at Abbey Road Studios, including live footage from recording for the video for single ”What The Water Gave Me.” They’ll be headlining the Pyramid Stage on Friday night.
Abbey Road and Sonos
Abbey Road and Sonos are coming together to explore the method and magic behind music creation, developing a better understanding of each other's worlds in order to reduce the distance between studio recording and home listening.
It all started last night with an intimate Sonos Studio London gig in Abbey Road's Studio Two, featuring the debut live performance from producer Max Cooper alongside pianist Tom Hodge.
To find out more about the event as well what's to come head over to blogs.sonos.com
Abbey Road Golden Globe win & Oscar nominations
Congratulations are in order for Johan Johansson, whose score to The Theory of Everything picked up Best Score at the Golden Globes. Recorded at Abbey Road, the score is nominated in the same category at the Oscars.
Other Abbey Road projects in the running for Best Score at the Oscars include Alexandre Desplat's music for The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game, and Hans Zimmer's score to Interstellar.
The Theory of Everything, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game are also up for several other gongs, including Best Picture.
Don't forget to tune in to watch the live broadcast of the awards on 22nd February.
Abbey Road and Chandler Limited release REDD.47
The REDD.47 was introduced as the all-purpose amplifier component for EMI's legendary REDD.51 mixing console. The REDD.47 microphone pre-amplifier, considered a 'holy grail' to some, is most closely associated with the sound of The Beatles' music recorded in Abbey Road's Studio Two between 1964 and 1968.
Chandler Limited and Abbey Road Studios have now revived this legendary piece of kit with their new hardware incarnation. The punchy, aggressive sound of the original pre-amplifier has been preserved, while new features required for the rigors of today’s recording studio environment have been added. These extraordinary pre-amplifiers are now shipping to dealers worldwide.
To learn more about the REDD.47 pre-amp, click here. Or if you'd like to listen to a sound clip of the kit in action, watch the video below.
Noted Composer James Horner Dies In Tragic Accident
He will be very much missed by all of us who knew him here at the Studios.
Watch James in action recently here.
Alan Dower Blumlein Honoured
The plaque which will be permanently housed at Abbey Road honours the pioneering work of Alan Dower Blumlein- some of which was done at the Studios- and his enduring influence in recording technology. One of the most influential British engineers of the twentieth century, Alan Dower Blumlein also made significant advancements in telecommunications, television and airborne radar before his untimely death in an aircraft accident in 1942.
The citation that appears on the IEEE Milestone Plaque reads:
‘Alan Dower Blumlein filed a patent for a two-channel audio system called “stereo” on 14 December 1931. It included a “shuffling” circuit to preserve directional sound, an orthogonal “Blumlein Pair” of velocity microphones, the recording of two orthogonal channels in a single groove, stereo disc-cutting head, and hybrid transformer to mix directional signals. Blumlein brought his equipment to Abbey Road Studios in 1934 and recorded the London Philharmonic Orchestra.’
Born in Hampstead, London on 29th June 1903, Alan Dower Blumlein was one of the most prolific inventors of the twentieth century who transformed the worlds of audio and recording technology, television and airborne radar. In March 1929, aged 25, he joined Columbia Gramophone, one of the forerunners of EMI. During his time at Columbia and EMI he thrived as an incredibly inventive and innovative engineer, filing 121 patents in the space of 13 years. On 7th June 1942, when he was just 38, Alan Dower Blumlein’s life was cut tragically short in an aircraft accident as he was testing the H2S airborne radar system that he had developed and which was soon deployed throughout the RAF’s fleet.
Check out the rarely seen early stereo test footage ‘Trains at Hayes.’
Picture courtesy of EMI Archive Trust
Abbey Road Institute
The bespoke curriculum, developed with Abbey Road Studios engineers, offers a unique mix of theoretical and practical modules. This programme is designed to equip students for their first step toward a professional audio engineering and production career.
The London institute will be housed at the renowned North London studio complex inside purpose-built classrooms, providing students with access to Abbey Road’s hallowed recording spaces, control rooms and equipment.
Additional Abbey Road Institutes will launch in Berlin, Munich, Melbourne and Sydney for September 2015, with more to follow. Abbey Road Institute is now accepting applications for a limited number of places in the September 2015 intake at all locations. Find out more at www.abbeyroadinstitute.com
Abbey Road Grammy & Golden Globe nominations
Mastering Engineer Miles Showell is up for Record of the Year at the Grammys, for his work on 'Fancy' (Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX). Several other projects mastered by Miles are also nominated, including Iggy's album 'The New Classic' and dance anthem 'Faded' by Zhu.
On the recording side, 'I See Fire' by Ed Sheeran is shortlisted for Best Song Written for Visual Media. The track was recorded and mixed by Abbey Road's Peter Cobbin and Kirsty Whalley, and again mastered by Miles.
Several film projects we've worked on are in the running for the award for Best Score: Gravity at the Grammys, and The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything and Interstellar at the Golden Globes.
Congratulations to everyone on their nominations - fingers crossed for some Abbey Road wins!
The Imitation Game recorded & mixed at Abbey Road
Watch the trailer below:
Colette Barber honoured at APRS Awards
The APRS (Association of Professional Recording Services) Sound Fellowship is a prestigious accolade, awarded to individuals who have made a ‘significant contribution to the art, science or business of sound recording’.
Previous recipients of the award include Sir Paul McCartney, Sir George Martin, David Gilmour, Nile Rodgers, Quincy Jones, Peter Gabriel and Colette’s first boss, Ken Townsend.
Colette started at Abbey Road 35 years ago, working her way up within a year from accounts temp to Studio Bookings Manager, and has played an integral role in making the studios what they are today.
She has often gone above and beyond the call of duty – perhaps most notably in 1988, when Pink Floyd were due to commence remixing Delicate Sound of Thunder in Studio Three, but builders refurbishing the bathroom had fallen behind schedule. Disaster was averted when Colette stepped in and finished grouting the tiles herself!
It’s fantastic to see her receive recognition for her huge contribution to the success of the studios. Congratulations Colette, from everyone at Abbey Road.
Alexandre Desplat & Daniel Pemberton awards success
Alexandre Desplat and Daniel Pemberton were honoured at the World Soundtrack Awards in Ghent this month, winning Best Film Composer of the Year and Discovery of the Year respectively.
Alexandre won Best Film Composer of the Year for his scores to Grand Budapest Hotel, Godzilla, The Monuments Men, Venus in Fur, Philomena, Zulu and Marius, several of which were recorded or mixed at Abbey Road Studios.
The Discovery of the Year award celebrates emerging film composing talent, and was awarded to Daniel in recognition of his scores for Cuban Fury and the Counsellor, both recorded at Abbey Road.
Huge congratulations to Alexandre, Daniel and all the other winners from everyone at Abbey Road! You can check out the full list here.
Interstellar goes stratospheric at UK box office
The recording engineer for the sessions was Geoff Foster, assisted by Abbey Road’s John Barrett and Jon Alexander. Richard Hale, Matt Kingdon and Dan Cole were on hand to provide technical assistance.
Interstellar is out now in cinemas worldwide. Watch the trailer here:
Guardians of the Galaxy rules Box Office Chart
Guardians of the Galaxy made its box office debut at the weekend, shooting straight to no.1 on both sides of the Atlantic.
The film smashed records in the US, where it scored the biggest ever opening weekend for an August release.
Tyler Bates’ score was recorded by Abbey Road’s Andrew Dudman in Studio One, assisted by Lewis Jones and Matt Jones.
Check out the film trailer below:
Waves and Abbey Road Studios release TG12345 plugin
Click here for more info.
Live Here Now on the road with Robbie Williams
Abbey Road's Live Here Now team has just returned from accompanying Robbie Williams on his Swings Both Ways Live arena tour, recording a total of 38 dates across Europe.
The run of shows saw Robbie perform tracks from his latest album Swings Both Ways, which was recorded in part at Abbey Road Studios, alongside swing-inspired interpretations of his classic hits.
The tour culminated in four sold-out nights at London's O2 arena, lauded as 'preposterously entertaining' by the Guardian.
The live recording of Robbie's performance was available to purchase at the end of each show, as a double CD album or MP3 download. Don't worry if you missed out - you can purchase your copy of any (or all!) of the dates here until 7th August.
Half-speed mastering 'dubnobasswithmyheadman'
To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Underworld's 'dubnobasswithmyheadman', the record has been meticulously remastered by Miles Showell for a deluxe reissue on CD and vinyl, working closely with Rick Smith.
For the double vinyl LP, Miles used a specialist technique known as half-speed mastering. This process transforms difficult to cut high-end frequencies into relatively easy to cut mid-range frequencies, resulting in cuts that have excellent high frequency response (treble) and very solid and stable stereo images. In short, a high quality master that helps the pressing plant create a high quality record.
Cutting vinyl at half-speed requires adapted lathes: one of Abbey Road Studios' Neumann VMS-80 lathes has been modified to accommodate this highly specialised process.
The deluxe 'dubnobasswithmyheadman' vinyl reissue is out on 6th October - pre-order your copy here.
‘Venus and Mars’ & ‘At The Speed of Sound’ remastered
‘Venus and Mars’ was remastered by Steve Rooke and Sam Okell, and ‘At The Speed of Sound’ was remastered by Steve Rooke and Guy Massey.
The re-issues will include bonus audio including demos and unreleased tracks, mastered by Alex Wharton. Audio restoration for the projects was carried out by Simon Gibson.
The albums will be available on CD (as both standard and deluxe editions), vinyl and download.
Check out the unboxing videos for the deluxe editions below.
Top Ten most Technically Innovative Beatles Songs
Brian Kehew and Kevin Ryan, co-authors of 'Recording the Beatles', have compiled a list of the top ten most technically innovative Beatles songs for Mojo magazine.
As they explain, "The group's remarkable thirst for newness, allied with the ingenuity of their producers and engineers at EMI's Abbey Road Studios, gave rise to cutting-edge sonics and daring studio exploration - now often taken for granted."
Check out the top ten here.
Brian and Kevin will be speaking at 'The Sound of Abbey Road Studios' events this weekend, along with Beatles engineer Ken Scott. The last few tickets are available here.
Record Store Day 2014 at Abbey Road Studios
Record Store Day takes place on 19th April this year, with hundreds of special limited edition vinyl releases available for one day only. Abbey Road Studios' vinyl mastering and cutting engineers are proud to have played a role in helping create records by a fantastic set of artists for the day, including The Sex Pistols, Coldplay, Grace Jones and Lily Allen.
Releases also include a special 7" by the legendary bassist, songwriter and singer Jack Bruce (pictured in Studio Three), best known as one third of the seminal band Cream.
The vinyl release features a Record Store Day exclusive on the a-side called Fields Of Forever, and the b-side Drone is taken from new album Silver Rails, which was produced by Rob Cass and recorded and mixed at Abbey Road Studios.
The Temperance Movement paid tribute to Blur and Oasis, recording two covers in Studio Two especially for Record Store Day.
You can check out the full list of releases mastered or cut to vinyl at Abbey Road below. Be sure to get to your local record shop nice and early on 19th April to pick up the most sought-after items. Good luck!
Lily Allen – Wind Your Neck In (7”)
Jack Bruce - a) ‘Fields of Forever’ b) ‘Drone’ (7”)
Chrissie Hynde - ‘Dark Sunglasses’ (7")
Coldplay - ‘Midnight’ (7”)
Diana Dors - ‘So Little Time’ (7”)
Marianne Faithfull - ‘Sister Morphine’ (7”)
Gloria Jones - ‘Tainted Love’ (7")
Grace Jones - ‘Me! I Disconnect from You’ (12")
Kylie - ‘Golden Boy’ (7”)
Ronnie Lane & Slim Chance - ‘Ooh La La’ (alt take, take 4) (7")
John Martyn - ‘May You Never’ (7”)
PiL - ‘Death Disco’ (12”)
Sex Pistols - ‘Never Mind the B*llocks’ boxed set (7 x 7”)
The Temperance Movement – a) ‘Tender’ b)’Up in the Sky’ (7”)
Paul McCartney's 'Hope' confirmed for release
Produced by Giles Martin, 'Hope' is taken from the most highly anticipated video game of the year, 'Destiny'. In addition to the end title theme song, Paul has also contributed to the in-game music. You can find out more at PaulMcCartney.com
'Destiny' was created by Bungie, the studio behind Halo, and published by Activision, the company behind Call of Duty. Check out the game trailer below.
Abbey Road Meets... Ken Scott
Ken is one of the speakers at ‘The Sound of Abbey Road Studios’ events, where he will return to the very room where he worked on his first session nearly 50 years ago: The Beatles putting the finishing touches to their album ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ in Studio Two.
An esteemed engineer, producer and pivotal figure in Abbey Road Studios’ history, Ken has also worked with Pink Floyd, Jeff Beck, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Lou Reed, to name but a few.
Thank you to everyone who participated and sent in questions; the standard was high and it was tough choosing which ones to put to him. Here is the interview in full.
When you worked with the Beatles all those years ago did you know then how special they were or about to become? - @eskinator, via Twitter
When I started to work with them on side two of A Hard Day’s Night, they were already huge and so I already knew they were special. But no-one, not even them, thought they would become part of history and still being talked about and finding new fans 50 years on.
What was it like working with John and Paul? - Mason Blake Lewis, via Facebook
Exactly as it would seem. Mind blowing, frustrating, great fun and boring.
What was the one Beatles song you were most proud to work on? - @LauraCW1, via Twitter
I'm sorry, but there isn't one. I'm proud to have worked on all of the recordings I made with them.
What was the hardest track to engineer that The Beatles ever recorded? - @mikethomas1959, via Twitter
The Fool on the Hill. It was hard, not because of the Beatles, but because we tried a method of running two four track machines in sync and it didn't work. The problem was that we didn't know it didn't work until it became time to mix.
What do you think of the Beatles’ progress in the 60s, were they really ahead of their time? - Luj Rosanna Felecio, via Facebook
First and foremost, they were amazingly talented: each of the four in their own way. They were incredible learners and great experimenters. They pushed themselves and everyone around them to new limits. Ahead of their time? I don't know about that. But they were certainly of their time.
What is the one engineering decision from that period you wish you could change? Which one song, and why? - Randall Yeager, via Facebook
There isn't one. By that, I mean there isn't just one. I find fault with everything I've done - some minor faults, others not so minor - but I know that if I had the chance to revisit everything and correct those faults, I would very quickly find others. If I ever become totally satisfied with something I've done, I will have nothing to strive for in the future.
How much was [The Beatles’] transition from live touring to strictly studio work influenced by a desire to explore other genres? Examples being circus fanfare in ‘Mr Kite’, the orchestral work of ‘A Day in the Life’, or even more whimsical work like ‘Martha My Dear’ and ‘Honey Pie’. - Andrew A. Morisey, via Facebook
It wasn’t a discussion I ever had with any of them but, if I remember correctly, in interviews they stated they were fed up playing live because they couldn’t hear themselves. I’m sure that freedom from having to play their music on stage enabled their imaginations to run wild, and come up with things like you mention.
Do you think you would have enjoyed the same level of success had you not worked on the Beatles’ sessions? - Sean Juillard, via Facebook
That particular band at the head of one's resumé does no harm.
Were there similarities in the way the Beatles and Pink Floyd used to work? - @Soofijulian, via Twitter
Very much so. They all liked to experiment and once in the studio it was time to get to work.
What was your favourite album to work on and why? - @PotardDechaine, via Twitter
I like 95% of all that I’ve done, all for different reasons, so it’s impossible to pick one over all the rest. And by the way, the 5% I don’t like you have never heard of so it really doesn’t matter.
Did you develop any hardware at Abbey Road? - Ricardo Inclan, via Facebook
My training at EMI was all to do with the sound, not the electronics, so I left anything to do with that to the amazing ‘Amp Room’ guys.
What do you feel is more important, the mic or the preamp? - @dvguitarist, via Twitter
I have no preference. To me, the important things in a studio are the monitors. If you don’t hear a true sound, you can use the best gear in the world and get a bad-sounding end product. But if you hear everything properly, you can work and get a really good sound out of even second-rate gear.
In your opinion, did the equipment matter, or could [the Beatles’] records have been made on any gear and still been great because of their talent? - Fast Freddy Rapillo, via Facebook
In the beginning: talent, talent, talent and Sir George. But Norman Smith laid the groundwork by showing the band how good sounds enhanced their music, and put them on the path to their later work; which would certainly not have been as good without talent, talent, talent, Sir George, the great gear, the Amp Room (the technical wizards) and of course, being somewhat biased, the engineers.
When bands have internal strife, are they more receptive to the engineer’s input? - @bigmikem11, via Twitter
I haven’t found that to be true. If they have internal strife, the engineer might get one member to listen to his input, but another member will hate the idea just because the other member likes it.
How much do budgets impact the process of creating music? - @DarrenJubbCA, via Twitter
As much as you let them.
What is the most valuable thing you learned while recording the Beatles that you were then able to apply to your work with other bands like Pink Floyd? - David Durling, via Facebook
The most valuable thing I learned was from George Martin more than the Beatles, and it only became important when I moved into production as opposed to engineering.
Talent should be allowed to do what talent is meant to do, create. One can guide but one shouldn’t control.
Can I have a REDD 51, please? - Bill Dillon, via Facebook
After I get mine.
Tickets for ‘The Sound of Abbey Road Studios’ are available here.
Titanfall score recorded in Studio One and Studio Two
Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall has shot to the top of the UK games chart, claiming the title of fastest-selling game of the year so far.
The score to Titanfall was composed by Stephen Barton and recorded by Abbey Road’s Jonathan Allen in Studio One and Studio Two.
Within the game players must choose between two factions; this was reflected in the recording process itself, with music for the opposing teams recorded in separate studios to help create different ‘sound worlds’.
As Stephen explains, “Studio One lent its warmth, richness and larger-than-life sound to the music for the Interstellar Mining Corporation, and the unmistakable clarity and depth of Studio Two brings a grittier, organic texture to the Militia sound.
“I can't think of anywhere better than Abbey Road, arguably the home of recorded music, to record London's finest musicians for the score to an epic futuristic battlefield.”
Titanfall is out now for PC, Xbox One and Xbox 360 - grab your copy here.
Score to A Most Wanted Man recorded at Abbey Road
The score was written by Herbert Gronemeyer, produced by Alex Silva and recorded in Studio Two and mixed in the Penthouse by Abbey Road's Peter Cobbin.
Watch the film trailer below.
Paolo Nutini performs new track Iron Sky in Studio Two
Paolo Nutini recently performed a cracking version of new track Iron Sky in Abbey Road's Studio Two.
The Youtube video of Paolo's performance has gone viral, with fans including singer Adele, who declared it to be "one of the best things I've ever seen in my life, hands down" to her 20 million followers on Twitter.
Check it out for yourself below:
'A Hard Day's Night' – restored, remixed & remastered
The resulting image, approved by director Richard Lester, features a soundtrack remixed and remastered for 5.1 sound systems by Giles Martin and Sam Okell at Abbey Road Studios.
Available now on iTunes.
Peabody and Sherman hits no.1
DreamWorks animation Peabody and Sherman, about a super-intelligent beagle and his pet boy, has shot straight to the top of the UK box office chart.
The score to the film was written by award-winning composer Danny Elfman and recorded by Abbey Road’s Director of Engineering, Peter Cobbin.
Peabody and Sherman was directed by Rob Minkhoff, the man behind Disney animation The Lion King.
Check out the trailer.
Abbey Road Studios & Chandler Limited present: TG2-500
The Chandler TG2-500 delivers frequency response identical to the TG2 and has the same high frequency bump and mid forward tone, along with the warmth-inducing distortion which contributes to its sound. The end result is a creamy, smooth tone with a surprisingly open, clear top end.
The TG2-500 is available to order now. For pricing and to find your nearest dealer, please visit ChandlerLimited.com
Abbey Road Studios at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
Peter recorded a wide range of performers on location in Moscow, including Russian orchestras, ensembles, soloists and choirs. He then mixed the music at Abbey Road Studios alongside Kirsty Whalley, with additional mixing and editing by Andrew Dudman and Rob Houston.
The Abbey Road team also set up a temporary studio inside the stadium at Sochi, where they continued to mix and edit with the creative directors and producers during rehearsals, right up until the opening ceremony itself.
Also key to the London team working in Russia were music editor Kirsty and production co-ordinator Vanessa Ainsworth. The operation was led by talented British composer Matthew Herbert, who took on the role of music director for the ceremony.
In addition to recording the music used for the opening ceremony, Abbey Road produced many segments that were used for the closing ceremony.
Peter said, "It was a fabulous experience to be involved in, helping create music for a very complex, intricate and elaborate production. Our team's responsibilities involved making all the music work for both the huge stadium sound system and the international broadcast watched by millions."
Abbey Road wins at the Grammys, Oscars & BAFTAs
Steven Price's score to the film was recorded in Studio One and Studio Two by Andrew Dudman and Sam Okell, with Lewis Jones as Recordist. The CD soundtrack was mastered by Christian Wright.
Gravity also received recognition at the BAFTAs last month, picking up six awards including Original Music and Best British Film.
Another Abbey Road Studios project, Skyfall, was victorious at the Grammys in January, winning Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media and Best Song Written for Visual Media.
Thomas Newman's score was recorded by Simon Rhodes in Studio One, while Adele's theme was recorded in Studio Two. The CD soundtrack was mastered by Simon Gibson.
Congratulations to everyone who worked on the projects.
Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand
Every facet of this project reflects the perfection that only the most passionate can produce: the instrument, the room, the engineers, and the mics. Click here for more info.
Abbey Road Studios & Waves Audio announce Reel ADT
Waves/Abbey Road Reel ADT is the first plugin to successfully emulate Abbey Road Studios’ pioneering process of Artificial Double Tracking. The effect that would become an integral part of Abbey Road’s signature sound was initially created at the studios in the 1960s to meet the needs of some very special clients: The Beatles.
Reel ADT puts the magic of that era in your hands within seconds. Using its intuitive controls, you can advance or push back the doubled signal to achieve genuine, lush-sounding delay and pitch variations. You can also drive each of the signals separately to add beautiful tape saturations.
With its authentic modelled valve tape machine sound and faithful emulation of wow and flutter, this extraordinary plugin can enhance any track with the impression of two separate takes, giving you results as close as possible to real double tracking. Other classic Abbey Road tape effects such as flanging and phasing can also be achieved with ease.
All the character, depth and panoramic sound of this inimitable classic effect can now be created digitally, simply and authentically.
You can download a demo or purchase your copy here.
Watch the video below to find out more about the invention of ADT.
The Abbey Road Plugin Collection - out now
The Abbey Road Collection includes the acclaimed REDD consoles, RS56 Passive EQ (‘the Curve Bender’) and J37 Tape, as well as the vintage King’s Microphones and the pioneering Reel ADT.
Find out more here.
Visit Abbey Road's legendary Studio Two
The talks mark a new opportunity to visit Abbey Road Studios’ world famous Studio Two, where many iconic artists have recorded including The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, Elton John, Oasis and Adele.
Event hosts Brian Kehew and Kevin Ryan, authors of critically acclaimed book Recording the Beatles, return for the third instalment of this fascinating talks series with a brand new lecture exploring the evolution of recording techniques and equipment, many of which were pioneered at Abbey Road Studios. In addition to the informative and entertaining stories behind these techniques, the lectures will include demonstrations using both new and vintage equipment, some of which has been used on many landmark recordings over the studios’ 82 year history.
For the first time in the series, Brian and Kevin welcome a special guest. Renowned former Abbey Road engineer Ken Scott will be returning to speak in the very room where he recorded tracks by legendary artists including Pink Floyd, Jeff Beck and the Beatles. An esteemed producer and pivotal figure in Abbey Road Studios’ history, Ken has also made records with The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Lou Reed, to name but a few.
With Brian and Kevin’s incredible knowledge of Abbey Road Studios’ history and its role in the development of audio production plus Ken’s unique insight into life at the world’s first purpose built recording studios, these talks promise to be a captivating experience for all classical, rock, pop and film score fans.
Early entrance time will allow you to explore and take photographs in the famous Studio Two.
Please note, these events take place in Studio Two only and do not involve a tour.
‘The Sound of Abbey Road Studios’ events schedule:
Friday 25th April 2014
Session 1: Doors 2pm/ event starts 3pm
Session 2: Doors 7pm/ event starts 8pm
Saturday 26th April 2014
Session 1: Doors 10am/ event starts 11am
Session 2: Doors 3pm/ event starts 4pm
Sunday 27th April 2014
Session 1: Doors 10am/ event starts 11am
Session 2: Doors 3pm/ event starts 4pm
Friday 2nd May 2014
Session 1: Doors 2pm/ event starts 3pm
Session 2: Doors 7pm/ event starts 8pm
Saturday 3rd May 2014
Session 1: Doors 10am/ event starts 11am
Session 2: Doors 3pm/ event starts 4pm
Sunday 4th May 2014
Session 1: Doors 10am/ event starts 11am
Session 2: Doors 3pm/ event starts 4pm
The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug tops box office
Howard Shore's score was recorded by Abbey Road's Director of Engineering Peter Cobbin on location in New Zealand, with additional recording by Lewis Jones, and mixed by Peter Cobbin and Kirsty Whalley. The soundtrack album was mastered by Simon Gibson at Abbey Road Studios.
Check out the trailer below.
2013 Round-up: Mastering
Alex Wharton mastered MBV, My Bloody Valentine's first album of new material for over 20 years, which was released in February. He is also proud to have worked on the Beatles' On Air: Live at the BBC album.
Christian Wright's projects included Gabrielle Aplin's album English Rain, which charted at no.2 in the UK. He also mastered the debut album from The Temperance Movement, which charted at no.12, plus The Vamps' no.2 single Can We Dance.
Geoff Pesche mastered M.I.A's hugely anticipated 4th album Matangi, which was released to critical acclaim and featured in 'Best albums of 2013' articles by both NME and Pitchfork. Another key project for Geoff was Rizzle Kicks' album, Roaring 20s, which charted at no.3 in the UK.
Sean Magee worked on remasters for The Beatles and Rufus Wainwright, along with undertaking the massive Virgin 40 remastering project, celebrating 40 years of Virgin artists.
Frank Arkwright mastered Johnny Marr's long-awaited debut solo album, The Messenger, plus New Order's album Lost Sirens. He also mastered Mogwai albums Rave Tapes and Les Revenants, along with 65daysofstatic's Wild Light.
Miles Showell mastered Sophie Ellis-Bextor's Wanderlust, which entered the UK album chart at no.4, plus the new album from Magic Numbers. He also mastered the Ed Sheeran track I See Fire from the soundtrack to The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug, which hit the New Zealand singles chart at no.2 and the UK chart at no.13.
Score to Philomena recorded at Abbey Road Studios
Alexandre Desplat’s score to the film was recorded in Studio One and Studio Two, and mixed in the Penthouse by Abbey Road Studios’ Director of Engineering, Peter Cobbin. Lewis Jones was Recordist for the sessions, with score editing by Kirsty Whalley.
Philomena was directed by Stephen Frears and produced by Tracey Seaward.
Check out the trailer here:
Elton John and Gary Barlow record duet in Studio Two
Watch the video below.
I See Fire mixed and mastered by Abbey Road Studios
Peter took time out to mix the track with Kirsty while mixing Howard Shore’s score to the film on location in New Zealand.
The track was mastered at Abbey Road Studios by Miles Showell.
Peter Jackson said of I See Fire, “Ed watched the movie at Park Road Post, immediately went into a room, and started writing and singing. Much of what you will hear on this song was recorded that same day, with a few overdubs and tweaks the following day. It was a great experience, and what you will see in this video are moments captured by our behind the scenes team during the creation of the song.”
Check out the video below.
YouTube Music Awards: UK event at Abbey Road Studios
Directed by music-video visionary Spike Jonze and featuring performances from Eminem, Arcade Fire and Lady Gaga, the awards will be simulcast live from New York this Sunday, 3rd November.
An hour long pre-event show will take place at Abbey Road Studios, hosted by Adam Buxton and featuring performances from Dizzee Rascal and Tinie Tempah. You’ll be able to tune in to watch from 9pm GMT/1pm PST/4pm ET.
Head over to youtube.com/musicawards to check out the nominations and cast your vote.
New mastering suite at Abbey Road Studios
Our in-house team collaborated with acoustician Nick Whittaker and Miloco Builds on the design and build of the room, which includes a substantial reconstruction of the floated space to improve isolation and acoustic treatments throughout.
The new suite is equipped with an extensive range of top-of-the-range hardware and software mastering tools, which reflect our commitment to providing the very best equipment and facilities for clients. This includes a highly-coveted custom-made Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor, housed in a range of Sterling Modular studio furniture.
The new suite will be home to engineers Frank Arkwright and new addition Miles Showell.
Miles has been mastering for almost 30 years and joins Abbey Road Studios from Metropolis Mastering, where he became renowned for striving to improve the vinyl format by re-introducing half-speed mastering. Miles will now offer this service using Abbey Road’s vinyl lathes. Artists recently mastered by Miles include Jessie J, Disclosure, Eric Clapton, Faithless, The Who, Lana Del Rey, Cee Lo Green, Ed Harcourt and Underworld.
Frank Arkwright, with over 20 years’ experience, has previously worked at Metropolis and the Townhouse. He has a wealth of mastering and vinyl cutting knowledge, having worked with some of the world's greatest bands, including Arcade Fire, Blur, The Smiths, Snow Patrol, New Order, Biffy Clyro, Coldplay, Oasis and Primal Scream.
In addition to attended mastering sessions in Room 30, both Frank and Miles, along with the studios’ full mastering engineer roster, can now be booked for online projects via the new 'named engineer' feature on Abbey Road’s online mastering website.
Speaking of the new mastering suite and its inhabitants, Lucy Launder, Head of Mastering & Post Production at Abbey Road Studios said, “We’re delighted to be expanding our facilities, team and services. We look forward to working on projects of all sizes in this fantastic new room.”
New Mastering Suite Tech Spec:
• Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor Special Edition
• Manley Massive Passive EQ
• Prism Maselec MEA2 EQ
• WAVES L2
• Avalon VT747
• Maselec De-esser
• Avalon 737s
• 2 x SADiE 6 systems with a wide range of plug-ins
• Abbey Road Moscow CRM AES router + monitor control
• Benchmark AD & DAs
• Optional Prism AD
• Pro Tools playback system
• Ampex ATR 102
• Audio Design ProBox room clocks
• B&W N801 / Bryston monitors
• PMC AML2 monitors
• EMI TG modules available on request
Introducing the J37 Tape Saturation Plugin
With a variety of user-adjustable controls including Tape Speed, Bias, Noise, Saturation, Wow and Flutter, the Waves: Abbey Road J37 faithfully recreates the inimitable sonic signature of the original machine. In addition to the J37 itself, three exclusive oxide tape formulas have been modelled. Specially developed by EMI during the ‘60s and ‘70s, each formula has its own unique frequency response and harmonic distortion behaviour. A comprehensive Tape Delay unit has been added, to complement those warm tones.
The Waves: Abbey Road J37 tape emulation plugin will bring stunning analogue warmth to your digital recordings, delivering a level of hardware realism never before experienced 'in the box'.
Buy your copy here.
One Direction: This is Us at Abbey Road Studios
The audio was recorded over the course of four concerts at the O2 Arena in April 2013 by Live Here Now's David Loudoun, assisted by Joe Adams, Helen Broadhurst and Robin Delwiche. The team used DMZ Live’s new mobile facility, specially equipped with a Lawo MC56 desk, with microphone positioning at the venue optimised for the 3D nature of the film.
Working with the audio from the concert, Sam mixed twelve songs for the film in 5.1 surround sound, assisted by Toby Hulbert.
The sessions took place over two weeks in Abbey Road's Penthouse Studio, with the film’s director Morgan Spurlock in attendance to approve the final mix.
The Beatles - On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2
A new companion to The Beatles' first BBC collection, On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2, has been mastered at Abbey Road Studios by Alex Wharton and Guy Massey, and will be released on Monday 11th November. Pre-order your copy here.
You can now choose your own mastering engineer
Or if you're in a bit of a hurry, you can opt for the next available engineer to master your music for £90 per track.
For more information and to get started with your next online booking, click here.
Abbey Road Studios and Waves Audio present RS56
Waves and Abbey Road Studios have faithfully recreated the unique magic of the RS56, using advanced circuit modeling techniques based on the original schematics. Like its hardware predecessor, the Waves: Abbey Road RS56 passive EQ plugin features three bands with four selectable centre frequencies for each and six different filter types, plus independent or linked control over the left and right channels. The result is an extraordinary equaliser that is as effective today as it was when it was created over half a century ago.
Stephen Lawrence concert line-up announced
Speakers at the launch event in Abbey Road's Studio One included Stephen’s mother, Doreen Lawrence, as well as Emeli Sandé and Rizzle Kicks, who are due to perform at the concert. The Rizzles were Abbey Road regulars this month, as they also attended mastering sessions for their upcoming album 'Roaring Twenties' with Geoff Pesche.
Other artists on the gig's line-up include Labrinth, Plan B, Jamie Cullum, Jessie J, Tinie Tempah, Rudimental, Ed Sheeran and Soul II Soul.
Doreen said: "This event sees UK artists and the music industry working together to create a one-off concert and raise awareness and money for the Stephen Lawrence Trust, further providing opportunities for those disadvantaged by their colour, their postcode, their ethnicity or their poverty – across the UK."
Record Store Day 2013 at Abbey Road Studios
Celebrating vinyl and independent record stores, limited edition exclusive records from some of the world’s top artists will be made available to buy in stores for one day only.
Abbey Road’s Geoff Pesche, Adam Nunn, Steve Rooke, Sean Magee and Frank Arkwright have worked on special releases from Pink Floyd, Marillion, UFO, Hawkwind, Duran Duran, Human League, Sex Pistols, Beta Band, Bowie, The Verve, Biffy Clyro, Jethro Tull and Simple Minds.
Check out the full list of available releases on the Record Store Day website, and be sure to get to your local record shop nice and early to pick up the most sought-after items. Good luck!
Baseball biopic 42 hits it out of the park
Mark Isham’s score was recorded in Studio One by Abbey Road’s Director of Engineering, Peter Cobbin. Recordist Lewis Jones also worked on the sessions, assisted by Jamie Ashton.
The film is based upon the incredible life story of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball.
"The major inspiration for the score was Jackie [Robinson] himself,” said Isham. “He was a unique character in history who did a very unique and wonderful thing for the betterment of American society. The more you see him onscreen and you read about him and you know about him, he himself is really all the inspiration I needed to write the score. Recording at Abbey Road was equally inspiring. The great tradition, with its history, superb quality and excellent staff, all contribute to getting a world class product!"
Score to Danny Boyle's Trance recorded at Abbey Road
Smith’s score was recorded in Studios One and Two by Abbey Road Studios’ Director of Engineering, Peter Cobbin, and mixed by Cobbin and Kirsty Whalley.
"Working with Danny is a joy, because he's both a great collaborator and a giver of artistic freedom" said Smith. "He wants his film music loud and with presence, almost like another character."
As part of the soundtrack, the film also features a brand new song from double Brit Award-winner Emeli Sandé. ‘Here It Comes’, co-written and performed by Sandé, was recorded by Cobbin in Studio Two and mixed by Cobbin and Whalley.
Suede to perform in Studio Three for Absolute Radio
Tune into Absolute Radio on the day to listen to the session live.
Suede's new album Bloodsports, cut to vinyl by Christian Wright, is out now - purchase your copy here.
Avid and Abbey Road Studios launch song competition
The contest gives aspiring artists, musicians and producers across the globe the chance for their work to be judged by an illustrious panel of music industry figures, as well as fans online, during the voting period from March 14 – March 21, 2013. The three winning artists, chosen by judges, will receive the ultimate package which includes a track of their choice being mixed and mastered online by Abbey Road Studios as well as an Avid Pro Tools|HD Native system.
“The hardest thing for an aspiring musician is to get their songs heard by the right people,” said Greg Wells, competition judge and multiple Grammy-nominated producer, mixer and songwriter. “This competition is the perfect way for artists to get their music out there and I’m really looking forward to listening to an eclectic mix of songs.”
Artists can upload their original song to 'Submit a Track' from today until March 13, 2013, with the winners of the Judges choice, Fans choice and Judges choice runner-up being announced on April 10, 2013. Voting for the Fans choice award runs from March 14 – March 21, 2013.
Judges' Choice Award
- The judging panel will be made up of industry professionals including multiple Grammy-winning producer, mixer and songwriter Greg Wells (Adele, Katy Perry); musician, producer and A&R representative John Feldmann (Goldfinger, Good Charlotte); and Grammy-winning producer Tricky Stewart (Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Rihanna). They will choose their three favorite songs, with the winning entrants getting an original song mixed and mastered by Abbey Road’s Online Mixing & Mastering Services as well as a full Pro Tools|HD Native recording system from Avid.
Fans' Choice Award
- Fans around the world can also vote for their favorite song, with the winning entrant receiving an Avid Mbox® audio interface with Pro Tools 10 software.
“Avid and Abbey Road Studios have a shared passion for the creation of music, so we’re delighted to be teaming up to give aspiring musicians the chance to showcase their original work to three of the music industry’s most respected figures, as well as providing a platform for their work to reach a global audience,” said W. Sean Ford, Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Avid. “The industry-standard technology in Pro Tools is designed to enhance the creative process, and through new more accessible offerings such as Abbey Road’s Online Mixing and Mastering Services, it’s becoming easier for aspiring musicians to benefit from this technology and add a professional finish to their work.”
Abbey Road Studios’ Awards Success
The 70th Golden Globe Awards took place on 13th January. Abbey Road projects scored a hat-trick of accolades:
- Adele’s Skyfall theme, recorded in Studio Two, won Best Original Song – Motion Picture. Watch her acceptance speech here.
- Les Misérables, recorded and mixed by Abbey Road’s Jonathan Allen and mastered for CD by Simon Gibson, won Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
- Brave, recorded and mixed by Abbey Road’s Andrew Dudman and mastered for CD by Andy Walter, won Best Animated Feature Film
Many of our projects have also been shortlisted for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, with winners to be revealed at the ceremony taking place on 10th February:
- Ed Sheeran’s The A Team, mastered by Christian Wright, is nominated for Song of the Year
- Florence + the Machine are nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album for Ceremonials, recorded in Studio Three. They are also up for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for Shake it Out, taken from the same album.
- Maroon 5, Overexposed are also nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album. Chris Bolster recorded a track for the deluxe edition of the album in Studio Two.
- In the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album category, Paul McCartney is nominated for Kisses on the Bottom. Strings, guitar and piano were recorded in Studio Two by Sam Okell, assisted by Gordon Davidson.
- Up for Best Latin Pop Album is ¿Con Quién Se Queda El Perro?, mastered by Geoff Pesche
- In the Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media category we received two nominations: The Artist composed by Ludovic Bource and mastered by Peter Mew, and Hugo, composed by Howard Shore and recorded and mixed by Simon Rhodes, assisted by Gordon Davidson.
- Paul McCartney’s Ram is up for Best Historical Album. The project was engineered by Steve Rooke, Simon Gibson and Guy Massey, who are all personally nominated for a Grammy for their contribution.
We have also had several projects nominated for a BAFTA, with winners to be announced on 10th February:
- Zero Dark Thirty, mixed by Sam Okell, and Les Misérables are both up for Best Film
- In the Outstanding British Film category, every one of the nominees was recorded, mixed or mastered at Abbey Road. These were The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, recorded and mixed by Simon Rhodes in Studio One, Seven Psychopaths, recorded in Studio Two, Skyfall, recorded by Simon Rhodes in Studio One with Lewis Jones as Recordist, Anna Karenina, mastered by Andrew Walter, and Les Misérables.
- Brave and Paranorman are both shortlisted in the Animated Film category.
- Thomas Newman’s Skyfall score and Dario Marianelli’s music for Anna Karenina are both nominated for Original Music.
- In the Sound category, Abbey Road’s Jonathan Allen is personally nominated for a BAFTA for his work on Les Misérables
This year, many of our engineers have also been shortlisted for the prestigious CAS Awards for outstanding achievement in sound mixing. The winners will be announced on 16th February.
- Four Abbey Road Studios engineers are nominated in the Motion Pictures – Live Action category: Peter Cobbin for The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey, Jonathan Allen for Les Misérables, Simon Rhodes for Skyfall and Sam Okell for Zero Dark Thirty.
- In the Motion Pictures – Animated category Andrew Dudman is nominated twice, for his work on both Brave and Rise of the Guardians.
Last but by no means least, many Abbey Road Studios projects are in the running at the Oscars, with winners due to be unveiled on Sunday 24th February.
- Les Misérables and Zero Dark Thirty are up for Best Picture
- ParaNorman, recorded in Studio One with Chris Bolster as Recordist, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, recorded in Studio One with Lewis Jones as Recordist, and Brave are nominated in the Animated Feature Film category
- Thomas Newman’s score for Skyfall and Dario Marianelli’s for Anna Karenina are up for Music – Original Score.
- Adele’s eponymous theme from Skyfall is up for Music – Original Song, along with Suddenly from Les Misérables, which was recorded at Air and mixed at Abbey Road by Jonathan Allen and mastered by Simon Gibson.
This is an incredible array of awards; well done to everyone who worked on these projects. It caps off a fantastic 2012. Good luck to those who have been nominated personally! We have our fingers crossed for you.
New partnership with Panasonic Automotive Systems
The exclusive agreement provides the framework for the two leaders in their respective industries to work together to create customized products for the global automotive market.
As more and more vehicles are equipped with increasingly advanced systems for in-vehicle entertainment, Panasonic Automotive and Abbey Road Studios will work together to develop audio solutions that provide superior technology as well as emotional connections with consumers.
Speaking of the agreement, Jonathan Smith, Senior Vice President, Abbey Road Studios said, “We are delighted to be working with such a strong partner that has a shared passion for the very best in audio. We look forward to developing an exciting range of products, which will bring some of the Abbey Road magic to music lovers’ vehicles.”
Inside Abbey Road: the Best Studio in the World
Brian Kehew and Kevin Ryan (authors of the critically acclaimed, definitive book ‘Recording the Beatles’), will give their second series of fascinating and enjoyable talks on Abbey Road Studios’ rich history and continued success at the forefront of today’s music. The talks will feature brand new content alongside the most popular elements of the last series.
Kehew and Ryan’s talk will explore the studios’ decades of landmark recordings, celebrating the technology and sonic creativity that lead to epoch-defining music from fêted artists such as Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Adele and of course, The Beatles.
With over 20 years of research into EMI history, they have uncovered many secrets of the Studios and have worked with us to preserve and illuminate our immense history and ongoing legacy. The talks will explore the history and the present day action at Abbey Road Studios with rare archive photos, film and audio, showing changes to the studio and equipment. They will illustrate Abbey Road Studios’ long progression through all kinds of music, from classical to rock and beyond, plus the methods used to record in each style/period.
These events will also give more focus to the more recent hits recorded, mixed and mastered at the studios, and artists who currently use the studios to create new and innovative music. They will also explore the studios’ rich experience in film scoring and even demonstrate how sound and images are synched for some of the biggest movies ever made such as ‘Star Wars’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Lord of the Rings’ ‘The King's Speech’, ‘Prometheus’ and the new Bond film ‘Skyfall,’
If all that wasn’t enough, Brian and Kevin will bring the authentic, classic sound of the past to life with demonstration of a vintage 4 track mixing console and tape machine, as well as the studios’ legendary echo chamber - used on countless classic recordings. The popular display of original instruments, microphones, and studio hardware used to create classic tracks at Abbey Road will be making a welcome return.
Visitors will be allowed early entrance with time to explore and take photographs in the famous Studio Two, where seminal acts like The Beatles, Oasis, The Hollies, The Shadows, Pink Floyd and Kate Bush recorded epoch-defining music. More recently, Elbow recorded their theme for the 2012 Olympics in this legendary studio and artists such as Brian Wilson, Paul Simon, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Ryan Adams, Laura Marling and Feist laid down performances for the ‘Live From Abbey Road’ television show.
Tickets, priced £80, are on sale now from See Tickets.
‘Inside Abbey Road’ events schedule:
Friday 8th March
Session 1: doors open 2pm / event starts 3pm
Session 2: doors open 7pm / event starts 8pm
Saturday 9th March
Session 1: doors open 10am / event starts 11am
Session 2: doors open 3pm / event starts 4pm
Sunday 10th March
Session 1: doors open 10am / event starts 11am
Session 2: doors open 3pm / event starts 4pm
Friday 15th March
Session 1: doors open 2pm / event starts 3pm
Session 2: doors open 7pm / event starts 8pm
Saturday 16th March
Session 1: doors open 10am / event starts 11am
Session 2: doors open 3pm / event starts 4pm
Sunday 17th March
Session 1: doors open 10am / event starts 11am
Session 2: doors open 3pm / event starts 4pm
Please note, these events do not include a tour of Abbey Road Studios.
Abbey Road Meets... Ken Townsend
In honour of the occasion we put your questions to Ken Townsend, who was an engineer on that very session and went on to manage Abbey Road Studios for over 20 years.
We were inundated with questions on Facebook and Twitter, and it was a tough call picking the best ones to put to Ken. Thank you to everyone who participated!
Here’s the interview in full:
What kind of engineer are you? - @manyreasonsy, via Twitter
A long since retired one, now an octogenarian and currently building a wall and steps in the garden!
I was trained as a design and development engineer at EMI in Hayes, but moved to Abbey Road in my final year as a trainee, in 1954. My job title was then Recording Engineer, but what are now known as Recording Engineers were then called Balance Engineers.
What was your first session like? - @chrisdmccullo, via Twitter
The first session I worked on was in Studio One with Peter Dawson, a very famous Australian Bass Baritone. When introduced to him as our latest recruit by Harold Davison, he shook me warmly by the hand and wished me a long and successful career.
What was your first impression of the Beatles? - @manyreasonsy, via Twitter
Simple amazement, because I had never seen anything like them before.
Did the band seem to take to the studio quickly or were they very obviously "green?" – Josh Katz, via Facebook
Like a duck to water. They had auditions at Decca and elsewhere and been totally rejected, so it was not their very first time in a professional studio.
Which Beatle was the most nervous and which was the least? The studio can be intimidating the first couple of goes round! - Matthew Loman, via Facebook
They showed no external signs of nerves, in fact the opposite. Their sense of humour was similar to mine - constantly wise cracking.
They looked just like four peas in a pod and I could not tell one from the other for some while, except for Ringo when he took over from Pete Best on the 4th September session.
Which song sounded best on that session? - @manyreasonsy, via Twitter
In hindsight, it was a toss-up between Love Me Do and Ask Me Why (as you have done). What fascinated me was that none of the lyrics seemed to include words of more than four letters.
Did you have any problems when recording [the first Beatles] session? - @VramaW, via Twitter
After running through the songs, it was obvious we were getting distortion from the bass guitar. Norman Smith tried the usual remedy of reducing the level in the studio and cranking it up on the mixer, but to no avail. George Martin said if we could not find a solution, then he might have to abandon the session.
We were strictly forbidden from tampering with artist’s guitar amps due to reports of electrocution of performers on stage, and the studio had no such equipment. I suggested a possible alternative of getting the large Tannoy speaker from Echo Chamber One and driving it with a Leak TL12 power Amp I had upstairs, which I was taking to Rome later that month for an operatic recording.
So while Tape Op Chris Neal and George Martin went to the canteen for a cuppa with the lads, Norman and myself carried this speaker to the studio and I then wired a jack socket onto the input of the leak pre-amp. By some miracle it worked, but I often reflect on what might have happened without this brainwave.
Did you ever feel at that time that the band would go on to become what they are now? - Nishant Shukul, via Facebook
Nobody in the whole wide world could have forecast what was to follow, as it had never happened before. Some artists such as Johnny Ray had received huge adulation from their fans, but the Beatles’ rise to fame across the globe was meteoric and unprecedented. I doubt it will ever be repeated.
Did the session feel magical at the time or only in hindsight? - @Notebookscrawla, via Twitter
Immediately after the session, I could not stop talking about them to my family and friends. This was most unusual, as we were working at Abbey Road with the greatest recording artists in the world on a daily basis and rarely mentioned them unless asked. I was to a degree infatuated by them.
In terms of attitude and work ethic in the studio, how did the Beatles differ from other acts you worked with? - Liam Carlton-Jones, via Facebook
Most artists at that time had a fantastic attitude to work, but their recording schedules were consistent with Musician Union rules of 2 or 3 hour sessions with possibly half an hour’s overtime. The Beatles, once firmly established, had no fixed finishing time so we often worked until the early hours of the morning.
When Paul introduced me to Nancy [Shevell], she remarked I must have many funny stories to tell. “Not really…they worked hard all the time,” I replied. “Do you know that from Sept 4th 1962 until their last session at Abbey Road on 4th Jan 1970, they wrote, recorded and released 212 songs? That equates to one every 13 and a half days for over seven years, and that time includes tours, holidays and everything else.” “Geraway!” said Paul. So yes, their work ethic was outstanding but by no means unique.
What was your greatest experience with The Beatles? - @IsayMcBell, via Twitter
The first time they came into Studio Two in 1968 after I had been promoted to Manager of Technical Operations, they obviously were made aware of this fact. I received a phone call in my office from their Road Manager, Mal Evans, saying the Beatles had a very serious complaint so would I come to Studio Two immediately please.
Feeling rather scared I went to the Control Room, where all four were stood behind the mixing console. Spokesman John Lennon, clutching a roll of EMI toilet paper, said “Mr Townsend, we have a very serious complaint: the toilet paper in this place is too hard and shiny and you can’t wipe your bum on it. Not only that, it has EMI Limited stamped on every sheet. If you do not do something about it we will notify the Chairman.”
At the time I did not realise it was possibly a wind up, but we changed all the paper from that day on, so they did us a big favour.
Were there any engineering processes that you had never done before, that you used for creative input on The Beatles? - @NateWhittaker, via Twitter
Yes. There are too many to list in detail, but many related to ingenious ways we utilized the brilliant Studer four track machine when we really needed many more tracks. These included ‘four to fours’, track bouncing, dropping in, locking two machines together in sync and frequent use of frequency control.
The Amp Room [a nickname for Abbey Road’s technical engineers], of which I was a member, have never received the recognition they deserve for their contribution to the Beatles recordings, as no session could ever have taken place without their presence.
You are reported as the one who found Automatic Double-Tracking technique during Revolver album recording. How did that come about? - Brenda Gracia, via Facebook
One night we had been double tracking Paul’s voice by sending a track down to the studio via cans [headphones] and him singing over his own voice. It was a time consuming process, and a waste of a valuable track on the tape machine.
Driving home in the early hours of the morning, I came up with an idea how this could be done by sending the sync output of a Studer J37 and delaying this by using a BTR2 with the capstan motor on frequency control, then adding it to the original signal from the replay output of the Studer.
I rushed back to work the following morning, tried my idea out and it worked. I demonstrated it to the Beatles the following evening and they utilized it frequently from then on. About six months later I was called up to the General Manager’s office, and told not to use it until it had been technically approved. The same evening the Beatles used it again!
Ken, you developed ADT for the Beatles. Were there any other doublers being used in studios at that time? - @ParsonWickertoe, via Twitter
To my knowledge, there was nothing available. Digital Delay Lines could have done a similar sort of job, but they were not of sufficient quality at that time, being only 12bit. They would not have been able to do the secondary use of ADT which was for phasing.
How did you set up the recording sessions? – Dave Gibbs, via Facebook
There was a basic set up for different types of recording, but each engineer had their own ideas of choice of microphones etc. Some recordings took ages to get ready, especially when we had separate set ups for mono and stereo.
Which records particularly inspired you as a kid, and did any of them influence your work as an engineer? - Myles Eastwood, via Facebook
I was a kid in World War II. The only records we heard then were by Vera Lynn!
If you could turn back the time, which recording session(s) you would like to go back to? - @Brenda_Gracia, via Twitter
I loved location recordings. Beyond The Fringe at the Cambridge Arts Theatre and Adge Cutler and the Wurzels, live in Somerset would top my list.
Lots of people think that the fxs like ADT have been replaced with protools plugins, is that true or is real ADT still in use today? - @MGORKI, via Twitter
Yes, the original ADT is no longer in use. Some artists have told me the modern devices don’t sound as good, but time moves on.
Did you find tape hiss a major problem (pre-Dolby) and what tape speeds were most commonly used? - @techygeezer, via Twitter
Tape hiss was never a major problem, as we lined up our tape machines to the optimum specification. Tape hiss became noticeable on second generation tapes. We used 15ips for pop and occasionally 30ips on classical.
We had a compansion noise reduction system designed by EMI Research well before Dolby, but it never really caught on or was deemed necessary.
What do you think of music recorded now? As back then everything had soul. - Patrick Tobin, via Facebook
I went to see Mark Knopfler at the Albert Hall last Friday. He and his musicians were absolutely fantastic, but some of the modern recordings leave me cold. I hate seeing artists performing ‘live’ on TV when they are obviously miming.
Studios have changed a hell of a lot over the years. What are some of the changes in regards to equipment that you've liked and perhaps not liked so much? - Ben Varcoe, via Facebook
I am not really qualified to comment anymore, but at Abbey Road their equipment utilizes a mixture of the most modern and some of the old valve microhones and modules. That philosophy gets my wholehearted approval.
What is your fondest memory of working at Abbey Road, or what aspect of working there really kept you going through all those years? - Kevin Lynn Brown, via Facebook
My fondest memory of Abbey Road is all the dedicated staff who worked for me, and the support I got even when making difficult decisions.
Fast & Furious 6 tops box office charts
The score was composed by Lucas Vidal, produced by Lorne Balfe, and recorded by Peter Cobbin in Studio One and Studio Two. Lewis Jones assisted on the sessions, with Matt Jones and Iain Berryman.
Check out the trailer here:
Abbey Road Studios win at the British Inspiration Awards
“We’re delighted to have been given this prestigious award”, said our General Manager Jonathan Smith. “Abbey Road continues to thrive as a world-leading studio at the pinnacle of the recording industry, and it’s an honour to receive this award in recognition of all our hard work.”
You can check out the full list of winners on the British Inspiration Awards’ website.
The Dark Side of the Moon 40th Anniversary
The record became Pink Floyd's first number one album in the US, remaining on the chart for 741 weeks between 1973 and 1988. One of the best-selling and most critically acclaimed albums of all time, The Dark Side of The Moon also introduced the iconic cover artwork by Hipgnosis, after a request for a 'simple and bold' design.
The new Discovery version presents the original studio album, digitally remastered and reissued with newly designed Digipak and a new 12 page booklet designed by Storm Thorgerson, whose artwork is featured above.
You can download a special poster featuring Storm's Dark Side of the Moon artwork here.
Grab your special edition of the album here.
The Croods top UK and US Box Office Charts
Composed by Alan Silvestri, the score was recorded in Studio One by external engineer Dennis Sands with Abbey Road recordist Lewis Jones, assisted by Matt Jones. Abbey Road's Director of Engineering, Peter Cobbin, carried out additional recording including all choral work.
The film was co-scripted by world-renowned funnyman John Cleese, and features the voices of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone. Check out the trailer:
Abbey Road Studios triumphs at the BAFTAs
The film won Best Sound, with Jonathan in attendance to collect the accolade. Watch his acceptance speech here.
Other Abbey Road projects to triumph included Skyfall, which won in both the Outstanding British Film and Original Music categories. Thomas Newman’s score was recorded by Simon Rhodes in Studio One, with Lewis Jones as Recordist.
Brave, which was recorded and mixed by Abbey Road’s Andrew Dudman and mastered for CD by Andy Walter, won Best Animated Film.
Meanwhile at The Grammys, Paul McCartney picked up Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Kisses on the Bottom. Strings, guitar and piano for the album were recorded in Studio Two by Sam Okell, assisted by Gordon Davidson.
Finally, the Cinema Audio Society awards celebrating outstanding achievement in sound mixing took place at the weekend, with both Jonathan Allen and Andrew Dudman picking up gongs for their mixing on Les Misérables and Brave respectively.
Huge congratulations to all the winners from everyone at Abbey Road.
12 hours to record Please Please Me
Acclaimed guitarist Graham Coxon, Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford from Squeeze and Manchester’s I Am Kloot joined soul sensation Joss Stone, The Stereophonics, Gabrielle Aplin and Mick Hucknall for the event.
The results were broadcast live in exact recording order and timing, as Abbey Road linked up with BBC’s Western House throughout the day on Radio 2. You can listen to the full performances here.
The event will also be broadcast on BBC Four at 9pm on Friday in an hour long special.
Check out the video highlights from the sessions here:
Abbey Road Release Classic Upright Pianos
For a limited time, 'Abbey Road Classic Upright Pianos' is available to download at the discounted price of $149. Normal RRP is $199. Product download and additional information can be found at the Cinesamples website.