Ahead of his forthcoming Sleeve Notes lecture series “From Mono To Infinity” in Studio Two this November we took some time out with legendary musician and ex-Abbey Road engineer Alan Parsons to ask him some of your questions submitted online about his time in The Alan Parsons Project as well as as an engineer working on classic albums including Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon and The Beatles’ Abbey Road.
@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.