BTR 2 #GearThatMadeUs

BTR 2 #GearThatMadeUs

7th April 2022

The BTR 2 was EMI’s second magnetic tape recorder, introduced at Abbey Road in 1954.

This machine was the workhorse for many recordings in the ‘50s and ‘60s, handling all mono mixes.

*BTR stands for British Tape Recorder

*BTR stands for British Tape Recorder


Abbey Road engineers devised clever ways of creating audio effects by manipulating the BTR 2 recorder functions, creating echo, doubling, and flanging effects.

This is the machine that allowed technical engineer Ken Townsend to achieve a milestone in the history of sound recording, the invention of ADT (Automatic Double-Tracking).


Ken remembers, “I thought if I run the BTR 2 at 30 inches per second and take the sync output from the record head of the J37 and add it on to the replay head from the BTR 2, then I could bring the two signals together to actually create double-tracking. I came in the next morning and tried it on a Cilla Black tape actually - and by bingo it worked!”

Hundreds of BTR 2s were built and used worldwide by EMI and the BBC.

Madeline Bell

Adam Faith

#GearThatMadeUs #AbbeyRoad90 #BTR2

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