BTR 3 #GearThatMadeUs

2nd July 2022

The BTR 3 is a stereo tape recorder used from 1959 to around 1970.

Unlike many other EMI designs, the BTR 3 was made exclusively for the studios at Abbey Road. Only about two dozen were ever made, and only three are known to survive today.

*BTR stands for British Tape Recorder

 
Abbey Road engineer Gus Cook

Abbey Road engineer Gus Cook

Mark Wirtz and Keith West recording in 1967

Mark Wirtz and Keith West recording in 1967

Harry H. Corbett recording for *Alice In Wonderland* musical

Harry H. Corbett recording for Alice In Wonderland musical

 

They were most often used for mixing and disc-cutting, handling countless stereo mixes in the 1960s.

BTRs were famously used to record The Beatles’ first two albums, Please Please Me and With the Beatles. Engineer Norman “Hurricane” Smith would place the majority of the instruments on one track and the vocals on the other.

Both mono and stereo mixes were done for these albums, using the BTR 2 for the mono version and a BTR 3 for stereo.

 
 

In February 2017, a BTR-3 previously used at Abbey Road was recovered by members of Surge Radio from their old Glen Eyre Halls studio where it was known by station members as "The Beatle". It had been in use there until around 2001 and was generously donated to us in April 2017.

 
#GearThatMadeUs #AbbeyRoad90 #BTR3
 

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