Mastering Engineers, Geoff Pesche & Christian Wright talk us through the recent renovations to Room 5, one of the premier Mastering suites here at Abbey Road where the pair work and in which countless records have been mastered and numerous hits created.
It has been almost twelve years to the day since Geoff joined the mastering team here at Abbey Road Studios. Throughout this time, while there has been the odd cosmetic revamp and the occasional new bit of kit, this is the first major technical overhaul to the room and particularly the EMI TG12410 mastering console in its near 50 year history.
Below is the desk as it was before the refurb and the images of the desk and it's componant parts throughout the process of the refurbishment.
Effectively all the TG modules – EQ, limiter/compressor, input and out modules, spreader, etc. – have been retained while the monitoring, interconnects and power supplies have all been updated. The units can now be inserted individually in the signal path, along with the other analogue outboard units and every link in the signal path can be monitored.
The room’s AES router – known as Moscow and previously designed and built in-house by Abbey Road Technical Engineer Colin Johnson – has also had its controls integrated into the new desk. We have also added a Manley Massive Passive Tube EQ & a Sontec MES 432C parametric EQ.
This process has reduced what was already a quiet noise floor down another 10 db or so.
The old wooden desk & surround has been removed & replaced with a nice new console from Sterling Modular.
We've always been blessed to work in a building that once made and designed the legendary TG desk and TG 12412 EQ and to have that in our stereo EQ arsenal was great but to be indulged with a second TG EQ that can be used simultaneously for mid side and in tandem with the stereo TG EQ makes us positively spoiled.
The new desk also allows any piece of outboard to be used in mid side including the new SONTEC and massive passive EQ's.
Here's the desk as it is now:
Many thanks must go to Simon Campbell's technical team for this build & installation. Notably Ian Taylor, Dave Forty, Matt Kingdon, Leon Marks & Colin Johnson who returned after his retirement to help us out.
A gold star for Ian Taylor whose time & effort has brought these vintage TG units back to their best.
To be at Abbey Road means having the world's best technical team who worked tirelessly to re-house the old desk, creating an immense monitoring set up and signal path where signal to noise ratios are of dreamlike proportions.