Abbey Road’s Head of Audio Products, Mirek Stiles, on the creation of the Chandler / Abbey Road REDD Microphone:
In 2017 Chandler started shipping the REDD microphone, probably the product Abbey Road has developed with Chandler that I am most proud of.
I know Wade, Chandler’s owner and chief designer, had been experimenting with microphones off and on for some time. I seem to remember we had our first discussions for creating an Abbey Road microphone back in 2015 – the big question back then was what would a Chandler/Abbey Road microphone look like? Bearing in mind this would be the first EMI badged microphone to be released in over half a century, the stakes were high.
Wade hit a pivotal moment when he revealed he had worked out a way of rehousing the classic EMI REDD.47 preamp into the body of a microphone – a sleek all in one recording solution. I must admit this thought had never crossed my mind and was something of a new concept to me (and at the time probably for Wade too). It’s still incredible to think Wade has been able to incorporate this classic preamp design into a single microphone unit - this was a game changer, the first of its kind!
Wade shipped an early prototype to Abbey Road for evaluation by mid-2015. The Abbey Road engineering team wasted no time putting the microphone through its paces by setting it up on regular sessions alongside some of our classic and trusted models from the legendary Abbey Road microphone collection. Decisions were made on capsule choice and additional features the AR engineering team would like incorporated. Over the following year, various incarnations of the REDD microphone were pushed to the limits on everything from a Sting vocal session to full orchestral recordings, and everything in-between.
It quickly became apparent this microphone excelled on any recording in any scenario, even up against famous classic models from our collection. In fact, the REDD mic was often the preferred choice in most blind listening tests. Even Lester Smith, Abbey Road’s legendary microphone technician had it under vigorous bench testing in his lab, up against some the most sought-after microphones in the world – no stone was left unturned and it eventually passed the ‘Lester test’. Chandler and Abbey Road had truly created a thing of beauty together.
Upon its release, the pro audio world fell in love with this microphone, and for good reason. The reviews and feedback were just phenomenal. It soon became a staple for many brilliantly talented engineers, producers and artists worldwide. We had created a modern-day classic and set the bar high.
Working with Wade on his design and witnessing this glorious microphone come to life was so rewarding. I still get a little buzz when I notice it being used in the studios or read reviews and feedback from other users.
The latest example of the REDD microphone in all its splendour was its use on the Rhys Lewis single Reason To Hate You. In this track, you literally hear the REDD microphone naked in all its glory – full of character.
I have said it before and will say it again, Wade you really nailed this one. It was a pleasure developing this with yourself and the engineering team at Abbey Road – a job well done, sir!