My Abbey Road: Lester Smith... #AbbeyRoad90

20th November 2021

Lester Smith, our beloved microphone custodian who's worked at the Studios for over 50 years is next up in the series. Lester shares with us how he got his start, his move to microphones, and his favourite session fixing up Royal microphones for The King's Speech.

 
 

Lester's Abbey Road


My boss at the Tape Records division at Hayes, Middlesex, Freddie Brooks told me that Len Page, a senior engineer at Abbey Road Studios required an assistant. I applied for the job and started work here in January 1970.

A few years later I was given the choice of looking after the tape recorders or the microphones. I chose microphones as they were a completely new experience for me.

 

Lester's Favourite Memory


I am always thrilled when I get to show artists our iconic microphones such as the Neumann U47/U48s as used on all of The Beatle recordings and still in use every day.

They are always impressed when I show them the Alan Blumlein HB1E, probably the first dynamic microphone ever made in 1931 (Alan is my hero by the way).

 

Lester's Favourite Recording


My biggest thrill was to help Peter Cobbin and Alexander Desplat with the music for the film The Kings Speech. Peter wanted to use the actual Royal Microphones that King George VI used, so we requested EMI Archives to send them to the Studios.

There were actually 5 microphones and Peter asked me to try and get them working. After being silent for over 70 years this was a very special opportunity to have a go.

 
 

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