REDD.37 Desk #GearThatMadeUs

REDD.37 Desk #GearThatMadeUs

24th March 2022

Next up in our series is a fan favourite, arguably the most celebrated valve console of all time. Boasting eight inputs and four outputs, we present the REDD.37 desk.

This console was designed. by EMI in 1958, the same year its predecessor, the REDD.17, was installed at Abbey Road. On 8 September 1960 the first session using the REDD.37 took place - a Dickie Pride LP recorded in three hours by engineers Peter Bown and Michael Dent.

*REDD stands for Record Engineering Development Department

*REDD stands for Record Engineering Development Department


Only three were made: one prototype and two others that lived in the control rooms of studios One and Two. They were driven by a series of Siemens V72 valve amps and had two insertable EQs, one for “pop” recordings and one for “classic” aka classical recordings.

Known for its warm and rich sound, the REDD.37 was used on hundreds of recordings in the early '60s but is most famous for capturing the live magic of the first two albums by The Beatles. Around January of 1964 it was replaced by the next generation of REDD desk, the REDD.51.

Cliff Richard and The Shadows

Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Stuart Eltham

George Martin, Shirley Bassey, Stuart Eltham


Presumably in the 1980 Abbey Road "Sale of The Century", a REDD.37 was sold to Chris Solberg and shipped to Oakland, California. Having been split into its five detachable modules, it arrived stateside on five pallets and was reassembled in his bedroom.


Since that point the REDD.37 has survived two narrow escapes. Solberg decided to sell the desk to musician Lenny Kravitz and had it moved from his bedroom to a workshop for a pre-sale inspection. Two weeks later, his house burned down in the Oakland fire storm of 1991.

A decade later, the desk was moved from Kravitz’s storage facility in Hoboken, New Jersey just two days before Hurricane Sandy hit. His entire warehouse was flooded, and countless instruments and pieces of gear were lost.

Kravitz went on to sell the desk to a private entity in January 2018 and now we await its next chapter!

#GearThatMadeUs #AbbeyRoad90 #REDD17

Plugin counterparts of all the REDD desks have been made in collaboration with Waves Audio.

Read on as we compare/contrast the REDD .17 and the REDD .37-.51 models.


We first need to distinguish between the REDD.17 and the REDD.37-.51 as they actually have quite a difference in tone. In both REDDs, the controls are similar, though the REDD.37-.51 offers a choice between the REDD.17/REDD.37 preamps or the lower-distortion, higher-headroom preamps used in the REDD.51. Also, the tone control supplements the REDD.17’s high-frequency shelving controls with Pop or Classic modes. The low shelving is the same (boost/cut at 100 Hz), but the Pop option modifies the high-frequency boost to a bell curve at 5 kHz instead of a shelf. For both strips and both REDD.37-.51 modes, the high cut shelf frequency is 10 kHz.

Sonically, the differences become most apparent by turning up the drive control and really pushing the console. The REDD.17 is the more colourful and heavy-handed of the two—the overdriven, out-of-control sound of Pink Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn album comes to mind. The REDD.37-.51 still adds plenty of character, but the “crunch” sounds more controlled and somewhat more refined.


On drums, the REDD.17 takes otherwise polite sounds and gives them punch. The bass lift can really push a kick for dance music. Drive does add the requisite grit, but light to moderate settings seem preferable because the tradeoff for a fatter sound is reduced clarity. Note that when overdriving the REDD.17, increasing the treble EQ returns some of the clarity.

In general, the REDD.37-.51 sounds more refined, especially with higher drive settings, so you can slam it harder before the sound becomes too blurry. The bass lift is more controlled and less distorted when pushed. Also, the Pop tone mode provides a punchier alternative compared to the Classic mode’s diaphanous high end. Overall, the REDD.17 seems best-suited for that hard-hitting sound associated with earlier Beatles recordings, while the REDD.37-.51 is cleaner and more versatile, but still has its own kind of gritty vibe and tube warmth.

Find out more about the REDD Waves Audio Plugins.


Related News