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Vintage King: Life After Abbey Road Studios: The EMI/Abbey Road Studios REDD.37 Console


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The Abbey Road REDD .37 Console Comes To Vintage King

posted on September 8, 2016 by Eric Allen

 

 

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In one of the most coveted recording packages ever assembled, three incredible pieces of historic gear from the famed Abbey Road Studios have been brought together for sale. At the heart of the package is the studio’s legendary REDD.37 console (one of only three ever created), with this particular model being active in EMI Studio One and utilized on various recording sessions by The Beatles.

Based on the REDD.17 built by Peter Burkowitz, the REDD.37 is a continuation of this classic technology, pushed even further by Len Page and the Record Engineering Development Department (REDD) team. The console is constructed from five individual pieces and features an upgrade in the number of tracks and channels, in addition to the use of V72s mic preamps. To meet the 200 ohms impedance requirement utilized by all Abbey Road gear, the desk was specifically modded to fit these preamps, which involved adding a 168 ohm internal resistor.

The REDD.37 console included in this package was built in December 1958, as denoted by its serial number, #58121A (58 – the year, 12- the month). After being moved into EMI Studio One at Abbey Road, the console spent the better part of the next decade in the room and was used during various Beatles sessions from Meet The Beatles through their final release, Let It Be.

Since the 1990s, this REDD.37 console has been lovingly cared for by Lenny Kravitz, who has kept the desk in pristine condition. Whether you’re looking to own a piece of history or trying to capture the magic of the 1960’s London rock scene in your studio, this REDD.37 package is the ultimate combination of function, form and style.

Aside from the REDD.37 console, this package also features two equally historic tape machines, including the EMI/Abbey Roads Studios No.7 Studer J37. As one of only eight tape machines used at Abbey Road Studios, this piece of equipment was revolutionary, as it allowed producers and engineers to bounce tracks and pull-off accurate drop-ins while overdubbing. The Studer J37 is a four-track 1” multi-track tape machine, which records at both 7.5ips and 15ips, and features 52 tubes in its design. This make-up includes four record amplifiers, each with two ECC188 tubes, and four reproduce amplifiers, each with three ECC188s and an E283CC. The frequency response at 15ips was spec’d at 30Hz to 15kHz (+/-2dB).

The second tape machine included in this package is a Studer C37, which is a two-track stereo master recorder that runs 1/4 inch tape. As the predecessor to the J37, the C37 was released in the early 1960s and maintained its status as a studio favorite until being phased out in the 1970s. This tape machine records at both 7.5ips and 15ips, features the original C37 resin-body heads, offers balanced XLR input and output, CCIR – NAB selectable equalization and modular tube electronics, with independent Dual-Mono Rec and Play boards.

 

 

 

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https://vintageking.com/blog/2016/09/abbey-road-redd-37

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  • 2 weeks later...
2 hours ago, MartinTheMixer said:

Hi All, So if the frequency response only goes up to 15kHz, isn't there some top end missing.

Thanks, Martin

 

Do you find Beatles recordings to be lacking top end? 

Maybe you shouldn’t buy this particular mixer then. There are many other great mixers you can get

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Most ppl can’t hear beyond 16kHz, and most mics didn’t go beyond that back then, so what are you missing? The parts of the cymbals that you lower or eq out in a mix?

 

Listen to “Abbey Road” and tell me what’s sonically missing. Then tell me that you can hear those missing frequencies in Lenny Kravitz’ records. Surprise, he was the last owner of this setup!

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1 hour ago, JonG said:

Most ppl can’t hear beyond 16kHz, and most mics didn’t go beyond that back then, so what are you missing? The parts of the cymbals that you lower or eq out in a mix?

 

Listen to “Abbey Road” and tell me what’s sonically missing. Then tell me that you can hear those missing frequencies in Lenny Kravitz’ records. Surprise, he was the last owner of this setup!

 

Hi Jon, I don't think anything is missing from any of the Beatles albums. I just find it odd that it was and is great for this equipment not to go above 15kHz, but yet somehow, people have claimed they are missing something important with Zaxcom, which goes 1000Hz higher than what the Beatles could record. 

Thanks, Martin

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, MartinTheMixer said:

I just find it odd that it was and is great for this equipment not to go above 15kHz

 

 

You are drawing a wrong conclusion. There is no mention above that the equipment does not go above 15kHz. 

With Zaxcom however, there is a brickwall cutoff at just below 16kHz due to its sampling rate.  

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19 minutes ago, Constantin said:

 

You are drawing a wrong conclusion. There is no mention above that the equipment does not go above 15kHz. 

With Zaxcom however, there is a brickwall cutoff at just below 16kHz due to its sampling rate.  

When someone tells me the frequency response of a piece of equipment, unless I  have reason to doubt that person, my conclusion is what they stated

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1 hour ago, MartinTheMixer said:

When someone tells me the frequency response of a piece of equipment, unless I  have reason to doubt that person, my conclusion is what they stated

 

Indeed I can see no reason to doubt the numbers mentioned. However, the listed spec is about frequency response. From that you are drawing conclusions about the frequency range. And as I said above, that’s wrong - even though both top frequencies could of course be the same. 

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Ya, but I think the answer to the freq. response question could be interesting. Is it because that was the limit of some components in the design of the board? Or was it more of a thought that nothing above 15kHz would make it onto vinyl or over the radio (or perhaps through typical home radios/stereos) so why not design the board to work with the delivery media? I have no idea. But would appreciate any thoughtful responses or semi-informed guesses.

 

 

12 minutes ago, Philip Perkins said:

This will probably end up in some tech millionaire's living room.

 

Yah. Sigh. Would be cool if it ended up somewhere like an audio equivalent of the Museum of The Moving Image in NYC.

http://www.movingimage.us

 

Geez, maybe even the RRHoF (not a place high on my must-see list) would be better than some private collection. I guess... we still have the music.

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2 hours ago, Constantin said:

 

Indeed I can see no reason to doubt the numbers mentioned. However, the listed spec is about frequency response. From that you are drawing conclusions about the frequency range. And as I said above, that’s wrong - even though both top frequencies could of course be the same. 

The frequency response listed above is up to 15kHz, the frequency response, as listed by Zaxcom, is 16kHz. Does this mean you are doubting the listed specs  of Zaxcom?

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8 hours ago, Jim Feeley said:

Ya, but I think the answer to the freq. response question could be interesting. Is it because that was the limit of some components in the design of the board? Or was it more of a thought that nothing above 15kHz would make it onto vinyl or over the radio (or perhaps through typical home radios/stereos) so why not design the board to work with the delivery media? I have no idea. But would appreciate any thoughtful responses or semi-informed guesses.

 

 

The board's specs likely exceeded those of the tape recorder. The tape machines' honest specs are actually quite impressive for its vintage. Analog tape machines are usually lined up at 100 Hz, 1KHz and 10 KHz, if those can be lined up reasonably flat then it is assumed that the machines are reasonably flat, Note that what happens outside of 100 Hz to 10KHz isn't included in this at all. Tape machines' frequency response depends, among other things, on the tape speed, in a nutshell you get better bass response at 15IPS and more high end at 30 IPS. But the "Low end head bump" that all machines exhibit ,usually falls below 100Hz and it can  can really mess with the low end of a mix on playback, much more so than a gentle roll off of the highs, just ask Bob Clearmountain or pretty much any engineer who cut his teeth on analog tape. The fact that this machine is spected within 2dB from 30 Hz to15 KHz is quite impressive and in addition it doesn't mean that there's nothing happening above 15KHz, it just means that it's high frequency response rolls off more than 2dB at this point, unlike the Zaxcom (or any other) digital gear where there's nothing happening above, 16KHz or 20 KHz, or whatever the cut-off is. Analog vs digital, apples and oranges. 

And regarding what anybody can hear, there's a famous story about Geoff Emmerick's complaint about one single channel in the custom Neve console build for George Martin, it turns out that the channel in question was oscillating at 54KHz  and Geoff heard it.

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4 hours ago, MartinTheMixer said:

The frequency response listed above is up to 15kHz, the frequency response, as listed by Zaxcom, is 16kHz. Does this mean you are doubting the listed specs  of Zaxcom?

 

No. As Al said, Zaxcom’s upper frequency is dictated by the Nyquist frequency as a result of its sampling rate of 32kHz. So no frequencies higher than 16k are possible. 

As I also said, I am not doubting the specs above, but they state frequency response 15kHz +/-2dB. That means there will be no deviation from an even frequency response greater than 2dB up to 15kHz. That means audio above 15kHz may still be recorded, but possibly deviating further from the ideal line. Quite likely there is a roll off at 15kHz, but that means there‘d would still be a lot of audio above 15kHz. And we don’t know that, because the specs don’t say that. 

You were inferring the frequency range, which note the highest and lowest frequency possible in a system, from the frequency response, which is not possible - even though many manufacturers aim to keep both numbers the same, this isn’t always the case

(I see Werner has just given a similar and better response)

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6 hours ago, MartinTheMixer said:

The frequency response listed above is up to 15kHz

 No, it is not, that's not how frequency responses were listed, read it again:

 

"The frequency response at 15ips was spec’d at 30Hz to 15kHz (+/-2dB)."

 

Translation: From 30 Hz to 15KHz the frequency response falls within +/- 2dB of the input signal, what comes out matches what went in within +/- 2dB.

 Outside those frequencies the frequency response is less linear and what comes out can't match the input signal within the +/- 2dB range deemed acceptable for a professional machine but there's definitely frequencies above 15KHz being recorded and reproduced, unlike in digital where a filter with a ultra steep slope keeps everything above sample-rate divided by 2 out of the signal path to avoid aliasing. 

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  • 1 year later...

i’d love to cut some tracks on this thing. this is just right after (or there abouts) when some sound engineers wore those white lab scientist robes. its not all numbers. i’m sure these consoles sound amazing. looking up a schematic now. I believe there are kits to put together the redd3.7 mic amp....

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I was lucky enough to get to spend part of a day with this console in March 2018. A random phone call asking if I was available for a sit down interview came my way. We discussed the details and agreed on rates etc.

 

I show up to the former residence of Kanye and Kim in a very posh gated community. The house is basically all stone/concrete inside with minimal furniture. Pretty much the worst for an interview. Our subject is a very wealthy silicon valley investor....I signed an NDA.

 

As we wait on talent I decide to walk around the residence. I peer around a corner and almost dropped my coffee when I see the beast. It hit me like a tank and it looked like one too. F*** me I thought. My knees were weak. There was also a J37 and a C37 with it, though not from the Beatle sessions.

 

Story goes that our subject is a huge Beatles fan. Mr. Kravitz was looking to sell and our subject had the money. VK brokered the deal. After speaking to the subject about why the hell this thing was here in the first place they asked if I could run it for a demo at a house warming party where people could sing Beatles songs into it a la Karaoke (!) Of course I said yes but sadly it never happened. I never got the chance to turn it on or listen to it.

 

I was put in touch with Troy from VK in order to learn how to operate it. He told me the whole story, like how it was almost lost in Katrina, and that the next chapter was that our subject is moving to Palo Alto and putting the beast in their home studio where I'll never ever see it again...

 

I decided to dig up as much info on the console as I could from the fabulous Recording The Beatles Book which describes the Abbey Road gear in detail as well as The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions with a timeline of their recordings. I was able to put together a discography of sorts that describes what sessions happened on this particular console that lived in Abbey Road Studio 1 (the big main room). A lot of cool stuff happened on this console, mainly the All You Need Is Love satellite broadcast. However most of the Beatles stuff was done in Studio 2 as well as other rooms for mixing and overdubs. I've attached a text document of my findings so you can get an idea of how it was utilized by the Beatles.

 

Sorry for so many words....it was a very special day for me that I will never forget.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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EMI REDD37 History.rtf

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