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Author Topic: Smile Mixing desk question for scholars  (Read 3976 times)
guitarfool2002
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« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2013, 04:37:22 PM »

Those B/W pics look too early - pre 66/67

Please read my posts and comments...I realized that, especially the film session with Annette and the striped shirts  which we can date, I was putting them up for comparison and to show visually that the "boards" used by UA had the same basic components up to at least 1967...the UA 610 strip. And since those were interchangeable - the whole point of any modular design in any field - the chances of them being swapped or changed out over time are very great, especially for quick breakdowns and repairs, where they'd simply change them out if one went bad on a session, like changing a car tire.

So any surviving UA board might have any number of individual strips which were used on any number of thousands of sessions. It's not like, say, when you have a specific SSL board or something like that where the board is the same board that was originally ordered and installed. At least the chances are far greater that it's the same board.

In the case of Bill Putnam's modular boards, unless there is documentation or a strong memory involved, who knows what signals or classic sessions went through it over the time it was installed in a particular studio.

And again, the point is that modular board had the same 610 strips for the "striped shirt" Beach Boys as they used in the later photo, as they used on Pet Sounds, as they used on Smile, etc.

Anything done at United-Western used the 610 channel strip at that time. That was the heart of that design, the key "module" in the whole equation.

You asked for info, you're welcome.  Smiley
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #26 on: August 01, 2013, 04:55:07 PM »

Here is a wider-angle shot of a familiar Smile session photo at Western. Note that smaller, one-meter Bill Putnam "board" is still built on the same 610 modules.

And can anyone venture a guess on who the girl is sitting with Brian?  Smiley



Here is Stephen Desper at the board in Brian's home studio, circa 1968. Definitely not a UA modular board by this time. And I think it was Donny L or Jason who said the BB's didn't own a board in 66-67, but rather rented, I believe that's right up to a certain point, and it wasn't UA (again please correct if wrong.)



And the board Brian is sitting behind in the photo earlier is more or less the same board that was in Western 3 at least up to early '67, I believe. Photos showing that angle are scarce...but here is the famous "egg nog" shot with Winston Wong where you can see the same basic chassis of the board as Brian is shown sitting behind in the earlier shot:



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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #27 on: August 01, 2013, 05:00:53 PM »

And can anyone venture a guess on who the girl is sitting with Brian?  Smiley



Diane Rovell ?!?

Here is Stephen Desper at the board in Brian's home studio, circa 1968. Definitely not a UA modular board by this time. And I think it was Donny L or Jason who said the BB's didn't own a board in 66-67, but rather rented, I believe that's right up to a certain point, and it wasn't UA (again please correct if wrong.)



I think this board might be the Quad-8.
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« Reply #28 on: August 01, 2013, 05:07:30 PM »


I noticed Mark Linett commented on the facebook photo twice in the last hour ^^ for those interested.
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« Reply #29 on: August 01, 2013, 09:01:29 PM »

Now there WAS a specific 'SMILEY SMILE' mixing console ... that would have just been for recording though ... it was actually mixed at one of the proper studios (no one can confirm where!)

"Smiley Smile" was mixed at Wally Heider's, per Jim Lockert.

ah cool ... Can we assume Wild Honey was mixed there as well ?

An extremely safe bet, considering about half the album was recorded there.
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #30 on: August 01, 2013, 09:18:14 PM »


The modules are the key.  Smiley
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #31 on: August 01, 2013, 09:26:20 PM »

Just for the record, and to add another question re: Wild Honey and later '67 sessions in general...

Here are a few shots of the board rented by Wally Heider to accompany Jim Lockert, Bill Halverson, Dale Manquen, and the Beach Boys to Hawaii for the live recordings:








According to Manquen, this setup which went to Hawaii was state-of-the-art, top of the line, all of that stuff for summer 1967.

As such, would it then make sense that either this board shown in my still frames or one similar to it was the one that either mixed Smiley Smile, recorded the Redwood tracks, or recorded Wild Honey and whatever else was done at Heider's in summer and fall 1967? I'm just going on the fact that this is what Wally rented the BB's in August, I'm guessing from Manquen's words the best he had to offer them, why wouldn't they use it to record the other stuff as well?
« Last Edit: August 01, 2013, 09:55:38 PM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #32 on: August 01, 2013, 09:48:54 PM »

Just reading over a Bill Halverson interview, he said Wally Heider "Studio 3" - where Brian recorded - had a board custom built by Frank Demedio (as many of Wally's boards were, the way it seems) out of UA parts.

The control room photos of Hawaii clearly show that board, and Dale Manquen related the whole backstory on his website about how Frank Demedio and his father were in the process of building that board in summer '67, when Wally needed it to accommodate the 8-track recording in Hawaii. So Manquen went to Frank's house as it was being built, it got shipped to Hawaii having been finished and packed up last minute and recorded the concerts, then that board went into Wally's Studio 3 afterwards, where Brian was working that fall.

So that Frank Demedio-built board seems to be the most logical guess for what the Beach Boys were recording with in Summer/Fall 1967 as those personal recollections seem to back it all up, starting with the last-minute scramble to finish it up in time to ship to Hawaii for the Beach Boys shows.

I love this sh*t.  Grin

« Last Edit: August 01, 2013, 09:49:56 PM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #33 on: January 18, 2018, 07:17:57 AM »

Does anyone have any of the above photos of the modular UA 610 console from Western #3 saved? They've all expired as far as I can see.
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« Reply #34 on: January 18, 2018, 08:34:41 AM »


This console was purported to have been owned by Sinatra, but it was never installed at Western or used by the Beach Boys. The UA console in Studio 3 was an older model with difft signal path. That console was later sold to John Phillips and eventually ended up in Canada where it was dismantled.

A picture of the Studio 3 console taken in 1968 can be downloaded here:  https://personal.filesanywhere.com/fs/v.aspx?v=8d706a89605f76afb49b

I  own the UA console that was installed in Western Studio 2 and used for much of the Party album , some early sessions like "punchline" and occasional overdubs. I used it for many sessions with Brian as well as the stereo mix of Pet Sounds.

The one in the UK has similar modules to the one in Western Studio 2

Mark Linett
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« Reply #35 on: January 18, 2018, 08:42:30 AM »

Does anyone have any of the above photos of the modular UA 610 console from Western #3 saved? They've all expired as far as I can see.

Sorry about the photos, that was the photo host I used that decided to block direct liking unless you paid a fee that was absurd to be a "full member" or some nonsense. I still have all of those, I just can't link them directly.

Anyone know a good photo hosting site that doesn't shake you down for 30 a month in fees?  Smiley
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
guitarfool2002
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« Reply #36 on: January 18, 2018, 08:47:28 AM »


This console was purported to have been owned by Sinatra, but it was never installed at Western or used by the Beach Boys. The UA console in Studio 3 was an older model with difft signal path. That console was later sold to John Phillips and eventually ended up in Canada where it was dismantled.

A picture of the Studio 3 console taken in 1968 can be downloaded here:  https://personal.filesanywhere.com/fs/v.aspx?v=8d706a89605f76afb49b

I  own the UA console that was installed in Western Studio 2 and used for much of the Party album , some early sessions like "punchline" and occasional overdubs. I used it for many sessions with Brian as well as the stereo mix of Pet Sounds.

The one in the UK has similar modules to the one in Western Studio 2

Mark Linett


Interesting about Sinatra possibly owning that console, because he was one of the financial backers and investors who bankrolled Bill Putnam's United/Western development in the early days from what I understand. That would also explain why so many of Frank's Rat Pack crew and Frank himself recorded at Putnam's studios when Reprise was started in the early 60's, same time as Putnam was getting United up and running. Mutual interest.
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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2018, 09:45:53 AM »

Ok, I have a way to repost some of those blocked photos:

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ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #38 on: January 18, 2018, 10:55:58 AM »


This console was purported to have been owned by Sinatra, but it was never installed at Western or used by the Beach Boys. The UA console in Studio 3 was an older model with difft signal path. That console was later sold to John Phillips and eventually ended up in Canada where it was dismantled.

A picture of the Studio 3 console taken in 1968 can be downloaded here:  https://personal.filesanywhere.com/fs/v.aspx?v=8d706a89605f76afb49b

I  own the UA console that was installed in Western Studio 2 and used for much of the Party album , some early sessions like "punchline" and occasional overdubs. I used it for many sessions with Brian as well as the stereo mix of Pet Sounds.

The one in the UK has similar modules to the one in Western Studio 2

Mark Linett



Wow thanks Mark, that picture is perfect - just what I need!
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Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #39 on: January 19, 2018, 06:30:47 AM »

There's no specific 'SMILE Console' per se ... Brian used whatever desks were at the studios around LA at the time. These were all essentially custom-built. I have some info on the console at Columbia somewhere. The one at Western was Universal Audio. I doubt if one of those consoles were in the UK it would be referred to as the 'SMILE mixing desk' ... because there would also be countless other classics recorded and mixed through it!

Brian used Western, Columbia and Sunset Sound mostly I believe. Wally Heider's a little ater on.

Now there WAS a specific 'SMILEY SMILE' mixing console ... that would have just been for recording though ... it was actually mixed at one of the proper studios (no one can confirm where!)



COMMENT:  When it was decided to do recording at Brian's BelAir home, Jim Lockart, a staff engineer at Hyder's place, put together some equipment from there that was used for rental remotes.  He brought in a Scully 280 8-track and 2-track, two 604e Altec Monitors and a Gates Radio Console and a closed-circuit TV setup. UA consoles were not very portable and designed for permanent installation, whereas the Gates Broadcast console could be moved from one place to another (by two men and a boy). It was used more for remote broadcasting of events like sport games, political rallies, or musical remotes. Still, it had excellent specifications, low noise, and distortion with full fidelity. It was a tube console. The console had been modified for recording, which is not hard to do. Most of the work at the home was just mono recording of stacked tracks. The console could be used for making stereo mixes however. I know this, because I use to cover for Jimmy when he was out sick (he suffered from emphysema) so I was stacking tracks many times.

To answer your question, as far as I know Brian and Jimmy mixed songs of Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, and Friends using the home studio and the Gates console. It was a long time ago, but Brian had recorded lots of songs that found homes on these various albums at various times. It was not record-one-album-and-move-on-to-the-next, rather the albums were assembled from the roster of songs available as time went along. Each song was recorded on its own, not with any specific album in mind. So all these albums were a collection of songs recorded at both Brian's house and studio sessions.

If I remember correctly (someone correct me if I'm wrong), some were mixed in mono and some in stereo, but engineer Mark later remixed the mono versions for stereo release.

Gates made several console styles.  The one used at Brian's house looked somewhat like this . . .



As you will note, there is no EQ or panning -- only left/center/right. EQ was patched in and via Pultec or UA outboard EQ. Microphone preamps were also outboard, which accounts for the superb quality of the recording.

I remember the restoration project at United. In an effort to re-vitalize Brian out of his depression, Studio B (Brian's favorite) was refitted with all the original equipment for a series of sessions. A frame was constructed over the modern console and a UA tube console placed right over the faders.  Altec 604e's were erected in front of the flush mounted JBL speakers, McIntosh tube amps powered them. A 350 Ampex 4-track using tubes was located and re-conditioned for the event. Many of the old session players were hired (some retired) for the sessions. Chuck Britz (who was also retired) came back to run the sessions.

The reason I bring this up is to recall how so many engineers, who had grown up in the transistor age, stopped by and voiced how amazed they were at the sound. "It was so clear -- so musical ". . . "I never knew tubes had that many highs," were some of the comments I heard.    

So don't sell any of this equipment short.  Even today, some of the equipment used back then is now praised and coveted for it's musical quality.

We engineers who recorded way-back-when have a saying among ourselves . . . The musical quality of tubes that transistors diminished was finally destroyed by digital sampling. You can take that for what it's worth.


~swd  
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 12:16:05 PM by Stephen W. Desper » Logged
Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #40 on: January 19, 2018, 12:13:38 PM »

COMMENT:

When Brian recorded at Universal Recording Studio B, the UA console looked a lot like this:



12 positions -- bass and treble EQ -- Left/Center/Right panning via switches -- and aux routing

In some cases this console was setup for Mono, with the three meters for line/preview/cue. In a period of time when all consoles had to be custom made, this was a revolutionary design because it was modular. Some studios (even major ones) bought extra modules and added channels to the original twelve. Inside the console are combining networks and line amps.


~swd
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 12:49:50 PM by Stephen W. Desper » Logged
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« Reply #41 on: January 19, 2018, 12:47:37 PM »

I've heard about the 'restoration' sessions. Was anything actually recorded?
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Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #42 on: January 19, 2018, 01:23:51 PM »

I've heard about the 'restoration' sessions. Was anything actually recorded?

COMMENT:  Yes, but mostly by me. I was there to record a "documentation tape." My involvement was nothing more.  I ran a two-track machine which recorded all the sound in the control room -- all playbacks, live conversation, and talkback chatter. The idea was to have these tapes for posterity. I have no idea where the tapes are now, but I suppose they're in the vault somewhere.

It took a good three days to modify the studio control room and at least a month to round up and repair all the vintage equipment.

The session day came and as the musicians assembled, the atmosphere was like a home-coming or family reunion. Many of the folks had not seen each other for years. Some were part of the original "Wreaking Crew," but all had worked with Brian before during the early days of his career. No one had any idea about what would be recorded, but awaited Brian's word.

Brian arrived and after much greeting Brian came into the control room and was really happy to see Chuck again. It seemed this idea might just work. Brian was really not very well prepared. He had some loose ideas for songs, but never utilized the fantastic talent that had been assembled for his benefit. After several hours, Brian decided to leave. The following day, he came by again, but to answer your question, nothing really happened of merit.

In hindsight I would say that Brian's problem at that time was his inability to handle all the pressure everyone was expecting of him. And this session did not help. Here was everything as it was when he cut his really big hits -- the studio -- the musicians -- the vintage equipment. Like stepping back in time, only everyone was older.

But Brian was on a different time schedule and it was to be years before he would triumph over his internal problems so that his creativity would again flourish. And that's about it.

Watch this video to get a flavor of what the session was kinda like. And you may be able to hear how "musical" the old tube consoles sounded.

Session using Tube Putnam console >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAAoyYOYy94


~swd
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 01:50:17 PM by Stephen W. Desper » Logged
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