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Author Topic: Pet Sounds Desk - still in existence?  (Read 3036 times)
willmansell
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« on: January 14, 2018, 09:44:50 AM »

Hi all,

Iím curious - does anyone know what happened to the Putnam 610 desk used to record Pet Sounds at United Western? Is it still around at EastWest? I couldnít see it on their website/tours.

Would it have been sold to a private collector or another studio? Hopefully not butchered to sell off piece by piece.
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2018, 11:21:10 AM »

Hi all,

Iím curious - does anyone know what happened to the Putnam 610 desk used to record Pet Sounds at United Western? Is it still around at EastWest? I couldnít see it on their website/tours.

Would it have been sold to a private collector or another studio? Hopefully not butchered to sell off piece by piece.


I think Neil Young owns it? If not that one, then one similar.
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2018, 12:52:57 PM »

Maybe you already know this, willmansell - but the board used to record the BBs album prior to Pet Sounds (meaning, Beach Boys Party!) is now owned by Mark Linett - that came from Western Studio 2, and now resides (last I heard, anyway) in Mark's studio (Your Place Or Mine Recording).
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2018, 01:12:29 PM »

I don't think the Putnam console owned by Neil Young was the same one or the same units from Western #3 - What happened was United/Western sold off a lot of that gear around '67 or thereabouts because at that time it was tagged as obsolete, and among the buyers was Papa John Phillips, who installed some of that Putnam gear which he himself had used at Western in his house and started having sessions there. Hal Blaine recounted one session where the police showed up because there was an ordinance against having home studios in that area (don't know how Brian Wilson evaded that one unless the ordinances changed which allowed it), I guess noise leaked through, and all the musicians had to stay quiet while John talked to the police.

I've been curious whether the famous/infamous 1967 jam with McCartney and Brian on "Old Smokey" was done before or after Papa John had the Putnam/Western gear installed at his pad.

Keep in mind too that there is no single desk, because the channels were designed to be modular - Which means if channels 1, 2, and 3 that were used to record something specific on Pet Sounds went on the blink, they would and could be swapped out with exact replacements. Therefore the actual channel strip modules could have ended up in any "board" configuration and there would be no way to know which was which, so unless you're asking about the actual desk that was built to house these units, there would be no way unless serial numbers were recorded. I don't believe records were kept like that 50 years after the fact. And the actual wooden/particleboard/formica/whatever "desk" or housing would have no effect on the sound at all, obviously.

And factor in the United group of rooms as well, and all the commercial jingle mini-rooms and voiceover studios at Putnam's complex, along with whatever else he had...those 610 modular strips could have gone anywhere even before they had that liquidation sale when they updated all the gear, especially considering they could be swapped in and out whenever technical difficulties or repairs happened.

The "board" (not really a board, though, but a collection of modular channel strips) which Wally Heider used to do a lot of famous mobile recordings does exist and sometimes shows up at various conventions.

For a time I believe Neil Young's Putnam console/desk was one of the most complete and working examples on that scale and in that size - UA cut tracks on it as part of an event they staged some years ago.

And of course, there is the one owned by Mark Linett as mentioned. That board should be in the Hall Of Fame if it were not being used, lol.
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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
willmansell
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2018, 04:17:21 PM »

Wow thank you everyone, really enlightening. Had no idea John Phillips bought a lot of their stuff but I guess they cut their best records in Western 3. Just did a bit of research and saw the Wally Heider copycat studio as well. There must be something about that room. Would be nice to think the desk (or the chassis at least!) is floating around out there somewhere.
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willmansell
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2018, 04:54:54 AM »

Carrying this on.. Am I correct in thinking this is the desk from Studio 3 at Western that was used for PS?



If so, it looks vastly different to the UA Green Board that's still knocking about.

Even the modules on this look different - each one seems to have different knobs set on different levels. And there's far more of them than on the other 610 consoles.



Would the four smaller knobs in between the input/output gains be EQ? I thought it was a lot simpler back then.

I'd REALLY like to find out more information about this desk. I'm going to have a hunt around online.
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2018, 07:17:53 AM »

Those pictures above are Columbia.
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2018, 12:34:06 PM »



This is the one you want.  Much simpler than the CBS board.  Presumably, corporate money contributed to the more extensive set-up, although Western Studio 1 had a much more advanced board by this point, too.
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2018, 01:43:20 PM »

Columbia did have the much larger budget, as Putnam was more or less what would be called an "independent" studio, yet Putnam's studios were in such high demand in large part because of the way his in-house designs on things like the 610 and the LA-2A (and later 1176) sounded, not to mention the rooms and the people he had engineering. Gold Star was similar, in that they were indie yet they had a sound that everyone wanted and also had that mojo of having a list of hit records to their credit. It's trend-driven in large part, which is how Elvis and other huge names ended up cutting with Putnam's setup when they needed a hit record.

But Columbia with that kind of setup in 1965-66, yeah they had the much bigger budget to afford such things as shown in those photos. Columbia/CBS was/is after all "The Tiffany Network"  Grin
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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 #9 on: January 15, 2018, 03:43:36 PM »


But Columbia with that kind of setup in 1965-66, yeah they had the much bigger budget to afford such things as shown in those photos. Columbia/CBS was/is after all "The Tiffany Network"  Grin

Which is why their control room pictures are in color and better resolution than the crappy, B&W shot from Western's control room.

Just kidding.  Evil
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Hickory Violet Part IV
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2018, 10:58:09 PM »



This is the one you want.  Much simpler than the CBS board.  Presumably, corporate money contributed to the more extensive set-up, although Western Studio 1 had a much more advanced board by this point, too.

I love Chuck's quote in the PS booklet about having to continually swipe Brian's hand off the console. Aaah those union days......
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terrei
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« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2018, 04:14:24 PM »

I love Chuck's quote in the PS booklet about having to continually swipe Brian's hand off the console. Aaah those union days......
I looked for such a quote and couldn't find it?
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« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2018, 07:47:42 PM »

I love Chuck's quote in the PS booklet about having to continually swipe Brian's hand off the console. Aaah those union days......
I looked for such a quote and couldn't find it?

I think the stories are getting confused a bit. Chuck Britz allowed Brian to work the board at Western, to the point of mixing the tracks hands-on. That was one reason why Brian recorded at Western. What happened with Columbia was a supposed incident where an engineer did swipe Brian's hands away from the board during a session. That is not unheard of with the union rules and how certain engineers were more strict on union rules than others. I heard from Phil Ramone that the same thing happened to him years later, and Phil Ramone is/was one of the premier producers in music. But that's how some of the union engineers were regarding them doing their jobs and the producers doing theirs.

The incident with Brian at Columbia got inflated through the years and the pipeline of info to morph into the notion that Brian was never allowed to run the mixing board at Columbia.

Yet we have film of Brian running a GV session at Columbia, at that same board shown in the photos above with Melcher/Johnston/Asher, where he is actively working the mixing board and no one is slapping his hands away.

I think it depended on who was engineering at Columbia and how strict they were in terms of the union regulations on who could operate what on a session. And Brian as producer could always refuse to book time with whoever the engineer was that slapped his hand away and work with other staff engineers.

But it was not Chuck Britz at Western. Chuck in fact allowed Brian to work hands-on in the mixing, and some of the results were stunning. Read Michael Vosse's Fusion piece for some examples of this.
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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
willmansell
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« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2018, 08:30:03 AM »

Are there any examples of Brian showing a real interest in the gear? Past obviously getting a nice mix level. It strikes me he wasn't so interested in compressors/EQ and the like and would leave this to Chuck or another engineer..?

Also - I've been trawling the interwebs and can only find one other picture of the desk from Western #3.



Anyone know of any others?

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DonnyL
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« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2018, 09:39:41 AM »

Are there any examples of Brian showing a real interest in the gear? Past obviously getting a nice mix level. It strikes me he wasn't so interested in compressors/EQ and the like and would leave this to Chuck or another engineer..?

Also - I've been trawling the interwebs and can only find one other picture of the desk from Western #3.



Anyone know of any others?


Brian is very sharp regarding gear but I don't think he would get hung up ... generally surrounding himself with engineers and musicians who could translate "make it sound like jewelry". In the '60s every studio Brian used had a high standard for gear.

The most interesting insight I've heard from Brian on this topic is in a 1968 interview where he's taling about the Chamberlin, and clearly thinks the stock tapes could be improved upon by having your own "man" to record higher quality tapes, or more customized tapes.

I think of the group, Al would be the one most interested in the gear aspects, and probably would have the best memory of what was used on what, etc.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 09:41:10 AM by DonnyL » Logged

Hickory Violet Part IV
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« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2018, 09:57:50 AM »

I love Chuck's quote in the PS booklet about having to continually swipe Brian's hand off the console. Aaah those union days......
I looked for such a quote and couldn't find it?

I think the stories are getting confused a bit. Chuck Britz allowed Brian to work the board at Western, to the point of mixing the tracks hands-on. That was one reason why Brian recorded at Western. What happened with Columbia was a supposed incident where an engineer did swipe Brian's hands away from the board during a session. That is not unheard of with the union rules and how certain engineers were more strict on union rules than others. I heard from Phil Ramone that the same thing happened to him years later, and Phil Ramone is/was one of the premier producers in music. But that's how some of the union engineers were regarding them doing their jobs and the producers doing theirs.

The incident with Brian at Columbia got inflated through the years and the pipeline of info to morph into the notion that Brian was never allowed to run the mixing board at Columbia.

Yet we have film of Brian running a GV session at Columbia, at that same board shown in the photos above with Melcher/Johnston/Asher, where he is actively working the mixing board and no one is slapping his hands away.

I think it depended on who was engineering at Columbia and how strict they were in terms of the union regulations on who could operate what on a session. And Brian as producer could always refuse to book time with whoever the engineer was that slapped his hand away and work with other staff engineers.

But it was not Chuck Britz at Western. Chuck in fact allowed Brian to work hands-on in the mixing, and some of the results were stunning. Read Michael Vosse's Fusion piece for some examples of this.

No confusion here.

'Once Brian was done with the arrangement, he would come into the booth and say 'Let me hear you, Hal'. He would have certain guys play things. He'd say, 'Let's hear everybody ' I wouldn't be rolling tape. He was just listening. He would tell me to add this much echo....let me hear so and so. He would go back and forth until he heard the instruments he wanted to hear, and then he would tell me what he wanted. Then he would sneak the pots (control knobs)  up, and I would move his hand off the board. When he had the sound he wanted, he would say 'Okay Charlie, let's record' It went pretty quickly after that'

The Making  Of Pet Sounds pg.54 paragraph 4

Certainly not the description of a one off occurrence. Maybe the union rules changed after PS?
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 10:12:23 AM by Hickory Violet Part IV » Logged
aeijtzsche
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« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2018, 07:17:15 PM »

I get the feeling that Chuck moving Brian's hands off the board was less about union rules and more about too many cooks in the kitchen.
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2018, 07:57:19 PM »

It reminded me of the accounts of Phil Spector when he was recording the orchestral overdubs for the Let It Be album. Spector would constantly be reaching over to turn up the volume, and the engineer would reach over and turn it back down because it was maxing out. And that went on like a game of back-and-forth where Spector would turn up the knobs, and the engineer would turn them down until it finally came to a head. Among a lot of other oddities that day, Ringo was called on to pull Spector aside and talk him down a bit so the session could run smoothly, after Spector was yelling out demands for the sounds they were recording.

But it's good to have some context in that quote. As H said, I don't see this as the same kind of deal as Columbia with union rules and regs, because neither Western nor Chuck ran sessions that way. And also because a lot has been written about Chuck letting Brian run the mixing board, and did not slap away his hands as the unknown Columbia engineer apparently did in that one case. One prime source would be reading Vosse's descriptions in Fusion, and I think Anderle said similar.
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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 #18 on: January 17, 2018, 11:38:46 PM »

aeijtzsche and guitarfool

Yes, that's a tough one to call. Recollection of the actual engineer vs recollections of stoned guys.

To me, 'Sneaking his hands on' and 'moving them off' sounds pretty clear.

That he shouldn't be doing it is strongly implied in the word sneak.

The moving off is a firm reminder.

If it doesn't fit other descriptions and causes a discrepency, you can't just explain it away as something else just because it doesn't fit. That's disingenuous to Chuck Britz.  

Either you're researchers who stick to the truth, or you're bullshit historians with an agenda to push.

Be researchers,  you're damn good at it.  Smiley

« Last Edit: January 18, 2018, 12:12:14 AM by Hickory Violet Part IV » Logged
aeijtzsche
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« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2018, 06:18:44 AM »

aeijtzsche and guitarfool

Yes, that's a tough one to call. Recollection of the actual engineer vs recollections of stoned guys.

To me, 'Sneaking his hands on' and 'moving them off' sounds pretty clear.

That he shouldn't be doing it is strongly implied in the word sneak.

The moving off is a firm reminder.

If it doesn't fit other descriptions and causes a discrepency, you can't just explain it away as something else just because it doesn't fit. That's disingenuous to Chuck Britz.  

Either you're researchers who stick to the truth, or you're bullshit historians with an agenda to push.

Be researchers,  you're damn good at it.  Smiley



Is there some reason we can't take into account both Vosse and Britz?  There's no agenda.  In Chuck's interview there is no indication of the reason he moved Brian's hands off--we can't assume it was for union reasons, nor can we assume it was not, although there is plenty of evidence that there was a culture gap between a studio like Western and a studio like CBS, which was one step removed from engineers wearing labcoats.  I still think that Chuck was not enforcing AFM 47 regs but instead annoyed because Brian was fucking with the mix.

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Hickory Violet Part IV
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« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2018, 08:03:40 AM »

Just to be clear, the 'bullshit historian with an agenda' refers to an ex member of this board, but you knew that. Razz

To me, the word sneak speaks volumes. And I love Vosses reminiscences, but always factor in these guys were very stoned

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« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2018, 08:58:23 AM »

We have about a minute of film showing Brian in Western 3, sitting at the board, while Chuck was at the 8-track tape machine behind him. Brian was listening and mixing something at the board, on 8-track in Fall 66 wearing a fire helmet (along with Van Dyke) and the other Beach Boys minus Dennis who is filming it were there too.

If Brian were not allowed to do certain things in a session with Chuck Britz as a general rule, mix or recording, he wouldn't have been in the seat behind the console while Chuck was at the tape machine.

I think Chuck's quote was along the lines of the Spector anecdote, where it could have been a case of Brian trying to push levels too high or even turn the monitor levels up higher than normal. Remember, Brian is deaf in one ear.

And from everything I've heard, seen, or read, Chuck was not the type of hard-nosed union engineer who would forbid Brian from running the board. In fact, he allowed Brian to run the board and that created some pretty amazing sounds and ideas that Chuck would perhaps then refine and make more usable from a technical sense, like balancing levels and avoiding peaks, etc.

Brian and Chuck were a great team at Western, I think that's the takeaway here.

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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 #22 on: January 18, 2018, 09:27:43 AM »

I totally get all the stories, references and evidence to the contrary.

But against those we have an incongruous quote, from Chuck, which I read as quite explicit in it's meaning.

Is it possible the rules were relaxed after PetSounds?
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2018, 09:27:52 AM »

« Last Edit: January 18, 2018, 09:29:12 AM 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 #24 on: January 18, 2018, 09:47:12 AM »



« Last Edit: January 18, 2018, 09:48:22 AM 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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