Steve Gets To Work At The Capital Tower:

I've been over at the Capitol Tower working in studio A and B on a bunch of Peggy Lee mixing for British EMI (and "Latin Ala Lee"/"Bewitching-Lee" for S&P). One of the neat things about this is that, as part of my "deal", EMI CANNOT USE NO-NOISE ON MY WORK IN MASTERING. Heh, I'm just making friends everywhere I go. (Not!)

I'm working nights there and it's been sooooo long since I've been on the night shift that it takes some getting used to. I come home dragging and of course it's hard to fall asleep right away, but I have to get up in the AM to take care of the doggies regardless, so I'm trashed.

It's fun hanging around Capitol in the middle of the night. All of the engineers are really nice people, and Paula, the head of studio operations makes sure that all of our stuff (special three-track, four-track and eight-track machines, Fairchild 670 stereo compressors, etc.) are where they should be and in perfect working order.

I'm using the Neve console in Studio B mostly. This is the ORIGINAL Neve prototype from 1975. The first 32 channels are the first Rupert ever built and he even autographed it! A really nice sounding mixing console.

There are ghosts roaming the halls at night as well. This is to be expected when working about four feet from where the original artists stood when singing or recording from 1956 on. I like to feel that the spirits of Frank Sinatra, Nat "King" Cole, Bobby Darin, Peggy Lee, Gene Vincent, Carl & Dennis Wilson and others are all around, prompting us to do a good job.

There are so many little hidden nooks and crannies in the studio area of Capitol that I'm still discovering. Jay, who has been engineering there since the place opened in 1956 (and even earlier at Melrose) has shown us some neat places. The upstairs eating lounge is where the STEREO control room used to be for both A and B. That is where they put the poor "second class" stereo stuff in the late 1950's when three-track was mostly an afterthought. There is a really cool second floor hide-away lounge that is hooked up to studio B where you can look out over the studio and it's just like a Tiki-room from 1960. In fact, all of the stools, couches, tables, etc. are all ORIGINALS.

The Steinway piano in Studio B is the very same piano that has been there from the start; brought in by co-founder Glenn Wallichs from the original Wallichs Music City. It's the piano Nat Cole recorded with. I must confess that I went and played a bit on it, thinking that Nat had tickled these same keys. Listen to the DCC "Nat's Greatest Hits" and you will hear that piano.

Diana Krall has been in Studio B during the day, and it's great to see all the instruments set up with rare microphones on them. Some of those Telefunken and Neumann mics at Capitol are ONE OF A KIND prototypes that even the Neumann people don't have.

Oh, and if any of you want to "rent" some of Capitol's famous echo for your projects, let me give you a little tip:

Chamber 2 for instruments. Chamber 4 for voices. And back off a bit at 8k if you want the exact sound of 1959!

Take a look here:

Scroll down to the old pictures. It still looks like that there expect the control rooms are modern. But most of the old gear is still around
and used when needed (like by me).

Here is what Studio B control room looks like now:

It's fun, but I will be happy to be back on days again!