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!