For people of a certain age (and Chicago Bulls fans), Alan Parsons is as well-known as a successful prog-pop artist as he is to another part of the population which knows him as a multi-platinum selling producer and engineer. Having started his career as a tape operator at a Abbey Road on a couple records for a little four-piece band from Liverpool, he's worked on some of the biggest-selling albums of all time ("Dark Side Of The Moon", anyone?) and with really important artists (beyond Pink Floyd) such as Al Stewart, The Hollies, Wings and more. The GS crew was lucky to have him hang out in a Q&A for a bit back in 2010, and this is a transcription of his time here. Enjoy it!



[top]You have mentioned in your Art & Science Of Sound Recording book that a good way to get a mono signal to sound stereo is to copy the track and delay one of the two copies a bit when panning them left and right. I've used this technique myself, but I've found that when I've done it, I often have phasing problems later if the track is played back in mono. Is there any kind of trick you use to avoid this? - Tommcc


If it phases in mono your delay is too short. About 20-25 mS usually works well. But if it's a percussive part you might find that that is an audible delay.


[top]Re: Pilot Magic - Wondering if you can recall how the guitar sounds came about? I particularly like the solo sounds, and the contrast of the sounds. - Paterno


Les Paul, Marshall amp 4 x12 and single repeat tape echo for intro.

Solo - Multi-tracked Queen style - single notes per part.



Yamaha CS80

[top]Is that a synthi at the beginning of I Robot? - Wxyz


Yes an EMS Synti A using the on board sequencer. The pad was a Yamaha CS80 with a phasing pedal.


[top]I was curious as to how the tracks were cut for the song Year of the Cat: - 12ax7


No click track - rhythm section live. Guitar solos, Sax, orch and final lead vocal overdubbed in that order as I remember.


[top]One of my favorite Alan Parson songs is "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You". I was wondering what you could tell me about recording that guitar and how it might compare to certain Pink Floyd songs. - aaron aardvark


The similarity lies in the use of printed tape echo - usually dotted eighths - or triplet. There's a section dedicated to it in the Delays section of my Art And Science project (click here to check it out).


[top]The Hollies. What was it like working with those guys? Did you have any idea that "The Air That I Breathe" would become their biggest hit? Any interesting memories from recording them? - rocksure


Just that they were the ultimate professionals - always on time, always amenable and good at their jobs. Their producer Ron Richards always knew a hit song when he heard it and The Air That I Breathe was one of those occasions when he said "What A Song" after hearing the Phil Everly version - whenever he said that we knew we had a monster hit. The previous time was for He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother. Good times.



TASCAM DA-88

[top]A question about Eric Woolfson's lead vocal on "Eye in the sky":
There's a beautiful spaced-out feel to Eric's vocal on this song.The vocal sounds double-tracked to me and if that's the case, I was wondering if you'd used varispeed whilst tracking? - sunrobot


Varispeeding while double tracking vocals achieves little, since the singer will always pitch to what he hears. The EITS vocal was definitely DT'd. On the other hand any fixed pitch instrument double tracked with a small amount of varispeed is magical, and it's one of my trademarks I would say - especially for guitars both acoustic and electric. It's difficult to do on DAWs in real time - you have to change the sampling rate. Someone should build a dedicated box to do that. I've often resorted to using the clock output of a Tascam DA-88 for digital varispeeding.


[top]I was wondering what Hi Fi or system/s you had at home for your listening pleasure? - Nbrecording


A very modest Teac system - usually just to listen to the radio, but my studio has B & W 802s configured for 5.1.


[top]I understand that you used the Fairlight CMI in the eighties. What are your memories of that? - waveterm


The Fairlight was a very useful tool for me. I did quite a bit of sampling but the results were often frustrating with only 8 bits. I used the Page R sequencer a lot - it was the basis for Sirius with a Fairlight-sampled Clavinet. I did use the PPG for a while with Richard Cottle, but I never owned one. The Emulator was also an often used sampler. I knew it was time to sell the Fairlight at the point the Emulator came out.


E-MU Systems Emulator


[top]My question to you is about your writing with Eric Woolfson. What was your working process like with him? Did he provide the text and you did all the music, or was it more collaborative, etc? It was a big shock to hear about Eric's recent passing. We miss him. - djwaudio


Eric wrote 90% of the APP songs himself and 100% of the lyrics, but we did collaborate at writing stage occasionally - Breakdown, Can't Take It With You, Days Are Numbers are definitely genuine co-writes. Conversely I wrote 90% of the instrumentals single-handedly. Thank you for your message on Eric's passing.


[top]When Pink Floyd first entered the studio with you for Dark Side.. about how much of the music was already written? I wonder how much of David and Roger you got to watch working out material? - Perfect Drug


"Eclipse" as it was then called was mostly ready to go. They were all into sound, but although Roger was almost exclusively the writer, David had greater musical strengths. Roger was more of a producer than David, especially when David was overdubbing parts.


[top]The urban legends of intentional synchronicity between the film The Wizard of Oz and the Pink Floyd album Dark Side of The Moon still continue today. Do you remember how that fad started and what made it catch on so strongly? - Jborum


Frankly it always baffled me how people actually believed there was a genuine link. Any record played to any movie will have such coincidences and that's just what they are - coincidences.


[top]Re: Hawkeye by The Alan Parsons Project - During the instrumental piece Hawkeye, first found on the Vulture Culture album, during the break right after the turnaround, someone says, "I only want to start the _______". What is that word? - Solidwalnut


It was Monica (Jamaican?) from the kitchen of the Abbey Road canteen saying, "Only what's on the menu"



Allison Research Kepex

[top]Can you tell us about the tremolo on the (Pink Floyd DSOTM) “Money” guitar? I've heard some people say it was a gate with some kind of pulse waveform (sidechain) or maybe an EMS Synthi Hi-Fli unit?
Similarly, do you have any recollection of how the "underwater" vocal effect was created on Octopus's Garden (under the guitar solo)? - hAPIguy


“Money” guitar was a Kepex noise gate modulated with an external sine wave generator.

On Octopus's garden I remember they tried to figure out a way of actually putting the vocal track underwater but they failed. It was pre noise gates so assume it must have been a trem unit on a guitar amp, but my memory is hazy on that one.


[top]Re: Games People Play by The Alan Parsons Project - Can you remember which synth was used on the song "Games People Play?" Was there a metronome track? Also, was it difficult to keep the band in sync (hi hat, drums etc. with the synth) for that performance? - NEWTON IN ORBIT


Not a synth. The loop was a genuine tape loop mixed from a combination of analog sounds - pianos, harpsichord, acoustic guitar. I think it probably was pretty hard to play to - we may have actually overdubbed a "wild" click track to play to - I don't remember


[top]Re: Holdin' On to Yesterday by Ambrosia - Do you remember working on this one at all? - Thenoodle


It was a great track to work on - the standard of recording was very high on the whole album. The violin was mixed pretty much exactly as played - but this album was very much a hands on mix - no automation and lots of edits.


[top]What, to you, makes a good assistant and what upsets you? - Slaphappygarry


Great question.
Obviously a first class knowledge of the software really helps and speed is a must. I'm too slow at the computer myself which is why I take on assistants. I like them to do all the installations and updates too and have a really good filing and backup policy.

Great assistants anticipate every move and nothing is too much trouble - including humping and setting up gear, fetching coffee, and keeping the studio neat and tidy for the work in hand. And although their cell phones might be on, they don't answer them if we are busy. I respect their talents and hopefully they respect mine.
Bad ones don't last a second!


[top]As an engineer on the greatest record of the rock era do you receive any royalties from Dark Side of the Moon? - Ironbelly


I was paid as a staff engineer at Abbey Road the princely sum of 35 pounds per week to record DSOTM. No royalties. I asked for points on the next album but was declined and that's one of the reasons we didn't work together again. Bitter? No - it paved the way for my entire future.


[top]Was there some point in the making of this record where you all kind of looked at each other in an aha moment and really knew just how big this thing was going to be? - Sounds Great


No - but I think we all knew it was the best Pink Floyd album yet.


[top]Re: Freudiana by The Alan Parsons Project - Can you shed a little light on why Freudiana is such a distinctive album compared to other works in your discography and why it didn't have a proper "mainstream release" like the other albums? - Tagpass


"Funny You Should SAY THAT" was specifically designed to sound like a Disney cartoon with the sound as heard in a movie theater. In the chorus it goes HI Fi. Fantasia is of course another Disney reference.
Freudiana started life as an Alan Parson Project, but that changed as interest developed in the stage musical in Vienna so it became more Lloyd Webberesque.
It was Eric's decision that it should not be released as an APP. It is my view that the album stiffed because of that alone. It was the last time we worked together.


[top]How was the snare drum sound achieved in Mammagamma? It sounds nice, dry and juicy at the same time. Can you go into detail which mics, compressors, etc. were used and how? - Kraku


That's easy - a LINN LM-1 - no processing other than a little top end EQ added as I remember.


Linn Electronics LM-1


[top]What made you guys write a song and make an album about Gaudi and La Sagrada? - Barish


Eric was in Barcelona on holiday and was hugely taken by Gaudi's architecture and in particular the cathedral, and was intrigued by the fact that it'll never be finished - or at least that's what most people say.


[top]Eye in the sky is a record that fascinates me. How was the creation and recording organized? - Taturana


EITS,like all the APP albums, was always recorded rhythm section first (all together) and any overdubs including orch were added later. Making the albums conceptual was several different actions, many of them worked out as part of the recording process.


[top]I wanted to know if you actually used eq and compression and or effects while tracking or do you just use these things later in the mix? - Denny C


I'll always limit bass and vocals at the time they are recorded. I do not use any compression on mixes. I like dynamics.


[top]As an engineer, did you contribute many techniques or ideas to the recording of DSOTM? - Joe Porto


I was fortunate in that my relationship was as part of a team so my input was just as valid generally as anyone in the band. They were usually receptive to ideas that I had.


[top]Do you think you could achieve similar results using more modern techniques, or was the gear of yesteryear crucial to the sound of DSOTM? - Unknown soldier


If anything it would be easier now. Digital delays instead of tape delays, rototoms could be copied and pasted, etc. etc. But DSOTM does have an analog sound which would be more difficult to duplicate.


[top]I love your choice of sound effects on the Alan Parsons Project. How do you get those? - Bubbakron


Sound effects in the period you are talking about to early 80s (presumably) are before the word "converters" came into being. I would record on batt op cassette machines and in later years on Sony FI using internal converters. Some FX were from sound FX libraries, but generally speaking my own origination.


[top]Is there any order you like to tackle elements of a mix in? - Themadnun


I'll start with drums then bass but then take them out and look and everything else and add them back in in later.



Fairchild Model 670

[top]There is so much mystique surrounding the RS124 compressors. Several sources indicate that just about everything was run thru them on the Beatles sessions. I just wanted to hear your thoughts on them. Did you end up using them on the Floyd sessions as well? - Alschnier


Geoff Emerick always favored them - but I think by "Abbey Road" they were being used less. I'm not really qualified to answer this before then. I never liked them myself. Nor did I like the built-in lims/comps on the EMI TG consoles. I've always gone for Fairchild, UA or Dbx units.


[top]What big problems have you faced during the recordings of Dark Side of The Moon and how much improvisation and quick solutions you had to figure to fix them? And what improvisations turned out to be great? - Subversounds


One of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to get the long delay for Us And Them. No digital delays back then. It took a 3M 8-track machine running on varispeed below 7.5 ips and two tracks for each repeat so that each repeat could move across the stereo.. We had to align the machine running at the slow speed and Dolby encode and decode for each repeat as well.


[top]You did my friend Tom Hartman's record in the late 60's at Abbey Road. The recordings are timeless and stand on their own. If you have any stories or memories you'd like to share from that time, We would enjoy hearing them. - Hamburg58


The Aerovons were very talented but utterly obsessed with The Beatles, so a lot of time was spent trying to sound like them, yes. The available technology was also a common thread.

My memory fails me on any specifics, but what you may not know is that I seriously considered leaving my job at Abbey Road to join the band!

Tell Tom I said Hi - We see each other now and again when I am in Florida.


[top]re atom Heart Mother and Dark Side of The Moon there is such a major difference between the 2 albums..what do you attribute that to? - Sigma


I didn't engineer AHM, I just mixed it. But I did DSOTM start to finish. There are so many aspects to sound - instrumentation, engineering techniques, arrangement (in the traditional sense) and it's important not to forget fashions in sound change and so do people's attitudes and moods, which have a profound effect on the sound we hear.


[top]Which aspects (gear, mic technique, acoustics, skills without regard to gear, etc.) would you recommend a practicing engineer focus on most to achieve the best recording possible? - Turdadactyl


The most important skill is knowing how to listen and knowing what to do if something doesn't sound right. You can get great results without top notch equipment - I would never walk away from a session just because a certain piece of gear wasn't available.

Everyone in recording these days has to wear so many hats - it can be overbearing. As I have said already here, I prefer to have an engineer/ computer operator to work with so I can concentrate on the music.


[top]I was wondering how you record your sound bites of non musical fills, do you actually bring those things into the studio??? Or record them off site (if so, how)? - Bubbakron


Sometimes off site - An antique clock shop for DSOTM. A casino on a portable cassette for Turn Of A Friendly Card. Voices on Vulture Culture in a noisy restaurant also on cassette. DSOTM voices - victims were asked to answer written questions on mic in the studio.


[top]What aspects of the recording process really pushed and challenged you the most when recording Dark Side of the Moon? - jeffeaston


Big question - but one challenge was tape noise after going to 2 generations of 16-track. Kepex noise gates used on gentle settings helped greatly. Abbey Road had a rack of them. Quite extravagant for 1972.
Another was Chris Thomas' insistence that we used compression on the mix bus. I used gentle settings on Fairchild limiters and on most tracks, allowed the drums to pass through separately without limiting.



Studer A80

[top]re DSOTM. What tape did you use, and on what multitrack machine? Operating levels? - Brianroth


See also earlier answers here re Kepexes - Biggest Challenges Recording DSOTM The first generation 16T was non Dolby. We Dolbied (A) the second generation tape which was done to reduce the first 16 tracks down and add more material. Sometimes bass and drums would be combined on 2 tracks in stereo - ouch!

2" tape was Black (812?) EMItape on a STUDER A80 at 15ips. A second machine was wheeled in from another studio for the 16 to 16 transfer and probably noise gated with Kepexes while going across. Elevated Level +4dB above 185nWb/m but standard Dolby level - i.e. Dolby Tone at -4vU=185nWb/m


[top]It seems from reading your replies here that your approach to music/engineering is one of using instincts rather than any particular piece of gear or learned technique.(?) - farjedi


One thing I have done for many years is to balance up the drums and bass and then forget them until everything else is balanced other than vocals and lead instruments. Then I'll bring the bass and drums in and assess the backing track overall. I'll then most likely listen to vocals and orchestration in isolation before adding them in.



Sony PCM 1610

[top]Re: Silence And I by The Alan Parsons Project - When tracking "Silence & I" ...did the rhythm section play the entire song, including the middle section? And how did they get around it...was it all written out before recording? Did you use some kind of click track? Also ...how did you get the orchestral parts that tight with the rhythm section? And lastly...did you mix the entire song in one go...or cut and splice the various sections together afterwards? - Oli P:


Hazy memory on this, but by 1982 we were using click for most recordings. This means that the sections would have had to be recorded separately in order to get the 2 click tempos with only one mechanical metronome. The 24-track was a complete spliced piece. The rhythm section usually just played from memory by ear or to simple chord charts.

We had a full 3-hour session to record the 85-piece orchestra on just the one song - we needed every second to get it right. I seem to remember we did the WW, perc. and brass separately from the strings but rehearsed with the full ensemble.

Mixing was most likely done in one pass to Digital 1610. If we had done it in sections we would have had to use a Sony 1610 editing system which was in a different room, so that would have been messy - although possible.


[top]What was your motivation for getting into the recording industry? - medearis


Just a love of music and a curiosity about sound recording from a very early age. The clincher was hearing the Master tape of Sgt. Pepper.


[top]What is your favorite band of all time? - Veecheech


That's Easy: The Who, Beatles, Yes, Peter Gabriel


[top]My question involves the mysterious "Frequency Translator" device mentioned on the DSOTM Classic Albums DVD. Could you elaborate on the effect and possibly recommend a modern equivalent? - Unrealworld82


It has been suggested (here on Gearspace I believe) that the box shifted frequency not pitch, which results in a different amount of frequency shift for each source frequency. It was, I believe, designed as an anti-acoustic feedback device. When you sent a signal into it and sent the output back into the input it produced the swishy effect you hear on the BVs on DSOTM. One of the (unmarked as I remember) knobs on the box (possibly the amount of frequency shift) controlled the speed of the swish.
The closest approach to the effect would be produced by a chorusing device with an obvious amount of "doppler" modulation or pitch wobble at about 2-3Hz with lots of feedback on itself and combined with the original source in mono. The mono part is important otherwise it might just go in and out of phase in stereo.
I originally misquoted the designer's name as Keith Atkins - he once pointed out to me that his true name is - I think - Keith Aitken or possibly Adken.


[top]Do you have any abstract imagery you use when creating a sound? - Tomeford


I think I've often perceived music as being performed in a giant warehouse. If the players are close up to you they are dry and in your face. If they are at the other end of the space they will be distant and reverby.


[top]I have always been in awe of Pink Floyd's uncanny ability to pull the listener into their music in a hypnotic or "in the zone" kind of way. Could you share with us some insights on what aspiring musicians/engineers can do to create that sense of the listener "being in the song"? - swamp therapy


I've always been a believer in musical repetition to draw in the listener and make the music hypnotic.
Another thing I believe in is repetition.



Freeman String Symphonizer

[top]I was wondering what you thought the first time you were exposed to a modular synth? - XXXEsq


I certainly remember being impressed with the modular Moog but more impressed with how Paul McCartney played the solo on "Maxwell" on the ribbon controller finding the correct pitch for each note by "feel".
I think it was the first polyphonic synths that really caught my attention, notably Ken Freeman's String synthesizer. See Ken Freeman & The Birth Of String Synthesis


[top]How do you usually write songs? Lyrics first? Music first and vocals / lyrics later? - baskervils


In my case almost invariably a musical idea comes first. Sometimes it just comes into my head then I 'll sit down at the piano or a synth and develop it. Sometimes just improvising on a keyboard or guitar is enough to make the beginnings of a song emerge.

In fairness though, Eric was the writer of a large proportion of the songs on The Alan Parsons Projects.


[top]What instruments do you play yourself? - Victory Pete


Guitar, Keyboards, flute, recorder.
I'm no virtuoso at anything and I'm not an electric guitar player these days, although I did play electric in a blues band in the 60s.
I was classically trained on Piano and Flute.



Steinberg Cubase

[top]Do you perform all of your mixing/recording in Cubase, and if so, what made you choose Cubase over the usual ProTools systems? - SOLOIST101


I had a Pro Tools system in the late 90s and I was always frustrated by Digidesign's constant system upgrades which would invariably cost a lot of money. I also believed that there were better converters that would not work in Pro Tools.

I just get on well with Nuendo/Cubase - that's all. However I recognize that the majority use Pro Tools so I have a simple system and use it occasionally rather than go cross platform.

We are mixing the Dialog/Music/FX for the Art And Science series in Cubase for example, but the new track All Our Yesterdays was in Pro Tools all the way and although I did do an OTB mix of it the master ended up being ITB in Pro Tools.


[top]Alan, how would you say your hearing has evolved and matured over time? - Makoto


I'm very aware of the aging process in relation to hearing loss. It's interesting how we deal with it and compensate. I could clearly hear an 19kHz tone in my youth but can only just hear 12k now.
I distinctly remember being trained how to listen in my early years. I would be asked to identify a 2dB difference in level on a piece of music with the two examples played 10 minutes apart and not knowing if it had gone up, down or stayed the same. That's a demanding test for anybody.
I am very aware how my everyday experience with sound turned into the ability to identify simply what sounded good and what didn't. That may seem simplistic but it's actually an incredibly important ability for an engineer to have. It's the entire basis for a pleasing balance, which is what it's all about. Producers back in the day would say, "Great balance", not "great sound".


[top]Have you worked or are considering working with any electronica musicians in the studio? - Virtualsamana


My studio album "A Valid Path" was essentially an experiment with Electronica. I worked with The Crystal Method, Uberzone, Shpongle and Nortec Collective and my son Jeremy.


[top]What is your approach to getting the low end right? - Darm


No secrets.
I'll occasionally high pass acoustic guitars at say 250Hz. I'm usually not frightened of EQ - as much as +16 at 10k on a snare and +10 on overheads. If the top end is right the bottom end usually takes care of itself.



Fairlight CMI

[top]How did the orchestral interlude in the song Silence & I come to be? I also would like to know how you achieved the synth sound for Sirius. - Veecheech


The middle section started as a modified version of another song called Any Other Day which was shelved but which you'll find on the recently remastered version of Eye In The Sky. I just decided that it would be great to make it sound genuinely symphonic and we spared no expense and got 85 people to play it! It was one of arranger Andrew Powell's finest moments.

The Sirius sound was a real Clavinet sampled into a Fairlight CMI and also sequenced on the Fairlight using what was called the Page R sequencer. Somewhat primitive by today's standards - pre MIDI.


[top]I am finding it incredibly hard to find other people as dedicated as I am to work on music together, which forces me to be everything. Bassist, drummer, guitarist, sequencer, pianist, engineer, mixer, and mastering engineer. Any advice? - Sargentpilcher


I love this - hadn't seen it before:
If you had a roomful of monkeys, given several Mics, DAWS, other equipment, and an infinite amount of time. Eventually they would produce dark side of the moon.==
You didn't mention songwriting, but I'm guessing you're doing that too.
Dedication is good, but you must find collaborators - they're out there; you just haven't found the right ones yet. Doing everything is something I know a little about - it's unhealthy. I've given up computers in the studio - preferring to work with an engineer/computer guy - it's saved me a lot of frustration. How about you trying that and concentrate on the songs and performance more?


[top]With all of your experience, how would you say changes in technology over the past few decades have most affected the music business and musicians' relationships with the industry? - MovingPictures07


Well at least CDs meant the end of cassettes - a horrible format
The industry (meaning labels, A & R etc) have never given two hoots about the technology, except when it saves them money or gives them an excuse to charge more for , or re-sell a product.

I don't think the changes have meant that better records are being made. It's just that more people are making them because it IS affordable. This means more stuff to wade through in a dying market.

If DAWs didn't exist I would probably not have a studio these days. A pair of digital tape machines cost me $200k in 1986, but that's when we sold records by the boatload.



EMT 140 Plate Reverb

[top]Dark Side of the Moon is so well produced it would be great if you could name some of the equipment used to put together this album? (reverb & delay units/compressors & limiters/ other fx etc). Also I would be interested to hear how much work was done on the song writing in the studio and how much was already written, arranged, and completed before entering Abbey Road? - HomeStudio1


EMI TG Console
16-track STUDER A80
Fairchild Limiters for vocals, bass and sometimes on mix.
All delays done with tape machines
Nearly all reverb with one EMT Plate.
Backing Vocals on Time "phased" with an Abbey Road box called "The Frequency Translator"
Doesn't it all look so easy?
"Eclipse" was already written when sessions started, but the songs did develop somewhat in the studio. Suggest you watch "The Making Of" DVD (Classic Albums - Eagle Rock). https://amzn.to/3wFyrCo


[top]Re: Come up and see me / “Make me smile” by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel. It's a pop radio "evergreen" here in the UK (and I am sure elsewhere) So congrats! When you hear it on the radio - does it make you smile? - Jules


If I did hear it on the radio here in California, it would certainly make me smile - it wasn't a hit here!. No, I'm proud of it - and it was a great mastering job too. I know certain mastering engineers and producers have been known to use it as a reference. I love the false ending that often caught out the DJs. THAT made me smile!


[top]I’d like to ask if you think that the massive enhancement of loudness of today, with the RMS war, killed the possibility of the musicality of the..music. Would Dark Side Of The Moon be possible with today's dynamic range? - DamZ


It would ABSOLUTELY be possible. It's just the deafness at record label A & R and insecurity about volume being important that has caused the problems. I will never compress or reduce dynamic range in order to succumb to the level war - nor should anybody if they value the light and shade in their music.
It's just so tiring to listen to compressed music, especially when it's digitally clipping.


[top]I would like to know how your multi-instrumental/compositional skills helped bring life to the arrangements of others? - kingdice86


Producing is for me ALL about the arrangement and parts - and the performance of course.
Yes, the Sax on Year Of The Cat was my idea - it horrified Al Stewart at first.
The fader-sliding is a sort of appendage to the production - of course I started with pure engineering, but I found it progressively more difficult to keep my mouth shut about production values. I suppose I must have talked reasonably or I wouldn't have been given the chance to produce back then.


[top]Do you prefer today's modern digital recording format or do you like the good old days of analog to tape? Do you think a Dark Side of The Moon album could be captured with today's DAW setup? - Matchless1069


I think DSOTM represented a period in history when things were done a certain way. Analog - yes. Digital processing of any kind - no.
Of course it COULD have been recorded today digitally, but the question is slightly futile as it won't ever happen!
One thing's for sure , the Money loop would have taken 5 minutes to assemble instead of all day.
Loops are fine for getting inspiration, but I agree that sounds should generally speaking be original. I see sampling as a way of saving money more than anything else.


[top]When working on Abbey Road what was Paul and John's work ethic like? It would seem to me to be quite intense since their stuff was so amazing. - skip bitmin


On Abbey Road I rarely saw P & J work together. There was little wasted time. George Martin saw to that - he was always a father figure to all of them.



Neumann KM84

[top]What's your preference on drum recording, meaning mics, pres, overhead positioning, number of room mics and positions, polar patterns, etc? - Haryy


Mics
Kick D20 or D112
Snare Km84 3" above and 3" away from rim. U 87 in the old days. (Never liked the 57 much on snare - unlike the rest of the world))
Hi Hat KM 86 cardioid aiming away from snare
TOMS ANY AKG DYNAMICS 3 - 6" away
OVERHEADS - Ribbons - usually STC 4038 4 ft above kit at extremes.(Fig 8 of course)
Mic Pres - not fussy - If the kit is good we'll get a good sound.
Only use room sound if there is nothing else going on in the room. Not vital
If I haven't got a good sound when it's time to hit record I go home.
You will see a lot about my drum tastes blended with the tastes of my hero Simon Philips on The Art And Science Of Sound series.


[top]Are there any lessons you've learned that help get the best out of the recording? How do you stay objective, see things from different perspectives? Do you have an approach that works well for this endeavor? - jrakarl


I don't necessarily think or act differently when working on my own material. I just work to get the best results. It's rare that I write without collaborating with someone, and musicians (and engineers) are usually there to bounce ideas off even if I have written on my own.
Recently in the computer age, I've become less active as an engineer (which has become basically mouse-clicking) and just concentrate on production, performance and arrangement. I still apply old school techniques when it comes to equipment choices and application of processing both during the recording and mixing stages.


[top]What are your biggest regrets when it comes to your career? Conversely, what do you consider to be some of your biggest accolades? - Dove


Not doing another album with Pink Floyd after DSOTM. A "commercial" decision on my part.
Getting two consecutive No. 1 singles in 1975 with Pilot and Steve Harley



Neumann KM 86

[top]Can you share any info on the mic techniques you utilized on David's amps? Particularly Breath, Money, & of course the famous solo in Time. - Ringwraith


Generally a KM86 on the cabinet about 18 inches away. David did the rest with various pedals and FX units. We often added tape echo and EMT plate echo. No Digitalia in those days.


[top]Do you have a favorite synth either past or present? If so, what is it and why? - Dove


Synths are definitely improving with each passing year. My current fave is the Yamaha Motif XS


[top]In a thread here on Gearspace someone quoted you speaking very favorably of Audio Technica AT40xx microphones, especially for vocals. Was that a correct quote? - hpp99


I've had a lot of luck with the 40 series - particularly the 4033 on vocals.
If there's a vintage Neumann 47 around I'll use it - but having said that no mic is perfect for everything


[top]Do you routinely use these filters on just about all of the tracks, or just for certain ones? I'd love to know what role they play in your methods. - Terry McInturff


I'll almost invariably Hi pass acoustic guitars and add a little top end. Means the mic can be close without being boomy.
I often use Low pass on nasty overbright synths. Seems to work better than negative EQ.


[top]Please share a memorable studio situation/story or 2 when working with an artist or artists or on your own material. - Dove


Arthur Brown was an amazing character. You know him from The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown (if you're old enough!)
He was amazingly professional and receptive to the song "The Tell Tale Heart" on Tales of Mystery And Imagination while learning it and we were worried that he would sing it too 'straight'. But the moment he got into the studio in front of the mic he became almost possessed and started waving his arms and whole body around and yelling and screaming as heard on the record. A great moment.


[top]When working on the voices of Dark Side of the Moon, how was your approach for them? How do you deal with background voices? placing, sound, processing, etc. - Hidraulico


It's always difficult to define an "approach"
In terms of specifics - usually a Neumann Tube/Valve 47 for vocals with a Fairchild Limiter. Possibly a little High end (2 or 3dB) added at 10k shelf. Female Backing vocals would have been the same mic on an Omni pattern with the girls gathering around it.
I am never afraid of spreading sounds in stereo. Most things that are double tracked other than lead vocals get placed hard L and hard R.
Too many recordings sound almost mono. A problem with many modern synths I might add.