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You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

• You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ •

Abundant use of Gold Star’s chamber is an essential ingredient for this tune, which might be the “wall of sound’s” highest achievement. The chamber adds support and fullness of tone to the lead vocals, with much of the percussion getting an even higher dose of chamber. Those background vocals singing aaaaaaaahs and ooooooohs? They are 100% wet, or is it only 99%?

  • Artist: The Righteous Brothers
  • Album: You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ (released as a single)
  • Label: Philles
  • Year: 1964
  • Producer: Phil Spector, convicted murderer
  • Engineer: Larry Levine
  • Studio: Gold Star Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA, USA

Be My Baby

• Be My Baby •

Gold Star’s chamber, with its characteristic darkness of tone, finds a good match with Hal Blaines’ snare. It is the star of the back beat, making beats 2 and 4 larger than life.

  • Artist: The Ronnettes
  • Album: Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica
  • Label: Philles
  • Year: 1964
  • Producer: Phil Spector, convicted murderer
  • Engineer: Larry Levine
  • Studio: Gold Star Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA, USA

At the Zoo

• At the Zoo •

Percussion gets a new texture, and a slight 60s flavor, courtesy of some flanging on the chamber reverb. Specifically, the mono chamber reverb return was simultaneously sent to two analog tape machines. Then the two outputs from both were mixed together. One of the tape machines had its speed constantly altered, up and down, leading to slight timing differences. The result is textbook flanging, done entirely analog. It’s hard to miss: four percussion hits appearing at about 0:13, and again at about 1:09. A trivial effect using digital tools today, it was a lot more work, and a quite interesting sound when created entirely within the analog domain.

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  • Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
  • Album: Bookends (originally released as a single)
  • Label: Columbia
  • Year: 1967
  • Producer: Simon and Garfunkel, Roy Halee
  • Engineer: Roy Halee
  • Studio: Columbia Studio A, 799 7th Ave, New York, NY, USA

Let’s Dance

• Let’s Dance •

Power Station Chamber One, again. It’s on the vocal, with regenerative tape delays, and the delay outputs are also feeding the chamber. The snare has gated plate reverb, that’s not a chamber.

  • Artist: David Bowie
  • Album: Let’s Dance
  • Label: EMI
  • Year: 1983
  • Producer: David Bowie, Nile Rogers
  • Engineer: Bob Clearmountain
  • Studio: The Power Station, New York, NY, USA

You Never Give Me Your Money

• You Never Give Me Your Money •

A glorious example of chamber reverb from EMI Studios at Abbey Road is found at the end of the second verse after the line, “…and in the middle of investigation, I break down.” That word ‘down’ gets an extra kick of chamber reverb — a manual mix move, no doubt — which is nicely revealed in the space before the B section kicks in with “Outta college, money spent, …”  at about 1:03.

  • Artist: The Beatles
  • Album: Abbey Road
  • Label: Apple Records
  • Year: 1969
  • Producer: George Martin
  • Engineer: Geoff Emerick and Phil McDonald
  • Studio: EMI Studios, Abbey Road, Studio 2, London, UK

Avalon

• Avalon •

This mix makes major use of The Power Statioin’s Chamber One in New York City. It’s a multistory stairwell, all steel and concrete and brick. Note the vocals in particular, made lush entirely by the chamber, with tape delays.

  • Artist: Roxy Music
  • Album: Avalon
  • Label: Warner Bros. Records
  • Year: 1982
  • Producer: Rhett Davies
  • Engineer: Bob Clearmountain
  • Studio: Compass Point, Bahamas; The Power Station, New York, NY, USA

When the Levee Breaks

• When the Levee Breaks •

Not so much a chamber, as a mansion. John Bonham’s Ludwig kit is in the grand entry foyer of the grand old house, with an open wood stairwell up 3 stories to the rest of the house. There’s a microphone about 1 story up, and a second at about the second story, both Beyerdynamic M160s. A Binson Echorec magnetic drum recorder offers the echo. Heavy compression makes it unmissable. While the space and technique is interesting, do not doubt that the most important driver of this killer sound is the strength and musicianship of John Bonham.

We are at Sunset Sound, so…yes…there’s chamber reverb on the lead vocal.

  • Artist: Led Zeppelin
  • Album: IV
  • Label: Atlantic Records
  • Year: 1971
  • Producer: Jimmy Page
  • Engineer: Andy Johns
  • Studio: The Headley Grange, a house in East Hampshire, England; Island Studios (now Sarm West Studios), London, UK; Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, CA, USA
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Summer of ’69

• Summer of ’69 •

More excellent examples of Power Station Chamber One. It’s on the vocal, it’s on the snare, it’s on the guitars. The snare hit at the top of the tune gets an extra dose of Chamber, just so we can savor the thunderous greatness.

  • Artist: Bryan Adams
  • Album: Reckless
  • Label: A&M Records
  • Year: 1984
  • Producer: Bob Clearmountain, Bryan Adams
  • Engineer: Bob Clearmountain
  • Studio: The Power Station, New York, NY, USA