Monday, March 8, 2010

Telefunken U–47

Lookit all the Telefunken U–47s used to record this album! Frank Zappa would be proud. It's actually a scan of the back of a real–to–reel box cover. (Link to album rip.) That period of sound, recordings, and home hi–fi was really interesting. Leaps and bounds were being made in sound recording and reproduction techniques compared to preceding the decades. Hi–fi geeks would sit in their den, listening either through their headphones or their speakers, pipe in mouth and Rob Roy in hand. The recording engineers and producers liked to explain how the recordings were made, but I've never see anything as detailed as this one.

Stereo was a wild, insane way to listen to music, and many engineers made full use of it. Not so much as a way to reproduce the actual sound one might hear standing in front of the band, but more as a special effect. There were lots of albums sold where instruments would switch from being fully in the left channel to being fully in the right and then back, usually packed with "ping pong" in the album title. Listeners—up until then being used to mono—would go "wowwee!" Lots of bands were recorded this way, including The Beatles. Even Van Halen's first album panned the guitar completely into the left channel with only some reverb and some solos in the right. Lose a channel in your stereo and you've lost Eddie, or Ringo's drums.

1 comment:

Leo said...

Telefunken U–47....I had no idea that was a microphone. Or that it resembles Frank's member. Which kind of makes sense, I guess.