Michael Fremer Posted: May 16, 2009 0 comments
Much has happened in the analog world since I reviewed SME's flagship Model 30/2 turntable for the March 2003 Stereophile (footnote 1). Back then, spending $25,000 on a turntable (without tonearm) was an odd extravagance intended only for those seriously committed to the format, and who already owned large LP collections. Although new LPs were being pressed in growing numbers, the resurgence of vinyl was still spotty, and the long-term prognosis for the old medium remained in question.
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Michael Fremer Posted: May 01, 2009 1 comments

(Back in 1984 I was assigned to interview Don Henley, who'd just released Building the Perfect Beast his second solo album.

Henley picked me up in his black Porsche 911 and off we went to the Sunset Grill for lunch. We talked about music and life while downing burgers, fries and Cokes. Despite the classy name and the complex arrangement for the song that immortalized the place, the Sunset Grill was a tiny, hole in wall burger stand on Sunset Boulevard.

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Michael Fremer Posted: May 01, 2009 0 comments

Back in the 1950’s, with major labels like Capitol, RCA and Columbia owning their own Los Angeles recording complexes, small, independent recording concerns were left to pick up the scraps: voice-overs, song demos, commercial jingles and other small-time bookings.

It was upon that sort of wholesome fare that Gold Star Studios thrived during its early years in the 1950’s. Founded by a couple of adventurous young friends, the studio also began attracting more creative types, drawn both to the sound of co-founder Dave Gold’s custom-designed recording gear and “secret-recipe” reverb chambers and to co-founder Stan Ross’s recording and producing inventiveness. As you’ll read, Ross’s creative instincts helped turn “tunes” into some of our most enduring and memorable pop-musical treasures.

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Michael Fremer Posted: May 01, 2009 0 comments

Part II:Building Gold Star Studios, Phil Spector and Alvin & The Chipmunks Come to Play:

FREMER: Where did you get all this (recording)stuff?

ROSS: We bought the parts. There were no recording consoles available. We had a broadcast console that was available to us. It was a stereo console because one channel was for cuing and the right was for the air. It was gorgeous. A guy had this wonderful board with the colored knobs and [it was] just what we wanted. And so we got it for a good price and I said, ah, we got the console.

FREMER: So you had to make an investment. So you had to have savings? You borrowed?

ROSS: We borrowed the difference, whatever. Hey, I wasn’t a GI so I had a problem. Anyway, we found out that this console was hot. [LAUGHTER]

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Michael Fremer Posted: May 01, 2009 0 comments

Chico Hamilton Plays Demo Dates, "The Happy Whistler," "Ina Goda Da Vida" and the Closing of Gold Star— Part III

ROSS: When we closed Gold Star, we called up Atlantic, “We got a lot of tape here for you.” Black Oak Arkansas we did for them, and Sonny and Cher.

FREMER: And they didn’t care about the master tapes?

ROSS: No, they couldn’t care less.

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Michael Fremer Posted: May 01, 2009 0 comments

Back in December of 1986, I flew to Denver, Colorado to interview the great recording engineer Bill Porter. Part II of that interview has already been published on into multiple parts If you search Porter’s name you’ll find it. Why was part II published before part I? Don't ask! As promised, here’s part I of part I MF

Note: The intro that follows was written in 1986

Face it: Too many of today’s popular music recordings are garbage. I just slipped Bryan Adams’s new album Into The Fire on the Oracle. It’s a Bob Clearmountain co-production (with Bryan Adams). Although he’s responsible for popularizing the Yamaha NS 10M as a nearfield studio monitor (thereby earning him a place in my Hi-fi Villains’ Hall of Shame [along with Dr. Amar Bose]), Clearmountain also co-engineered (along with Rhett Davies) and mixed Roxy Music’s Avalon, a musical classic and one of the finest recordings in the modern rock ear. So I was hopeful.

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Michael Fremer Posted: May 01, 2009 0 comments

Part IV: Pet Sounds, “The Wayward Wind,” Dwayne Eddy’s “Rebel Rouser" and more

FREMER: Now, what about the Beach Boys?

ROSS: Oh, sure. “Good Vibrations.” We did some of Pet Sounds at Gold Star.

FREMER: Really?

ROSS: We did some tracks there.They vocaled elsewhere because they had the sound (they liked elsewhere), but they had their music sound at our place. He (Brian) tried out studios all over town.

FREMER: Because he liked that sound.

ROSS: Phil Spector was – he liked going where Phil was.

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Michael Fremer Posted: May 01, 2009 0 comments

Few people know this, but Orbison’s voice initially was very thin-sounding. It didn’t have much body to it. And in a mix you couldn’t make it stand out. I had to figure out a way to fatten it up. Equalizers weren’t available. Of course, you can broaden the image electronically very easily today.

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Michael Fremer Posted: May 01, 2009 0 comments

Listening session conducted at Listen Up! (thanks to Walt Stinson), 685 Pearl Street, Denver, Colorado.


Goldmund Dialogue Speakers
Double Kimber TC-8
Mark Levinson ML 20 amps
Mark Levinson ML 10A preamp
Goldmund turntable, T-3F arm
Carnegie Cartridge


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