Fell about laughing . . .
"Tubular Bells" (and many, many other records) were done at "The Manor", a converted
country mansion residential studio owned by Herr (What cheque?) Branson in the wilds of
central Oxfordshire, not very far away (<50km?) from GBR. "Bells" was if not the first,
very close to the first, record made there; in younger spottier days I worked for the
company that built the mixer. The studio was in the shambolic throes of construction,
gear heaped everywhere, if you could negotiate around the resident and nosey Great
Danes. Ground loops everywhere.
It certainly wouldn't have been impossible for GBR to have got in, although it should have
been noticed, assuming they hadn't all driven themselves HF deaf or were otherwise
insensible (it WAS the early seventies . . .). The monitors likely went that high. It may
even have been deliberate (at least on that record); they were, um, an unconventional
bunch. If it is there in isolation for any length of time before the first drop, then it was
almost certainly deliberate; tops and tails are not cut by accident.
Agreed, guitar pickups would seem the most likely source (and guitar effects 'toys' were
hideous back then, too), except for the fact that guitar/amplifier combinations are so
damn noisy that they are nearly always muted or gated out of the mix until they're
absolutely required, and certainly not left open at a track front, especially not on a piece
as dynamic as "Bells". Hammond organs were bad for RFI, as were the earlier
generations of electronic keyboards, but again they were typically pre-muted too. The
recorders and mixer would be pretty blameless (of course); oddly enough, microphones
not so - the old Neumanns with glowing things in them were prone to funnies if the big
fat connector shells were not periodically undone-retightened both ends, and dynamic
mics which require a lot more front-end gain than condensors could be iffy if the
connections weren't perfect.
At home (again, in Oxfordshire), the turntable pickup would hear it if the volume were
cranked up to completely devastating levels (usual). Bad combination: high impedance
AND high gain. A finger on any live input would bring it in nicely too, along with 50Hz.
It was a sad day when they went FSK. Not quite as sad as going away though.
7/9/2003 6:28:59 AM, "Holger 'Geri' Kinzel, DK8KW" <[email protected]>
talking about GBR, have a look at
On this website you can find a spectrogram and some theoretical
considerations how the transmissions of GBR were accidently recorded on
records and CDs, mainly due to insufficient shielding of the studio
Geri, DK8KW (W1KW)