Sound Techniques began its life as a recording studio at 46a Old Church Street, Chelsea, London, SW3 in December 1964, when it was set-up by Geoff Frost and John Wood as one of the early independent sound recording studios in the UK.
Over the next decade some of the best UK folk and folk rock artists recorded at Sound Techniques, and undoubtedly produced some of the best records of the era.
Artists that recorded there included: Pink Floyd, Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, Fairport Convention, Jethro Tull, Steeleye Span, Incredible String Band, The Pentangle, John Martyn, Beverley Martyn, Richard Thompson, Martin Carthy, Judy Collins, John Cale, The Yardbirds and The Who.
"During the '60's and '70's, the Sound Techniques studio enjoyed unqualified success at the top-end of the music business as did STL's manufacturing division. The company produced a pioneering range of audio recording desks including the System 12 mixer which was one of the first ever compact desks in production, and was exported all over the world".
The first 'range' of mixers were called the 'A' range. (I assumed we'd then go onto making a 'B' range, and so on. In the event, the next series of desks were called 'System 12'.)
I had toyed with the idea of a valve (tube) mixer, but I didn't like the thought of making lots of metal boxes! There was only one type of amplifier used, and each had transformer output. I am a great believer in the use of transformers: they neatly avoid ground loops, the signal can be sent over some distance - the low impedance and balanced output helping to keep out noise. However, the most significant advantage is that if you let the transformer go into distortion first in the chain, the waveform will be smoothed off, rather than a straight clip. The distortion produced in much more acceptable to the human ear.
John Wood (Left) and Harry Davis at Chensea in 1965
The first desk we ever sold which acted as a prototype for the desk used at Chelsea
An early mic amp. The "artwork" was made with black tape on tracing paper!
One of the last sessions with John Wood and the second desk we built for the studio in 1974
The studios closed their doors in 1976 and over the past 39 years, Sound Techniques has diversified into both Television Production and Information Technology.
Now, in 2011 it's time to re-create a bit of history! 2011 is set to be a very exciting year for the many music fans and studio owners still obsessed with the legendary ‘Sound Techniques sound’, which helped characterise countless classic recordings from the 1960s and ‘70s.
Not only will the iconic company be launching a stand-alone Sound Techniques Mic Pre-Amp and EQ Unit - based around the legendary A-Range design - but they will also be opening a new studio in West Norfolk, equipped with a fully-restored original ‘67 A-Range mixing desk.
A history of the original studio, 1964-76
Click Chelsea link for more on the studio