Remembering George Martin Through The Studio Gear Of The Beatles
Telefunken Elektroakustik U48
As the long-proclaimed "favorite mic" of Sir George Martin, Telefunken's masterful U48 was used as a vocal microphone during a majority of his sessions with The Beatles. The U48 featured many of the same qualities as its predecessor, the U47, including the same M7 capsule, BV8 output transformer and VF14K vacuum tube. The change in the design came in the U48's bidirectional capability, which made the microphone have an authoritative mid-range and extended low-end response.
Recently revived by Chandler Limited, the original RS124 was actually a modified Altec 436B compressor, which was brought to Abbey Road Studios in the late 1950s. This was perfect timing, as Martin and The Beatles began working in the studio shortly afterwards and would utilize several different versions of the unit on their recordings over the next two decades. The great minds at Chandler Limited utilized handwritten specs of the various versions of the unit to bring three different compressors into their recreated RS124.
A quick scan through pictures of Ringo Starr in the studio will reveal one constant amongst a plethora of facial hair changes. The mic most likely hanging over Ringo's head was a Coles 4038. Designed by the BBC, the Coles 4038 is a bi-directional ribbon mic favored by Martin and engineer Glynn Johns, which would give recordings a signature weighty bottom end.
In terms of guitar sounds, the opening riff on The Beatles' "Revolution" may be one of the most sought after tones ever. For the aggresive punch, the lads, Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick found the answer by plugging the guitar straight into the REDD.51 console's REDD.47 preamp. Chandler Limited, who owns the official license for creating Abbey Road/EMI gear, has also recreated the REDD.47 and actually increased the unit's gain.