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Author Topic: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound  (Read 34631 times)

Garreth Broesche

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Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« on: September 18, 2012, 01:20:38 pm »

Hello,

I am brand new to this forum and, to be honest, am posting for entirely selfish reasons.  Nevertheless, I hope that the live sound pros (or historians) out there can help me find some information that I am seeking.

I am working on a PhD in Philosophy of Music Theory and my dissertation focuses, in part, on certain aspects of the Beatles’ move from live band to strictly studio performers.

I am trying to find as much information as possible about the evening of August 15, 1965 - the famous Shea Stadium concert.  Specifically, I am hoping to figure out exactly what sound equipment was in use that evening.  (Amps, speakers, microphones, what the PA system at Shea was like and how it was employed that evening, etc…) 

Let me tell you what sources I am privy to so far (much of it gleaned from cruising this website):

Andy Babiuk’s book, Beatles Gear, is a very cool resource, but only mentions live sound in a few places and in not very much detail.  I did hear about Bill Hanley from this book and I understand that he ran sound at the 1966 Shea concert, but not at the original one.  I have an email out to Bill Hanley and I’m hoping he would be willing to discuss what he knows with me.  From various online forums, I learned that there is a great book about the Grateful Dead - Grateful Dead Gear - that will help me to get a handle on the technology of live sound during this era, if not about the Beatles specifically (I have not seen this book yet - it is on request through inter-library loan).  I also have Lewisohn’s book on the Beatles’ recording sessions and a wonderful book called Recording the Beatles by Kevin Ryan and Brian Kehew.  Some of these sources go into great depth on Beatles gear but, again, not so much for live events.

From these sources - and others - I have a general grasp of how the live sound worked in those days but I am lacking in a lot of specifics.

Can you help me?  Do you - or someone you know - have specific knowledge about the sound system at the Shea concert?  About the Beatles‘ American tours in general?  Or do you know of online or print resources (forums? trade journals?) that cover this topic?  Any hints you can provide me would be tremendously appreciated.

Thank you!
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Stu McDoniel

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Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2012, 09:16:07 pm »

Hello,

I am brand new to this forum and, to be honest, am posting for entirely selfish reasons.  Nevertheless, I hope that the live sound pros (or historians) out there can help me find some information that I am seeking.

I am working on a PhD in Philosophy of Music Theory and my dissertation focuses, in part, on certain aspects of the Beatles’ move from live band to strictly studio performers.

I am trying to find as much information as possible about the evening of August 15, 1965 - the famous Shea Stadium concert.  Specifically, I am hoping to figure out exactly what sound equipment was in use that evening.  (Amps, speakers, microphones, what the PA system at Shea was like and how it was employed that evening, etc…) 

Let me tell you what sources I am privy to so far (much of it gleaned from cruising this website):

Andy Babiuk’s book, Beatles Gear, is a very cool resource, but only mentions live sound in a few places and in not very much detail.  I did hear about Bill Hanley from this book and I understand that he ran sound at the 1966 Shea concert, but not at the original one.  I have an email out to Bill Hanley and I’m hoping he would be willing to discuss what he knows with me.  From various online forums, I learned that there is a great book about the Grateful Dead - Grateful Dead Gear - that will help me to get a handle on the technology of live sound during this era, if not about the Beatles specifically (I have not seen this book yet - it is on request through inter-library loan).  I also have Lewisohn’s book on the Beatles’ recording sessions and a wonderful book called Recording the Beatles by Kevin Ryan and Brian Kehew.  Some of these sources go into great depth on Beatles gear but, again, not so much for live events.

From these sources - and others - I have a general grasp of how the live sound worked in those days but I am lacking in a lot of specifics.

Can you help me?  Do you - or someone you know - have specific knowledge about the sound system at the Shea concert?  About the Beatles‘ American tours in general?  Or do you know of online or print resources (forums? trade journals?) that cover this topic?  Any hints you can provide me would be tremendously appreciated.

Thank you!
I did look and then I read they used the house system.  My hunch was Altec.  I did a search and what little info I could find was this
They had 6 or 8 inputs in their system and no monitor's, I seen an interview with the band saying they had patched the 2 vocal mic's through their Vox amp's for a primitive fold-back. The House PA was 600Watts of Altec tube amp's and 6 very large Altec 2-way cabinet's.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2012, 04:51:21 pm by Stu McDoniel »
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Hayden J. Nebus

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Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2012, 07:35:45 am »

I did look and then I read they used the house system.  My hunch was Altec.  I did a search and what little info I could find was this
They had 6 or 8 inputs in there system and no monitor's, I seen an interview with the band saying they had patched the 2 vocal mic's through there Vox amp's for a primitive fold-back. The House PA was 600Watts of Altec tube amp's and 6 very large Altec 2-way cabinet's.

was it altec A7s?
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Stu McDoniel

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Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2012, 04:55:46 pm »

was it altec A7s?
Honestly, I did read that the Beatles used the Shea house system.  I had a hunch it was probably Altec.  I found that info.
Maybe if you contact these people they can give you more information. 

http://www.preservationsound.com/?p=2505

Best of luck!
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Martyn ferrit Rowe

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Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2012, 09:32:04 pm »

Hey Guys,
a quick google image search got this website with a picture of what looks like columns in the background
http://www.williesimpson.com/the-beatles-live-at-shea-stadium
and here:
http://www.thebeatles.com/#/films/The_Beatles_At_Shea_Stadium4
were these supplemental fill?

I know someone who was there and said he couldn't hear anything for the screaming :)

cheers
ferrit
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Tom Burgess

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Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2012, 10:07:10 am »

Might want to drop a line to this fellow:

carl.a.rath@lawrence.edu

He's a Beatles historian and a super nice guy.  If you do speak with him please tell him I said hello.
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If the band sounds great, it's because the band IS great, if the band sound like crap, it's the soundman's fault.

Opinions expressed by me on this forum are my own and not necessarily those of the company for which I work.

Kevin Gallimore

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Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2012, 04:05:49 pm »


From these sources - and others - I have a general grasp of how the live sound worked in those days but I am lacking in a lot of specifics.

Can you help me?  Do you - or someone you know - have specific knowledge about the sound system at the Shea concert?  About the Beatles‘ American tours in general?  Or do you know of online or print resources (forums? trade journals?) that cover this topic?  Any hints you can provide me would be tremendously appreciated.

Thank you!
[/quote]


Disclaimer:

This is my imperfect memory of nearly half a century ago. Much of this I was told and did not attempt to verify.

The/A sound contractor was Central Jersey Sound Center of Oakhurst, NJ; I don't believe they are still in business. CJSC was a dealer for Altec, EV, and Atlas Sound. I was told at the time that they cross rented some of the gear. That said, pictures will tell you that EV sound columns and Altec A7-500s were used. Atlas horn drivers were less expensive and gave acceptable performance, so they were used on the EV 511 horns. I do not know, and have no way to check, but the customary CJSC setup would have used Altec 1567 mixers.
I considered the two partners that ran CJSC old at that time (Bernie and ...? nice guys) so it is unlikely that they are still around to tell you more about it.
I should have paid better attention.

Kevin Gallimore
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Garreth Broesche

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Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2012, 06:35:01 pm »

Are these the EV sound columns?

http://www.google.com/imgres?start=101&num=10&hl=en&biw=1046&bih=598&tbm=isch&tbnid=4DxgpSzn8ntfBM:&imgrefurl=http://www.dipity.com/tickr/Flickr_beatles_in_null/&docid=PdRmW_3ewu5lvM&imgurl=http://static.flickr.com/1/128620662_bba5d9ac5d.jpg&w=500&h=342&ei=GRdqULbJFITvygHl94CADA&zoom=1&iact=hc&dur=390&sig=103177919331139181830&page=6&tbnh=130&tbnw=205&ndsp=20&ved=1t:429,r:7,s:101,i:96&tx=130&ty=86&vpx=443&vpy=248&hovh=171&hovw=254

Also...  I think I have "personal messages" from some of you but I can't seem to access them.  I am having a hard time with certain aspects of this web site.  I would very much like to be able to communicate with those trying to help me, so here is my email:  broesche@wisc.edu.
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2012, 06:54:49 pm »

Also...  I think I have "personal messages" from some of you but I can't seem to access them.  I am having a hard time with certain aspects of this web site.  I would very much like to be able to communicate with those trying to help me, so here is my email:  broesche@wisc.edu.

What browser are you using? There should be a series of link buttons at the top of the page, "Home" "Help" "Search" "Profile" "My Messages" "Calendar" "Members" "Logout". The "My Messages" link should get you a pop up menu of "Read your messages" and "Send a Message". Selecting "read My Messages" should get you to all you private messages.

Mac
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2012, 06:54:49 pm »


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