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Author Topic: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound  (Read 32466 times)

Andrew Broughton

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Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2012, 09:52:19 pm »

Wireless technology would not have been in place then (right?)
There weren't even wireless microphones used at concerts until the 1970's. Wireless speakers? Not a chance.
All accounts I've heard of the 1st Shea performance stated that all they used was the "in-house PA", which in my opinion would have only been paging horns as it was only used for announcements. In fact, all accounts I've read say that they actually intended to only use their specially designed 100w VOX amps (normally they had 50w amps, I believe) for the concert. When someone realized that their 100w amps wouldn't cut it, they hooked into the house PA "at the last minute" to try and make at least an attempt at getting some kind of sound to the audience.
Remember that there were no concerts of this scale ever done before this, and no need for music reproduction at a stadium, so I can only imagine horns, no full-range speakers of any sort would make up the house public address system.
As I mentioned above, even Bill Hanley and his sound company had no where near enough PA for this kind of event. It just didn't exist in the mid-sixties. Things did change quickly, after that, though!
« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 10:12:36 pm by Andrew Broughton »
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2012, 07:28:16 am »

There weren't even wireless microphones used at concerts until the 1970's. Wireless speakers? Not a chance.
All accounts I've heard of the 1st Shea performance stated that all they used was the "in-house PA", which in my opinion would have only been paging horns as it was only used for announcements. In fact, all accounts I've read say that they actually intended to only use their specially designed 100w VOX amps (normally they had 50w amps, I believe) for the concert. When someone realized that their 100w amps wouldn't cut it, they hooked into the house PA "at the last minute" to try and make at least an attempt at getting some kind of sound to the audience.
Remember that there were no concerts of this scale ever done before this, and no need for music reproduction at a stadium, so I can only imagine horns, no full-range speakers of any sort would make up the house public address system.
As I mentioned above, even Bill Hanley and his sound company had no where near enough PA for this kind of event. It just didn't exist in the mid-sixties. Things did change quickly, after that, though!
I remember reading an article from a guy who was a Vox factory rep (back when that actually meant something) who was on the tour.  His basic job was to keep the amps working through the tour.

He said he spent his time at the concerts basically plugging in the amps into the edison outlets.  They kept falling out due to vibration.  Remember back then most stuff did not have the ground plug and the contacts were not as tight as today.

A lot was learned in the early days.
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Garreth Broesche

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Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2012, 02:44:14 pm »

He clearly doesn't know the difference between an amplifier and a speaker. I vote for small gauge wire that doesn't show up in the photos. We didn't used to wire speakers with nothing but 12ga wire. They may even be 70v speakers with 1 or 2 circuits of small gauge wire.

Mac

Thanks for all the interesting answers, guys.  Going back to the pic I linked...  This is clearly Shea '65 (based on the Nehru jackets).  There seems to be no consensus on what those speaker-like things are!  Only Mac (quoted above) even took a stab at guessing what they could be! 

I'm still doing my damndest to figure this out (I've got inquiries out to every public library in NYC, for example - looking for some kind of Shea historian).  But it seems most likely that they initially thought to just use their Vox amps (Babiuk writes that they had the AC-100s as early as their first full US tour in the summer of '64) and nothing else - they would just run the vocals and drums through them as well - then at "the last minute" tried to also go through the house PA.  This perhaps explains why they seem to be singing through two mikes taped together (one to the Vox amps and one to the house PA?).  It also, of course, explains why everything sounded so awful.

But this leaves more questions than it answers...  What the hell ARE those skinny "speakers"?  There is a recording (I have it - it sounds terrible) of the performance made off of the mixer...  Would the house PA have had a mixer?  I suppose it would have had a very basic one...

Anyways, anything helps at this point.  Thanks for your continued interest in this strain!
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Garreth Broesche

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Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2012, 03:47:05 pm »

I wonder if Spitz got his information about the "50 amplifiers" from NYT reviewer Murray Schumach.  In his 1965 review of the concert, Mr. Schumach can barely hide his obvious disdain for the whole event:

"But their fans did little more than see the Beatles as they strummed their guitars, moved their lips, waved their hands, tapped their feet and beat a drum.  For in the piercing shrill acclamation, the fans drowned out almost all of the singing.  Little more than the pulsation of the electric guitars and thump of drums reached the stands although more than 50 amplifiers had been set up along the basepaths of the baseball diamond."

And I wonder it Schumach just SAW those skinny, tan "amplifiers" or if he had some insider knowledge into the PA set up...
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Stu McDoniel

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Garreth Broesche

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Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2012, 04:53:54 pm »

Hmm....  Maybe you are getting warm, Stu.

I don't think the ones on that field quite match with that picture.  But I just read somewhere that Thomas Organ did some manufacturing for Vox in the US in the 1960s.  Perhaps these are Thomas Organ versions of that Vox speaker?  Perhaps they have the same insides as a standard Vox Grenadier, but different casing...?

Just thinking aloud here...
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2012, 05:01:49 pm »

Hmm....  Maybe you are getting warm, Stu.

I don't think the ones on that field quite match with that picture.  But I just read somewhere that Thomas Organ did some manufacturing for Vox in the US in the 1960s.  Perhaps these are Thomas Organ versions of that Vox speaker?  Perhaps they have the same insides as a standard Vox Grenadier, but different casing...?

Just thinking aloud here...

In the '60s and '70s column speakers were pretty common. Some of the companies that made them are not around anymore, or at least not making speakers anymore. Temple, University, and Bozak are 3 that come to mind off the top of my head. Those are not Bozaks, they are too skinny, but they could easily be Temple or University, I think there is no way to know.

Mac
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Stu McDoniel

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Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2012, 07:12:08 pm »

Hmm....  Maybe you are getting warm, Stu.

I don't think the ones on that field quite match with that picture.  But I just read somewhere that Thomas Organ did some manufacturing for Vox in the US in the 1960s.  Perhaps these are Thomas Organ versions of that Vox speaker?  Perhaps they have the same insides as a standard Vox Grenadier, but different casing...?

Just thinking aloud here...
Or simply painted with different grills.  I looked at the size and depth and they looked close to your picture.
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Garreth Broesche

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Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #28 on: October 17, 2012, 05:03:14 pm »

Hi guys....  I've had a tremendous stroke of good fortune and am now in touch with none other than Duke Mewborn, the gentleman who set up and ran the sound system for the Beatles 1965 concert in Atlanta. 

I interviewed him last Friday and got the skinny on the system that night.  I'm still transcribing the interview, but I'd be happy to share what I learned....  Would you want to know about this?
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Andrew Broughton

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Re: Seeking Help with Beatles Live Sound
« Reply #29 on: October 17, 2012, 05:21:31 pm »

I would, for sure!
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-Andy

"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle..."

http://www.checkcheckonetwo.com
Saving lives through Digital Audio, Programming and Electronics.
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