Abbey Road’s Simon GibsonCambridge, UK (October 2, 2009)–Engineers at Abbey Road spent four years digitally remastering the entire original Beatles catalogue, and Prism Sound converters and SADiE mastering equipment played a vital role.
The project, which involved 13 albums, took many hours of work by Abbey Road’s specialist engineering team. This was led by project coordinator Allan Rouse and included Guy Massey, senior recording engineer; Steve Rooke, senior mastering engineer; Paul Hicks, recording engineer; Sean Magee, mastering engineer; Sam Okell, recording engineer; and Simon Gibson, audio restoration engineer.
The first part of the process, which was undertaken by Guy Massey and Paul Hicks, involved transferring each song from analogue tape into the digital domain. Prism Sound’s ADA-8XR multi-channel modular ADA converters were used to transfer the material into Pro Tools and the songs were then formatted into 24 bit/192 kHz and video referenced.
At this stage, Simon Gibson took over. Using a SADiE 5 system with built-in Cedar Retouch, Gibson began the careful process of restoring the audio without compromising the character of the original recordings. De-noising technology was used subtly and sparingly to remove noises such as audible clicks and pops from mics and faders, but performance-based imperfections, such as breaths and coughs, was retained.
Following restoration, all 13 albums were mastered by Steve Rooke and Sean Magee, who handled the stereo and mono recordings respectively. Once again a SADiE Series 5 PCM 8 DAW played a part in the mastering process, as did Prism Sound converters, which were used to transfer the audio back into the analogue domain and for noise shaping. Most of the EQ’ing was done on Abbey Road’s 1972 EMI TG mastering console, but a Prism Sound MEA2 was also used for additional EQ where finer steps or specific target frequencies were required.
Abbey Road’s marathon project finally came to fruition on September 9 when all 13 of the remastered albums were released through EMI Music and Apple Corps.