On Air Now

Upcoming Shows

Program Schedule »

Listen

Listen Live Now » 1450 AM Holland, MI

Weather

Current Conditions(Holland,MI 49422)

More Weather »
64° Feels Like: 64°
Wind: NNW 8 mph Past 24 hrs - Precip: 0.01”
Current Radar for Zip

Tonight

Partly Cloudy 57°

Tomorrow

Mostly Sunny 69°

Tues Night

Clear 54°

Alerts

Repaving "Abbey Road" a delicate task

</head> <body> <p>By Paul Sexton</p> <p>LONDON (Billboard) - Any appointment at Abbey Road still involves walking over the most famous pedestrian crossing in popular music. And the history of the north London studio hangs heavy in the air when the meeting is with the engineers who have just finished digitally remastering all the original Beatles albums, from "Please Please Me" through "Abbey Road."</p> <p>Borrowing a phrase from one of those engineers, project coordinator Allan Rouse says wryly that his seven-member team has spent the last four-and-a-half years "fiddling with the crown jewels," a phrase that could induce alarm in audiophiles. But Rouse and his colleagues have years of experience with the Beatles masters among them, and they approached the most famous 525 minutes in recorded-music history with meticulous respect.</p> <p>Rouse, who joined EMI straight from school in 1971, began his career working with Beatles engineer Norman "Hurricane" Smith. Recording engineers Guy Massey and Paul Hicks worked on the 1995 "Anthology" DVD set, while Rouse and others oversaw the 5.1 surround sound and stereo mixes of the 1999 "Yellow Submarine" reissue.</p> <p>Even so, they knew that one intrusive piece of sonic tweaking could infuriate hordes of fans -- many of whom have a relationship with Beatles albums that borders on the obsessive.</p> <p>"There were seven of us involved, so as not to put this huge amount of pressure on the shoulders of one individual," Rouse says candidly. Sean Magee, who worked with Hicks on the mono versions of the remasters, adds, "You have to switch into work mode. You basically do it as you would any remastering job, with due reverence to what went before."</p> <p>Rouse passionately defends the decision to go back to master tapes that were last reissued in 1987. "There was nothing really that wrong with the '87 (releases)," he says. In some ways, however, they're no longer up to today's standards. "It's a long overdue overhaul. The minute the CD got invented, everybody thought it was adequate to get the master tape out and put it onto CD. Remastering was something that happened maybe a decade or so later."</p> <p>Many of the changes Rouse and his team did make are less the result of creative fiddling than superior equipment. "Today equipment exists that didn't exist then to (handle) some of the things we decided we wanted to tackle," he says. "With a tiny bit of help here and there, they're greatly improved."</p> <p>Most of those improvements are subtle, and the engineers chose not to apply the dynamic compression found on some recent remasters. "Our tweaking, in terms of EQ, is quite subtle," he says. "There's upwards of 20 tracks, within the stereo (remasters), where we haven't done anything. There's a large number above that where it's very small amounts of EQ. Maybe you're trying to help the drums, (for instance, if) Ringo (Starr's) snare isn't cracking through."</p> <p>Rouse says the team tweaked a small number of "bad edits, dropouts and, more importantly, sibilance, microphone pops and electrical clicks." Some probably went unnoticed. One that casual listeners might have heard was the "pop" in John Lennon's vocal on "I'm a Loser," now corrected.</p> <p>"We'd already agreed that if we thought (a "mistake") was in any way connected with the performance, we weren't going to touch it," he says. "Breaths, Ringo's squeaky bass drum pedal, the squeaky chair at the end of 'A Day in the Life,' coughs, (McCartney's) 'f*ck' in the middle of 'Hey Jude' -- all of these little things were going to remain."</p> <p>First, Massey listened to each track up to three times and made a list of what needed to be tweaked on each album. Then audio restoration engineer Simon Gibson made the necessary change, "so that it didn't affect the integrity of the recording."</p> <p>Rouse and Magee played Billboard some "before and after" comparisons of how the new masters sound compared with their 1987 equivalents. And from the harmony vocals in "Hey Bulldog" and "Goodnight" to the backward cymbal in "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," many sounds are crisper and more vital. Of course, many listeners will hear these new albums not on the high-end speakers at Abbey Road but on car radios or--worse yet from a sonic perspective -- ripped MP3s.</p> <p>"The way people listen now is on equipment that quite frankly is inferior," Rouse says. "I don't think anybody in this building or any other studio in the world ever changed their attitude about trying to provide the best possible sound, but nobody's hearing it. It's a crying shame. I don't really know how you can change that apart from educating people that what they're hearing is only part of what's there."</p> <p>If and when the Beatles catalog comes to iTunes, Rouse says, the team could decide to make further tweaks. "We haven't looked into it, but let's say for instance you had to create a slightly different EQ'd master to make it acceptable for this method of playback," he says. "So it goes up on iTunes and you can put it on your iPod or whatever and it sounds better. What happens then if somebody decides -- as I'm sure people must do -- to burn a disc, they've got decent hi-fi and they play it on that? You've now created something that isn't the best way of representing it, so you're putting out two masters. That worries me, I've got to admit."</p> <p>Rouse declines to comment on the remastering budget but hints that it inevitably ran beyond the initial number. "Every time we do a Beatles job, I have to budget for it," he says. An estimated 25,000-pound budget ($41,000) for the 1999 "Yellow Submarine" mixes ended up being half of the real cost.</p> <p>"You get it as right as you can," Rouse says, "but I still have an attitude (of), 'OK, I've gone over. So what? It's the Beatles.'"</p> <p>(Editing by SheriLinden and Dean Goodman at Reuters)</p> </body> </html> </div><!-- end article-body --> </div><!-- end aticle-body-wrapper --> <aside> <ul class="social-share-btns clearfix"> <li><g:plusone size="medium" href="http://whtc.com/news/articles/2009/sep/09/repaving-abbey-road-a-delicate-task/"></g:plusone></li> <li><div id="fb-root"></div><script src="http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#appId=112315878855956&xfbml=1"></script><fb:like href="http://whtc.com/news/articles/2009/sep/09/repaving-abbey-road-a-delicate-task/" action="recommend" send="true" layout="button_count" width="150" show_faces="false" font=""></fb:like></li> <li><a href="http://twitter.com/share" class="twitter-share-button" data-url="http://whtc.com/news/articles/2009/sep/09/repaving-abbey-road-a-delicate-task/" data-text="Repaving "Abbey Road" a delicate task" data-count="horizontal">Tweet</a><script type="text/javascript" src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script></li> </ul><!-- end social-share-btns --> </aside> </div><!-- end article-container --> <section class="clearfix text-ad-container"><div class="text-ad"></div><div class="text-ad"></div><div class="text-ad"></div></section> <div id='taboola-below-main-column'></div> <script type="text/javascript"> window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({mode:'thumbs-2r', container:'taboola-below-main-column', placement:'below-main-column'}); </script> <div id='taboola-text-2-columns'></div> <script type="text/javascript"> window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({mode:'text-links-5r', container:'taboola-text-2-columns', placement:'text-2-columns'}); </script> <script> window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({flush:true}); </script> <section class="comment-container"> <h1 class="h2 visuallyhidden">Comments</h1> <a href="/news/articles/2009/sep/09/repaving-abbey-road-a-delicate-task/#disqus_thread"></a> <div id="disqus_thread" class="section-widget"></div> <script type="text/javascript"> var disqus_shortname = 'whtc'; var disqus_title = 'Repaving "Abbey Road" a delicate task'; var disqus_url = 'http://whtc.com/news/articles/2009/sep/09/repaving-abbey-road-a-delicate-task/'; (function() { var dsq = document.createElement('script'); dsq.type = 'text/javascript'; dsq.async = true; dsq.src = 'http://' + disqus_shortname + '.disqus.com/embed.js'; (document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0] || document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0]).appendChild(dsq); })(); </script> </section><!-- end comment-container --> </article> </div><!-- end of col-1 --> <div id="col-2"> <form class="section-search-form clearfix" method="get" action="/search/"> <fieldset class="clearfix"> <input class="section-search" type="text" rel="Search News" name="q" placeholder="Search News" /> <input class="section-search-submit" type="image" alt="Search" src="http://static.mwcradio.com/images/icons/section-search.gif" /> </fieldset> </form> <div class="ad-300x250"></div> <aside class="aside-module top-stories"> <h1>Top Stories</h1> <ul class="unstyled-list single-col-list"> <li><a href="/news/articles/2014/jul/28/one-run-sunday-losses-for-tigers-cubs-sox-one-run-sunday-win-for-caps/" title="Full Article: One-Run Sunday Losses for Tigers, Cubs & Sox; One-Run Sunday Win for Caps">One-Run Sunday Losses for Tigers, Cubs & Sox; On...</a></li> <li><a href="/news/articles/2014/jul/28/hall-of-fame-induction-a-braves-reunion/" title="Full Article: Hall of Fame induction a Braves reunion">Hall of Fame induction a Braves reunion</a></li> <li><a href="/news/articles/2014/jul/27/tentative-agreement-reached-on-us-veterans-funding-bill/" title="Full Article: Tentative agreement reached on U.S. veterans' funding bill">Tentative agreement reached on U.S. veterans' fu...</a></li> <li><a href="/news/articles/2014/jul/27/cornyn-expects-us-house-to-pass-skinnied-down-border-bill/" title="Full Article: Cornyn expects U.S. House to pass 'skinnied-down' border bill">Cornyn expects U.S. House to pass 'skinnied-down...</a></li> <li><a href="/news/articles/2014/jul/27/lucy-pummels-hercules-to-win-us-weekend-box-office-race/" title="Full Article: 'Lucy,' 'Hercules' beat expectations at weekend box offices">'Lucy,' 'Hercules' beat expectations at weekend ...</a></li> </ul> </aside> <div class="text-ad"></div> <nav class="aside-module"> <h1>News Sections</h1> <ul class="unstyled-list two-col-list clearfix"> <li><a href="/news/sections/local/" title="Local News Section">Local</a></li> <li><a href="/news/sections/state/" title="State News Section">State</a></li> <li><a href="/news/sections/national/" title="National News Section">National</a></li> <li><a href="/news/sections/world/" title="World News Section">World</a></li> <li><a href="/news/sections/localsports/" title="Local Sports News Section">Local Sports</a></li> <li><a href="/news/sections/sports/" title="National Sports News Section">National Sports</a></li> <li><a href="/news/sections/politics/" title="Politics News Section">Politics</a></li> <li><a href="/news/sections/business/" title="Business News Section">Business</a></li> <li><a href="/news/sections/health/" title="Health News Section">Health</a></li> <li><a href="/news/sections/science/" title="Science News Section">Science</a></li> <li><a href="/news/sections/technology/" title="Technology News Section">Technology</a></li> <li><a href="/news/sections/entertainment/" title="Entertainment News Section">Entertainment</a></li> </ul> </nav> <div class="text-ad"></div> <div class="ad-300x250"></div> <aside id="recentcomments" class="aside-module dsq-widget sidebar-comments"> <h1 class="dsq-widget-title">Recent Comments</h1> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://whtc.disqus.com/recent_comments_widget.js?num_items=3&hide_avatars=0&avatar_size=32&excerpt_length=200"></script> </aside> <div class="text-ad"></div> </div><!-- end col-2 --> </div><!-- end page-content-wrapper-inner --> </div><!-- end page-content-wrapper-outer --> <div id="site-footer-wrapper"> <footer id="site-footer" class="clearfix"> <ul class="footer-list footer-bucket"> <li><a href="http://static.mwcradio.com/pdf/footer-files/privacy.pdf" title="Privacy Policy">Privacy Policy (PDF)</a></li> <li><a href="http://static.mwcradio.com/pdf/footer-files/termsofuse.pdf" title="Terms of Use">Terms of Use (PDF)</a></li> <li><a href="http://static.mwcradio.com/pdf/footer-files/contestrules.pdf" title="Contest Rules">Contest Rules (PDF)</a></li> <li><a href="http://static.mwcradio.com/pdf/footer-files/contest-rules-addendumC.pdf" title="Contest Rules - Addendum C">Contest Rules - Addendum C (PDF)</a></li> </ul> <ul class="footer-list footer-bucket"> <li><a href="/advertise/" title="Advertise With Us">Advertisers</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.midwestcareers.com/" title="Midwest Careers">Employment</a></li> <li><a href="/eeo/" title="EEO">EEO</a></li> </ul> <div class="footer-bucket"> <ul class="footer-list footer-social-list"> <li> <a href="http://facebook.com/1450WHTC" title="1450 WHTC on Facebook"> <img src="http://static.mwcradio.com/images/icons/facebook20.png" alt="Facebook" /> Facebook </a> </li> <li> <a href="http://twitter.com/1450whtc" title="1450 WHTC on Twitter"> <img src="http://static.mwcradio.com/images/icons/twitter20.png" alt="Twitter" /> Twitter </a> </li> </ul><!-- end social links --> <ul class="footer-list footer-bucket"> <li> <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.midwestcommunications.whtcam&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5taWR3ZXN0Y29tbXVuaWNhdGlvbnMud2h0Y2FtIl0." title="Download Our Android App"> <img src="http://static.mwcradio.com/images/icons/android20.png" alt="Android" /> Listen on Android </a> </li> <li> <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/app/1450-whtc/id640699423?ign-mpt=uo%3D5" title="Download Our iOS App"> <img src="http://static.mwcradio.com/images/icons/apple20.png" alt="Apple" /> Listen on iPhone/iPad </a> </li> </ul> </div> <ul class="footer-list footer-bucket contact-info"> <li>© 2014 1450 WHTC</li> <li>Call Letters: WHTC</li> <li><span class="frequency-location">1450 AM Holland, MI</span></li> <li>Studio Line 1: 616-395-1450</li> <li>Text Us at 80373</li> <li><a href="/contact-us/" title="Contact Us">Contact Us</a></li> </ul> </footer> </div><!-- end footer-wrapper --> <script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/mootools/1.4.5/mootools-yui-compressed.js"></script> <script src="http://static.mwcradio.com/js/mootools-more-1.4.0.1.js"></script> <script src="http://static.mwcradio.com/apps/nowplaying/js/jug-application.js"></script> <script src="http://content.aimatch.com/swfobject.js"></script> <script src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script src="http://static.mwcradio.com/js/mwc.js?5"></script> <script src="http://static.mwcradio.com/datepicker/Locale.en-US.DatePicker.js"></script> <script src="http://static.mwcradio.com/datepicker/Picker.js"></script> <script src="http://static.mwcradio.com/datepicker/Picker.Attach.js"></script> <script src="http://static.mwcradio.com/datepicker/Picker.Date.js"></script> <!--[if lt IE 7 ]> <script src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/chrome-frame/1.0.2/CFInstall.min.js"></script> <script>window.attachEvent("onload",function(){CFInstall.check({mode:"overlay"})})</script> <![endif]--> <script src="http://static.mwcradio.com/js/lightface/LightFace.js"></script> <script src="http://static.mwcradio.com/apps/scoop/js/article_details.js" type="text/javascript"></script> </body> </html>