Photo of Larry Levine in Studio A is from the A&M Records promotional album Odyssey from Altec.
Some photos on this page originally appeared on A&M Records web site in 1996 and are copyrighted by and used with the permission of Stephen Barncard.
For Mr. Barncard's extensive information on the studio please visit A&M Recording Studios.
Equipment lists appeared on A&M Records web site in 1996 and in A West Coast Phenomenon the Studio That Charlie Built: Former A&M Studios, Hollywood: A state-of-the-art facility with a colorful past, and an emphasis on vintage technology by Mel Lambert, November 1997.
A&M STUDIO HISTORY
In April 1967 A&M Records began construction on its studios at its headquarters on the old Charlie Chaplin Studios at 1416 N. LaBrea Avenue in Hollywood, CA. There were two soundstages on the property. A&M kept the newer soundstage and turned the older one into its studio complex.
Herb Alpert hired Larry Levine as the first engineer in 1967. Before joining A&M, Larry Levine was an engineer at Gold Star Studios, Alpert's preferred place to record. Alpert based the construction of A&M's Studio B on the Gold Star studio. While at Gold Star, Levine engineered sessions for A&M artists including the Tijuana Brass, Chris Montez, Brasil '66 and Ike and Tina Turner.
By late 1967, two of A&M's studios were in operation. Original plans called for only two studios but the artist roster grew enough that a third studio was added and opened in early 1968. Even the first versions of these studios were, according to Larry Levine, "developed to provide a creatively conducive atmosphere" with drapes, incandescent lighting, and specially selected chairs instead of the typical fluorescent lights and folding chairs. A&M also included moving ceilings to create different sonic moods. The original studio equipment was from 3M, Scully and the Holzer HAECO-CSG sound system. Howard Holzer also designed, built and installed the custom constructed recording and mixing consoles in each of the new studios. Tom "Beno" May started with Holzer and helped build the consoles. He became A&M Studios manager and director of operations.
HAECO was the acronym for Holzer Audio Engineering Company. CSG was Compatible Stereo Generator which collapsed stereo sound for monaural record players. Billboard reported that "the unit allows sound information to pass through from the right and left channels, but places a hold on the center channel information whose amplitude is doubled when it is combined into a single monaural source for radio broadcasting." Billboard also reported in January 1968 that A&M's first monaural single to use the system was by Lee Michaels and Claudine Longet would be first stereo use, however the singles by these artists released around that time were not marked as HAECO-CSG. The first records from A&M marked as HAECO were released starting in September 1968.
A&M Studios added mixing/cutting rooms and reverberation chambers in 1969.
The first A&M album with recording credit at A&M Studios was The Fool on the Hill by Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66.
Alpert and Moss nurtured the studios and the engineers. Not only were fine acoustics a priority, only top recording engineers, mastering engineers and technical engineers graced the studios. The technicians built and refurbished equipment. In 1968, they hired Bernie Grundman as the chief mastering engineer. Grundman stayed at A&M until 1984 when he opened his own mastering studio. A&M album covers tell the evolution of recording at A&M from four-track to eight-track to 16-track to 32 then 48-track to digital mastering.
A&M told Billboard in 1970 that it had invested over $1M in three 16-track studios, two mastering rooms and three mixdown rooms.
Following are two photos from an A&M Studios ad in Billboard from late in 1977.
In 1985, the A&M Studios were the site of two charity recordings. On January 28, 45 artists came together in Studio A to record the single "We Are the World" as USA for Africa. The recording benefitted African famine victims.On May 29, 1985, 40 heavy metal artists gathered as Hear 'N Aid to record the single "Stars." Like "We Are the World," an album followed and its proceeds went to USA for Africa to continue famine relief. A&M also donated studio time and more to the "A Very Special Christmas" albums that supported Special Olympics. Jimmy Iovine was working at A&M when he came up with the idea. A&M produced the first five albums in the series (1987, 1992, 1997, 1999 and 2001 and the seventh in 2009) although the A&M Studios were involved in the first four. A&M also financed the original album with $250,000 thanks to Jerry Moss. By 2014, the original album had sold over 4.5 million copies.
Also in 1985, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss hired Shelly Yakus as A&M Records' chief engineer and VP of A&M Recording and Mastering Studios. One of his first responsibilities was to rebuild the studios. In 1995, at the end of his contract, Yakus told Billboard, "I really miss being in the control room. It's a chance to be creative in a different way, and it's most natural for me."
Ron Rutledge began working at A&M Studios on October 10, 1994. Rutledge continued working at the studios after the merger with Universal and the sale of the studios to The Henson Company.
By 1997, A&M Studios had a staff of 40 people supporting five studios with eight live chambers, a remix/mixdown suite and the Chaplin/A&M Soundstage. From the day it opened until it was closed by Universal Music Group in 1999, the term most often associated with A&M Studios was "world class."
Three examples of the equipment hint at the dedication to creating and maintaining a top recording facility. First is the Neve 4872 Console in Studio A. This was the last board built by Rupert Neve in 1978. It was originally owned by George Martin and AIR Studios and was installed at the Montseurrat facility. Alpert and Moss bought the Neve in 1986 and continued to enhance it until they sold A&M Records. The second is the classic microphone collection. There was a perfect choice to enhance the sound of any artist. Finally, A&M owned an extensive catalog of outboard equipment. Full lists of the mics and outboard gear appear on each studio's page and the Equipment page.
The engineering staff was a Who's Who of the best people in the field. Larry Levine, Henry Lewy, Ray Gerhardt and Dick Bogert came to the studios in 1967. Larry Marks and Bernie Grundman started with A&M in 1968. Levine as an engineer, Marks as a producer and Grundman founded A&M's Mastering Division and managed it until 1982 when he opened his own studio. Henry Lewy became a producer with A&M in 1970. Karl Bischof arrived in 1971 to design, redesign and maintain the equipment. Also in 1971, Tom (Beno) May, became the head of the Studios. All told, he would have more than 20 years experience in mastering. The second chief engineer was Tom May, Sr. His son, Tom "Beno" May also came to A&M and was known in his own right. Roger Young, Don Hahn, Roy DuNann, Tommy Vicari, Bruce Botnick, Bruce Swedian, Stewart Whitmore and Ron Rutledge who continued to manage the studios after the lot was sold to the Jim Henson Co....just a few of the many talented A&M Engineering Staff.
The A&M Studios were an immediate hit with the label's own artists. Although A&M allowed artists to record in any studio in the world, A&M, Ode, Dark Horse, I.R.S., Windham Hill and Word artists all recorded at A&M. Here are just a few names:
Other A&M artists chose to record in studios other than A&M but had their work mastered in A&M Studios. When Windham Hill Records beecame an A&M affiliate, it asked that only Bernie Grundman master its recordings.
The studios were not only home to many A&M artists, they were rented by artists on other labels. More than 100 artists have albums noting they were recorded or mixed at A&M Studios. Among the most famous:
The Rolling Stones
Billboard reported that Universal Music Group closed A&M Studios on October 2, 1999.
A&M STUDIOS STAFF
Thank you to all of the very talented members of the A&M Studios family.
If your name does not appear in the list below, please send an e-mail and let us include you in the credits. Photos for the A&M Family Photo Album are always welcome! When you write, please include the years you worked at A&M and your job title or the name of the department where you worked. This information is also used to validate your registration for our A&M Family artists and staff contact list.
|A - F||G - O||P - Z|
| John Aguto
Robert de la Garza
| Andrew Garver
John Beverly Jones
Tom May, Sr.
Tom "Beno" May
| Elizabeth Palmer |
Vincent van Haaff
A&M RECORDS STUDIO A
AIR MONTSERRAT CONSOLE
This console was one of the last three designed by Rupert Neve for the Neve Company. Producer Sir George Martin developed the specifications for the desks which were to be used in Air Studios. Engineer Geoff Emerick also added his specifications. This console got its name because it was installed in the Air Montserrat Studios. While at Air, it was used to record The Police albums Ghost in the Machine and Synchronicity.
In 1987, A&M Records bought the console.
The console featured 56 channels with:
- 48 Remote Preamps in a 4 x 12 channel system
- 44 x 31106 Eq
- 8 x 1081
- 4 x 32088 Eq's
- 52 x 32436 Aux Routing Modules
- 2 x 1974 Routing modules
- Flying Faders
- TT Patch Bay
- remote-controlled microphone preamps and toroidal transformers,
- integrated circuits
Studio A had tracking, overdub and remixing capabilities. Among the artist recordings to come from Studio A are:
- "We Are the World" by USA for Africa
- Herb Alpert remixed his Fandango album and recorded Blow Your Own Horn
- Joan Baez's Diamonds and Rust album
- Jeffrey Osborne's self titled album
- Lani Hall's Es Facil Amar album was mixed in Studio A
- Stan Getz's Apasionado
According to the defunct A&M Studios web site, artists entered Studio A through its control room. The control room was about 19' by 22'. (All dimensions are approximations because the studio complex contained many walls that were set on angles.) On the left side of the control room was a vocal ISO booth. Two more ISO booths were on the right side of the studio. One was about 16' by 20' and the other was 20' by 26'. The control room windows looked out into the main recording room with its 20' ceiling. The main area was about 38' by 39'.
STUDIO A EQUIPMENT
Near Field Monitoring:
A&M RECORDS STUDIO B
With tracking and overdub facilities, this is the studio Herb Alpert patterned after Gold Star. Studio B was accessed through an 18' by 19' control room. It had two small ISO booths, one on each side of the control room. The main recording room was 20' by 30'.
Carole King recorded her Tapestry and Music albums in A&M Studio B. Among other artists to mix albums in Studio B are Bruce Springsteen's Unplugged and Melissa Etheridge's self-titled album.
Karen and Richard Carpenter filmed their video of "Hurting Each Other" in Studio B.
Studio was completed by a private lounge and a very large crystal that Herb Alpert found.
STUDIO B EQUIPMENT
Near Field Monitoring:
A&M RECORDS STUDIO C
Studio C was the smallest with just a control room and main recording area measuring 14' by 21. It served as A&M's multichannel mixing and pre-mastering studio. Crosby, Stills and Nash used Studio C as did Dave Koz for his Off the Beaten Path album.
STUDIO C EQUIPMENT
Outboard Equipment (1996):
For the television show "Solid Gold," Studio D was used to produce tracks for Dionne Warwick, Frank Sinatra, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Roy Clark and Joe Piscopo.
Tracking and overdub capabilities. Enetered through a 20' by 21' control room, two isolation chambers were set off on the left side. The main recording room was 28.5' by 34' with an 18.5' ceiling. Behind the main room were two more ISO booths, one 14' by 18' and the other 16' by 18'. Studio D also had a private lounge and bath.
Carpenters filmed two of their videos in Studio D, "Only Yesterday" and "All You Get from Love Is a Love Song."
Studio D was chosen for the 3M multi-track tape machine installed February 6, 1979. Herb Alpert tested the new equipment when he recorded his Rise album in 1979. He also recorded his Magic Man album in D.
STUDIO D EQUIPMENT
Herb Alpert recorded My Abstract Heart here and Lani Hall used Studio H to record her vocals.
M for Mixing, mixdown and remix in this dedicated suite. The control room measured 14' by 18' and its lounge/overdub booth was 9' by 10'.
STUDIO M EQUIPMENT
Near Field Monitoring:
A&M SOUNDSTAGE/CHAPLIN SOUNDSTAGE
The size of the soundstage and its versatility lent it to be used for promotional films (the forerunner to music videos), television specials, large group recordings and tour rehearsals.
The first time the soundstage was seen on TV was in 1967 when the Tijuana Brass filmed part of its first television special there. Parts of all of the Brass specials were filmed on the soundstage.
Probably the most famous tour rehearsal held on the soundstage was Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen . In the early 1970s, George Harrison, Billy Preston and the Maharishi Orchestra rehearsed for their tour on the soundstage.
The soundstage was used for remote recording of large group projects. These included:
- the quadrophonic version of Rick Wakeman's Journey to the Center of the Earth album;
- Carpenters with the Overbudget Orchestra (Los Angeles Philharmonic) recorded "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" in front of an audience of music journalists in 1977.
- In 1978, Herb Alpert and Hugh Masekela's The Main Event Live album .
Many A&M promotional films and music videos were shot on the soundstage. Among the promotional films are the earliest Carpenters performance videos. The videos include:
- "Every Breath You Take" by The Police in June 1983,
- Jeff Beck's "Ambitious" (1985),
- Michael Jackson's "Liberian Girl" (1987)
- Vital Signs "The Boys and Girls Are Doing It" from 1989
- Weird Al Yankovic's "You Don't Love Me Anymore" (1992)
The soundstage also hosted countless listening parties for new A&M products as well as other events.
A&M STUDIOS MICROPHONES
5 AKG C12
1 AKG C24
2 AKG C28
1 AKG C28C
2 AKG C414
1 AKG C414B-ULS
5 AKG C414EB
1 AKG C451
7 AKG C451E
4 AKB C451EB
7 AKG C452EB
5 AKG C460B
1 AKG D1000E
1 AKG D112
2 AKG D12
1 AKG D124E
3 AKG D12E
1 AKG D140E
1 AKG D160E
1 AKG D190E
1 AKG D224E
1 AKG N12
2 AKG S10
1 AKG C451E
1 ALTEC 21-B
1 ALTEC 633A
1 ALTEC 633C
1 Audio Technica ATM31
1 Beyer M101
2 Beyer M160C
2 Beyer M160N
1 Beyer M201
1 Beyer M260MC
1 Beyer M88
1 Beyer MC740N
1 Beyer M88
| 1 Beyer MC740N
2 Bruel & Kjaer 404
2 Crown PCM-30GPG
1 E-V 1710
1 E-V 1711
1 E-V 1751
1 E-V 635A
1 E-V 666
1 E-V C090
1 E-V PL95
9 E-V RE 16
1 E-V RE 20
1 Milab VIP50
1 Milab XY82
1 Neumann HITLER MIC
1 Neumann KM54A
1 Neumann KM83
1 Neumann KM83i
2 Nuemann KN84
4 Neumann KM84i
3 Neumann KM86
2 Neumann KM86i
1 Neumann KMi
1 Neumann M249C
2 Meumann M250B
7 Neumann M269C
1 Neumann M49
1 Neumann M49B
1 Neumann SM69
6 Neumann TLM 170
3 Neumann U47
1 Neumann U47 FET
3 Neumann U47FET
2 Neumann U48
6 Neumann U67
21 Neumann U87
|3 NORELCO C12A |
4 RCA 44BX
7 RCA 77DX
2 RCA JR Velocity
13 Sennheiser MD 421
1 Sennheiser MD 421U-2
4 Sennheiser MD 441-U
1 Sennheiser MD421
7 Sennheiser MKH 405
1 Sennheiser MKH816
2 Shure 300
3 Shure 546
1 Shure SM33
1 Shure SM56
18 Shure SM57
3 Shure SM58
3 Shure SM7
2 Shure SM77
1 Shure SM98
2 Shure SM58
1 Sony 64P
2 Sony C 535-P
2 Sony C37A
4 Sony C37P
1 Sony C38
2 Sony C38B
1 Sony C500
1 Sony C535P
1 Sony C536P
2 Sony ECM-16
6 Sony ECM-22
2 Sony ECM-50
1 Telefunken 950EC
3 Telefunken ELA M251
2 U.I. Sound Dpt. Church Mic
2 Yamaha MZ204's
A&M STUDIOS OUTBOARD GEAR
|Digital Reverbs & Delays|| AMS DMX Digital Delay |
Bel Electronics BD 240 Delay
EMT 250 Reverb
Eventide 1745 Delay
Eventide FL201 Instant Flanger
Eventide 949 Harmonizer
Eventide 910 Harmonizer
Eventide H3500 Effects Processor
Eventide H3000SE Effects Processor
EXR EX-4 Aural Exciter
Korg SDD-2000 Delay
Lexicon PCM-42 Delay
Lexicon 122 Digital
Marshall Time Modulator Delay
MXR Audio Flanger
Quad Eight RV 10 Reverb
Roland SDE-3000 Delay
Roland SDF-325 Flanger
SST Space Station 282 Analog Delay
TC Electronics 1210 Spatial Expander
Yamaha Rev 1 Reverb
|Compressors/Limiters & Gates|| APA 521 |
DBX Model 160XT
Model 160 and 160x
Drawmer DS-201 Gate
Neve 2254a and 32264
Teletronics LA2 and LA2a
Valley People TR804
Valley People Gain Brains
Marc Electronics MX1
Neve Model 33609
Fairchild 670 and 660x comp/limiters
|Other Signal Processors|| A&M Design eight-channel Direct Boxes |
BG Model 20 Crossover
Boulder Jensen Twin Servo Mic Pre-Amp
Dolby A301 and Dolby Labs 361 Noise Reduction
Dynaflex DX2 Noise Reduction
George Massenburg Mic Pre-Amp
Groove Tubes Guitar Pre-Amp
Palmer PDi-03 Speaker Simulator
Simon System RDB 400 Direct Injection
Sunrise Tube Interface Mic Pre-Amp
Systems TCB M10001 MIDI Controller
Universal Audio 565 Filter
963 and 964 Digital Metronomes
White Instruments 4400 third-octave Room EQ
White Instruments 4000 Room EQ
Wendel Labs Ltd. Wendel Jr. Sample Trigger
|Equalizers/De-Essers|| Aphex Type B Aural Exciter |
API 560 EQ
Lang PEQ 4 EQ
Neve racks of eight Model 1073 mic/fine EQ
Neve BCM 10 10-channel Console
NTI EQ-3 equalizer
Orban 621B and 622B Parametric EQ
Orban 536A and 526E De-essers
Pultec EQH-2 EQ
Pultec HLF-3C filter
Pultec EQP-1A3 Program EQ
Pulec 1A3 EQ
Pultec MEQ-5 Midrange EQ
Pultec EQP-1A EQ and UREI 527A Graphic EQ
ALBUMS RECORDED AT A&M STUDIOS
This table contains albums by artists signed to other labels who chose to record at A&M Studios.
To sort the table click on any column heading.
ALBUMS MIXED AND MASTERED AT A&M STUDIOS
This table contains albums by artists signed to other labels whose albums were mixed and/or mastered at A&M Studios.
To sort the table click on any column heading.
1. Equipment lists appeared on A&M Records web site in 1996 and in A West Coast Phenomenon the Studio That Charlie Built: Former A&M Studios, Hollywood:
A state-of-the-art facility with a colorful past, and an emphasis on vintage technology by Mel Lambert, November 1997.
2. A&M Is Creating Sutdios in Tune with Creative Artists. Billboard, November 11, 1967.
3. 2 Studios of A&M Roll--3d Put in Gear. Billboard, December 21, 1968.
4. Former A&M Studios website. Stephen Barncard. October 25, 1996.
5. A&M Recording Studios by Stephen Barncard.
6. Photo of Herb Alpert, Howard Holzer and Jerry Moss courtesty of Susie Singer Carter.
7. Photo of Larry Levine in Studio A by A&M Records.
8. How Jimmy Iovine Made It 'A Very Special Christmas' in 1985. Frank DiGiacomo. Billboard, November 28, 2014.