Sound on Sound documentary on Capitol Records Studios, Los Angeles.


Staff member
I stumbled across this this morning. It's a 1/2 hour documentary made by Sound on Sound magazine (pro recording publication) detailing the rooms, gear and reverb chambers at Capitol Records building in Los Angeles. I'm probably more intrigued these days by the recording of music than I am the reproduction of it, so I found it to be fascinating. Warning to you horn guys, it includes the quote "the speakers we had...they..they were great for what they were at the time" in a discussion about one of the only changes they made to Studio A, when they replaced the old monitors with modern PMCs. BUT...they still use VOTT in a couple of the reverb chambers in the basement, as they're an integral part of that classic sound like you hear on many of the Capitol Sinatra records.

The reason I found this, actually, was that I was researching the reverb chambers. I'm fascinated by them and their simplicity in the days before plate and then digital reverbs. Speakers on one end of a pie-shaped concrete room in the basement (or under the parking lot), mics on the other... and the dry signal can be routed through the speakers and the mic feed that's picked up can be mixed in with it. Bang...beautiful room echo. They were designed by Les Paul, actually.

They still have all their old gear and my favorite part is..its not like a museum. You need a Neumann U47 mic on something, you just might get the Sinatra mic.... you need a piano, they have two and one is the Nat King Cole piano. I played Joni Mitchells personal piano once at a different place that used to be her home/studio (terribly I might add...I haven't taken a piano lesson in 35 years), that she likely wrote Blue on. That stuff is just....awe inspiring.

Anyway, I think the more we learn about the creation of recordings, the more a lot of the audiophile stuff seems, or doesn't seem, silly. It really makes some things make total sense, and other things seem totally bonkers.

I love hanging out in recording studios! I have gotten caIIed to pIay trumpet for sessions at Pachyderm studios (where Nirvana recorded "In Utero ) and United Sound (ParIiament/ FunkadeIic's oId pIace in Detroit)
Not many peopIe get to hear the "Studio sound" in a good studio Once you do, if you have ears, you're in troubIe

Pachyderm used a vintage AKG C-12 and the old EIectric IadyIand Neve to record me in the main room Pretty sure I was Herb AIpert and Doc Severenson roIIed into one for about a 1/2 hour ; )


Active Member
(A little "down time" in the office this afternoon.) This was a way cool video. Thanks for finding and sharing! I probably would have never discovered this on my own.