Legendary Abbey Road Studios tape machine found at student radio station

Above: Engineer Gus Cook at work in Abbey Road Studios, Room 11 with BTR-3 tape machines, circa 1965.

A very rare and famous vintage BTR-3 tape machine from Abbey Road Studios has been  uncovered at Surge Radio, the student run station of Southampton University Students’ Union.

BTR stands for British Tape Recorder and BTR machines were made by EMI and used from the late 40’s. The BTR-3, used as the workhorse of ’60s recordings at Abbey Road Studios, is a legendary piece of equipment and only two dozen of the machines were ever produced – just four are thought to exist today.

The BTR-3 was unique in that it was only ever used by Abbey Road Studios.

“When we first found the BTR-3 we had no idea what we had stumbled across, only after an online search did we realise it was a piece of recording history from Abbey Road Studios!” said Toby Leveson, Surge Radio station manager, the student run Southampton University station. “It’s amazing to think that it had had been sitting there undisturbed for such a long time. It’s been great fun uncovering the mystery of it”.

Mirek Stiles, Head of Audio Products at Abbey Road Studios said “This is an important discovery for the history of recorded music and finds like this are few and far between. When Toby from Surge Radio told me he had discovered a BTR-3 I had to contain my excitement, just in case it wasn’t the genuine article. Upon visiting Surge Radio not only was the machine indeed a BTR-3 but also in very good condition. You can’t underestimate how rare these early examples of tape machines are. Until now only three BTR-3 units have been known to exist, none in full working order. This discovery means four are now accounted for and hopefully the talented technical team at Abbey Road Studios can restore the machine to its former glory”.

The newly discovered BTR-3 has now been donated to Abbey Road Studios and Surge Radio will host a broadcast live from the brand new Front Room studio at Abbey Road Studios on Thursday April 13th at www.surgeradio.co.uk.

Artists set to play live for the special broadcast include Jerry Williams, a Portsmouth-based singer-songwriter and Will Joseph Cook, an indie solo artist with several million streams on Spotify.

For more information on the new studios at Abbey Road Studios, launched during March 2017, please click here.

Richard Melville on +44 (0)7545 074631
Twitter: @starscreamcomms


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About Abbey Road Studios

Abbey Road Studios is the most famous recording studios in the world and a global music icon.

Home to countless landmark recordings and pioneering advances in recording technology, the legendary studio complex has a phenomenal history spanning over 85 years, encompassing celebrated work by many of the world’s most famous recording artists including The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Frank Ocean, Kate Bush, Florence + The Machine, Ed Sheeran, Radiohead, Oasis, Kanye West, Lady Gaga and Adele.

Since the score for Raiders of The Lost Ark was recorded at the studios in 1980, Abbey Road has developed into one of the world’s premiere locations for movie scoring. Blockbuster films such as The Lord of The Rings Trilogy, The King’s Speech and Skyfall feature scores recorded there, while recent projects include the Oscar-winning score to Gravity. Additionally, a number of high-profile video games such as Halo 5 and Call of Duty have recorded in-game music at Abbey Road Studios.

In the biggest transformation since it was founded in 1931, Abbey Road is opening two new contemporary studios – The Gatehouse and The Front Room – making the magic of Abbey Road accessible to a new generation of recording artist.  A new Dolby Atmos Premier Studio certified mix stage is also opening in March 2017 making Abbey Road the only facility in London to offer both movie scoring and sound post production.

The studios house a number of state of the art mastering suites. Recent projects mastered or re-mastered by Abbey Road’s award-winning engineers include music from Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Queen, The Smiths, Depeche Mode, New Order, Mary J. Blige.

Abbey Road Studios also offers online mixing and mastering, audio products for professional and home studio music producers, live concert recording, archiving and video services. The studios also host a select number of special events each year.

Abbey Road recently launched Abbey Road Red, Europe’s first music-focused technology incubator which supports the endeavours of entrepreneurs, research and developers.

Abbey Road Institute recently began offering vocational diplomas in music production and audio engineering to students at the studio complex in London and state of the art facilities in Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Munich, Melbourne and Sydney.

Learn more at http://www.abbeyroad.com