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EastWest journeys back to the Beatles’ heyday

test 3 April 2007

US: A new virtual instruments collection from EastWest Productions, introduced at last week’s ProLight+Sound expo in Frankfurt, was produced using vintage instruments and recording equipment similar to that used by the Beatles. Fab Four Virtual Instruments is the result of more than a year of research and recording, reports PSN-e.

Production of the package – which is not affiliated with or endorsed by Apple Corps Ltd, and does not contain any sounds from the group’s recordings – involved the input of engineers and musicians who have worked with either the Beatles or Paul McCartney/Wings. The recordings were engineered by Ken Scott, who logged time on A Hard Day’s Night and Rubber Soul, while former McCartney/Wings sidemen Laurence Juber and Denny Seiwell played guitars and drums, respectively.

The recordings involved a variety of equipment that would have been familiar to the Beatles, including vintage Neumann and AKG microphones, a 1963 Vox AC30 amplifier, an EMI TG12345 console and a Studer J-37 4-track tube tape machine.

A diverse selection of classic guitars played by Juber included a Fender Stratocaster (1956), Martin D-28 (1966) and Epiphone Casino (1965). He also played two of the basses – Hofner (1963) and Rickenbacker (1964) – that are most associated with Paul McCartney.

The extensive sessions also saw Seiwell perform on drum kits including a rare 1960 Ludwig downbeat with Zildjian cymbals, and the capturing of classic keyboards like the Baldwin Electric Harpsichord. A software version of ADT (artificial double tracking) with built-in simulator, devised specifically for this project, is also included.

According to EastWest, most of the sounds in the package would have been impossible to create without the diverse selection of classic equipment. The company cites the example of the “revostortion” guitar sound, which was produced by feeding an Ephiphone Casino into one EMI REDD 47 preamp and the output into a second, identical preamp – just how Abbey Road engineers would have done in the Beatles’ heyday.

“Putting this project together took well over a year of research, equipment procurement (much of it from collectors), and gathering a team that could pull of such a feat,” said EastWest founder and Fab Four Virtual Instruments producer Doug Rogers. “But it was a labour of love for us all, and the result is truly worth it.”

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