The album The Dark Side of the Moon, by Pink Floyd was an album that pushed the boundaries on multi-tracking and tape looping, as well as mixing in1973. The engineer, Alan Parsons, use many unusual techniques to help create the sound that we know and love. Which landed the album on the charts for 750 weeks. Dark side of the moon was first lead engineering job Alan had with Pink Floyd and only took a year to record.
To record this album an EMI console, a 16-track tape machine, a Fairchild limiters, and an EMT plate reverb were used. There were also up to five or six tape machines doing various delays, reverb delays, ect. at one time. Alan remembers “on the mix having to borrow tape machines from other rooms to get delays and stuff.” (Anonymous. "Studio Legends: Alan Parsons on "Dark Side of the Moon")
I will talk about some common techniques that Alan Parsons used to record this album as well I will touch on some interesting techniques and ideas he used on the songs “Speak to Me”, “Time”, “Money”, and “Us and Them”. I will also talk about his creative quadraphonic record style of mixing for this album. Lastly I will talk about what Alan would have done differently if he had the technology available today back when he recorded Dark Side of the Moon.
The first tracks that Alan would record were the backing tracks. The backing tracks were done in a more conventional way; they would record multiple tracks and then choose the best take. The basic tracks were recorded to the 16-track, and then he bounced them down to a second-generation to have more tracks for guitars, overdubs and solos. The drums and bass were sub-mixed and put right onto the tape. They would be recor...
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...e quadraphonic style, which he is still trying to convince the band to do. Alan believes that “Surround is to stereo what stereo was to mono; it makes a huge difference.”
Looking at all the thing that Alan did to make these amazing sounds on tape I think would get lost using the technology we have today. I have a feeling that if he had done the delays digitally instead of running tape through two different mixers it just wouldn’t have the same feel that the original song has.
Alan says, “They [Pink Floyd] arguably were the most technically minded band out there. They knew what a recording studio was capable of, and they took full advantage. And they worked me hard—they always worked their engineers hard to push the barriers. There’s no better band for an engineer to cut his teeth on, frankly.” (Anonymous. "Studio Legends: Alan Parsons on "Dark Side of the Moon")
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