Dean St Studios Page 2

Monitoring was by a collection of JBL 4333 loudspeakers, powered by Studer amps, Klein and Hummel Telewatt speakers or an Auratone Sound Cube. The MCI multitrack was replaced by a 24-track Lyrec TR 532 tape machine, which offered 100% varispeed up and down allowing for some amazing sound effects.


Label of the original LP

Tape Updates
Other equipment featured included 14 compressors and limiters by UREI, Alison and Audio & Design; delay lines by Eventide and Deltalab; and reverb via an EMT 140, EMT 240 and a Quad Eight Spring Reverb. Mastering and tape echo was achieved via a Studer B62, Studer B67 and a pair of Revox A77 recorders with varispeed.


Thin Lizzy back in 1974

Always looking to upgrade, Visconti replaced the Lyrec TR 532 with a pair of Otari MTR-90 tape machines. Good Earth also gained an SSL 4048E desk, while an Otari MTR 12 ½in machine had been added for mastering. Monitoring was changed to an Eastlake system utilising JBL and TAD components, and nearfield monitors were Yamaha NS-10s.


The new Dolby Mastering facility at Dean St uses PMC's MB3 XBD-As as front speakers and its Ci Series Ci65 monitors as surrounds. The centre channel speaker is a PMC MB3S-A

A Bit Frantic
One of the many bands who sought to work with Visconti were The Smiths, who were chasing him to do The Queen Is Dead. That didn't work out, but they popped into Dean Street anyway in January 1987 to record 'Sheila Take A Bow' with Stephen Street [HFN Jun '18]producing. Sandie Shaw was supposed to do backing vocals – she'd previously collaborated with the band on versions of 'Hand In Glove', 'Jeane' and 'I Don't Owe You Anything'. She arrived on cue but Morrissey was nowhere to be seen. It turned out he was feeling poorly.


The Smiths pictured in 1985, two years before they released 'Sheila Take A Bow'

The band's drummer Mike Joyce recalled: 'There was no sign of Morrissey for a couple of hours. Sandie was getting a bit frantic. In the end she phoned up Morrissey and managed to get hold of him. She was saying, "Just hum me the tune down the phone that you want me to do!". I think she took it all personally'. She recorded her vocals anyway, but her version was ultimately scrapped. She later said she thought it was 'a horrid song'.


Visconti sold up in 1989 to music production company Joe & Co which developed some of the premises into music recording and production suites but left Visconti's legendary Studio 1 intact. It was during this time that Robert Plant, Pink Floyd, Tim Finn, Brian Molko and Cliff Richard worked there.


Robert Plant

Down The Pan
Then, as we've said, Jasmin Lee took it over in 2007, renamed it Dean St Studios and is running the business as you read with the Dolby Atmos facility alongside the more traditional studio set-up. Currently there are five studios in all, including the new Dolby Atmos mastering facility overseen by Kurt Martinez, Dean St Studios' Atmos engineer.


Brian Molko of Placebo recorded at Dean St after it was sold by Tony Visconti to Joe & Co in 1989

It's a sign of the times. Nearby Denmark Street was once the UK's very own Tin Pan Alley full of little mom and pop shops flogging musical instruments and publishers selling sheet music, and greatly-loved ratty recording studios and rehearsal rooms, all in the looming shadow of the now demolished Astoria Theatre where many a landmark gig took place.


Sandie Shaw caught on camera in the Netherlands in 1981

Outernet Provider
It's all been pretty much bought up lock, stock and barrel now, and brought under the aegis of a multi-multi million quid enterprise by a company called Consolidated Developments. These facilities are now marketed as a 'radical new technology-driven marketing, entertainment and information service housed in a super-flexible, digitally enabled streetscape'. The project is called Outernet London.

Meanwhile, over at Kingston University they're running the Visconti Studio, a tape-based recording facility in partnership with the man himself, the British Library and the Science Museum. Gotta keep up or bow out.