One Man and his hi-fi - A look at Pete Townshend's set-up by Nick Jones
BASICALLY THE POP RECORD is for enjoyment. It can be simple or even an adaptation from a classical masterpiece— but the emphasis is invariably on entertainment. And, of course, to achieve the best results—as the soap powder adverts say you must have good sound reproduction equipment. Record players currently range from mini transistor sizes to sprawling computer-like electronic beasts which would take up the whole front room. They are rather like cars. There's good, bad, indifferent. Some of them you can turn up and the speaker blows up—others will handle enough volume to blast your brains out and without a particle of distortion.
This month, Music Maker decided it was about time somebody looked into the growing field of hi-fi—and who better to ask than the stars themselves, the very people who make the records. First we went up to Pete Townshend's West End studio-flat. Pete, guitarist with the Who and a prominent young songwriter on the pop scene, uses this studio both for listening and recording. It's on the top floor and adequately sound-proofed. Townshend has built-in almost all of his equipment—so his turntables, tape recorders, amplifiers and the rest are all situated to meet his requirements.
"So that I get extra punch through my four speaker cabinets," says Pete, "I divert each of my playing decks through the Uher mixer which puts them through both the Quad and the Rogers amplifiers. What happens is the Quad deals with high frequencies and the Rogers with the low frequencies. Therefore there's very little missing and I get a punching, full sound. I do a lot of songwriting and started my own recording studio up here mainly because I had to get down what I had written. This stems from several years ago when I couldn't really read or write musical notation so I had to put down on tape all my ideas.
I have a lot of stuff for recording. Reverb units, assorted microphones and some special limiting equipment made for me by Pepe Rush of Rush Electronics. I also use my Anagra tape recorder a lot. It's portable but still about the best I've got. I can put ideas down on it, and still use it for finished tapes, it's that good!"
PETE TOWNSHEND'S SET UP
GARRARD LAB 80 Autochanger deck—£31. With SHURE M55 E pick-up cartridge—£20.
GARRARD SP 25 single play deck with Deram cartridge—£18.
QUAD STEREO Amplifier—£50. With control unit—£25.
ROGERS CADETTE 111 Amplifier—£31.
Four specially made Marshall Speaker Cabinets housing ten speakers in all.
Two STEREO REVOX recorders, 15 ips versions—£133 each.
Two STEREO VORTEXION recorders, 15 ips series, 3 ½ watts output each channel, TYPE C.B.L.—£180 each.
ANAGRA hand-built portable recorder, made by Livingstone Laboratories, retails from £320 without extras.
RUSH ELECTRONICS specially made limiting equipment—£75 approx.