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Author Topic: Marvin Gaye 'Here, My Dear' Information on Marvin's Room Studios.  (Read 16090 times)

Silvertone

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Re: Marvin Gaye 'Here, My Dear' Information on Marvin's Room Studios.
« Reply #30 on: September 04, 2010, 08:04:17 AM »

United owner and metal worker (thanks Bob Ohlson for the correct information)...

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Larry DeVivo
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Bob Olhsson

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Re: Marvin Gaye 'Here, My Dear' Information on Marvin's Room Studios.
« Reply #31 on: September 04, 2010, 12:19:08 PM »

That's the studio owner, Jimmy Syracuse, in his machine shop. There was a separate electronics shop. Jimmy had an amazing story. Born in Algeria, his Sicilian family emigrated to Detroit and operated a music store and recording studio during the 1930s. Jimmy worked for the Army as a cinematographer at the Paramount studio in Queens during WW2.

After the war everybody was excited about television. Jimmy returned to Detroit and built United as a sound stage and post facility to serve what he expected would be a huge market for shooting automobile commercials for the auto industry.

United was located in Detroit's ad agency district along with Special Recordings, a studio that had been built by the producers of the Lone Ranger radio show. There were also a couple film studios, a number of photography studios including the one Berry Gordy would remodel into Hitsville and several network radio and television stations.

United had been doing some record work in addition to their bread and butter which was radio and TV commercials. Berry Gordy had been recording backing tracks for demos and a few records in his sister's basement using an old Western Electric broadcast mixer and an Ampex 400 and then brought the tapes to United to overdub vocals to a final mix.

The huge sound stage never got much business thanks to the Nagra, the airlines and the ad agency folk's preference for getting out of Detroit and shooting their new car spots along highway 1 in California. Jimmy decided to turn it into a multi-track music studio. What you see is the 4 track control room that was built which was expanded to eight track.

The all transistor console was battery powered with the batteries being recharged when nobody was using the studio. They were the first 4 track studio in Detroit although Motown had secretly gone 8 track a year or so earlier.

RMoore

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Re: Marvin Gaye 'Here, My Dear' Information on Marvin's Room Studios.
« Reply #32 on: September 04, 2010, 01:41:20 PM »

Very groovy thread..

Why was the desk battery-powered?  

Years ago I met a European engineer who'd rigged his home studio console to run on battery - as I recall the idea was to cut down on hum/noises/ground issues (?)..
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Bob Olhsson

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Re: Marvin Gaye 'Here, My Dear' Information on Marvin's Room Studios.
« Reply #33 on: September 04, 2010, 02:02:07 PM »

Most film audio work has always been done on batteries because the AC from lighting is very dirty. The introduction of transistorized audio gear allowed a full size 12 input console to be battery powered. Jimmy, along with technicians Bill Beltz and Les Cooley, jumped at doing it. This desk also had adjustable input impedance because they weren't certain that the mikes would perform properly without a tube preamp.

Blackie Pawless

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Re: Marvin Gaye 'Here, My Dear' Information on Marvin's Room Studios.
« Reply #34 on: September 04, 2010, 03:38:32 PM »

Bob Olhsson wrote on Sat, 04 September 2010 11:19

That's the studio owner, Jimmy Syracuse, in his machine shop. There was a separate electronics shop. Jimmy had an amazing story. Born in Algeria, his Sicilian family emigrated to Detroit and operated a music store and recording studio during the 1930s. Jimmy worked for the Army as a cinematographer at the Paramount studio in Queens during WW2.

After the war everybody was excited about television. Jimmy returned to Detroit and built United as a sound stage and post facility to serve what he expected would be a huge market for shooting automobile commercials for the auto industry.

United was located in Detroit's ad agency district along with Special Recordings, a studio that had been built by the producers of the Lone Ranger radio show. There were also a couple film studios, a number of photography studios including the one Berry Gordy would remodel into Hitsville and several network radio and television stations.

United had been doing some record work in addition to their bread and butter which was radio and TV commercials. Berry Gordy had been recording backing tracks for demos and a few records in his sister's basement using an old Western Electric broadcast mixer and an Ampex 400 and then brought the tapes to United to overdub vocals to a final mix.

The huge sound stage never got much business thanks to the Nagra, the airlines and the ad agency folk's preference for getting out of Detroit and shooting their new car spots along highway 1 in California. Jimmy decided to turn it into a multi-track music studio. What you see is the 4 track control room that was built which was expanded to eight track.

The all transistor console was battery powered with the batteries being recharged when nobody was using the studio. They were the first 4 track studio in Detroit although Motown had secretly gone 8 track a year or so earlier.




Amazing information. Thanks Bob.
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bob ebeling

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Re: Marvin Gaye 'Here, My Dear' Information on Marvin's Room Studios.
« Reply #35 on: September 05, 2010, 08:04:27 PM »

Thanks Bob and Larry!  That puts a whole new slant on my walkthrough of United when it was for sale around 1997 for around $100,000.  But the I-94 Expressway expansion was already happening and you could see that buiding was right off the current exit.

We always heard parliament funkadelic stories growing up in Detroit, and later on someone got their hands on some United reels which I promptly threw up on a totally wrong 16 or 24 track, and still managed to hear 'that sound'. 70's man.  

Vintage King was a smaller operation, an extra room off to the side of Whiteroom Studios around then, 1993-7, mostly Mike Nehra constantly pacing around on the phone while we guilt-tripped him back into the control room to dial the API up, he was a great engineer.

Wally Heider Church mics??  This is just confusion I'm sure.  As young dudes getting real interested, Mike was getting his hands on stuff that everyone here would lose their minds over now.  The 'Christmas tree lights' Neves was a big to-do.  We were all getting to sample and use this stuff as it was being stripped out and sold off.

Before the Motown Museum was in full operation, we got to go snoop around there and I remember snooping in the cutting room there were still old discreet Telefunken Lathe EQ cards kind of hanging out of the back of gear.

Ranting....  
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Bob Ebeling
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