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The Sound

Gepubliceerd op 31 maart 2015
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Now we’re on to one of the essentials within the secrets of ABBA: the sound. The music of ABBA always sounds warm and full. How did they create that typical ABBA sound? The man responsible for this as a sound engineer was Michael Tretow. From the first days of ABBA he was involved, as if he was a member of the group.
Studio’s in the seventies had recorders with 24 tracks. If you wanted to record more than 24 tracks, you had to mix a couple of tracks and copy them together to a new track. If for instance you copied six tracks to one new track, you’d free five tracks for further sessions. This is called overdubbing. Once tracks are overdubbed, you can’t change them anymore of course. ABBA always sounded as a full orchestra. To get the full sound a lot of overdubs were required.
That was not the only thing. We’re on to a real ABBA secret now, the secret of the sound. One night when Michael was doing some experimental things, he discovered that when you recorded an instrument twice and increased the speed of the tape a little bit in the second recording, the instrument produced an enormous sound. You can hear this sound effect clearly in I do, I do, I do, I do, I do. The first time it was a gamble, if it would turn out badly, a couple of recordings had to be rehearsed. But it turned out to be fantastic. Then Michael, Benny and Björn wondered: How would it sound if the whole band did this? So the typical full ABBA sound was born. While recording the voices he changed the tape speed a little bit more and it sounded christal clear, as if tiny sparkles were scattered all over the sound. The sound engineer had invented a new sound, ABBA was the first in history who did this and it sounded great.

 

 

Of course there is more to tell about ABBA. The next article will appear on may 1st, 2015.

© 2015 Reinhard Beskers

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