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Sarm Studios (East) 

Osborn House,  9-13 Osborn Street  London

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Sarm East opened in 1973 in a building previously occupied by "The City of London Recording Studios" this had operated since 1960 as an all-purpose studio and disc-cutting facility. Originally mono the equipment included a Rank-Cintel tape machine, Vortexion mixer and Tannoy monitors. The studio did a variety of work, a major client being the "Central Office of Information" recording programmes for Africa with such titles as "Electricity" and "Steam Engines". The 60s "Beat Boom" seems to have touched Aldgate with such luminaries as The Who, The Toffees and the Factotums all recording there. The studio was latterly owned by singer Daniel Boone and engineer Bernard Mattimore.

The team behind Sarm was brother and sister John and Jill Sinclair, ex Trident engineer Mike Stone and ex Command engineer Gary Lyons. The studio was officially called "Sound And Recording Mobiles" luckily the acronym Sarm sounded much better and was more mysterious! Never the largest studio in the world, Sarm did however set the bar high technically. Essentially the first 24 track studio in Britain it was initially equipped with a 28 (soon expanded to 40) input Trident desk, a 3M 24 track machine and an MCI 24/16 track machine. Outboard equipment was plentiful and Sarm gained a reputation for being a great mixing room.

A list from 1976 details (as well as the ubiquitous EMT plate): UREI graphic eqs, Kepex noise gates, Orban parasound eqs, Triad parametric eqs, compressors by UREI, DBX and Teletronix, Eventide Omnipressor, Eventide digital delay, Eventide flanger and a Wattnot ring modulator! Dolby noise reduction was used on all mastering machines and even the Revoxes used for tape delays had DBX noise reduction.

The Trident was fitted with an Alison computer mixing system which recorded fader moves using two tracks on the 24 track machine, updating by bouncing between them. Monitoring was by Cadacs driven by Audixes, with Auratones as small speaker references. That dear readers is what was used to mix "Bohemian Rhapsody"!

The Studios housed the 3rd Trident 'B' series to be built.

'This was the first frame we'd wired ( until then we'd been module wiring), so we were rather proud of it.
100% point to point ...no ribbons...no motherboard pcbs running along the console like MCI or Harrison. Wired totally by hand. On the first few, we were hand-lacing the cable looms between the edge connectors and the patchbay with waxed lacing twine. Skilled work - anyone who has seen the looms in a hand-laced board will attest to that.

Gwyn Mathias (right)  with the Sarm  Trident B Range circa 1972.
You developed calloused skin in the finger joints from pulling the twine tight - after they'd stopped bleeding that is. When I started running the production side I bought Ty-raps and Ty-rap guns, which speeded-up the production. The module looms were also hand laced for the first couple of years'.   Gwyn Mathias - 2011

Fate took a hand in Sarm's evolution in March 1978 when they suffered a fire. Whilst the fire in itself didn't do too much damage, the water used to extinguish it did and Sarm faced a major rebuild. The control room was redesigned by Eddie Veale. The original Trident desk was replaced by a brand new 40 channel Trident TSM, the monitor mixer of which had panning and eq and could be routed to the main mix bus making it an 80 channel board for mixdowns. The 3M and MCI were replaced by a pair of Studer A80s linked by a Studer TLS synchroniser to provide a 48 track facility.

In 1981 the Trident B (at  40 inputs, the biggest 'B' Series built) was installed in  Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco.

The studio area itself was re-modeled, extra space being found by moving the tape library and maintenance areas to offices across the road. A variable acoustic drum booth was built and a 9ft 6in Bosendorfer grand piano was installed. Behind this piano was an "erotic sculpture" on the wall, usually kept covered by curtains! Microphones were the usual suspects; Neumanns, Sennheisers, Shures and AKGs. The one "wild card" being a Sennheiser dummy head nicknamed Horace!

In 1982 the studio took delivery of an SSL 4000 desk, originally 32 channels soon upgraded to 40. This desk had a remote patchbay to maximize the space in the control room, it was about this time that MIDI was making it's presence felt with more and more recording was being done in the control room. Producer Trevor Horn had been a regular visitor to Sarm over the years and, having married Jill Sinclair, set up ZTT records and they instigated an expansion of the Sarm "Empire" by purchasing Island Records' Basing Street studios that were then re-branded as Sarm West. They later (1993) bought Hook End Manor  but that's another chapter.

The Osborn Street premises was now referred to as Sarm East,The SSL was replaced by a Euphonix and latterly by a Neve console (ex Strongroom). It continued operating until 2001 when it became "London Recording Studios" part of a recording "college"and ceased to be part of the Sarm group.

Recorded at Sarm east:

ABC "LEXICON OF LOVE"

ABC "BEAUTY STAB"

AK BAND "MANHOLE KIDS"

BARBARA PENNINGTON "MIDNIGHT RIDE"

BILLY CONNOLLY "COP YER WHACK FOR THIS"

BILLY SQUIER "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH"

BLONDE ON BLONDE "AND HOW!"

BROS "PUSH"

BUGGLES ADVENTURES IN MODERN RECORDING

BUDGIE "DELIVER US FROM EVIL"

CLASH WHITE MAN IN HAMMERSMITH

DAVID ESSEX "ON TOUR"

DINA CARROLL "ONLY HUMAN"

DOLLAR "THE DOLLAR ALBUM"

DOLL BY DOLL "GYPSY BLOOD"

EVELYN THOMAS "I WANNA MAKE IT ON MY OWN"

FANATICS "FANATICS"

FOX FOX

FOX TAILS OF ILLUSION

FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD "WELCOME TO THE PLEASUREDOME"

GONG "SHAMAL"

GRID "EVOLVER"

HUSTLER PLAY LOUD

IAN HUNTER OVERNIGHT ANGELS

INXS "THE SWING"

JAMES WELLS "MY CLAIM TO FAME"

JET "JET"

LONE STAR LONESTAR

LONE STAR FIRING ON ALL SIX

MADONNA "MUSIC"

MALCOLM McLAREN "DUCK ROCK"

MARILLION "FUGAZI"

MELON "DEEP CUT"

MENLO PARK "MENLO PARK"

MONSOON "THIRD EYE"

MUSICAL YOUTH "THE YOUTH OF TODAY"

NIK KERSHAW "HUMAN RACING"

NIK KERSHAW "THE RIDDLE"

PROPAGANDA "WISHFUL THINKING"

QUEEN A NIGHT AT THE OPERA

QUEEN "A DAY AT THE RACES"

RPM "PHOTOGENIC"

RUSH "POWER WINDOWS"

SHOPMOUSE "WELCOME TO THE UPPER CLASS"

SORE THROAT "SOONER THAN YOU THINK"

SOUND "FROM THE LIONS MOUTH"

SPORTS "DON'T THROW STONES"

TRACEY ULLMAN "YOU CAUGHT ME OUT"

VOYAGE "VOYAGE 3"

WHITE DOOR "WINDOWS"

YES "DRAMA"

YES "90125"

YUKIHIRO TAKAHASHI "WHAT, ME WORRY?"


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


       Studio Index

sarm

City of London Recording Studios

Sarm East - Osborn House

 

1976  -  Trident 'B'

 

1979  -  Trident TSM

 

1988  -  SSL

 

 

Recorded at Sarm East