Geoff Pesche on a great record player
So what makes a great record player?
“First and foremost, it's all about a stable platter. You have a moving mass that’s very rigid, and that’s so important. It’s the aluminium brass topped platter that gives the SL-1200G deck its heavy weight,” Pesche explains. “Secondly, it needs to have great connectors, which the SL-1200G does. This turntable also has a completely new motor mechanism, so there’s no round flutter or rumble. If it was pony, I would say it’s pony, believe me! And it’s built like the older Technics turntables were: totally rock solid. It also has a great arm, which is crucial. So it’s all those things, really.
“When you put the needle on a record, there should be no laterals, and this hardly moves, so Technics got the arm spot on. A turntable has to be able to play the record, and give a fair representation back to the amp. It mustn’t colour things. So ultimately, the SL-1200G is a great reference turntable; and it’s now very well used.”
As the way we consume music has evolved, so has the approach to mastering. Much of Pesche's work at Abbey Road today is for unsigned artists, who utilise the studio's online mastering service, where they send in an audio file, Pesche masters it, and sends it back. He summarises the process nicely:
“It’s so subjective, mastering. I might send a file back to an artist, and he or she might say, ‘but you’ve taken all the bass off!’ And then we’re having a fight about it. But the reason is, if you play something on a streaming box, or a phone, or anything small, if there's too much low end, it will saturate everything. So taking the low end away, I’ve opened the curtains – I’m adding clarity. I might not need to add any top, as sometimes it’s just subtraction. I always master as loud as I think the particular genre I'm working with should be, and then I cross my fingers! It’s better to have a reasonably loud undistorted master than a crushed very loud one.”