Waves Audio has debuted the Waves/Abbey Road Reel ADT, the first plug-in to successfully emulate Abbey Road Studios’ pioneering process of Artificial Double Tracking.
ADT was the signature effect created at Abbey Road in the 1960s to meet the requirements of some very special clients: The Beatles. It is the most legendary of all Abbey Road tape effects and can be heard on countless historic recordings.
Over the years, many recording engineers have tried to replicate the effect, but only with partial success. This is largely because a definitive description of the exact process used at Abbey Road has been a closely guarded secret—until now.
The effect that would become an integral part of Abbey Road’s signature sound was initially created at the famed studios in the 1960s to meet the Beatles’ unique recording needs. As the band’s success grew, so did their desire to find new ways of working, leading Abbey Road’s engineers to experiment with new technology.
By 1966, the band had become frustrated with the need to continually re-record vocals to create multi-layered vocal effects. To solve the problem, Abbey Road engineer Ken Townsend created Artificial Double Tracking (ADT).
By connecting the primary tape machine to a second, speed-controlled machine, two versions of the same signal could be played back simultaneously. And by gently wobbling the frequency of an oscillator to vary the speed of the second machine, the replayed signal could be moved around just enough to make it sound like a separate take.
The introduction of ADT was a milestone in the history of sound recording, and the technique was used heavily on many recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios. ADT became such a prominent and integral part of the production process that Abbey Road’s momentous move from 4-track to 8-track recording was postponed for several months—from May to September 1968—until the new M3 8-track tape heads could be modified to enable the independent sync output needed for achieving ADT. John Lennon reputedly dubbed ADT “Ken’s Flanger,” which some say led to flanging becoming established as a technical term in studios around the world.
Reel ADT puts the magic of that era in your hands within seconds. Using its intuitive controls, advance or push back the doubled signal to achieve genuine, lush-sounding delay and pitch variations. Also, drive each of the signals separately to add beautiful tape saturations.
With its authentic modeled valve tape machine sound and faithful emulation of wow and flutter, this plug-in can enhance any track with the impression of two separate takes, providing results as close as possible to real double tracking.
Other classic Abbey Road tape effects such as flanging and phasing can also be achieved with ease. All the character, depth and panoramic sound of this inimitable classic effect can now be created digitally, simply and for real: Reel ADT.
Mirek Stiles, head of audio products at Abbey Road Studios, says, “From my time as an assistant engineer, I remember the setting up of ADT as being a lengthy process, but totally worth it. Not only hearing, but also controlling ADT for the first time was amazing. Using the remote Varispeed on the tape machine, it was possible to add lush movements, stereo width and dramatic depth to almost any track. For the first time ever, Waves has captured not only the true sound of ADT, but also the feel of this classic effect.”
The Waves Abbey Road Reel ADT is Native only, and is currently available with a U.S. MSRP of $200 and an introductory price of $99.