The A-Range is a 2-channel rack-mountable version of the legendary Trident ‘A’ Range console. Comprising two independent channels, each with a microphone/line amplifier and four band equaliser, it is designed to process level instrument and incoming signals from a microphone or line level instrument and output to a recording device, such as a digital audio workstation or analog multi-track tape recorder.
In 1972 Trident Studios decided to buy a new recording console and decided to build one themselves. The first console was designed purely for Trident Studios and was designated the A-Range. It was hand-built to the standards Trident set. In those days, the integrated circuit (or ‘chip’) had not been invented, so all of the circuits used individual transistors (known nowadays as ‘discrete’ design). This and the use of inductors in the lower and upper mid equaliser sections are said to account for much of the unique sound of the A-Range. From this first successful design was born Trident Audio Developments Ltd, which went on to become a leading manufacturer of music recording consoles. One of the company’s earliest advertising slogans was ‘designed by recording engineers for recording engineers’. This became a key component of what made the ‘Trident Sound’ unique.
The 2-channel A-Range rack unit is an exact replica of the original all-discrete transistor circuitry and faithfully follows the original console’s design. So much so that it has taken three years of circuit analysis and testing by PMI Audio Group who undertook the mammoth task of recreating the circuitry. Trident Audio Developments and PMI Audio are extremely pleased and proud to offer this unique piece of recording history. Only thirteen A-Range consoles were ever built and a number are still in use today despite being nearly forty years old. This says a lot about the heritage of these iconic items of recording equipment and the artists that have used them, which include Elton John, Dire Straits, David Bowie, Rod Stewart and Stevie Wonder to name but a few.
The Original Trident A-Range Console
Trident was undoubtedly positioned at the pinnacle of UK recording desks during the golden years of rock. Trident’s designs have certainly made an indelible impact on the sound of record making that is nearly impossible to gauge. The desks made for Trident Studios, and other studios fortunate enough to acquire them, were legendary in breakthrough flexibility and huge sound. During this time period, every record made on a Trident desk was uniquely and quite positively altered by the sonic imprint of their distinctive designs.
With only 13 consoles ever built of this model, the Trident A-Range has attained near-mythic status in the professional recording industry—particularly noted for its fantastic preamps and unusual and colorful EQ. It is interesting to note that the original desks all came in the beautiful aubergine (“eggplant”) color, which was ultimately selected by legendary producer Roy Thomas Baker.
The first Trident A-Range console was originally built by and for Trident Studios in 1971. When word spread about this revolutionary new multitrack recording console design, other studios became interested. In 1972, Trident Audio Developments was formed, and consoles were soon delivered. Later orders also started pouring in from America. Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles was an early recipient of one of the first production models, and ultimately purchased four new desks from Trident. David Bowie, Rod Stewart, and Frank Sinatra are among the first artists to record hits on Cherokee’s first A-Range console.
East West Studios, formerly Cello, still operates their original A-Range in Studio 3.
The smallest but arguably the most famous of their studios, the design of Studio 3 has been copied over and over by recording studios across the globe. Some of the most iconic hits of the 60s were born there. The Mamas and the Papas recorded “California Dreaming” and “Monday, Monday” in this studio, along with Scott McKenzie’s classic “San Francisco”. But one album recorded here stands above all the rest – The Beach Boy’s 1966 masterpiece Pet Sounds.
About Studio Three. @ East West Studios
Some of the hits just from Studio Three Include;
- 1963 The Beach Boys “Surfin USA”
- 1964 Jan and Dean “Everybody Loves Somebody”
- 1964 Barry McGuire “Eve of Destruction”
- 1965 The Beach Boys “California Girls”
- 1965 The Beach Boys “Sloop John B”
- 1965 The Mamas & the Papas “California Dreamin’”
- 1965 The Turtles “It Ain’t Me Babe”
- 1966 Scott Mackenzie “San Francisco”
- 1966The Mamas & the Papas If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears
- 1966 The Mamas & the Papas “Monday, Monday”
- 1966 The Mamas & the Papas “I Call Your Name”
- 1966 The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations”
- 1966 The Beach Boys “God Only Knows”
- 1966 The Beach Boys Pet Sounds
- 1966 The Beach Boys Smile Sessions
- 1966 Johnny Rivers Poor Side of Town
- 1966 The Mamas & the Papas “Dancing in the Street”
- 1966 The Turtles You Baby
- 1966 The Sunrays Andrea
- 1966 The Association Renaissance
- 1967 The Association Windy
- 1967 Johnny Rivers “Baby I Need Your Lovin’“
- 1967 The Grassroots Feelings
- 1967 The Mamas & the Papas Deliver
- 1967 The Mamas & the Papas “Creeque Alley”
- 1968 The Association Time for Living
- 1968 5th Dimension “Stone Soul Picnic”
- 1968 The Cowsills “Hair”
- 1969 The Grassroots Leaving It All Behind
- 1971 Hamilton Joe Frank & Reynolds Ain’t No Woman
- 1973 America “Goodbye, Goodbye”
- 1974 The DeFranco Family Save The Last Dance For Me
- 1976 Herb Pedersen Southwest
- 1979 Herbie Hancock Monster
- 1980 Blondie “The Tide is High”
- 1980 Blondie “Rapture”
- 1980 Dolly Parton “9 to 5”
- 1983 Bow Wow Wow When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going
- 1984 Donna Summers Cats Without Claws
- 1985 Stevie Knicks “Rock A Little”
- 1997 The Rolling Stones Bridges to Babylon
- 2001 Blink-182 Take Off Your Pants and Jacket
- 2001 Natalie Merchant Motherland
- 2001 System of a Down Toxicity
- 2002 Muse Absolution
- 2002 AFI Sing the Sorrow
- 2003 The Mars Volta De-Loused in the Comatorium
- 2003 Jimmy Eat World Futures
- 2004 Ryan Adams Love Is Hell
- 2009 Rihanna Rated R
- 2009 Band of Horses Infinite Arms
- 2010 Rihanna Loud
- 2011 Frank Ocean Channel Orange
- 2011 Nas Life is Good
- 2011 Jimmy Cliff Rebirth
- 2012 Richie Sambora Aftermath of a Lowdown
- 2012 Kelly Rowland Talk A Good Game
- 2012 Kate Nash Girl Talk
- 2012 Music for the film Behind the Candelabra
- 2012 Music for the TV Show American Horror Story
- 2012 Demi Lovato Demi
- 2012 Music for the TV Show The New Normal
- 2012 Ariana Grande Yours Truly
- 2013 Janelle Monáe The Electric Lady
- 2013 Music from the film Oblivion
- 2014 Lea Michele Louder
Another of the legendary studios to use the A-Range consoles was Chreeokee Recoding Studios in Hollywood. Cherokee studios owned at one time 4 A-Range consoles. Many bands and artisits have recorded on A-Range consoles at Chreeokee over the years including the following;
Harry Nilsson recorded his final album Flash Harry at Cherokee Studios between 1978 and 1980. Produced by Steve Cropper and engineered by Bruce Robb, the album has a very clean, soulful sound and features a who’s-who of collaborators including Ringo Starr, Paul Stallworth, Eric Idle and Mac Rebennack.
While living in one of the West Hollywood apartment complexes directly behind Cherokee Studios, Bonnie Raitt would pick up backup singing recording gigs with music producers Bruce Robb and Steve Cropper.
Frank Sinatra recorded the Sinatra Christmas Album at Cherokee in 1975.
While he was recording Stop and Smell the Roses at Cherokee Studios in 1980, Ringo Starr invited George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney to guest on the album; Paul McCartney and Harrison also produced some of the tracks. Starr had approached John Lennon to help out as well, had received two demos of songs which eventually wound up on the posthumous Lennon album Milk and Honey, and reportedly, Lennon had agreed to come to Los Angeles in January 1981 and take part in the recording; the album then would have been a modest Beatles reunion. The assassination of Lennon prevented those plans from coming to fruition. Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones also collaborated with Starr on the album at Cherokee, adding guitar, bass, saxophone, keyboards, and back-up vocals.
Weird Al Yankovic
Weird Al Yankovic recorded his first album at Cherokee in 1982. The album sold over 500,000 copies.
In 2002, a terminally ill Warren Zevon came to Cherokee Studios to record what would be his final album, The Wind. Nick Read filmed Zevon’s final recordings at Cherokee for the documentary,Warren Zevon: Keep Me In Your Heart. Bruce Springsteen joined Zevon at Cherokee for the single “Disorder in the House,” Cherokee owner Bruce Robb provided lead guitar on the first track of The Wind and support vocals on two other tracks.
Acts that have recorded at Cherokee Studios also include:
- Alice Cooper
- Automatic 7
- Barbra Streisand
- Bliss 66
- The Cars
- Concrete Blonde
- Dave Matthews Band
- David Bowie
- Diana Ross
- Donovan (Lady of the Stars)
- Elis Regina
- The Go-Go’s
- Guns N’ Roses
- Sammy Hagar
- Lillian Axe
- Lenny Kravitz
- Lita Ford
- Rollins Band
- Steely Dan
- Stylus Automatic
- Suicidal Tendencies
- The Choirboys
- Thirty Seconds to Mars
- Van Halen
- The Broken Homes
- Radio Active Cats
- Bihlman Bros