London, UK (July 20, 2016)—Abbey Road mastering engineer Sean Magee recently worked on the 40th anniversary deluxe edition of the first album by the Ramones, with the active participation of Craig Leon, the album’s original producer.
According to Leon, the initial “wild idea” for the recording plan of the first album was to record it at Abbey Road. They had also hoped to make a dedicated monaural mix for their debut, but their record company’s distributor would not sanction it. Some mono mixes were made for single A- and B-sides during the sessions at Plaza Sound in Manhattan, but the album was commercially issued in stereo.
The 40th anniversary release goes some way towards fulfilling the band’s original intentions. Leon created a mono mix for the first time, working with Abbey Road mix engineer Sam Okell in Studio 3 on a vintage Abbey Road TG12345 desk, using his original notes and guide mixes from 1976. He also remastered the stereo version of the original album for CD at Abbey Road, together with all of the album’s 1970s mono and stereo single mixes and a selection of Tommy Ramone-produced demos for the second disc of the set.
According to Magee, the original 1976 mixes were first transferred at 192 kHz to a high-resolution digital master, which he then imported into the SADiE workstation he uses in Room 6 at Abbey Road. He remastered the material through Abbey Road’s in-house-designed digital patch control unit to word-clocked Benchmark Audio converters using his custom-modified Abbey Road TG12410 mastering console, a Prism/Maselec MEA-2 EQ and his favorite Manley and Chiswick Reach compressors.
The newly mixed material was recorded to half-inch analogue tape and mastered by Magee using the same signal chain. The set’s vinyl LP was cut at Abbey Road at half-speed by the studio’s regular half-speed mastering expert Miles Showell.
Rhino is releasing the 3CD/1 vinyl LP deluxe set on September 9, 2016 in a limited punk-friendly run of 19,760 copies.
Abbey Road Studios