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United Recording Archives Lee Silver’s Analog Catalog

Priceless analog tape masters produced and recorded in 1960 at United

Vintage Tape Recordings Are Coming Back in Hit Films and TV Shows
Pictured at United Recording are (L-R) recording engineer and head of archiving Dan Johnson and Tru-Gems Music Group, LLC President, Bonnie Silver.  Photo by David Goggin.

Bonnie Silver, President of Tru-Gems Music Group, LLC and daughter of legendary record producer, singer, songwriter and music publisher Lee Silver, is currently working with United Recording’s new archiving division to transfer a multitude of priceless analog tape masters produced and recorded by Lee Silver at United.

Lee Silver is credited with charted songs, many of which were produced at United Recording just after it opened its doors in the late 1950’s. United Recording remained his go-to recording studio throughout the 1960’s as well.

Bonnie Silver has been overseeing her late father’s music catalog, which includes its publishing companies and record labels, since 2001. Along with her team, Bonnie has been successful in placing these original recordings in popular television shows such as “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men,” “American Horror Story” and “Girls,” among many others.

“The timing of United’s launching of its Archiving division is serendipitous,” Bonnie explained. “We recently rediscovered these tapes in our vaults just after my father passed away last June. To have an expert of Dan Johnson’s caliber archive these tapes and to bring them back home to United is a lovely way to honor my father’s vast musical talents and these incredible recordings. The first tape transferred into a variety of high resolution digital formats is that of The Georgettes, a female pop group who my father produced and recorded at United Recording in 1960.”

The Georgettes’ archiving project started with quarter-inch Scotch 131 analog tape masters recorded at 15 ips. “The first step was to take a look at the condition of the tape,” Johnson said. “It is acetate-based and was in great shape. The only issue with the tape was dried-out leader joints, which is very common. The leader joints were replaced with new splicing tape. I looked at the oxide side of the tape with a magnetic viewer and verified that it was Full Track Mono. No alignment tones were found on the reel, so our Ampex ATR 102 was calibrated using an MRL (Magnetic Reference Laboratory) tape.

“The surprising part of this archive is how good the recordings sounded. Usually, a tape of this vintage has dropouts, distortion, high amounts of tape hiss, and other anomalies, but this reel had none of these detriments. The recordings are sonically stunning for being 57 years old. It’s a pleasure to work with Bonnie on securing her father’s legacy for the enjoyment of future generations in the same studio where he recorded these classics decades ago.”

About United Recording
United Recording was founded in 1957 by the legendary recording engineer and electronics inventor Bill Putnam with the backing of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. The studios were acquired and renamed Ocean Way Recording in 1977, and after acquisition in 2013 by Hudson Pacific Properties, re-launched under the original name in 2014. United Recording, one of the world’s most recognized music recording studios, with more awards than any other recording enterprise, is responsible for record sales of more than one billion units.
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