THE ROOTS OF FLANGING (ADT) and "flanging" can be credited
in part to John Lennon, According to Mark Lewisohn's
fine book "THE BEATLES RECORDING SESSIONS", Lennon just
hated singing the tedious "mult-tracks" so prevalent
in Beatles recordings prior to 1966. In response to this, on April
6, 1966, Ken Townsend, Abbey Road Studios' Tech Engineer had
a brilliant idea. During the mixing process, the output of the
vocal track was recorded on another open reel machine and then
combined with the original track to produce a "multed"
Although not detailed in Mr. Lewisohn's book, the specifics
of Ken's invention must have been something like this...in
order for a track to be synched with one being recorded
on another tape machine and played back off that machine's
playback head, Ken needed to feed the second tape deck "preview
" information by using the first deck's record head as
a preview playback head (because it is first in the tape path).
Then Ken had to make sure that the distance between record (or
preview) and playback heads was the same for both tape machines.
Following these steps would only produce a unison sound due to
perfect sync however.
In order to get the multed sound, Ken used a VSO vari-speed oscillator
to control subtle speed variation on the second deck's capstan
motor. These variations could also be accomplished by rubbing
a thumb on the reel flange to produce the necessary speed fluctuations.
John Lennon and the Beatles
were delighted with Ken's invention. George Harrison said
that Ken should have received a medal for his ADT concept. ADT
would affect all Beatles recordings after 1966. When Beatles'
producer George Martin attempted to explain the workings of ADT
to the non-technical Lennon, he called it a "double vibrocated
splooshing flanger". From then on the Beatles would frequently
call for the use of "the flanger" which can first
be heard on the "REVOLVER" LP.