Tony Banks
Keyboards and FX
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Tony used an extraordinary setup in the studio while recording The Lamb.  This setup was the natural progression of his audio chain used on prior albums.  Tony wanted to be in control of his keyboard sounds and textures so he used a small mixer to which all his keyboards were connected (he had his Hammond T-102 modded for a DI line).

From the mixing board, Tony could control the submix of his keyboards and send mixed stereo DI lines to the Helios Desk.  He also could route these DI’ed signals to his Leslie speaker.  The leslie speaker was mic’ed up with a stereo pair of Nuemann U-87s.

For effects, Tony had a Fender Blender and an MXR Phase 100 both modded as built ins to his RMI Electra Piano.

Any of the keyboards could also be sent to a pair of Echoplex tape echo machines (which were MONO) thru sends and returns in the mixing board.  He could pan and mix the echos as LEFT and RIGHT pairs.  Each of the two echos had different delay times.  

If you listen to the beginning of Watcher of the Skies, you can hear the echos from the Mellotron when he picks up his hands from the chords. When you listen to Tony’s keyboards on the Lamb Studio tracks, you can hear this technique if you listen for it.  It is quite cool and it is the only way to replicate the studio sound of Tony’s keyboards.

Also, notice that the Hammond does not go direct to the Leslie and goes thru the mixing desk first.  When you read or hear that Tony used a modified T-102, the only mod was the addition of tapping into the audio to create a DI signal.

This took me years to understand and I might not totally understand how this worked.  Maybe someday I will have the opportunity to ask Tony how close I am to his actual setup and signal chain.

The other unique process used in the recording of Tony’s keyboard parts was that of the Helios desk itself. The Helios desk has a very unique and special sound. Most of the character of the desk was its EQ section.  The EQs on the channel strips were quite unique as well.  You could boast the low end but not change the frequency.  For the mids, you had a through or addition of fixed MID Frequencies and a pot for boost level.  For the highs, there were fixed boosts all set at 10K.  The special thing about this EQ was that you can actually set all frequencies on full boost and the thing wouldn’t break up.

This desk was used by many English rockers at the time.  To name a few besides GENESIS; Led Zepellin, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, 10cc, Blodwyn Pig and many others. The HELIOS was the sound of English rock music from the late 60s thru the mid 70s.  I will save more info about the Helios for elsewhere on this website.

If anyone has information about Tony’s setup that is incorrectly diagramed, please use the contact link and drop me an email. Before you tell me that the Hammond in the diagram isn’t a Hammond T, I know.  I couldn’t find a Hammond T photo with a white background and the only spinet I could find with the right background color was a Hammond M series.