The EMI TG 12345 Mk.I

“The most comprehensive sound mixing console in the world”
– EMI News in-house newsletter on the TG12345 MkI Console, 1968.

 

The Beatles Abbey Road Console

 

The Legendary EMI TG 12345 Prototype Console

FOR SALE BY TREATY – contact Malcolm Jackson sales@mjq.co.uk

The Prototype, or Mk.I

 

Out of the 17 TG consoles made by EMI:

Most were Mk.II and Mk.III.

Two were Mk.IV.

This is the only Mk.I


 

Spec:

 

24 mic inputs
 

12x Dual Microphone Cassettes; 4x Echo & 2 Cue Sends/ Limiter Compressors / 4 Dual Main Mix

This was the first console in the world to have limiter/compressors on every channel. 
 
8 outputs

2-Band EQs

4 Track Routing

4 Echo Sends

2 Cue Sends

Remote patchbay(disconnected)

Power Supply & associated cabling

 


 

 

Condition (as per technical report in Nov 2023 by Peter Higgs / Mode Engineering):

 

In good working condition commensurate with its age, which is approximately 54 years. The care with which EMI Research built these consoles is apparent including the use of highest quality military standard components… As with the previous TG “Dark Side of the Moon,” this console has very similar characteristics which I’m sure contributed greatly to the distinctive sounds of the iconic album, ‘Abbey Road’.

 
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Discography:

 

Cliff Richard and The Shadows
The Hollies 

 Mary Hopkin  

Doris Troy
Billy Preston/ That’s The Way God Planned It – produced by Harrison (May 1969)
The Beatles/ Abbey Road sessions (July-Aug 1969)
John Lennon/ Plastic Ono Band
Ringo Starr/ Sentimental Journey
Paul McCartney/ McCartney  George Harrison/ All Things Must Pass 

 

Timeline:

 

1967

EMI Abbey Road engineers provide EMI Central Research Team with an outline of what they need in their new mixing desk at EMI Studios, moving on from the REDD consoles. 
Mid-1968

The new prototype console is taken to Paris for trials (recording 3 operas at La Salle Wagram, engineered by Dave Harries).

June 1968

Installed at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios in the Experimental Room (Room 65), for testing and comparing against the existing REDD consoles.

November 24th, 1968

Installed in the Studio 2 control room at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios.

July 1st – August 20th, 1969

The Beatles record the album Abbey Road, with their final ever session together on the 20th August in Studio 2.

1968-1971

The console is used extensively at Abbey Road Studios for sessions by numerous recording artists.

September 6th, 1971

Replaced in Studio 2 by the latest TG (MkII). The MkI was in storage for a brief period before installation in the Control Room of Studio 1 – Abbey Road’s ‘classical’ studio.

1972

The MkI console was decommissioned from the Studio 1 Control Room, and moved to the basement of No. 5 Abbey Road.

Mid 70s

The console was later dismantled, with parts moved to the attic back at No. 3 Abbey Road, and some parts donated to a nearby language school in North London. When no longer needed, the parts were thrown in the skip. A tape machine maintenance engineer noticed them as he was passing by and decided to fish them out and take them home as he “liked the look of the knobs”.

1988-2018

Mike Hedges painstakingly reuniting the original parts with the console frame.

2018-2023

Restoration  

 

 

 

Originality

 

All the original components are present and included in the sale.

Due to the condition of 9 of the microphone cassettes, additional new parts were manufactured.

These particular components were made within UK by specialists to exact EMI specification.

Each reproduction aspect had to stand the test of time, so they used precisely the same materials and processes to meet the extremely high standards set by former EMI technician and TG guru Brian Gibson.

 

The console sound is exactly how it was over 50 years ago. 

Available upon request are all the frequency response readouts showing identical signal performance across the mic cassettes. 

 

 


 

Authenticity

 

Included in the sale are letters of provenance from:
 
 

Brian Gibson

Renowned EMI TG expert and former Studio Technician at EMI Studios London (Abbey Road) 1967-1998, and world authority on TG consoles.

 

Ken Townsend

Former Abbey Road Chairman and Studio Manager, employee at EMI/Abbey Road 1950-1995, present for The Beatles’ Abbey Road sessions.

 

Phil Hancock

Technical Engineer at EMI/Abbey Road 1970-2002.

 

Dave Harries

Recording Engineer at EMI/Abbey Road from 1964, later at Air Studios and Decca Studios.

 

Mike Hedges

Producer, Engineer, one of the principal client at Abbey Road Studios 1979-1989 and current owner of the console.

 

Terry Britten

Singer-songwriter and Record Producer, former owner of ‘State of the Ark’ Studios (who had an EMI TG console for some years and was owner of some of the original cassettes that have been reunited with the MkI).

 

 
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The restoration 2018-2023

 

Project Manager

Malcolm Jackson

 

Technical Supervisor  

Brian Gibson

 

Technical team  

Barney Herbert
Malc Atkin
Pete Kyriacou
Joe Shaw
Grace Banks
Peter Higgs
Asa Freeman
Ben Ward
 

To receive the email brochure detailing in full the story of the restoration, please send a blank email with “TG” in the subject to: sales@mjq.co.uk

 

The Legendary EMI TG 12345 Prototype Console
'The TG Men' in 1968 and The TG techs in 2023

EMI TG 12345 Mk1 (The Prototype), ‘The TG Men’ in 1968 and The TG techs in 2023

EMI Beatles Abbey Road console mic cassettes April 2024

L to R: Pete Kyriacou, Mike Hedges, Ken Townsend, Brian Gibson, Dave Harries, Barney Herbert, Malcolm Jackson, Malcolm Atkin

Mike Hedges – ‘The TG Man’

 

 

Mike Hedges fell in love with the TG sound and build his career on it, becoming ‘the TG man’… collecting any parts that he could get his hands on while the main client at Abbey Road throughout most of the the 80s…

 

“The first time I became aware of TG mixers was in late 1979, early 1980. I had been brought up on Cadacs and Harrisons at Morgan studios between 1975 and 1981. I left Morgan to become freelance and was looking for Studios to record at and do overdubs on The Cure’s ‘Faith’ album and we ended up at Abbey Road. What a magical experience that was. 

To be honest the first thing that impressed me about the TG consoles was the look of them, the old style radial faders (which, to be honest, have never been bettered, ergonomically at least) the gorgeous Ernest Turner meters and spectacular build quality. Then once I started using the consoles, I instantly fell in love with the sound. They had something really different about them. It was something undefinable. All my colleagues were into Neves and other such consoles, but really the TG’s  They had something truly special about the sound which I’ve loved ever since.

It was because of the TG Mk.4 in studio 2 that I then started working at Abbey Rd pretty much continuously from the early 80s onwards. I suppose it was about 1987 or 88, they decided that the TG had to go, which for me was a disaster. I threatened to never work there again at the time. I seem to remember saying that to Collette Barber and Ken Townsend but he explained to me that the problem was that TG learning curve was too great for outside engineers. They were used to in-line consoles (MCI‘s, Neve’s and Harrisons etc.), which all have similarities and are easy to master. Since the TG was a completely individual design of a console and for most to use the TG was too much of a struggle for them. So in order to attract outside engineers which was the fashion at the time, they understandably wanted to put in an SSL. As a consolation because I loved  the TG’s so much they offered to sell me a TG  which was the old  ‘Abey Road Mobile Recording Unit’. A modified TG12345 Mk. 2. As it was a mobile unit it was designed to break up into four pieces and fit though a standard doorway then I could always use it on my sessions as well as the SSL. A suitable compromise. 

The technician in charge of TG’s  at the time was Phil Hancock. He and I were really good friends by then and he took me next door to a room downstairs at No. 5 Abbey Road. There was a load of stuff stored there. Several custom built (by Studer !) 1” flight cased multi tracks for mobile recordings two of which had been converted to a 2” 16 track. There were also Altec RS128 compressors, a mono valve EMT echo plate, a EMT gold foil and a few dozen microphones, mic stands, cables, Dolby racks, basically everything that had been used by the mobile unit but had been superseded. At the time it was considered obsolete. I arranged to buy everything as a job lot. Included in this lot were several light grey cassettes of, to me at the time, unknown origin. Of course I knew that the Beatles had used a TG for the recording of Abbey Road but as I had only ever seen dark (battleship) grey TG’s at AR I assumed the light grey parts were from another EMI location that used the light grey such as Pathé Marconi in Paris. 

Some time later that year I actually took it the mobile recording unit on location in Spain, Somerset and the West of Ireland. I used to pay AR to allow Phil Hancock to travel with me as my technical support and I would produce and engineer the recordings. I soon realised that if I was going to continue doing this, I really needed spare parts for the quick swapping the TG’s were designed for. I really needed to have spares so I asked Phil and Ken Townsend about this, is it possible to get hold of any more spares. By this time there were no more TG consoles in general use at the studio. 

One day not long after Phil said we have found some spares for you and took me to the garage at the rear entrance to studio 2. It was packed with console pieces. Frames and cassettes. It was, it turned out, almost the complete MK.4, and several Mk.3 and Mk.2 cassettes but also 7 more light grey cassettes. Phil informed me that these were parts of an old EMI prototype mixer that had been decommissioned.

It seems when the MK.4 came out it had been offered for sale and there had been interest in it. I was told from from Kate Bush and Paul McCartney amongst others that might just be hearsay. It was then was given to MJQ to dispose off and Malcolm told me he’d he was trying to get offers of £5,000 but as it was dismantled and in It was all in pieces there were no takers. Lucky for me no one else was interested in TG’s at time.

As it was un-sellable I was one of the main clients for studio 2 in the 80’s and an Abbey Road and TG fanatic (I had just booked 6 months in Studio 2 at £1,000 a day) Ken let me have all the bits in the garage at a nominal price.

I bumped into Alan Brown in the corridor at Abbey Road and he said oh you’re the TG man aren’t you are we’ve got some other bits we need to get rid of. He took me to the attic of number three, a room I had never been to before, which was packed with several cassettes from Mk.2’s and 3’s as well as more of the light grey cassettes, test equipment and spare parts and all sorts of bits and pieces. They wanted to clear the attic to make room for office space. He said if you want the stuff you can have it and of course I wanted the spare parts! Hundreds of circuit boards of various types, pots, switches, radial faders and knobs. There were also boxes of individual components with thousands of germanium transistors, resistors and capacitors. Phil Hancock told me later he had moved parts of the prototype from No. 5 Abbey Road into that attic room so they had more room to store the mobile unit.

Also around the same time I had a phone call from Abbey Road tech department. I actually can’t remember who it was. It could’ve been Neil Aldridge again it could’ve been someone else in the department I didn’t know very well. I wasn’t that close to but there’s a lot we’ve got a lot more bits and pieces in a storeroom here that we want to convert. We really need the space. Do you want to buy it and I said to be honest I have really very little space myself at the moment and I’ve got so many bits and pieces already that I couldn’t offer you anything for it and that was the end of the conversation. Then about two hours later I got a phone call saying we really need to move the stuff so if you have room then you can just have it. So a van came round and dumped a whole load of bits of frame, several Siemens patch bays cassettes, books, boxes of connectors all sorts of bits and pieces from various consoles, which I put into storage.

A month or two later while doing a session in Studio 2, someone popped in to say ‘there are some of those TG bits you love outside Studio 1 if you’re interested’ and of course I was interested. There were more grey cassettes and part of a frame, mostly empty, with an unusual shaped meter bridge. The frame was in bad condition so I just removed the cassettes & meters and left the metalwork.

The story I was told is, that it was part of a TG prototype that had been loaned to a school to use for tape duplication. They could never get it working properly (and I now know the reason for that now is they had the wrong loom with the console) and so eventually stopped using it and they just kept it under tarpaulins for a years. Eventually during refurbishment of their premises they decided to send it back to Abbey Road. The head tech at Abbey Road at the time told them that AR really don’t need this stuff back as no longer in use so instead of doing a second load, apparently they couldn’t fit it all in as a single load. Part of the console they had, the left-hand side I believe, was going to be disposed of by the school, but luckily a technician who was working at the school at the time spotted the parts of the cassettes and liked the look of the knobs so took them home. These in a roundabout way then ended up with Terry Britten’s ‘State of the Ark’ studios. 

In 1990 I decided to relocate to France after seeing an article in the newspaper that said you can buy a château in France for next to nothing. After a short search we bought Château Rouge Motte in Domfront France. A huge imposing Gothic structure for a lot more than next to nothing. The Mk.4 and Mk. 2 and everything in storage was on put on trucks and shipped out to France.

Once we got France we had a huge amount of space and could finally start getting everything out of the flight cases everything out of boxes.

The Mk.4 and Mk. 2 were assembled and at the same time we discovered there were four metal frame parts (the Mk.4 was a wooden frame) two of which matched and two mismatched. The matched pair were finished in silver Hammerite and also had legs. We used that complete frame to hold for all the spare cassettes. It quickly became obvious that apart from a few mic channels we had most of another console.

It was also at this time that Brian told me that he thought there were two frames so that the cassettes could be repaired and tested at EMI Hayes. This explained why even though there was only one official prototype I had two of all the master cassettes ie the CRM, SP and three Groups and extra Mains. It would have been difficult to test and repair the Mic cassettes at Hayes without these. 

Many years later Brian Gibson and Malcolm Jackson from MJQ helped me do a deal with Terry Britten to add his parts to mine and they began a faithful restoration of the console to to get it into the condition you see today.”

Mike Hedges

(Signed & dated hardcopy original included in the sale).

 

If you would like to discuss the console please email sales@mjq.co.uk

EMI Beatles Abbey Road console mic cassettes April 2024

The Mk.I mic cassettes – comparison original vs refurbished

0 cycles at 10kHz going into. TG Mk1 mic cassette and picking it up at Main 1 output. Both the original and new cassettes are identical

10 cycles at 10kHz going into TG Mk1 mic cassette and picking it up at Main 1 output.

Both the original and new cassettes are identical – even including the short “ring” at the end.