Minimixes other grandmix playlists Mixes on CD
2 x SL1200mkII turntables with Stanton Triple E cartridges
2 x TC Electronics TC2290 sampler delays
1 x Teac Tascam mixer 3A (8 channels)
1 x Master Recorder: Revox PR99 with Studer "Butterfly" recording heads.
Speed: 38 cm/s 2track
Tape: 1/4 inch BASF 911 at 510 nanoweber level
After gathering all the dance charts of the year, an initial list was made in the month
November. This list was sorted by tempo (BPM beats per minute) and on the 1st of
December, work was started on the mix. It took the full month of December to complete
and perfect the mix, usually working the last 72 hours in one stretch.
Reel to reel tape
These early Grandmixes were all edited on tape. Have a look how it was done.
As the edited tape was the final thing, each edit and crossfade not only had to be
rhythmically correct, but even more important , at the right volume level. The mix
would otherwise become louder and louder, resulting in overload and distortion.
I never liked limiters and compressors on final mixes, so the grandmix was also made
This mix was transferred from analog tape to the Sony SL-F1 prior to broadcasting.
(See also Reel to Reel on the '84 page)
The Grandmix 87 was the first mix where 2 TC electronics sampler delays were used.
These sampler delays were 2 seperate delays linked with a synchronisation cable to provide
phase correct stereo sampling. The units each have 32 seconds of memory at a wopping
1 Megahertz sampling rate (By comparison, a CD player has 44.1 KHz sampling rate).
This rate provides a frequency response running up to 32 KHz bandwith and thus provided
state of the art sampling and playback.
So how was it used ? Instead of using 2 turntables, only one was used, and instead of starting-in
the next record by hand, it was first recorded into the sampler. It was then triggered by a reed-relais
which was fitted on the SL1200 along with a small magnet on the turntable of the SL1200. After the right
speed was determined, the next segment (in the sampler/delay) could be triggered exactly at the right
moment by the magnet passing the reed-relais. The turntable and the record were marked by a small
marker. Now the timing of the moment of triggering could exactly be adjusted by off-setting
the record to the turntable-platter slightly forward or back. The turntable would then be reversed
half a rotation , and started...... When the magnet passes the reed-relais, the next section was triggered.
In these way, records could be started exactly in-sync from the very first beat, and a crossover could be
performed over and over again, concentrating on the sound levels, as synchronisation was already taken
care of by "automated" triggering.
The Grandmix 87 Directors Cut
The Grandmix 87 as broadcasted 29th of May 1999 was transferred from the original 1/4 inch analog
edited tape, to the Akai DD1000 Optical Disc Recorder.
The original tape was eq-corrected using the test-tones recorded on the tape in 1987.
Recording these test-tones at the beginning of a master tape were standard procedures with analog recordings.
They are used to compensate errors in frequency response between different analog recorders. A usual series
of tones comprised of a 1000Hz tone for basic level, a 10KHz tone to calibrate the high-end, and check the
azimuth (tape head angle) settings, and a 100Hz tone to check the low-end, all recorded at -10 or -20 dB.
The tape was played back using the Studer A80 analog tape recorder at a speed of + 1% (just as in 87).
The reason for speeding up the tape, is because when the mix was made, several records had to be mixed
in at approx -1% to get them synchronised properly wth the previous track. Ben then decided to spin up
the entire mix to compensate for the lower speed.
The mix was then leveled to 0 dB and minor imperfections were corrected.
The intro starts of with "Timewarp complete - Ready for transmission" followed by the original
Intro featuring Ben Liebrand on Vocoder. The mix was then recorded on to DAT.
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