Roy Bittan is seen with the historic Crystal pre/EQ modules.
Global music industry marketplace ANALOGr is supervising the online auction of legendary gear from Crystal Studios, which was purchased by Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band keyboardist Roy Bittan in the late 80's. In addition to his recording and touring work with Springsteen, Bittan has also worked with David Bowie, Stevie Nicks, Bob Seger, Jackson Browne, and Meat Loaf, among many others.
"A number of years ago," Bittan recalls, "I purchased a legendary recording studio in Hollywood on Vine Street, Crystal Sound. Over 100 Platinum and Gold records came out of that studio, including pivotal albums by Stevie Wonder."
The Crystal Studio console designed and hand-built by Andrew Berliner.
Photo from Recording Engineer/Producer magazine, April 1978.
Wonder's Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer Bob Margouleff explains, "With that console at Crystal, I worked on hit albums by Steve Wonder, Weather Report and countless others. It sounded wonderful and to this day, I still haven't heard anything better. The passive gain structure is very unusual and the sound is unique in its clarity and transient response. I love those big knobs, so easy to read. The studio's designer/builder Andrew Berliner had a brilliant mind."
Bittan elaborates on the legendary Crystal console, "It was created by a rather eccentric audio engineer who built the studio that I bought. When I was working on "Human Touch" and "Lucky Town" with Bruce, we rehearsed in those incredible rooms. Later on, when I was continually on the road with Bruce, I dismantled it. It was time to move on, but I kept all the gear, including all those mic pres and the EQs, along with those legendary API op-amps.”
Two mounted racks of eight Crystal Sound console strip mic-pres and EQ modules. Each rack offered at $40K - $50K.
Bittan had the console modules racked up and has been using them ever since. "Every time I record, we go, 'Wow, these are just fantastic.' They were hand gold-soldered and incredibly well built. When we were taking it apart, I was like, 'This is insane.' These particular EQs and mic-pres were used on over 100 Gold and Platinum records. These were the ones, these are not made from schematics, they were in the original console that I dismantled and rack-mounted to be able to use at home or to move around. I also kept a bunch of vintage outboard gear and mics from the studio. These blue cases were actually the original ones we had for outboard gear at Crystal. The way they all work together just creates a fantastic sound."
Additional items include vintage Telefunken, Neumann, Sony, Sennheiser, and RCA microphones; Teletronix LA 2A's; EMT and dbx Compressors; Custom Crystal EQ and Mic Pre-Amps; plus keyboards and loudspeakers.
Learn more about Roy Bittan's Crystal Studio collection and the many top albums recorded at the legendary studio: analogr.com/l/the-crystal-studios-collection/644966cf-eed1-47d8-bf16-35b2f7401d03