Pink Floyd recording console sold for record $1.8 million at Bonhams
The studio console used to record the classic Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon has set a new world record price, selling for more than $1.8 million.
The EMI TG12345 MK IV recording console was one of only two consoles custom-built by EMI engineers, and has been described by experts as "the greatest console ever constructed".
It was originally situated at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London, where it was used extensively from 1971 until 1983 by artists such as Paul McCartney and Wings, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Kate Bush.
But the console is most famous for producing Pink Floyd's landmark album The Dark Side of the Moon – recently voted by Rolling Stone magazine as the Number One Rock Album of All Time.
Released in 1973, the album spent an incredible 741 weeks in the charts, and to date has sold an estimated 45 million copies around the world.
The album was critically acclaimed for its production, featuring sweeping soundscapes created on the console by producer Alan Parsons, who recalled working with Pink Floyd to Premier Guitar magazine in 2012:
"... the band members were experienced in the studio. They arguably were the most technically minded band out there. They knew what a recording studio was capable of, and they took full advantage. And they worked me hard—they always worked their engineers hard to push the barriers...."
In 1983 Abbey Road studios decided to upgrade its equipment, and the console was acquired by producer Mike Hedges, who had maintained it in his own studio ever since.
Offered at auction for the first time, as part of a sale of music memorabilia at Bonhams in New York, the console sold for $1,807,500 – more than doubling its pre-sale estimate of $700,000, and setting a new record as the most valuable piece of musical recording equipment ever sold.
"The world record price of this important item of music engineering only confirms the military precision of EMI craftsmanship and the powerhouse persona of Abbey Road Studio," said Katherine Schofield, Head of Entertainment Memorabilia in London.
"The intense bidding seen in the room and on the phone speaks to its association with one of the UK's most relevant and successful bands, Pink Floyd, and highlights the fact that this is far from being any ordinary console."
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