Recording console from The Dark Side of the Moon

The V&A are displaying the iconic Abbey Road Studio’s EMI TG12345 Mk IV Recording Console used between 1971 – 1983, a star attraction for the Pink Floyd : their mortal remains Exhibition. Amongst the recordings made on this console was their landmark album The Dark Side of the Moon. The recording console located in Studio 2 was one of only two custom-made by EMI engineers specifically for the Abbey Road Studio.

To install the console required a collaboration between the present owner who flew in from the  USA, the previous owner, the curator, the original Abbey Road technical engineer team, technicians from the V&A, and conservation, over the May Bank holiday weekend.

The object arrived in five massive crates: these were unpacked in the secure area, photographed and condition reported before being transported to the Museum’s dome area.

A large steel plinth had been constructed with wheels to enable the object to be moved when private events are scheduled in the front of the house.

The conservator oversaw the installation, working with the console’s owner and the Abbey Road technical engineers and V&A Technicians.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The three steel units comprising of a central unit and side units are supported on a wood frame. The ends of the side units are unsupported which, I was assured, were perfectly stable. The object is complete with very little new material.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

All the decks were individually photographed and switches, dials and power units carefully noted for their condition. The installation was also filmed by two cameramen flown in from the US to record the historic transition from this the console’s last display in the UK before transportation to its new home in the owner’s purpose-built recording studios in Los Angeles. This filming will form part of a documentary appertaining to the console.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This is a remarkable opportunity for the V&A to display such an object and also a great opportunity for the conservator to work with such a talented and historic original Abbey Road team.

The console owner was happy with the end result and as conservator I will take responsibility for ensuring its ongoing stability and safety whilst in the Museum.

The recording console will be on display in the Main Entrance of the V&A until 2 June and is part of the The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains exhibition.