The gear behind Abbey Road Studios: Studio Two Echo Chamber

In 1947, artificial reverb as we know it today was born in a bathroom — Bill Putnam’s bathroom, to be exact. It provided an echo chamber effect for the Harmonicats’ recording of ‘Peg O’ My Heart’.

Soon after this, we welcomed the introduction of the Studio Two Echo Chamber. Originally used as an air raid shelter for staff during the second world war, this small room was converted into the Studio Two Echo Chamber in the mid-1950s.

Developed by the EMI engineers, it created exciting reverbs, delays and other unique spatial effects. From The Beatles to Pink Floyd, or almost any song recorded at Abbey Road during the ‘60s, it is significantly likely that it would be incorporating the Abbey Road Studio Two Echo Chamber. For several decades, the Echo Chamber was responsible for nearly all reverb effects created at the studios.

Here’s how it works: a recording is played through the speaker and recaptured by the microphones after having bounced around the hard reflective surfaces within the room, including these large pillars. The resulting sound is then mixed back into the original track adding a warm echo.

This chamber is still utilised on a variety of sessions today and has even been faithfully reproduced as a plugin by Waves Audio, allowing anyone to harness its unique sonic qualities.

Neil Dowd
Author: Neil Dowd