Pete Townshend

For Quadrophenia, ASC supplied an array of TubeTraps for onstage sound control. When placed around the drum kit, they absorb bass rumble from Zak Starkey’s kick drum so it doesn’t disturb Roger Daltrey. Elsewhere, they isolate guitars so The Who can get orchestral with their amps cranked up high.

“It was my idea to use them [TubeTraps] to try to reduce bass rumble around the drum kit, around the riser, which they do very, very well…” Pete Townshend

the who live on stage roger and Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend called on his old friends at ASC to produce the TubeTraps he needed for the Quadrophenia tour after a long history endorsing the product.

“Roger [Daltrey] had a problem where he stands right in front of the drums. Though you can screen the drums off with perspex, what can’t do is you can’t lose the rumble from the bass drum. It was disturbing him and Zak’s [Zach Starkey] got double bass drums so it was a big rumbling noise,” explains Townshend.

Townshend has used TubeTraps for many different applications, experimenting with unique placement and deploying them in a wide range of environments where sound conditioning is needed.

“They’ve [TubeTraps] been great on tour… [We] used them to create traps around guitar amplifiers. My guitar sound needs the speakers to be developing sound as well as the amps. In other words, the speakers need to distort a little bit, and of course it was too loud, because the sound onstage with Quadrophenia is very quiet and almost orchestral.”

Townshend plays the speakers and amps like additional instruments, turning them up to a point where they add their own distortion to the band’s distinctive sound.

“It’s no more than maybe 90, 92, a maximum of 96 db, apart from maybe up by the drum-kit. And I needed to damp it down, and I had the idea to try a few TubeTraps around the kit, around the amplifier rig, and it’s just been great. It’s enabled me to turn my amps up really loud, certainly as loud as they were on the 2006, 2007 tours when we were playing heavy rock shows…”

In addition to controlling the sound around the drum-kit and lead guitar, Townshend used TubeTraps to isolate the backup guitar.

“We’ve used some over on the other side of the stage to break up the dispersion from Simon Townshend, my brother’s amplifier. He covers me on guitar over on the other side, so I can exclude him. It really is just using them like separation screens, but they do do more than that, because they take up the low end. They’ve got deflectors built into them as well so you can set them up to reflect the sound exactly where you want down the stage. They’re really useful onstage for that kind of thing.”

ASC also worked with Anvil Cases to develop storage cases to transport the 22 TubeTraps required by the tour.

Pete Towshend - 1987 letter regarding Bass TrapsBonus!

A blast from the past! A rare letter from Pete Townshend to Art Noxon recommending TubeTraps from 1987.

Mobile Recording Studios in Small Spaces

Pete Townshend gains inspiration from going to different places and recording in new environments. TubeTraps make it possible for him to adapt nearly any environment as a recording studio. He’s able to create a sound-neutral environment wherever he goes.

“I can make almost any space sound like a studio. You can make an old garage sound like a studio…using TubeTraps. I actually get a lot of inspiration these days from making mobile spaces… Traveling with recording gear… being able to adapt to changing circumstances.”

In this video, Townshend talks about how he uses TubeTraps to create recording environments in many different locations.

Special thanks to RSPE, our independent distributor in Southern California, for arranging this interview.

Pete Townshend, TubeTrap fan since the ’80s

It’s been over 25 years since we renovated his synclavier sampling room, the boat house at Eel Pie Studios, using QuickSoundField for mic’d sound. Townshend’s been a TubeTrap fan ever since.

Townshend ran into Bruce Swedien at a session in LA and asked him about TubeTraps. Neither of them had tried them at the time. Townshend called the factory a little while later and before long, he had outfitted his Boathouse, a small sampling room with non-parallel walls and round windows at Ell Pie Studios, into a world class sampling room.

“It was a triangle; worst possible shape you can have for a room and they sold me 40 traps and lo and behold, it fixed it.”

Pete Townshend surrounded by TubeTraps - 1980sTownshend was blown away by the sound he got in that room. He wrote the factory and told us his story. The Boathouse was so smooth that no one could hear which fader ran the nearfield or farfield mics. They sounded the same. He had to label the two mics so his engineers could remember which fader was the nearfield mic and which was the ambient mic.

We asked if he’d consider endorsing the QSF Sampling Room and he said “normally, no” but in this case, he’d be glad to, because recording engineers needed to know about the QSF. So Pete Townshend became the first star to endorse TubeTraps and the QSF recording technique.

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