Helios "Type 69" Consoles

Helios, along with the EMI/Abbey Road, Sound Techniques and early Trident boards, represents the pinnacle of classic British consoles. Besides EMI consoles, no other console made more hit records than any other console in its short history between 1969 and 1979. 

Think that The Beatles (All You Need is Love), The Who (Who’s Next for e.g.), Jimi Hendrix (all Jimi Hendrix Experience albums), The Rolling Stones (nearly all albums between 1967 and 1980), Bob Marley (all albums), Led Zeppelin (all albums), Black Sabbath (Paranoid), Stephen Stills (first two albums), Elton John, The Eagles (first two albums), Eric Clapton, David Bowie (Diamond Dogs), Queen (A Night at the Opera) and countless others all recorded on the same kind of Helios console, the famous “Type 69,” all boasting the exact same preamps and equalizers.

Some of the most most famous studios in rock history adopted Helios consoles. The most famous place which started the history of Helios was Olympic Studios. It’s head technician, Richard “Dick” Swettenham, designed the Helios console for Olympic based on input from its star engineers which included Glyn Johns and his brother Andy, Eddie Kramer, Gus Dudgeon, and George Chkiantz (the inventor of phasing!). Other studios and artists quickly adopted what was considered the best console in the world including The Beatles which installed a Helios console at Apple Studios. Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Ronnie Wood, Ginger Baker and Steve Winwood among others all installed Helios consoles in their home studios and the Rolling Stones set up their famous “Rolling Stones Mobile” studio with a Helios (remember the “mobile” mentioned in Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”). Island Studios bought two, Virgin Records installed three consoles, Hansa Studios and Musicland both installed Helios in their studios and attracted international stars to Germany ranging from Bowie to Donna Summer. The Who built Ramport Studios around a classic Helios and so did Leon Russell for his record label.

The console’s “secret” lies in its incredibly simple but faithful signal path. What you hear in the room is what you get through the speakers. However, it allows for powerful manipulation of the sound via its exceptional inductor-based EQs and tone-shaping gain structure. Remember the drums on “Led Zeppelin I” and “Who’s Next”? Helios! The revolutionary sounds of Jimi’s Stratocaster on “Axis:Bold As Love”? Helios! Don Henley’s haunting vocal soaring over the orchestra on the Eagles’ “Desperado”? Helios! The destruction-bent rhythm of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” and “War Pigs”? Helios! The thumping bass of Bob Marley’s “One Love” and “Exodus”? Helios! The soulful organ on Procol Harum’s classic “A Whiter Shade of Pale”? Helios! We could go on and on recounting the past 50 years of pop music and one element remains from The Beatles “All You Need is Love” in 1967 to AC/DC “Highway to Hell” in 1979: Helios!
 

A partial list of albums recorded on Helios "Type 69" consoles:

  • The Beatles "All You Need Is Love" (1967, Olympic Studios)
  • The Beatles "Magical Mystery Tour" (1967, Olympic Studios)
  • Jimi Hendrix Experience "Are You Experienced?" (1967, Olympic Studios)
  • Jimi Hendrix Experience "Axis: Bold As Love" (1967, Olympic Studios)
  • The Rolling Stones "Their Satanic Majesties Request" (1967, Olympic Studios)
  • The Rolling Stones "Between The Buttons" (1967, Olympic Studios)
  • Procol Harum "A Whiter Shade of Pale" (1967, Olympic Studios)
  • Traffic "Mr. Fantasy" (1967, Olympic Studios)
  • Sammy Davis Jr. Songs for the musical "Doctor Dolittle" (1967, Olympic Studios)
  • Jimi Hendrix Experience "Electric Ladyland" (1968, Olympic Studios)
  • The Rolling Stones "Beggars Banquet" (1968, Olympic Studios)
  • Traffic "Hole In My Shoe" (1968, Olympic Studios)
  • Traffic "Traffic" (1968, Olympic Studios)
  • The Zombies "Odessey and Oracle" (1968, Olympic Studios)
  • Joe Cocker "With a Little Help from My Friends" (1969, Olympic Studios)
  • Ella Fitzgerald "Ella" (1969, Olympic Studios)
  • Led Zeppelin "Led Zeppelin I" (1969, Olympic Studios)
  • Rod Stewart "An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down" (1969, Olympic Studios)
  • The Rolling Stones "Let It Bleed" (1969, Olympic Studios)
  • Quincy Jones Soundtrack to "The Italian Job" (1969, Olympic Studios)
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice "Jesus Christ Superstar - A Rock Opera" (1970, Olympic Studios)
  • Black Sabbath "Black Sabbath" (1970, Island Studios)
  • Black Sabbath "Paranoid" (1970, Island Studios)
  • Free "Fire & Water" (1970, Island Studios)
  • Ginger Baker Airforce "Airforce 2" (1970, Olympic Studios)
  • Led Zeppelin "Led Zeppelin II" (1970, Olympic Studios)
  • Led Zeppelin "Led Zeppelin III" (1970, Olympic Studios / Rolling Stones Mobile / Island Studios)
  • Eric Clapton "Eric Clapton" (1970, Olympic Studios)
  • Leon Russell "Leon Russell" (1970, Olympic Studios / Island Studios)
  • Memphis Slim "Blue Memphis" (1970, Olympic Studios)
  • Paul McCartney "McCartney" (1970, Paul McCartney's Home Studio)
  • Stephen Stills "Stephen Stills" (1970, Island Studios)
  • Traffic "John Barleycorn Must Die" (1970, Olympic Studios)
  • Roy Budd Soundtrack to "Get Carter" (1970, Olympic Studios)
  • B.B. King "In London" (1971, Olympic Studios)
  • Deep Purple "Fireball" (1971, Olympic Studios)
  • Frank Zappa "200 Motels" (1971, Rolling Stones Mobile)
  • Graham Nash "Songs For Beginners" (1971, Island Studios)
  • Harry Nilsson "Nilsson Schmilsson" (1971, Island Studios)
  • Howlin' Wolf "The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions" (1971, Olympic Studios)
  • Jethro Tull "Aqualung" (1971, Island Studios)
  • Led Zeppelin "Led Zeppelin IV" (1971, Rolling Stones Mobile / Island Studios)
  • The Faces "A Nod Is As Good As a Wink... to a Blind Horse" (1971, Olympic Studios)
  • Leon Russell "Leon Russell And The Shelter People" (1971, Island Studios)
  • Stephen Stills "Stephen Stills 2" (1971, Island Studios)
  • Supertramp "Indelibly Stamped" (1971, Olympic Studios)
  • Ten Years After "A Space in Time" (1971, Olympic Studios)
  • The Rolling Stones "Sticky Fingers" (1971, Olympic Studios)
  • The Who "Who's Next" (1971, Olympic Studios)
  • Traffic "The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys" (1971, Island Studios)
  • Alan Price Soundtrack to "O'Lucky Man" (1971, Olympic Studios)
  • Big Youth "Screaming Target" (1972, Harry J. Studios)
  • Deep Purple "Machine Head" (1972, Rolling Stones Mobile)
  • Eagles  "Eagles" (1972, Olympic Studios)
  • Elton John "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player" (1972, Strawberry Studios)
  • Funkadelic "America Eats Its Young" (1972, Olympic Studios)
  • Genesis "Foxtrot" (1972, Island Studios)
  • Harry Nilsson "Son Of Schmilsson" (1972, Apple Studios)
  • Hugh Masekela "Home Is Where the Music Is" (1972, Island Studios)
  • Mott The Hoople "All The Young Dudes" (1972, Olympic Studios)
  • Slade "Slade Alive!" (1972, Olympic Studios)
  • Ten Years After "Rock & Roll Music to the World" (1972, Olympic Studios)
  • The Rolling Stones "Exile on Main Street" (1972, Olympic Studios / Rolling Stones Mobile)
  • Mott the Hoople "All the Young Dudes" (1972, Olympic Studios)
  • Eric Clapton "Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert" (1973, Ronnie Lane's Mobile Studio)
  • Eagles "Desperado" (1973, Island Studios)
  • Emerson Lake & Palmer "Brain Salad Surgery" (1973, Olympic Studios)
  • George Harrison "Living In The Material World" (1973, Apple Studios)
  • Led Zeppelin "Houses of the Holy" (1973, Olympic Studios)
  • Mike Oldfield "Tubular Bells" (1973, The Manor Studios)
  • Paul McCartney & Wings "Red Rose Speedway" (1973, Olympic Studios / Island Studios)
  • Ringo Starr "Ringo" (1973, Apple Studios)
  • The Ozark Mountain Daredevils "The Ozark Mountain Daredevils" (1973, Olympic Studios)
  • The Wailers "Burnin'" (1973, Harry J. Studios / Island Studios)
  • The Wailers "Catch a Fire" (1973, Harry J. Studios / Island Studios)
  • The Who "Quadrophenia" (1973, Ronnie Lane's Mobile Studio)
  • Toots & The Maytals "Funky Kingston" (1973, Island Studios)
  • Bad Company "Bad Company" (1974, Olympic Studios)
  • Barclay James Harvest "Everyone Is Everybody Else" (1974, Olympic Studios)
  • Bryan Ferry "Another Time, Another Place" (1974, Island Studios / Ramport Studios)
  • Camel "Mirage" (1974, Island Studios)
  • Deep Purple "Burn" (1974, Rolling Stones Mobile)
  • Deep Purple "Stormbringer" (1974, Musicland Studios)
  • Eagles "On The Border" (1974, Olympic Studios)
  • Genesis "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" (1974, Island Studios / Island Mobile)
  • King Crimson "Red" (1974, Olympic Studios)
  • Rick Wakeman "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth" (1974, Ronnie Lane's Mobile Studio)
  • Rory Gallagher "Irish Tour '74" (1974, Ronnie Lane's Mobile Studio)
  • Supertramp "Crime of the Century" (1974, Ramport Studios)
  • The Rolling Stones "It's Only Rock & Roll" (1974, Musicland Studios)
  • The Who "Tommy - Original Soundtrack Recording" (1974, Ramport Studios)
  • Slade "Slide in Flame" (1974, Olympic Studios)
  • 10cc "The Original Soundtrack" (1975, Strawberry Studios)
  • Bad Company "Straight Shooter" (1975, Ronnie Lane's Mobile Studio)
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers "Natty Dread" (1975, Harry J. Studios)
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers "Live!" (1975, Rolling Stones Mobile)
  • Donna Summer "Love To Love You Baby" (1975, Musicland Studios)
  • Electric Light Orchestra "Face The Music" (1975, Musicland Studios)
  • Eric Clapton "E.C. Was Here" (1975, Ronnie Lane's Mobile Studio)
  • Led Zeppelin "Physical Graffiti" (1975, Olympic Studios / Island Studios)
  • Peter Frampton "Frampton" (1975, Olympic Studios)
  • Queen "A Night at the Opera" (1975, Olympic Studios)
  • Stephen Stills "Stills" (1975, Island Studios)
  • Supertramp "Crisis? What Crisis?" (1975, Ramport Studios)
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (1975, Olympic Studios)
  • The Who "Who By Numbers" (1975, Ronnie Lane's Mobile Studio / Ramport Studios / Island Mobile)
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice "Evita" (1976, Olympic Studios)
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers "Rastaman Vibration" (1976, Harry J. Studios)
  • David Bowie "Diamond Dogs" (1976, Olympic Studios / Island Studios)
  • Electric Light Orchestra "A New World Records" (1976, Musicland Studios)
  • Joan Armatrading "Joan Armatrading" (1976, Olympic Studios)
  • Led Zeppelin "Presence" (1976, Musicland Studios)
  • Rory Gallagher "Calling Card" (1976, Musicland Studios)
  • Queen "A Day At The Races" (1976, The Manor Studios)
  • Santana "Moonflower" (1976, Rolling Stones Mobile)
  • The Rolling Stones "Black and Blue" (1976, Musicland Studios / Rolling Stones Mobile)
  • Thin Lizzy  "Jailbreak" (1976, Ramport Studios)
  • Original Cast Recording Tim Rice and Andrew Llyod Webber's "Evita" (1976, Olympic Studios)
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers "Exodus" (1977, Harry J. Studios / Island Studios)
  • Donna Summer "I Remember Yesterday" (1977, Musicland Studios)
  • Iggy Pop "The Idiot" (1977, Musicland Studios)
  • Eric Clapton "Slowhand" (1977, Olympic Studios)
  • Giorgio Moroder "From Here to Eternity" (1977, Musicland Studios)
  • Joni Mitchell "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter" (1977, Island Studios)
  • Judas Priest "Sin After Sin" (1977, Ramport Studios)
  • Motörhead "Motörhead" (1977, Olympic Studios)
  • Peter Gabriel "Peter Gabriel" (1977, Olympic Studios)
  • The Stranglers "Rattus Norvegicus" (1977, Olympic Studios / Island Mobile)
  • David Bowie "Low" (1977, Hansa Tonstudio)
  • David Bowie "Heroes" (1977, Hansa Tonstudio)
  • Iggy Pop "Lust for Life" (1977, Hansa Tonstudio)
  • Electric Light Orchestra "Out of the Blue" (1977, Musicland Studios)
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers "Kaya" (1978, Island Studios)
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers "Babylon By Bus" (1978, Island Mobile)
  • Buzzcocks "Another Music in a Different Kitchen" (1978, Olympic Studios)
  • Eric Clapton "Blackless" (1978, Olympic Studios)
  • Dire Straits "Dire Straits" (1978, Island Studios)
  • Giorgio Moroder "Midnight Express (Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)" (1978, Musicland Studios)
  • Little Feat "Waiting for Columbus" (1978, Manor Mobile)
  • The Who "Who Are You" (1978, Ramport Studios / Olympic Studios)
  • The Rolling Stones "Some Girls" (1978, Rolling Stones Mobile)
  • Tangerine Dream "Force Majeure" (1978, Hansa Tonstudio)

  • AC/DC "Highway To Hell" (1979, Island Studios)
  • Frank Zappa "Sheik Yerbouti" (1979, Manor Mobile)
  • Led Zeppelin "In Through The Out Door" (1979, Strawberry Studios)
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark "Electricity" (1979, Strawberry Studios)
  • Electric Light Orchestra "Discovery" (1979, Musicland Studios)
  • Life of Brian Soundtrack (1979, Olympic Studios)
  • Peter Gabriel "Peter Gabriel III" (1980, Manor Mobile)
  • Queen "The Game" (1980, Musicland Studios)
  • The Rolling Stones "Emotional Rescue" (1980, Rolling Stones Mobile)
  • Pink Floyd "The Final Cut" (1983, Olympic Studios)
  • Barbra Streisand track for the film "Yentl" (1982, Olympic Studios)
  • UB40 "Labour of Love" (1983, Manor Mobile)