DayGlo orange WEM logo as used on the company's amplification since 1967
Watkins Electric Music (WEM) is a British company known for manufacturing musical instruments, guitar, bass and PA amplification and the CopiCat tape echo machine. The company was founded in 1949, initially as a record shop in Tooting Market, London, by Charlie Watkins and his brother Reg Watkins. Two years later the brothers moved to a small shop in Balham, London and began selling guitars and accordions.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
Charlie Watkins was a British audio engineer and musical instrument maker, and was the pioneer of loud PA systems for outdoor rock festivals. His company Watkins Electric Music was founded in 1949, but it was in the 1960s and 1970s that "WEM" PA systems in the kilowatt range became standard for British festivals, such as Stones in the Park on 5 July 1969 at the Isle of Wight Festival and Glastonbury.
In 1967-1968 The Who used the WEM (Watkins Electric Music) Audiomaster five-channel mixer and multiple WEM 100-watt transistor PA amplifiers chained together as their sound system.In the concert movie Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii (1972), the band is shown using WEM PA equipment as it performs in the ruins of an ancient amphitheatre in Pompeii, Italy. Jimi Hendrix and his Band of Gypsys also used WEM PA equipment at outdoor venues in the UK. WEM amplification can also be seen in footage of the Miles Davis Electric Band playing at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970, in Led Zeppelin's 1969 supershow in London, and in The Stones in the Park, one of the Hyde Park Free Concerts. In the Netherlands, WEM made fame when the Dutch band ‘de hoantjes’decided to choose WEM as their PA system.
The Who are an English rock band formed in London in 1964. Their classic line-up consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist and singer Pete Townshend, bass guitarist John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, selling over 100 million records worldwide.
Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii is a 1972 concert documentary film directed by Adrian Maben and featuring the English rock group Pink Floyd performing at the ancient Roman amphitheatre in Pompeii, Italy. Although the band perform a typical live set from the era, there is no audience beyond the basic film crew. The main footage in and around the amphitheatre was filmed over four days in October 1971, using the band's regular touring equipment, including a mobile 8-track recorder from Paris. Additional footage filmed in a Paris television studio the following December was added for the original 1972 release. The film was then re-released in 1974 with additional studio material of the band working on The Dark Side of the Moon, and interviews at Abbey Road Studios.
The Amphitheatre of Pompeii is the oldest surviving Roman amphitheatre. It is located in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, and was buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, that also buried Pompeii itself and the neighbouring town of Herculaneum.
A scaled down version of the company still operates, focusing on accordions and a new handmade version of the CopiCat tape echo units.
An effects unit or effectspedal is an electronic or digital device that alters the sound of a musical instrument or other audio source. Common effects include distortion/overdrive, often used with electric guitar in electric blues and rock music; dynamic effects such as volume pedals and compressors, which affect loudness; filters such as wah-wah pedals and graphic equalizers, which modify frequency ranges; modulation effects, such as chorus, flangers and phasers; pitch effects such as pitch shifters; and time effects, such as reverb and delay, which create echoing sounds and emulate the sound of different spaces.
Kling Klang is the private music studio of the band Kraftwerk. The name is taken from the first song on the Kraftwerk 2 album. The studio was originally located at Mintropstraße 16 in Düsseldorf, Germany, adjacent to Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof, but in mid-2009 moved to Meerbusch-Osterath, around 10 kilometers west of Düsseldorf.
A recording studio is a specialized facility for sound recording, mixing, and audio production of instrumental or vocal musical performances, spoken words, and other sounds. They range in size from a small in-home project studio large enough to record a single singer-guitarist, to a large building with space for a full orchestra of 100 or more musicians. Ideally both the recording and monitoring spaces are specially designed by an acoustician or audio engineer to achieve optimum acoustic properties.
An echo chamber is a hollow enclosure used to produce reverberation, usually for recording purposes. For example, the producers of a television or radio program might wish to produce the aural illusion that a conversation is taking place in a large room or a cave; these effects can be accomplished by playing the recording of the conversation inside an echo chamber, with an accompanying microphone to catch the reverberation. Nowadays effects units are more widely used to create such effects, but echo chambers are still used today, such as the famous echo chambers at Capitol Studios.
An instrument amplifier is an electronic device that converts the often barely audible or purely electronic signal of a musical instrument into a larger electronic signal to feed to a loudspeaker. An instrument amplifier is used with musical instruments such as an electric guitar, an electric bass, electric organ, synthesizers and drum machine to convert the signal from the pickup or other sound source into an electronic signal that has enough power, due to being routed through a power amplifier, capable of driving one or more loudspeaker that can be heard by the performers and audience.
A guitar amplifier is an electronic device or system that strengthens the weak electrical signal from a pickup on an electric guitar, bass guitar, or acoustic guitar so that it can produce sound through one or more loudspeakers, which are typically housed in a wooden cabinet. A guitar amplifier may be a standalone wood or metal cabinet that contains only the power amplifier circuits, requiring the use of a separate speaker cabinet–or it may be a "combo" amplifier, which contains both the amplifier and one or more speakers in a wooden cabinet. There is a wide range of sizes and power ratings for guitar amplifiers, from small, lightweight "practice amplifiers" with a single 6" speaker and a 10 watt amp to heavy combo amps with four 10” or four 12" speakers and a powerful 100 watt amplifier, which are loud enough to use in a nightclub or bar performance.
"Echoes" is a song by English rock band Pink Floyd, and the sixth and final track from their 1971 album Meddle. It was written in 1970 by all four members of the group. Containing several extended instrumental passages, largely ambient sound effects, and musical improvisation, the track has a running time of 23:31 and comprises the entire second side of the vinyl and cassette recordings.
A public address system is an electronic system comprising microphones, amplifiers, loudspeakers, and related equipment. It increases the apparent volume (loudness) of a human voice, musical instrument, or other acoustic sound source or recorded sound or music. PA systems are used in any public venue that requires that an announcer, performer, etc. be sufficiently audible at a distance or over a large area. Typical applications include sports stadiums, public transportation vehicles and facilities, and live or recorded music venues and events. A PA system may include multiple microphones or other sound sources, a mixing console to combine and modify multiple sources, and multiple amplifiers and loudspeakers for louder volume or wider distribution.
A sound reinforcement system is the combination of microphones, signal processors, amplifiers, and loudspeakers in enclosures all controlled by a mixing console that makes live or pre-recorded sounds louder and may also distribute those sounds to a larger or more distant audience. In many situations, a sound reinforcement system is also used to enhance or alter the sound of the sources on the stage, typically by using electronic effects, such as reverb, as opposed to simply amplifying the sources unaltered.
A music store or musical instrument store is a retail business that sells musical instruments and related equipment and accessories, and may provide maintenance services for these instruments and accessories. In United States and Canada, most music stores in the 2010s sell a range of electric instruments, instrument amplifiers; electronic instruments; drum kits and acoustic classical, concert band and jazz musical instruments. Stores may sell the sound reinforcement system and PA system gear or sound recording equipment.
Joseph Raymond "Ray" Butts was an American inventor and engineer best known for designing several devices that influenced the evolution of electrified music, in particular those used with the electric guitar. Most notably, Butts is the inventor of the EchoSonic, a guitar amplifier with a built-in tape echo, and the FilterTron, the first humbucker guitar pickup. He was active in other fields from studio equipment maintenance to sound engineering, and had intimate working relationships with people such as Sam Phillips at Sun Studios and Chet Atkins.
Geraint Meurig Vaughan Watkins is a Welsh singer, songwriter, rock and roll pianist and accordionist. He has backed many notable artists, including Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler, Paul McCartney, Roy St. John, Shakin' Stevens and most recently Status Quo. He has also pursued a solo career and issued a number of albums under his own name, with a new album Rush of Blood due in 2019.
The term backline is used in popular music and sound reinforcement system contexts to refer to electronic audio amplification equipment and speaker enclosures that are placed behind the band or the rhythm section on stage, including amplifiers and speaker cabinets for guitars, bass guitars and keyboards. Such equipment is often rented or leased by the band or their management, or provided by the venue.
Really Free Band (RFB) were a British Christian Rock band from 1973–1990. The band originally played under the name Really Free and later Really Free Band, then abbreviated to RFB. The name is a reference to the New Testament bible verse John 8:36.
HH Electronics is a British amplifier manufacturer, that was founded in 1968 by Mike Harrison, Malcolm Green and Graham Lowes in Harston near Cambridge, England, where its first solid state TPA and MA range of studio quality amplifiers were designed and manufactured. These amplifiers were used by many recording and broadcasting studios, including the BBC.
The Stones in the Park was a free outdoor festival held in Hyde Park on 5 July 1969, headlined by The Rolling Stones and featuring Third Ear Band, King Crimson, Screw, Alexis Korner's New Church, Family and the Battered Ornaments, in front of a crowd estimated at between 250,000 and 500,000 fans.
A keyboard amplifier is a powered electronic amplifier and loudspeaker in a wooden speaker cabinet used for amplification of electronic keyboard instruments. Keyboard amplifiers are distinct from other types of amplification systems such as guitar amplifiers due to the particular challenges associated with making keyboards sound louder on stage; namely, to provide solid low-frequency sound reproduction for the deep basslines which keyboards can play and crisp high-frequency sound for the high-register notes. Another difference between keyboard amplifiers and guitar/bass amplifiers is that keyboard amps are usually designed with a relatively flat frequency response and low distortion. In contrast, many guitar and bass amp designers purposely make their amplifiers modify the frequency response, typically to "roll off" very high frequencies, and most rock and blues guitar amps, and since the 1980s and 1990s, even many bass amps are designed to add distortion or overdrive to the instrument tone.
Electric music technology refers to musical instruments and recording devices that use electrical circuits, which are often combined with mechanical technologies. Examples of electric musical instruments include the electro-mechanical electric piano, the electric guitar, the electro-mechanical Hammond organ and the electric bass. All of these electric instruments do not produce a sound that is audible by the performer or audience in a performance setting unless they are connected to instrument amplifiers and loudspeaker cabinets, which made them sound loud enough for performers and the audience to hear. Amplifiers and loudspeakers are separate from the instrument in the case of the electric guitar, electric bass and some electric organs and most electric pianos. Some electric organs and electric pianos include the amplifier and speaker cabinet within the main housing for the instrument.