The Petty Archives

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Stellar Sound
by Stan Soocher
Circus - November 21, 1978

Stereo Equipment the Stars Groove With at Home
Tom Petty got the Marantz 2270 amplifier and JBL-44 speakers for his house in Sherman Oaks, California, from his co-producer, Denny Cordell. "They were sitting around Denny's office," Tom recalls. "I liked them so much, I stole them when he went to England."

Petty plays his Marantz with the treble turned all the way to 10, the loudness switch on, and the bass rolled off one notch. "Heartbreakers' guitarist Mike Campbell tripped and kicked a hole in the JBL 44s with his boot," Tom says, "but they still sound great on the highs."

With a Garrad Synchro-Lab 95B turntable and a Shure M55E cartridge, Tom has been listening lately to Carlene Carter, the greatest hits of the Everly Brothers, and Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. His first record player was an Arvin that he got at age 11. "I taped a quarter to the tone arm so it would stay in the groove. It was a mono job, but Meet the Beatles never sounded quite right to me in stereo."

In his pine-paneled music room, Petty records demos on a Teac 3340S four-track reel-to-reel using Ampex Grand Master ATape. "I plug in direct with my Gibson RD, which has a built-in limiter and expander. I also have an MXR compressor to prevent clipping. Lately, I've been recording dogs barking. I've overdubbed 150 dogs already."

Petty's Sony CF-550A casette deck is his favorite piece of equipment. He uses it with the new Ampex Grand Master cassette tapes. "I carry the Sony with me on the road," Petty explains, "so I can listen to our performances the same night we play."