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Author Topic: Bizarre or goofy consoles from the old days?  (Read 23918 times)

duane massey

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Bizarre or goofy consoles from the old days?
« on: May 20, 2012, 04:57:41 pm »

Back in the early days a lot of the mixers that were in use were one-of-a-kind or handbuilt by the "sound company". I know we built some strange creatures, and I used a few built by others.

What were some of your strangest encounters, either your own or from others?
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Duane Massey
Technician, musician, stubborn old guy
Houston, Texas

Ivan Beaver

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Re: Bizarre or goofy consoles from the old days?
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2012, 07:50:11 pm »

Back in the early days a lot of the mixers that were in use were one-of-a-kind or handbuilt by the "sound company". I know we built some strange creatures, and I used a few built by others.

What were some of your strangest encounters, either your own or from others?
I was in the business for about 6 years or more before I owned a "real" console.  I was using homemade consoles before that.  And when I say homemade-I hand drew each circuit path on the circuit boards-etched them in the bathtub and drilled each hole by hand.  Not to mention pressing on each letter of each control one at a time.  So "Bass" took 4 letter presses-on each channel.

Of course the consoles were limited in functionality-such as a 3 band eq and 4 auxes per channel.  But that was plenty back then.

I also built my own lighting consoles and dimpaks and actually ran into one of them sitll being used several years ago. 

I have no idea about the audio consoles-but I really doubt they are still around.  But they served me well-while I had them.
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Ivan Beaver
Danley Sound Labs

PHYSICS- NOT FADS!

duane massey

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Re: Bizarre or goofy consoles from the old days?
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2012, 08:32:47 pm »

Ivan, when did you start building your own consoles?
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Duane Massey
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Houston, Texas

Ivan Beaver

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Re: Bizarre or goofy consoles from the old days?
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2012, 09:34:28 pm »

Ivan, when did you start building your own consoles?
My first one was a 4 channel with volume-bass and treble with a master volume on the output-no auxs.

The chassis was gottten from my first guitar amp-(a Kay 35 watt with a sinlge 12" speaker).  I blew it up before I realized how important impedance was.  It didn't like driving something like a 1/2 ohm load.  The amp version that I had only had 2 inputs and volume and tone control.  But I removed the covering and there were all these holes (for upper level models) sitting there just waiting to be used.

That would have been back in late 1976.

Next was a 6 channel with volume bass middle and treble per channel and 1 aux.

Around 1981 came a 12 channel that had several auxes.  I started-but never finished a 24 channel console that was "going to be great".  It had a noise problem I never could work out-so many hundreds of hours went into the trash.  THAT was a hard thing to throw away-but I needed the room.  The faceplate was made from an old rack door.  It took quite awhile to drill all those holes.

My first "real" console was a Biamp 1621.  I used that for MANY a gig. Simple and easy to use-worked great.
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A complex question is easily answered by a simple-easy to understand WRONG answer!

Ivan Beaver
Danley Sound Labs

PHYSICS- NOT FADS!

duane massey

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Re: Bizarre or goofy consoles from the old days?
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2012, 10:47:15 pm »

We had a small family business that morphed into a sound and lighting company, started in 1970. The first mixer we built used several Archer 4-channel hi-Z mixers that we deconstructed and built into a chassis. We used slide controls, because we saw a picture of a UK console that had sliders, and used those ugly colored plastic knobs. The first (and last) act to use it was Osibisa. The engineer was really nice and used the mixer without any negative comments, but after the show he said "You should be aware that the the slider should go up in volume when you raise it. I haven't used many consoles with sliders, but the other ones were like that". Now THAT was embarrassing, not to mention the 75' high-impedance snake. This was 1971, in a college gym here in Houston.
 
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Duane Massey
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Houston, Texas

bob schwarz

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Re: Bizarre or goofy consoles from the old days?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2012, 11:16:05 pm »

The second board I ever built was a 10 in by stereo out, circa 1967... I built it for Wendy Carlos (Switched on Bach) and the engraving was all done in Olde English type as was the third board (1969), an 18 by 7 out console... all used Spectra-Sonics preamps.. a risky situation with RF problem potential in New York City. We survived just fine...The first(1964) was a 12 by 4 using Dynakit preamps and Altec compressors on each input... not a very good board...
bob schwarz
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duane massey

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Re: Bizarre or goofy consoles from the old days?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2012, 11:52:58 pm »

We did actually go into small-scale production of consoles, amps, speakers, etc, and built some decent consoles for the lower$$ market. Did everything in-house except the anodizing of the aluminum. Spent many many hours hours drilling PCBs, loading PCBs, wiring the internal parts, building snakes with multi-pin connectors, punching aluminum plates, silk-screening, etc. As I said, a small family business, but with very few outside employees. I DO NOT miss those days, but I'm glad I did it.
There was one sound company locally that showed up for a gig ( I was playing at this one) with a console that was at least 6' long. Wouldn't let anyone near it at first, and they kept raising the back up and wiggling things in it. I finally got close enough to see the top, and saw that it was all plywood with one row of round knobs spaced 6" apart. Later that day they all went on break, but left the back open on it, so naturally I had to peek inside. They had a whole row of Shure mic mixers laying inside with "L" pads between the mic connections and the inputs on the mixers. I still don't know how it worked at all.
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Duane Massey
Technician, musician, stubborn old guy
Houston, Texas

duane massey

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Re: Bizarre or goofy consoles from the old days?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2012, 11:54:17 pm »

Does anyone remember Terry Kane, from New Orleans? He built a few compact mixers with clear plexiglass faceplates.
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Duane Massey
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Houston, Texas

Ivan Beaver

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Re: Bizarre or goofy consoles from the old days?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2012, 06:19:31 am »

. Spent many many hours hours drilling PCBs, loading PCBs, wiring the internal parts, building snakes with multi-pin connectors, punching aluminum plates, silk-screening, etc. As I said, a small family business, but with very few outside employees. I DO NOT miss those days, but I'm glad I did it.

Agreed.  But I do miss building gear.  I still do it from time to time (on a smaller scale) for things in which there is no commericial products available.  And no market for them-but we need from time to time.

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A complex question is easily answered by a simple-easy to understand WRONG answer!

Ivan Beaver
Danley Sound Labs

PHYSICS- NOT FADS!

John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Bizarre or goofy consoles from the old days?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2012, 09:41:27 am »

Agreed.  But I do miss building gear.  I still do it from time to time (on a smaller scale) for things in which there is no commericial products available.  And no market for them-but we need from time to time.

If you miss building equipment... build more of it, you will get it out of your system soon enough..  And these days get good magnifying glasses...

JR
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