Olmsted BRDCSTR preamp used heavily on latest Sigur Ros album Kveikur

RackAbove: the BRDCSTR in Somers’ outboard rack, left side, third from bottom

ART_coverThanks to reader EL for reporting that Sigur Ros’ engineer Alex Somers made mention of his Olmsted ‘BRDCSTR’ preamp in the Sept 2013 issue of AudioTechnology magazine.  The context was a thorough piece written by Paul Tingen on the making of Sigur Ros seventh studio LP “Kveikur.”  According to Somers,             “When recording (Sigur Ros Vocalist) Jonsi, I used a Neumann U47… we mostly used a really cool preamp made by Preservation Sound.”

See below for the full text.

Alex_SomersBelow is the actual BRDCSTR that Somers purchased.  If you too would like one of these preamps for your outboard rack, drop us a line. And you don’t have to pay in Krona.

Olmsted_Brdcstr_1-1024x639

Posted in Custom Fabrication | 3 Comments

Less But Better: The Braun TG-1000 Tape Recorder of 1970

Braun_TG_1000_!972_picIt’s very hard to find vintage BRAUN hi-fi gear in the states; i’ve seen some amazing BRAUN receivers in Canada, but they either were not sold here, or poorly distributed, because they just ain’t around.  Sporting a design aesthetic that would be popularized in the NAD, ADS,  and PROTON lines of the 80s, BRAUN kit owed it’s beautiful, so-far-ahead-of-its-time character to Dieter Rams.  Rams put his stamp on a huge range of goods for BRAUN; I once found a Rams-designed mini desk fan (!) that was shockingly valuable as a collectors item.  Anyhow, here’s a great synopsis of the career of a man who’s ideal could be summed up as Less But Better:  CLICK HERE.

Braun_TG_1000_1972

Via Wikipedia, here are Rams’ ten principles off good design.  Enjoy.

  1. Is innovative – The possibilities for progression are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for original designs. But imaginative design always develops in tandem with improving technology, and can never be an end in itself.
  2. Makes a product useful – A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic criteria. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could detract from it.
  3. Is aesthetic – The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
  4. Makes a product understandable – It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.
  5. Is unobtrusive – Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.
  6. Is honest – It does not make a product appear more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
  7. Is long-lasting – It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.
  8. Is thorough down to the last detail – Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
  9. Is environmentally friendly – Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
  10. Is as little design as possible – Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.
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RCA Solid State Audio Projects c. 1968

RCA_1968I’d never been particularly interested in learning solid state electronics.  There just didn’t seem much point; considering that you can buy a 4-channel Sytek mic preamp for $900, there just ain’t much to motivate anyone to DIY ss kit.  Tube stuff is another matter – it’s a different sound, and well-made ‘real’ high-plate-voltage, transformer i/0 tube gear is super-expensive.  So I learned to make the tube gear both for my own studio and as a way to make some add’l income by custom-building for other engineers.

All that being said, there is an undeniable appeal to be able to build something useful that doesn’t require a heater circuit and the attendant 60-cycle-hum battles that come from those hi-current windings.  Solid state is just easier, which is prolly why it has won-out in the world of consumer electronics, if not necessarily in the pro-audio world.  In my endless diggin for ancient tubes and transformers and bakelite meters I invariably come across stashes of ole germanium and silicon transistors, and I recently decided to take the plunge and try and cross this bridge once and for all.  Cos I can talk tubes and tube audio circuits up+down, but frankly I don’t know shit abt solid-state and maybe it’s time I learned.

DOWNLOAD THREE CIRCUITS FROM RCA HM-80:RCA_SS_Hobby_1968

The old RCA Tube Manuals have always been my primary source of information for my tube-audio builds and experiments.  The circuits that they recommend are the most solid, reliable, and practical that you will ever find.  I trust them implicitly.  And why not?  After all, this was the company that made the tubes themselves!  So when I decided to try and get into SS, I started with the RCA Solid-State Hobby Circuits Manual.  In the scan above you will find a mic preamp, a line-level compressor, and a fuzz pedal.  I’ll be building all three eventually and I will LYK how it goes.  In the meantime, if any of y’all beat me to it, drop us a line and report back,,,

RCA_SS_MicPre_Schem RCA_FuzzBox_1968_schematic RCA_SS_Comp_1968

 

 

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Rock Scene mag c. 1980 presents: The Connecticut Rock Report

RockSceneMag_Sept1980_coverDo YOU think Ted Nugent is sexxxy?

“ROCK SCENE” was a musician-oriented newsprint rag published out of Bethany CT from 1973 – 1982.  Now, Bethany is a sorta non-place just north of New Haven perhaps most notable for its Book Barn.   So the fact a new-wave/punk-loving magazine came out of here back in the day is pretty amazing.  NEways, I was flipping thru some cartons of old garbage at the Flea Mkt recently and I came across the 09/80 issue. Top story: CONNECTICUT ROCK REPORT.

DOWNLOAD THE 1980 CT ROCK REPORT: CT_Rock_1980

Being a rocker in CT is kinda like being a (what) in (where).  So, CT rockers of ’80: we salute you.  You are our past, and our future.

Crayons_FlyingtigersAbove: The Crayons.  The Flying Tigers

PArt2Above: Lytes; Eyes; Fast Fingers (Ewwwww (-Ed)); Jett

Part3Above: Napi Brown; Toys; The Orange Group

Part4Above: The Simms Brothers Band; Frankincense & Myrrh; Back To Earth Band

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BTW: some wonderful absolute fkkn nutcase, glob bless him, has scanned EVERY FKKN PAGE of EVERY FKKN ISSUE of ‘Rock Scene’ and you can waste a ton of  yr employer’s money by clicking this link

Posted in Connecticut Audio History | 3 Comments

Dig this c. 1972 Toronto studio ‘Manta Sound’

MantA_2SOOooo it’s been almost a month since I’ve written anything here.  Things have gotten quite busy around PS HQ, what with custom fabrication work for clients, sessions and equipment upgrades at Gold Coast Recorders and other assignments of which I will spare you the details.   Thanks to a few helpful contributors, I still have dozens of issues of the old DB mag and hundreds of pieces of obscure 70s/80s pro-audio and high-end consumer hifi literature to dig thru+upload for y’alls edification.  In the meantime, if you ever need a jolt of weird old audio flotsam, bookmark my Instagram and have a look.  I keep pretty active on there,,,

For you today: a profile of Manta Sound Toronro from DB mag way back in ’72.  According to this source,

“In the early 1970s, the audio shop was a Canadian recording pioneer thanks to its famous Studio 2 that could accommodate up to 70-piece orchestras. Studio 2 made it possible to do more complex recordings than had been done in Canada before, Potma says.  Studio 2′s rich history also includes providing the facilities in 1985 as the Canadian music industry gathered to record Tears Are Not Enough for famine relief in Ethiopia. Artists involved included Young, Bryan Adams, Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot and Platinum Blonde.   ‘It seems like a century or two ago,’ Potma says. ‘That was huge. That was probably the biggest thing that we ever did – our little part of that.’    More recently, Manta completed a James Brown recording for the Jackie Chan actioner The Tuxedo, filming around Toronto. *

Manta_3 Manta_4 Mant_Sound_1
Posted in Recording Studio History | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

4.29.14 WPKN Radio Show Available to Stream Now

DaveRubinson_1978If you like early synth-pop and electro, you might wanna check out the live DJ set that I put together for Steve di Costanzo’s Radio Base Camp show on WPKN this week:

Click here to see the tracklist and stream the entire show in HQ

 

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Live Radio Show: 7AM – 9AM Tuesday 4.29.14: WPKN 89.5 FM CT/NYC area

Telex_1977Tomorrow morning: 7AM-9AM EST (that’s NYC time, buddy) I will be doing a guest DJ set on-air at WPKN, 89.5 FM.

If yr in the NYC metro area, you can tune in as you sit in traffic on I-95/the LIE/the Merritt/ etc.

Or just visit the WPKN website and click the ‘Listen Now’ button.

I ‘ve put together a set of electro and electro-pop from my LP stacks.  All vinyl, folks.  No cheating.

‘PKN is a wonderful listener-supported radio station that has been a big part of my musical life since I was a kid.  Just some artists that I discovered via this venerable institution:


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just feeling 1972 in general

ThisISTheIllestBass Spectra_Sonics_1020_Console_1972 Payola_1972 MCI_Console_Deck_1972 MAstering_1972 HighSchool_Studio_1972 Experimental_Studio_1971

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Fairchild Pro Audio Equipment of 1972

Faichild_Modular_Console_1972

Above: The Fairchild Integrated Console of 1972

How y’all doing out there.  Today at PS dot com: some interesting bits from the archive: a collection of Fairchild data sheets from 1972.  Download all 12 pages here:

Fairchild_1972_prods

Products covered, with texts, specs, and photos, include: Fairchild ‘integrated’ console, Reverbertron 659A, the FPC series of ‘portable mixing consoles,’ 610 and 870 power amps, plus a whole slew of distribution amps and power supplies that i just ain’t got time to list.  Enjoy!

Fairchild_Reverbatron_1972Faichild_PowerAmps_1972Fairchild_FPC_50_Console_1972

 

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A DIY Electronic Music Studio circa 1971

Texas_studio_1971Today on PS dot com: a 1971 article by one Robert C. Ehle on the subject of ‘The Electronic Music Studio.’

Download here: Elec_Music_1971

The article includes a schematic for an audio-triggered frequency divider (ala early ‘woodwind synthesizers’) and some interesting other bits, such as discussion of tape-based time compression (which we covered earlier,,,  click here for that article).

Tape_TimeCompresion_1971Bleep Bleep.

Bloop Bloop.

#dubstep

Tape

 

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