8 thoughts on “RCA Mixing setup at the Hollywood Bowl arena c.1955”

  1. Hello Sir,
    This is a VERY cool historical photo! May I ask where you found it?
    I am curently writing a book on the real beginnings of the large-scale sound system industry, from portable gear ala the early Newport jazz Festival, and similar events, to large installed systems in venues such as madison Square Garden, The old Chicago Stadium, and the Universal Amphitheatre, The hollywood Bowl, The early vegas showrooms, and others, and am always looking for info and photos, such as this. Any light you could shed on the subject would be GREATLY appreciated, and would be given credit in the book, of course. Also, if you are ever looking for old technical materials from the 1930’s to 1970’s (ie; catalogs, cut sheets, books and photos) to put on your website, please do not hesitate to ask, you would be surprised at the crazy amount of documentation I have amassed over the past five years…..by the way, Great website!!!!

    Warmest Regards,
    Bob Owen

    1. Hi Bob. That photo came from an extensive article in AUDIO magazine circa 1955 on the subject of the new sound system installed at the hollywood bowl. I don’t have the article (the magazine is in the collection of my local library) but it’s a great article, if i recall correctly. Good luck with the book; I’d love to read it! c.

    2. Hi Bob!
      What`s the name of the book you wrote about large scale sound system history? I`m writing a master thesis “Important Milestones in History of Sound Reinforcement” in Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and I`m looking for informations about this.
      Thank you for your answer.

  2. The topic of the article was that the Hollywood Bowl had installed a new, cutting-edge STEREOPHONIC public address system – one of the first in the world.

    Some interesting stuff the designers *built* in to the system (as off-the-shelf mixing systems didn’t exist in 1955) that found their way into console designs over the next decades:

    – Input channel mute and cue switches
    – Input preamp gain control
    – 36 channel “snake” with recording/broadcasting “splitter”
    – headphone solo
    – “hot backup” switching for preamps and power amps
    – Intercom with flasher and call switch
    – four channel matrix outputs
    – on-deck “monitor mix” position (set up for portable mixing desks to be patched in for “cueing and monitoring” for the performers.)

    – Total power output (RMS): 75 watts (!)
    – Total equipment and installation cost; $50,000 (in 2012 money, $423,000)

  3. Cool stuff but wonder why they didn’t use RCA driver and booster amps.They made plenty of them in 55′. Some (MI-9289-c) were 200 watts r.m.s. each! They used Altec 287’s instead.I know them well and their antiquated 845 output triodes too! They show 4 of them so total system output would be in the neighborhood of 300 watts r.m.s. I really can’t see the speaker towers in detail nor the above stage arrays but alot of their (RCA)and Altec drivers were considerably over the 100 db spl 1w,1mtr class precluding the need for real high power in 1955. The use of the Altec amps does kinda bug me though.

    1. Maybe because of Altec A-287F had a more simple (so robust) topology and because it was more serviceable (less parts) at that time (it was made of just four tubes: two 845 triodes in Push-Pull configuration and two 866A as rectifiers, an input transformer and an output one…exactly like the oldest Western Electric 87 or the oldest RCA MI-9355 from 1939). The RCA MI-9289 (which has a Parallel Push-Pull of 6550) used four tubes per channel without counting driver stage and regulated power supply tubes. I’m really interested in anything related to Altec A-287F (there is an article on the Journal of Sound and Motion Pictures Association Volume 50, February 1948 in which it was named because it was used on the Roxy Theater in N.Y. as part of its “new” sound reinforcement system) beacuse is very difficult to find information about it (or its schematic, Rider published a 1948 book about PA systems in which it should be present).

  4. An interesting history of Sound Reinforcement systems installed at Hollywood Bowl from 1928 (when first Public Address system was installed) up to 1948 can be found on a article on the Audio Engineering magazine 1948 Issue 2 (February) at page 15 (*): M. Rettinger (RCA Victor Division, Hollywood CA) and Sterling M. Stevens (Otto K. Olesen Company, Hollywood CA) describe the history of public address system adopted at Hollywood Bowl since its beginning.

    (*) As reference see http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Audio/40s/Audio-1948-Feb.pdf

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