Tag Archives: consoles

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

 

Highlights from the 1970 AES Convention, Los Angeles, CA

GRT_deckabove: the GRT 500 audio-tape evaluator c. 1970

Just in case you were too-young/too-hypothetical to have attended, we are pleased to bring you highlights from the 1970 convention of the Audio Engineering Society (via ye olde DB Magazine, r.i.p.).   You can download the whole shebang here…

DOWNLOAD: AES_1970_DB_mag

…and we’ve also reproduced it below for your browsing enjoyment.  Products on offer at that time include: mixing consoles from Electrodyne, Gately, Quad-Eight, Spectra-sonics, Fairchild, Langevin, and Altec.  Opamp labs had kits on offer as well.  Tape machines include 3M, Otari ‘of Japan,’ Teac 7030, GRT 500, Norelco (Phillips) pro-51, Sony Superscope TC-850, and Ampex. Dolby’s model 360 N/R system debuted, as did the Melcor ‘all electronic’ reverb and the Urei LA-3. New microphones on offer included the Electro-voice DS-35 and the Shure SM-53.

AES_1970_1AES_1970_2AES_1970_3AES_1970_4AES_1970_5AES_1970_6AES_1970_7AES_1970_8

Loft Model 440 Console on eBay

Loft_1

Several years ago we ran a couple of pieces about LOFT AUDIO, a 1970’s era Connecticut Pro Audio manufacturer.  LOFT founder Peter Nimirowski got in touch with us and provided some never-before seen factory photos and documentation.  Click here to read the initial PS dot com article, and then click here for the follow-up with Peter’s comments.  Anyhow, a decent-condition LOFT 440 Console has finally turned up on eBay, and if it wasn’t tax-time you know I’d be buying this thing.  As with any 40-year-old piece of audio equipment, caveat emptor.   Click here for the eBay auction. BTW, whatya think all those vintage-70’s API-type knobs are worth? Prolly close to the BIN price…

Loft_knobs Loft_Meters

ADM Mixers and Consoles of the 1970s and 1980s

Above: ADM console constructed for NYC’s A+R Recording c. 1976

Nice set for y’all today, courtesy of reader T.F.  T. sent over a large collection of ADM console images spanning the mid seventies into the 1980s.  I know next to nothing about ADM, other than it was very well-made equipment: discrete op-amps, UTC or similar-quality transformers, and inductor-based EQs are featured in many of their modules.  There’s not a tremendous amount of information on this kit online, but this guy always seems to have a few pieces of sale on eBay: both raw modules and P+P ready racked units.

Regarding the console pictured above, T. writes:

“it’s got the patented CRT spectrum graph option (left top) and it’s a Quad console, note the two panning joysticks on the upper right of the board. A&R made quad records for Project 3 with Enoch Light and some rock quad mixes were done there too. I have one of the ADM joystick panners, it was an interesting piece of machine work. 4 pots controlled by the joystick mechanism, driving VCA’s. All ADM consoles from the mid-70’s forward used their patented Slidex faders controlling VCA’s, nothing was done directly from the fader. In those days, you wanted to protect your console surface from spilled drinks and other substances. For what it’s worth, all the ADM stuff I have is on par with API, Harrison and Spectra of the same era. American design, different from Neve and the Brits.”

In the comments section at the end of the post (click ‘comments’), you can find some additional commentary from T.F. on the ADM brand and their products.

Scroll down for the rest of the photo set.  If anyone is currently using any of these modules for audio production work, drop a line and let us know yr thoughts.   And if you were involved with the ADM corporation, we’d love to hear a bit about the company; its origins, evolution, and current work of it’s principles/designers.

CIRCA 1976

ADM BC-5 Console

ADM console constructed for KDKA-TV, Pittsburg

Routing system constructed for NBC TV, NY

ADM NRC console

ADM console constructed for Teichiku Recording, Tokyo

ADM TV-32 Console

ADM Console constructed for WSB Radio, Atlanta

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CIRCA 1980

ADM 800 Series mixer

ADM 1600 Series mixer

ADM 2400 Series console

ADM 3200 Series console

ADM ST 160 console

ADM console constructed for KOMO TV, Seattle

ADM Automation system constructed for the Voice Of America

ADM Console constructed for WJZ TV, Baltimore

ADM console constructed for WTLV-TV, Jacksonville

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CIRCA MID 1980s

ADM BCS Series console

A later routing system constructed for NBC

ADM ST-164 radio console

ADM console constructed for the U.S. House of Representatives

Audio Mixing Consoles circa 1959

Langevin stereo console circa 1959

Today: from the “Audio Cyclopedia,” Howard Tremaine, 1959: a quick visual survey of professional mixing consoles in service in 1959.  A PS Dot Com reader turned me on to the “Audio Cycolopedia”; many copies of this 1300ppp volume are available on Amazon and eBay starting at around $80; based on the number available, though, i feel like there’s a $1 yard-sale copy waiting for me just around the bend…  When the moment presents itself, we’ll be sure to run an Out-Of-Print-Book Report.

A Westrex console built for Todd-AO

The Westrex Portable Stereo Mixer, inside+out

RCA Stereo Console built for 20th Century Fox

A ten-channel stereo console built for the production of USAF training films

An eight-channel Western Electric console

Cinema Engineering Console with integral channel equalization.  These consoles were apparently introduced in 1951…

…as seen in this image from Radio & Television News, 1951.  We’re looking at Capitol Records’ studio in this image.

“Audio Cyclopedia” presents a range of material in an easy-to-read manner suitable for technical and non-technical persons alike; that being said, the book does not shy away from some very useful circuit data, such as the above-depicted Magnasync mixer schematic.  I have been wondering for some time what the proper way was to use a 5879 tube in triode mode: here we see:  100k plate resistor with 1K bias resistor.  Easy…

Lang Audio of the 1960s

Download the six-page circa 1965 Lang Specialized Audio Equipment Catalog:

DOWNLOAD: Lang_Audio_Electronics_catalog

Products covered, with photos and text description, include: Lang LRP-1B tape recorder electronics (for Ampex 300 generation machines), LTP-1A tape playback amp, LRA-1C record/playback amp, LMX-4 and LMX-5 broadcast consoles, LMP-1 stereo portable mixer, Record Stereo Mixer, LMX-2 mixer, LPM-2 portable mixer, PEQ-2 and PEQ-3 equalizers, Lang Sync Panel, Disc Recording Equalizer, plus many more accessories.

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Lang was known primarily for the various upgrades and support equipment that they manufactured for Ampex tape machines.  As shown above, they also offered solid-state equalizer that appear similar in function to the popular Pultec units of the era.  There are also several models of audio mixers on offer, a few of which were available as early as 1961.

Above: the Lang ‘compact’ mono mixer.  Advert circa 1961.  Looks very similar to my later stereo Gately mixing system , which I spent $250 and several hours on…and i still can’t figure out what the hell i’m gonna use it for.

Above: the Lang Raecord portable stereo (of a sort…) mixer, also introduced circa 1961.    Seems pretty scarce.

Here’s those EQs and Compressors you asked for. Now go F’ yrself.

Above: 12×3 Audiofax mixing desk circa 1961.

I was reading a 1961 AES journal when I came across this piece by Phillip Erhorn of Audiofax associates in which he details “New trends in stereo recording consoles.”  Erhorn will let you have your channel EQs and compressors, but only very begrudgingly.

Here’s Erhorn describing how he feels the trend for extensive channel EQ developed:

I mean, yeah, I agree, many condenser mics are hyped in the high end.  But why the hostility, buddy?  Oh and about all those channel compressors?

Remember what I said a few posts back about The Pre Rock Era?  How long did it take for our culture to shake off the idea that ‘verisimilitude to an actual acoustic event is the fundamental function of audio’?   I’ll remind you that in only about 3 years’ time, EMI staff engineers would be pushing their modded’ Altec compressors hard to get the sounds that helped create the Beatles’ success.  Oh the times they are a’changing.

Let’s get back to those swell-looking Audifax consoles tho…

Above, the same 12×3 desk, inside and out.  What a work of art this thing is! Someday. I . Will. Build. My. Own. Console.

Another Audiofax console. 

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I am going to take a bit of a left turn here. Not exactly like Jung’s Left Hand Path but…  Let’s get back to the hostility towards this new idea of audio-as-sound-modification-technology (as opposed to documentation-technology) that we read in the passages above.  Erhorn was/is obvs a very talented man who cared deeply about music or he would not have gained the skills/drive to construct the intricate pieces we see above.  So his views can’t just be written off.  Which begs the question:  If Erhorn’s views as an accomplished audio professional were, in 1961, slated for imminent obsolescence, then which of our current paradigms are headed for the dustbin? I don’t think the answer has anything to do with fidelity or even any particular kind of recording technology, necessarily.  In 1961, the history of audio trends was simply an upward vector.  Higher fidelity was ‘better.’  Frequency response and distortion % was always getting ‘better.’  Progress towards increased fidelity was the paradigm, and any deviation from this progress (such as the need to ‘EQ’ a mic to achieve a supposed marketing prerogative or the need to compress a loud, ‘music-less’ but sale-able band of youths) was bad, right?

Well, the ‘fidelity problem’ was pretty much solved by the late 1970s… the high-end of professional and consumer equipment available at that time is as close-to-perfect, in terms of sheer audio performance, as any user is likely to need.  Which is why the manufacturers turned towards the convenience problem instead.   This brought us the Walkman, the CD, and ultimately, the MP3.   So with the ‘fidelity problem’ solved, and all of our attention now collectively focused on the ‘convenience problem,’ we abandonded the paradigm of the upward vector of fidelity and instead enter an age of fidelity-trends.  High-fidelity sounds are in vogue for a while; and them low-fi and distorted sounds become popular.  We then tire of the low-fi and artists start making slick-sounding records again.  Etc., etc.  Now, there are real moments in the culture that precipitate each of these shifts, but the pattern seems likely to keep repeating.  The point is: neither hi-fi nor low-fi are going anywhere.  We now have a plurality of acceptable approaches to the generation of recorded musical performances.  So what’s to obselecse then?  Which viewpoint is about to become hopelessly outdated?

It’s my current feeling that the answer has something to do with copyright, ownership, and fair use.  Not fidelity, not any particular recording technology, but copyright and the idea of what kind of ‘use’ of existing recorded materials constitutes a valid new work.  I really get the sense from younger artists, as well as my students, that existing recordings — audio-masters made and paid for by other people — are fair game for use in their own productions: no credit or compensation necessary. Of course ‘sampling’ occurred in hip hop for ten years before rap artists had to start paying fees to use recognizable samples in their tracks, but I am more talking about the newer trend of simply lifting an obscure existing song, performing some tweaks on it, and calling it your own production.  And maybe it is!  Who is to say, really.  And that’s kind of the point I am trying to make.  If you are a young contemporary musician, what is the material that you work with?  What are the compositional elements that you are concerned with?  It is the notes E2 – E6 on an electric guitar?  Or is anything and everything that you can download for free from the internet?  If you want some concrete examples of the kind of music that I am talking about, check out this thread on Hipster Runoff.   If you are unfamiliar with HRO, the tone might take a little getting used-to, but the musical examples that the author presents are very valid.  Listen to the tracks.  Be aware that these are some of the most popular, most relevant rock-music acts in the world today.  And ask yrself:  how do you feel about this?  Can you accept the paradigm shift that is emerging?  Can you appreciate that this paradigm shift is taking place at the precise moment that the economic base of the century-old Recording Industry is almost fully collapsed?  And while you are pondering that, recall the Marxist relation between base and superstructure, this idea that economic conditions necessarily construct cultural conditions?

Here’s those free music-production apps you asked for.  Now go… make some music.