Tag Archives: lathes

Gotham Audio NYC – Complete 1979 Catalog Download

Gotham_1979_logoDownload the complete 16pp 1979-1980 Gotham Audio catalog:

DOWNLOAD: Gotham_Audio_1979

Products mentioned, with text + photos, include: Telefunken M 12A, M 15A, and M15A Multitrack (32 tracks!) tape machines; Telcom C4 noise reduction system, TTM universal noise reduction frame, Neumann microphones including U89, KMR 82, USM 69; Neuman VMS 80 Disc mastering system, SP 79C Disk Cutting Console, MT 80 preview  playback tape deck, SAL 74 Cutter Drive Logic (600 watts per channel!!!!), and SX 74 cutter head; EMT 240, 250, 140, and 244 reverbs; EMT 424 and 422 flutter analyzer, and EMT 950 turntable; K+H 0-92 and Model OY speaker; the EFP Phonograph plating plant (!!!!), NTP console modules 179-120 compressor, 177-520 oscilloscope, and a range of meters; plus a bunch of other related bits+bobs from the end-of-the-line of crazy-hi-end analog studio infrastructure.   Just be glad you didn’t buy a new Swedish-built LP plating plant in 1980, ‘aight?  Re: bits+ bytes are just ’round the corner….

NTP_Modules Telefunken_M15a_32_track EFP_Plating_plant K+H_Model_0-92_Speaker Neumann_VMS80_Mastering*************

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For our earlier scan of the 1972 Gotham Audio catalog, click here.  Astute commentators are encouraged to reflect on what had changed significantly between ’72 and ’78.  And sage speculation on what might change between today and 2019 is equally encouraged.

The Cybersonics DM 2002 mini-lathe c. 1978

Cybersonics_DM2002_latheDownload the original 4pp catalog for the Cybersonics DM-2002 LP lathe:

DOWNLOAD: Cybersonics_DM_2002

At 3’x1′, and 250lbs, perhaps ‘mini’ is not a totally accurate description…   Somewhere between a ‘disc recorder’ and a full-fledged Scully or Neumann Lathe and designed for ease-of-use, the DM-2002 was intended to allow recording studios to make high-fidelity ‘test records’ as well as production masters.  These things apparently used an Ortofon cutterhead and were made in very small numbers.  Hoe fkkn sweet would it be to have one these around.  Mixtape? How about mix record?

Cybersonics_DM2002_2

UPDATED: Cook Labs Test Records Circa 1952

CookLabs_LP10_CoverSeveral weeks ago I ran an article on Emory Cook, binaural recording pioneer and Connecticut entrepreneur.  Click here to read that piece.  T.F. contributed the wonderful and very-hard-to-find resources for that article, and we follow up today with some scans of a notable early Cook Labs product: the LP10 test-record.  You can download several of these resources here:

Emery Cook – Test Records brochure

Emery Cook – Series 10LP test record sleeve

Emery Cook – Series 10LP data sheet

Emery Cook – Series 10 Test Record Technical Bulletin

Cook_feedbackCuttter************

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I have a small collection of Test LPs myself, but I know nothing about the history and development of this type of product. T.F. graciously provided some background in the comments section, and I have reproduced that text here to facilitate easier reading:

“The way I understand the history (of test records), both RCA and Columbia produced microgroove test records when they developed their microgroove formats (45RPM 7″ disk for RCA, 12″ and 10” 33 RPM disks for Columbia). But these test disks were for professional mastering places, playback equipment designers and manufacturers, etc.

The Cook record seems to have been aimed at both professionals and serious hobbyists who were building and/or setting up phono playback equipment. Cook was also clever with marketing, this record proved the quality of his cutting equipment. In the early days of the microgroove, I don’t think there were very many other options for the hobbyist beyond the Cook record.

In 1954, when the industry adopted the RIAA curve, a bunch of semi-professional “test and demo” records came along, sometimes including calibrated test tones and sometimes just including “tracking challenge” music and sound effects. There was another bevvy of “test record” releases when the stereo LP debuted in 1958. In the 70s, we had more.

From the early days of the stereo LP, the CBS Labs test records were the standard device for designing and building playback equipment.  The Command Stereo Test Record was made at Fine Recording. It includes calibrated tones to set level and check frequency response, as well as a phase test and a silent groove to test for rumble. Side two is a narrated tour of some Command pop tunes pointing out what to listen for, to determine if the cartridge is tracking correctly.

The most recent calibrated test record is from Analogue Productions. Its levels test out to be accurately described and it is well calibrated to the RIAA curve, so it’s quite useful for setting levels, balance and testing the frequency response of a cartridge. It’s also got a useful test for wow and flutter and a speed-check tone (which shows that many of the modern lower-priced belt-drive turntables don’t hold 33.3RPM due to cheap motors and cheap platter bearings). The Analogue Productions record is very well manufactured, on quite and pretty much tick-free vinyl.

One big thing that test records have shown me is how many cartridges have uneven channel-to-channel levels and sometimes uneven frequency response. In the lower priced world, you can’t beat the Denon DL-110, it’s super-flat and nearly identical channel-to-channel (3 different units tested, manufactured over a 10-year period).

Excellent Article on Larry Scully and the Variable-Pitch Lathe c. 1956

Download a six-page article from HIGH FIDELITY 1956 concerning the history of the Scully corporation of Bridgeport Connecticut, including an explanation of the significance of the variable-pitch Scully lathe.

DOWNLOAD: High_Fidelity-5612-Scully_Sm

At left: Larry Scully circa 1956.  Thanks to reader TF for this very interesting piece.  As I have mentioned before, I drive by the old Scully factory nearly every day on my way to work at Gold Coast Recorders.  I had been hoping to uncover some history of this once-great Bridgeport institution and this article certainly sheds some light.  Some interesting bits from the article: in the 30s, Scully briefly ventured into the manufacture of P.A. equipment.  And beer coolers.  Also of note: the price of a Scully lathe in today’s dollars?  $72,000.

Previous Scully Coverage on P S dot com:

The Plant

The Model 601 Lathe

Some very neglected Scully 280s

Bridgeport, CT Circa 1964

Today: From “Easy Guide To Stereo HiFi,” 1964, ed. Robert Mayfield: a short pictorial on the subject of ‘How a record is made.’  Nothing too exciting here; I am reproducing this primarily because the plant shown in the article is none other than the Bridgeport, CT Columbia Records plant.  As I’ve mentioned before, this building is still standing; it is now ‘loft condos.’  The BPT Columbia plant was, AFAIK, the first facility in the world to manufacture 33rpm LP records;  SCULLY, America’s top  manufacturer of LP cutting lathes, was located a dozen blocks away, along the same train tracks that today still serve  commuters, dotted with idled freight cars resting on derelict short-ends of tracks strewn throughout the East End.

East Bridgeport, CT

Above: the view along Crescent ave from the intersection of Crescent and Bunnell, where a later Scully Recording Instruments Corp. plant once stood.

Last weekend I stopped by 305 Knowlton, a gallery/artist-studio-building nearby my studio Gold Coast Recorders; there was a flea-market/craft-fair event happening at 305.  My friend J and  I bought some records from MT (who is in all likelihood the first person I ever bought a used record from, some twenty-plus years ago…): I picked up Obscured By Clouds, Booker T and The MG’s ‘Uptight’ soundtrack, and a Ma Rainey Comp.  I asked J if he wanted to take a ride to see some local history, and within a minute we pulled up next to this impressive but nondescript building.  “What’s this?” asked J.  My response: ‘those old records in your lap – they were most likely created using machines designed and built in this very building.’

This is the Walter Street address once occupied by the Scully Recording Instruments Corporation (h.f. SRIC).  As far as I can tell, SRIC dominated the US vinyl lathe market for most of the 20th century.  Not much has been documented about the history of this important company, but we can conjecture a few reasons why they may have sprouted in this unlikely spot.  East Bridgeport was developed and built by PT Barnum (yup, the Circus-impresario) largely to support the mid-19th century sewing machine industry, especially the works of Elias Howe.  Howe’s tale is a long and complex one, but his company was responsible for drawing a huge number of skilled mechanical craftsmen (or Mechanics, as they were then known) to East Bridgeport in the mid 19th century.  This in turn led to the reputation of Bridgeport as one of the machine-making capitals of the world.

Above, another view of the former SRIC address on Walter street.  At some point in the 1960s, the SRIC moved a few blocks away to the intersection of Crescent and Bunnell.

The parking-lot shown above is situated at 480 Bunnell, which is indicated as the late-60’s address of the SRIC.   I’ve had various audio-related enterprises based in East Bridgeport for seven years now; in addition to GCR, my modest audio-electronics shop is located just a few minutes from Bunnell street on Connecticut ave; my old recording studio was also once based in that space.  I don’t know why it never occurred to me until now to investigate the previous neighborhood connections.  Bridgeport has several other notable audio-historical connections which I will be documenting soon, starting with Columbia Records.  Stay tuned…