Author Archive

An Ampex brochure from the 1960s conjures up a utopia where typical grandparents are able to thread a reel-to-reel.

Ampex "Letters in Sound" (Click to englarge)

Newspaper article on Mavo

| April 6th, 2010

The Concordian just published a fascinating interview with Mavo, a local band, wherein frontman Mitz Takahashi offers some sage advice to our youth.

Mavo, who’ve recorded a couple songs here at the Bottle Garden, are a great band. To me they sound a bit like early Dream Syndicate mixed with the Voidoids. What’s more, they’re a fairly new band and they keep evolving (changing for the better, in fact) each time I see them play live.

The Rollers give us a pretty good demonstration of how to make a record on an analogue 16-track. I dig the red Helios console the engineer is using. Incidentally, the song in the video would end up as a #1 hit in the UK.

Strawberry Studios was based in Stockport England and owned by the guys in 10cc. The facility was a favourite haunt of legendary bubblegum impresarios Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffrey Katz (Super K Productions), the men behind the 1910 Fruitgum co. and the Ohio Express!

Howard Tremaine’s Audio Cyclopedia is the most useful technical reference book we’ve ever come across. It’s really a must-read for anyone interested in old audio equipment and the history of sound recording technology. The format of the book is really cool: Tremaine starts each section with a basic question (eg “What is an Equalizer?”) and answers it with a clear concise definition, then he digs deeper with followup questions until you get into something very deep indeed (eg “Describe the four basic bridged-T equalizers most commonly used in audio work”).

We have the second edition from 1969, finished shortly before the author died. Its 1757 pages cover everything from the theory of acoustics to light-based optical film recording to various approaches to vinyl disc cutting. Sadly, the book is out of print and tends to be expensive at online used book stores–but I’ve noticed it does show up on eBay fairly frequently for next-to-nothing.

A photo of an acoustical disc recording session

Tremaine's description of the Teletronix LA-2A part 1 of 3

Tremaine's description of the Teletronix LA-2A part 2 of 3

Tremaine's description of the Teletronix LA-2A part 3 of 3

McCurdy PE2600 Console

| March 10th, 2010

This small mixer from the late-1960s is one of our favourite pieces of equipment. The workmanship and wiring is impeccable; the circuitry is simple; and the components are top notch. We’re particularly enamored with the sound of the PE2600’s preamps (we suspect the custom MRI–McCurdy Radio Industries–transformers contribute to the sonic heft) and its use of virtually indestructible (and noiseless) stepped attenuators.

McCurdy preamp card; we’ve since replaced the electrolytic capacitors

The late Howard M. Tremaine, a titan of professional audio equipment design and the author of the venerable Audio Cyclopedia, worked for McCurdy during the 1960s, but we’re not sure if he contributed to the design of this mixer.

We performed one small modification to this unit, removing redundant microphone inputs and replacing them with direct outputs for each channel.