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Harrison Consoles Consoles
Old 10th April 2004
  #1
Harrison Consoles

Though I've never had the possibility of working with one of them I've always thought Harrison consoles are wonderful. So I'm wondering why beauties like for example a SeriesTwelve w/ digital.engines are not popular at all in music production environments. Marketing ? Cost ? Sound ? What else ? Just curious thanks
Old 10th April 2004
  #2
Re: Harrison Consoles

Quote:
Originally posted by stevegalante
Though I've never had the possibility of working with one of them I've always thought Harrison consoles are wonderful. So I'm wondering why beauties like for example a SeriesTwelve w/ digital.engines are not popular at all in music production environments. Marketing ? Cost ? Sound ? What else ? Just curious thanks
1) Cost

2) Harrison's while they sounded great, tended to break down a ton

3) SSL's had EQ and dynamics on each channel

4) While total recall on analog is great, figuring out the Series 12 takes a bit

I worked on lot of Harrisons back in the day and i still prefered to mix on an SSL.
Old 11th April 2004
  #3
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Whilst my Harrison experience only relates to broadcast boards (TV-4), the main issues were:
1. Breakdowns...channels crapping out. Especially in OB trucks. They tended to sag in the middle over time, so the techs were always putting shims under the caterpiller connectors in the tub to ensure the cards correctly mated. Caps were always an issue.
2. The TV-4 was not a really musical sounding board. The eq was more about crap removal...lose the bad, hopefully the good remains relatively unscathed.
3. Facilities...or lack of. As Thrill said..no comps or gates. There was a good amount of routing options...8 stereo groups, which had 4 mono groups as well as 4 mono and 1 stereo aux, and 4 stereo masters (1 and 3 had faders, 2 and 4 had pots). For some reason, all of the Harrisons I ever worked on had no way of routing an input directly to the master stereo buss...go figure.
4. They were expensive for what they were.

After the success of Tubular Bells, Mike Oldfield bought a Series 10. At the time he, or Harrison, had to get permission from the US Dept of Defence to export that amount of computing power from US shores...national security paranoia etc. I think the computer in today's terms is about the same as a Playstation.

Cheers,
Tim
Old 12th April 2004
  #4
So do you think even now a Series 12 / digital.engine would suffer from breakdowns ?
Old 12th April 2004
  #5
Quote:
Originally posted by stevegalante
So do you think even now a Series 12 / digital.engine would suffer from breakdowns ?
Probably not. Harrison has a great custom support. I have a Series 10B and have had only one problem with a chip which Harrison fixed to me for free.
The Series Twelve is a "new" console so there should be no fatigues what so ever....

/Lindell
Old 21st March 2014
  #6
Gear Guru
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
1) Cost

2) Harrison's while they sounded great, tended to break down a ton
Thrill I cannot agree with that 100 percent, I have had my MR3s up and running for 2 years, they are both 1981 models, only had 2 bugs, one was where they had sit and some needed new caps and the both PSU's just a general going over when I first got them but it was no big deal.

The only other issue that I ever had is maybe channel not seeded correct or the sound in the control room can move/jar one every now and then, i have prob re seeded 4 -6 channels in 2 years, no big deal, O yea I completely re-chipped and recapped the entire master section so I could always rule that out being a issue.
But if one channel is not seeded correct the console will flip out. No automation, I don't mess with that, now that could give issues perhaps.
WOW 10 year old thread.....
Old 21st March 2014
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllAboutTone View Post
Thrill I cannot agree with that 100 percent, I have had my MR3s up and running for 2 years, they are both 1981 models, only had 2 bugs, one was where they had sit and some needed new caps and the both PSU's just a general going over when I first got them but it was no big deal.

The only other issue that I ever had is maybe channel not seeded correct or the sound in the control room can move/jar one every now and then, i have prob re seeded 4 -6 channels in 2 years, no big deal, O yea I completely re-chipped and recapped the entire master section so I could always rule that out being a issue.
But if one channel is not seeded correct the console will flip out. No automation, I don't mess with that, now that could give issues perhaps.
WOW 10 year old thread.....

I think thrill is talking more about the latter boards when he's talking about breaking down.
Also I hate to say it but a fair number were in second tier rooms where tech staff was sub par and tech budget non existant.
I think if someone gets a Harrison in good condition, and did the basics ( the Raven had heat issues which might account for some of the bad rep) like you it's a pretty good board.
Old 22nd March 2014
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddageek View Post
I think thrill is talking more about the latter boards when he's talking about breaking down.
Also I hate to say it but a fair number were in second tier rooms where tech staff was sub par and tech budget non existant.
I think if someone gets a Harrison in good condition, and did the basics ( the Raven had heat issues which might account for some of the bad rep) like you it's a pretty good board.
Yea you are prob right, I had heard and read that consoles made post MR3/TV3 and MR4 went south as far as being a stable console, so that explains the Raven.
I couldn't be happier with my Harrison, it sounds huge, I mainly use the preamps on the console for drums, they are fast like API, in fact they remind me a lot of the API, and then patch in a 525 post on a snare/kick or bass and you are uptown my friend. I have the 70s 525s , they are dope.

Sure I have one or 2 flakey Meters, mainly they are where I have returns coming back in like channels 32-36 but the rest are solid, besides I know the meters are hard to replaced so if that is ever a major issue I will use my ears, I do anyways.
When you score 2 consoles like this for 2800 and they are in the condition they were, plus I have a GREAT tech that worked on these 2 consoles back in the day. All of that equals "I am staying where I am" I am almost near my mid 50s so I think this console will last as long as I make music.
I am blessed that I have a console as such so every time I sit behind it I treasure the time.
Old 22nd March 2014
  #9
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espen askelad's Avatar
Mind sharing the name of that tech?
Old 22nd March 2014
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by espen askelad View Post
Mind sharing the name of that tech?
I would have to ask him if he is open to working outside the area, he is retired in his 70s , he is on GS if i find his user name i will give it to ya. Wait i think its Wilmot.
Old 22nd March 2014
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllAboutTone View Post
Thrill I cannot agree with that 100 percent, I have had my MR3s up and running for 2 years, they are both 1981 models, only had 2 bugs, one was where they had sit and some needed new caps and the both PSU's just a general going over when I first got them but it was no big deal.

The only other issue that I ever had is maybe channel not seeded correct or the sound in the control room can move/jar one every now and then, i have prob re seeded 4 -6 channels in 2 years, no big deal, O yea I completely re-chipped and recapped the entire master section so I could always rule that out being a issue.
But if one channel is not seeded correct the console will flip out. No automation, I don't mess with that, now that could give issues perhaps.
WOW 10 year old thread.....
My thoughts exactly. My 24-series from '81 has had ZERO problems in 4 years of daily use. This is after a full refurbishment, of course.

The ones that were problematic were made later. Harrison cut the weight of the chassis dramatically in the later models (32-series board weights around 500kg's!) and the largely hand made building process they used in 32 and 24-series was becoming too slow...
Old 22nd March 2014
  #12
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Wow the 24 series frame must be heavy, I know the MR3 is like a tank/boat anchor I might add. I'm a little jealous not to own a 24 or 32 but I am still very happy with MR series.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telefunk View Post
My thoughts exactly. My 24-series from '81 has had ZERO problems in 4 years of daily use. This is after a full refurbishment, of course.

The ones that were problematic were made later. Harrison cut the weight of the chassis dramatically in the later models (32-series board weights around 500kg's!) and the largely hand made building process they used in 32 and 24-series was becoming too slow...
Old 22nd March 2014
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllAboutTone View Post
Wow the 24 series frame must be heavy, I know the MR3 is like a tank/boat anchor I might add. I'm a little jealous not to own a 24 or 32 but I am still very happy with MR series.
I think your MR is a step up from the 24/32, the MR may not have all the mojo but its a tad less noisy!
Old 22nd March 2014
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddageek View Post
I think your MR is a step up from the 24/32, the MR may not have all the mojo but its a tad less noisy!
Really ? Mojo is cool for sure, I rely on the tube techs if needed for that. I read where Micheal Jackson, Janet and many other artist tracked on a MR3 but mixed on something else, maybe the 24 or 32. Many other like ACDC, ABBA and even Kansas used Harrison's. Pretty cool for sure.
I am still looking for a extra main module for my MR3, like I said I have 2 of each except that middle main one, maybe I should call Harrison, I ask Gary on here but had no reply. My tech has threaten to take a module and make me one.
Old 22nd March 2014
  #15
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In the 80s when Sony Destroyed MCI Harrison was about it as far as American made boards, API was there but there wasn't that many.
I think what did them in as far as the Recording industry was when John Bormann and Co sold off AVC Systems who were the guys who sold The Flyte Time and other Midwest boards.
I remember the MR4 in the demo room and Raven in the lobby!
with SSl in top of the food chain and Trident Soundcraft DDA ect in the Middle, the Custom built to order console became more of a post and broadcast item where they dominate to this day!

A center section is always the hardest thing to find, you have one per board, having a one off Custom one could address any short comings / wishes.
Old 22nd March 2014
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddageek View Post
I think your MR is a step up from the 24/32, the MR may not have all the mojo but its a tad less noisy!
There is 3 different revisions of 32/24 series. A/B revisions were the more noisy ones because of old dbx VCA's, but 32C and 24C series with Allison Research VCA's have incredible S/N ratios.
Old 23rd March 2014
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telefunk View Post
There is 3 different revisions of 32/24 series. A/B revisions were the more noisy ones because of old dbx VCA's, but 32C and 24C series with Allison Research VCA's have incredible S/N ratios.
Wow I didn't know that.
Old 23rd March 2014
  #18
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..and should I add: The noisiness of the older revisions of the 32/24-series was not only due to VCA's, it was also because of the bad op-amp choises. 32A used TL074's all around.

Now, in the modular design of the 32/24 series, the FET switching card connects all the "modules": EQ, Pres, everything. That increases the amount of buffer stages, making op-amps even more critical in the design.

Now, add tons of TL074's and you get noise, naturally. But later revisions had 4605's which sound fabulous and are pretty quiet, even for todays standards.

But it's no big deal to even use something like LME49470's. Harrison did perfect feedback circuits for every op-amp so you can just drop them in if you like. Only thing you have to be careful is that your PSU can take it. After that your 32/24-series will be dead quiet. And together with Allison Research VCA's (or all VCA's removed, even better) these can be the most transparent and quiet desks you have ever heard.
Old 9th September 2014
  #19
Gear Nut
 

I have been running my Harrison Series 12 for six years now with very few problems. Like any console, you have to familiarize yourself with its quirks and inner-workings. I keep spare computers, touch screens, processor cards and the like around. Recently, I bought an entire parts console for next to nothing. Along with the help of former Harrison tech, Alan Waugh, we set about rebuilding the entire console. It has been a chore, but it has proven worth the effort. My next move will be to switch over to an Atomic Instruments power supply.

My experience with the Series 12 and with Harrison has been fantastic. It is by far the most stable console I have used.

Side note, If you need Series 12 parts, feel free to contact me. I have way more than I need.
Old 10th September 2014
  #20
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Telefunk View Post
..and should I add: The noisiness of the older revisions of the 32/24-series was not only due to VCA's, it was also because of the bad op-amp choises. 32A used TL074's all around.

Now, in the modular design of the 32/24 series, the FET switching card connects all the "modules": EQ, Pres, everything. That increases the amount of buffer stages, making op-amps even more critical in the design.

Now, add tons of TL074's and you get noise, naturally. But later revisions had 4605's which sound fabulous and are pretty quiet, even for todays standards.

But it's no big deal to even use something like LME49470's. Harrison did perfect feedback circuits for every op-amp so you can just drop them in if you like. Only thing you have to be careful is that your PSU can take it. After that your 32/24-series will be dead quiet. And together with Allison Research VCA's (or all VCA's removed, even better) these can be the most transparent and quiet desks you have ever heard.
Yo Telefunk! Mate need some advice if thats ok.. I'm about to rack up 2 channels from a 24c, however these strips were modified somewhat and I'm getting a techy to 'unmod' them back to the way they were. There are new chips all round and the Jensen 115 input tran's has been removed.
Just wondering your thoughts on the super old HA911 IC.? Ive managed to get a couple from David Kulka but they are the TO99 footprint, I'll need the Jensen part too but, what do you think of the stock mic pre like this?? Do you think its not worth the money into it, if its super retro/lofi I'm quite keen, but otherwise could be money spent on nothing special... I dunno any thoughts would be great!

Regards, Dave
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