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For Bob Olhsson-Motown EQ's Spatial Processor Plugins
Old 10th January 2005
  #1
For Bob Olhsson-Motown EQ's

Hi Bob,

Who did the original design for the Motown Eq's?

And what is your take on them?
Old 10th January 2005
  #2
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

They were designed by John Windt, Dave Clark and Mike McLean.

Our favorite eqs were Langevin passive graphics but the sliders frequently went bad and you needed to really watch termination and patch a booster amp in after them. They were very impractical as part of a complex patch. Our home brews wrapped the same passive eq circuit between a buffer and a booster amp with a gain control so you could easily match levels to hear if your eq settings REALLY sounded any better. The sliders were replaced by Military Spec, silver contact "make before break" switches. These were originally detented but the detents were removed because mixers found them distracting.

There were three different versions. One used OpAmp Labs modules, one used a knock-off of a Spectrasonics amplifier design and the third allowed cutting all the frequencies in half for half speed disk mastering. My guess is that around 20-30 were made. They were taken to LA when the company left Detroit and apparently sold when the studio there closed.

We especially liked them for overall eq, vocals and drums.
Old 10th January 2005
  #3
Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Olhsson


My guess is that around 20-30 were made. They were taken to LA when the company left Detroit and apparently sold when the studio there closed.

We especially liked them for overall eq, vocals and drums.
Did they ever consider making them and selling outside the studio?

Or what is a politics thing with Motown?
Old 10th January 2005
  #4
Interesting thread.
I know Michael Brauer has some in his rack.
Old 10th January 2005
  #5
Quote:
Originally posted by chrisso
Interesting thread.
I know Michael Brauer has some in his rack.
MB has one of everything in his rack.heh
Old 10th January 2005
  #6
Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
MB has one of everything in his rack.heh
Pretty impressive. And there's more behind the racks.

Old 10th January 2005
  #7
Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Olhsson

Our favorite eqs were Langevin passive graphics but the sliders frequently went bad and you needed to really watch termination and patch a booster amp in after them.
I was once offered some Langevin mic/pre's that supposedly came from Motown. So should we look out for Langevin passive graphics?
I've been using a pair of German 'Teldec' passive mastering eq and they sound fabulous. Very quiet though, so I've had to patch a booster after them too.
Old 11th January 2005
  #8
JTR
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Lynn Fuston
Pretty impressive. And there's more behind the racks.
Now there's a cartage and insurance bill I'd like to see.
Old 11th January 2005
  #9
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paterno's Avatar
 

Re: For Bob Olhsson-Motown EQ's

Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor
Hi Bob,

Who did the original design for the Motown Eq's?

And what is your take on them?
I had a pair for a while. These things are built like tanks -- they weigh a ton and the wiring and constuction is impressive!! mine had the Op Amp Labs gain stage, and were black faced. They sound cool -- somtimes I wish i did not unload them...

Cheers,
John
Old 11th January 2005
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Just wondering, how do those Langevin graphics compare to the Electrodyne passive graphics of that era?
Old 11th January 2005
  #11
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

I've never seen an Electrodyne but there were Altec and Cinema Engineering versions in addition to Langevin. It was one of the first graphics ever made. If I remember right, they sold for seven or eight hundred dollars in the mid '60s. That's why we went the DIY route, it was going to be real expensive anyway so Mike figured we might as well spend a little more and get them built like tanks. Remember we didn't have any console equalizers at that point.

There was never any intention to sell them and none were ever originally black-face although the mastering version was light blue as I recall. I think they may be in the Motown Museum. John Windt moved to hollywierd to build A&M studios. Bernie Grundman's mastering room there looked not just a little bit familiar to me when I did mastering sessions with him in the mid '70s!
Old 11th January 2005
  #12
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paterno's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Olhsson

There was never any intention to sell them and none were ever originally black-face although the mastering version was light blue as I recall. I think they may be in the Motown Museum. John Windt moved to hollywierd to build A&M studios. Bernie Grundman's mastering room there looked not just a little bit familiar to me when I did mastering sessions with him in the mid '70s!
Mine were definitely brushed metal black face, and they were definitely original. They were purchased directly from the company who took over the LA Motown studio [now called Signet Sound]. i inspected the black and silver face versions and they were indentical on the inside. Maybe these were built after Motown moved to LA...

John
Old 11th January 2005
  #13
I have a pair of Q8 graphics that were supposedly used for mastering.
Anyway.....interesting topic.
Old 11th January 2005
  #14
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neve1073's Avatar
 

This thread is a great read!
Old 11th January 2005
  #15
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

It's pretty easy to anodize the panels a different color. Some of them had a lot of pretty bad fingerprint stains when they left Detroit and the Opamp Labs ones were several years older than the rest.

I have a really hard time imagining the LA operation taking on building them. For example we had to put each resistor on a grinding wheel and grind it down into the right value as we measured the resistance. They were EXTREMELY labor intensive to make.
Old 12th January 2005
  #16
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kevinc's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Olhsson
Our home brews wrapped the same passive eq circuit between a buffer and a booster amp with a gain control so you could easily match levels to hear if your eq settings REALLY sounded any better. .

That`s a good idea.

I`m allways very distrustfull of my EQ settings these days compared to when I used to just tweak them like I would like a guitar amp.

Something like that would help me out quite a bit.
Old 3rd November 2014
  #17
Here for the gear
 
rxeno's Avatar
 

Motown EQs

Donald Petty formerly of Wally Heider, had 4 of them.
He built 8 for Barry, all military specs. Easy to tell if they were those.
These were built out in LA....

His were wonderful and brilliant on all fronts.
4 of them were in my mobile unit when it was stolen.
Sad, I am always on the lookout to find them and the 3 Pultecs,
a Melcore EQ and some vintage 1176s.

Typically anyone with a Motown EQ runs when I ask for the serial numbers.

Best ever.
And yes Langevin passive EQs were the best ever in my opinion.
rx
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