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Questions about mixing history
Old 26th September 2009
  #31
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emrr's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone View Post
John Hall told me he was involved with this (and Don King confirmed it for me), there was another engineer involved as well that went to work for Electrodyne... I'm going to look back at my original notes to find out the name of the other gentleman, maybe he was with RCA at the time. However I probably shouldn't have used the word Electrodyne... my bad as it was Cinema Engineering they were talking about at this point in time.
With Art Davis' 'in memoriam' in the AES stating he started Cinema Engineering in 1938, and the mention of his early work being in pads and attenuators, it is possible that they physically constructed the original pan pots, being the one local supplier at the time.

One very cloudy area is the exact nature of RCA's Photophone production. It appears that many equipments were manufactured in LA by that division, specifically for the Hollywood production market. Only the very earliest RCA mixer I've seen from 1932 had RCA made attenuators. Everything else I've seen used Daven, but that doesn't address the little known Photophone products.
Old 26th September 2009
  #32
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

I visited Photophone in 1972 to get a new ribbon in my 77DX. (Yes, you could walk in and they'd replace it while you waited!) The place looked like the interior hadn't been altered since it was built in the 1930s.

I was told that they built everything custom from RCA parts and modules depending on what a studio wanted. It should also be remembered that most audio production gear could only be leased prior to the time the patents ran out in the late 1940s. RCA and Western Electric got paid a percentage of every movie ticket, record, or broadcast commercial sold.
Old 26th September 2009
  #33
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Thanks Bob. Did you get a sense of how large their production operation was at that time? You see some strange stuff occasionally, like standard broadcast modules made with completely different transformers (LA sourced) from the stock units seen elsewhere.
Old 26th September 2009
  #34
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

I got the impression it was only maybe ten people. Of course it may have been many more during the patent era. Still this was never mass produced stuff by any means compared to the broadcast gear made in New Jersey.
Old 26th September 2009
  #35
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emrr's Avatar
I have wondered what degree of machine shop RCA had in LA. With many pieces full of LA sourced transformers, it would appear they were totally built out there, but maybe the transformers were specified on that end, but equipment still built in NJ. Or most work done in NJ, with some final assembly in LA.
Old 26th September 2009
  #36
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

I'm sure it was built in LA. Remember this was before FAX machines or any of the kinds of communication we take for granted today.
Old 26th September 2009
  #37
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lord_bunny's Avatar
 

So Fantasia was the first click track? How and why was it implimented.

Does anyone know of the first commercial pop record to use a click track? I guess I could search, but this seems like a good thread to ask this. I've always wanted to know if records like Pet Sounds or Zepplin four were using click tracks... and even more curious to know if some of the classic 50's pop used them.
Old 26th September 2009
  #38
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

I think LA session musicians were the first because they had been using them for scoring sessions. On the other hand Ed Greene told me he had never used one on a record date before he came to Nashville around ten years ago. This included a zillion disco albums and all of the Barry White records.
Old 27th September 2009
  #39
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vernier's Avatar
Cool historic stuff, Bob.
Old 27th September 2009
  #40
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Before the late 1940's you couldn't have built an amplifier stage without stepping on an RCA or Western Electric patent.
bob you prob could add Altec to that list
Old 27th September 2009
  #41
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Altec was spun off from Western Electric manufacturing mikes, electronics and loudspeakers. The motion picture and disk recording gear became Westrex and Western Electric's broadcast transmitters became Continental Electronics.
Old 27th September 2009
  #42
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narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
I think LA session musicians were the first because they had been using them for scoring sessions. On the other hand Ed Greene told me he had never used one on a record date before he came to Nashville around ten years ago. This included a zillion disco albums and all of the Barry White records.
cool!
Old 28th September 2009
  #43
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Silvertone's Avatar
The two schools seem to be RCA and Western Electric... all the designers seems to spread out from these two companies...

Apparently Fairchild also helped in the Fantasia sound since here is a piece of gear that was used in the process for sale on evilbay right now...

Fairchild 315 Perspecta Recording System, Disney, Altec - eBay (item 330361803243 end time Sep-28-09 05:19:07 PDT)

here is the description as it goes off bid in 5 minutes...

Fairchild 315 Perpecta.

In very good condition.

This amplifier senses a sub audio frequecy signal to pan to

left, right, or center.

It consists to the best of my knowledge of three variable gain

tube amps controled in their side chain by

30Hz, 35Hz, or 40Hz respectively.

First used in Disney's Fantazia.

PSU not included. If you cannot find one it is possible to make one from

the schematic. For an excelent overview of the ampifier, schematics etc.

please visit:

Fairchild Perspecta Sound Booklet

Extremely rare item.

Due to excessive weight shipping to Europe only.

Happy bidding!
Old 28th September 2009
  #44
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Perspecta Sound had absolutely nothing to do with Fantasia!

It was developed by Robert Fine in New York as a means of creating a stereo-like panning effect in a movie theater from a mono optical track. Fine sold the process to one of the major Hollywood film distributors who then bought the building in New York that NBC had occupied prior to Radio City. They allowed Fine to turn the largest studio into one of, if not New York's very first independent recording studio. (Independent means not owned by a record label or broadcaster.) Fine had previously been renting studio time in broadcast studios.

As the patents on recording technology expired during the late '40s it became possible for independent record labels to be started. Mercury Records of Chicago had all of their New York recordings done by Robert Fine who would rent broadcast studios before he made the Perspecta Sound deal. This probably included Patti Page's "Confess" which was the first recording that used a double tracked vocal.
Old 28th September 2009
  #45
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Silvertone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Perspecta Sound had absolutely nothing to do with Fantasia!

It was developed by Robert Fine in New York as a means of creating a stereo-like panning effect in a movie theater from a mono optical track. Fine sold the process to one of the major Hollywood film distributors who then bought the building in New York that NBC had occupied prior to Radio City. They allowed Fine to turn the largest studio into one of, if not New York's very first independent recording studio. (Independent means not owned by a record label or broadcaster.) Fine had previously been renting studio time in broadcast studios.

As the patents on recording technology expired during the late '40s it became possible for independent record labels to be started. Mercury Records of Chicago had all of their New York recordings done by Robert Fine who would rent broadcast studios before he made the Perspecta Sound deal. This probably included Patti Page's "Confess" which was the first recording that used a double tracked vocal.
Thanks for that correction Bob... just posting what the seller stated...

Small world as I just remastered a couple recordings that came from Bob Fines studio... what a great recording... had Spike Lee's Dad playing bass on it... what a great bass player Bill (or Will as it is stated on the second album) Lee is.

I also have a couple pieces of tube gear that supposedly came from Fine studios... a couple tube pre-amps and one "cokebottle" mic...
Old 28th September 2009
  #46
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emrr's Avatar
The state of audio history is a total mess, when people can get away with saying things like that about that Fairchild. A momentary glance shows 9-pin tubes; didn't exist then. Real basic information.
Old 28th September 2009
  #47
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

The amount of people taking credit for stuff they didn't do has always been staggering.
Old 29th September 2009
  #48
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
The amount of people taking credit for stuff they didn't do has always been staggering.

I'd like to note that taking credit for stuff you didn't do was originally my idea.


Gregory Scott -ubk
.
Old 29th September 2009
  #49
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
I'd like to note that taking credit for stuff you didn't do was originally my idea.


Gregory Scott -ubk
.
Gregory, that's great! Do you mind if I use that one?

Nice history thread. Thanks Bob, Sigma (Mr. Tarsia?), and Fletcher for kicking the k-nowledge.

I started learning the craft of engineering in a studio with a Harrison desk and Allison automation, so it's nice to see people relating different eras, systems, and designers to a time line.

Hey, speaking of Timeline...
Old 3rd October 2016
  #50
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I'm pretty sure the very first digital console was the Neve DTC (Digital Transfer Console), of which I was lucky to take a picture back in Brussels:

This was a mastering console, hence the 3 stereo inputs / 1 stereo output configuration.
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Questions about mixing history-neve-dtc.jpg  
Old 3rd October 2016
  #51
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Audio Animation was another early digital mastering console. I'm not sure if it came before or after the Neve. The designers went on to found Waves, the first plug-in developer.
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