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Any info about this rare console?? Dynamics Plugins
Old 29th May 2011
  #1
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Rusted Vacuum's Avatar
 

rtrt

rtrt
Attached Thumbnails
Any info about this rare console??-1.jpg   Any info about this rare console??-4.jpg   Any info about this rare console??-5.jpg   Any info about this rare console??-6.jpg  

Last edited by atomicohm; 30th May 2011 at 03:48 AM.. Reason: No more needed
Old 29th May 2011
  #2
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tekis's Avatar
Cool looking logo! It looks as if those are Sowter transformers in the last picture. Maybe they would know if no one else here does.
Old 29th May 2011
  #3
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Blast9's Avatar
isn't that logo one of the famous movie production houses, like Rank?
Old 29th May 2011
  #4
That's what I thought ! Rank Arena .

now all we need is the GONG !!
Old 29th May 2011
  #5
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12ax7's Avatar
 

.
I do not know for sure.

I see the paint is scratched off right where the name of the manufacturer was.

However, it looks like (before the damage) what it once read started with "S-T-R", and then "A-?-?...).

Hmmm...

Could it have been made by Stramp?

I once worked for a band that had a Stramp monitor board, but I never saw another piece of gear made by them. (It was a very good board, though.)


All I could find on the 'net about Stramp (from Synthmuseum.com - Stramp) is:
"Stramp was a Pro Audio manufacture out of Germany in the early 70's, founded by Peter Strueven (hence the name Strueven Amplification or "Stramp") They were known for their sound reinforcement equipment (mixers, amps, etc.) as well as their guitar and bass amps. Some have compared their amps to those of Marshall, both in sound and quality. They did make one synth that we know of, the Syncharger 2.

"Unfortunately Stramp was eventually bought out by Dynacord who evidently redesigned their amps for the worse. Peter Strueven is still in the business though, with his own company, Peter Strueven Audio Sales."
Maybe one of the "GS Gurus" out there knows more?

.
Old 29th May 2011
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterbaide View Post
That's what I thought ! Rank Arena .

now all we need is the GONG !!

Oh, yes, i found the logo and you are right is RANK ARENA!!!, many thanks......
Old 29th May 2011
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
Rusted Vacuum's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
.
I do not know for sure.

I see the paint is scratched off right where the name of the manufacturer was.

However, it looks like (before the damage) what it once read started with "S-T-R", and then "A-?-?...).

Hmmm...

Could it have been made by Stramp?

I once worked for a band that had a Stramp monitor board, but I never saw another piece of gear made by them. (It was a very good board, though.)


All I could find on the 'net about Stramp (from Synthmuseum.com - Stramp) is:
"Stramp was a Pro Audio manufacture out of Germany in the early 70's, founded by Peter Strueven (hence the name Strueven Amplification or "Stramp") They were known for their sound reinforcement equipment (mixers, amps, etc.) as well as their guitar and bass amps. Some have compared their amps to those of Marshall, both in sound and quality. They did make one synth that we know of, the Syncharger 2.

"Unfortunately Stramp was eventually bought out by Dynacord who evidently redesigned their amps for the worse. Peter Strueven is still in the business though, with his own company, Peter Strueven Audio Sales."
Maybe one of the "GS Gurus" out there knows more?

.

Well, the logo is certainly rank arena, but above the Model SD THEATRE MIXER actually had a word that begins with ST and then comes perhaps may be an (R, B, P, E, S) I do not know is very scraped, I think this is the series name to which it belonged, and under is the model.
I´ll serch for the Stramp way, and see what comes up.
Many thanks for all the replys to the "GS" people...
Old 29th May 2011
  #8
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12ax7's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by atomicohm View Post

Oh, yes, i found the logo and you are right is RANK ARENA!!!, many thanks......
Ah. Right you are.

Yep, it matches this:
Any info about this rare console??-1271754270951.jpg
...So I guess the idea that it might be a Stramp is probably pretty much a "wild goose chase".

Oh, well.

.
Old 29th May 2011
  #9
Umm!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
Ah. Right you are.

Yep, it matches this:
Attachment 237358
...So I guess the idea that it might be a Stramp is probably pretty much a "wild goose chase".

Oh, well.

.
In 1976, Rank acquired Stagesound Ltd from Theatre Progects and created Rank Strand Sound.
Sam Wise who now works for Arup as an electroacoustic consultant may have info
Old 29th May 2011
  #10
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Yes, what you have there is a "Strand-Sound" theatre mixing desk. These came about largely because Theatre Projects Consultants were working for the City Of London on the Barbican Theatre and had specified a hugely complex mixing desk that was to be designed and built by Theatre Projects Sound. A conflict of interest was declared and the solution was for the sound hardware part of Theatre Projects to be hived off to become part of the Rank Strand lighting group. Shortly after the Barbican desk was installed and commissioned, Rank dropped the sound side of the business, although there were some desks, like the one that you have, that were manufactured under the Strand-Sound banner. It will date from around the early 1980s and may or may not work satisfactorily.

I could tell you a great deal more about the history, having been in the middle of the whole sorry mess as head of sound for the Royal Shakespeare Company who were the tenants of The Barbican Theatre. The desk had rudimentary routing automation that used a Strand Duet lighting board computer as a controller and was forever going tits-up in the middle of shows in the most embarrassing fashion. It took five years finally to get the enormous, ill-concieved and fault-prone Strand-Sound desk replaced with a Cadac (and that's another great British company that's more or less bitten the dust, as far as I can tell - subsumed into the the Chinese parent company.)

Regards,

John
Old 29th May 2011
  #11
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12ax7's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsound View Post

Yes, what you have there is a "Strand-Sound" theatre mixing desk.

[...]
Thanks for the missing piece of the puzzle there, Bassmec and johnsound.

Every time I start to get frustrated with some of the bickering that crops up from time to time on this site, along comes another Gearslut to make me remember just how cool this site can be!

Thanks!

.
Old 31st May 2011
  #12
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You're welcome. Sometimes being an old geezer can be useful...

Mind you, at the risk of depressing the OP, I'm not sure that I'd regard the Strand-Sound desk as high end. But then the first theatre sound desk that I built used Helios cards, so I might be a bit biased.

Regards,

John
Old 31st May 2011
  #13
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Apparently In 1976, Rank acquired Stagesound Ltd from Theatre Progects and created Rank Strand Sound.
Most of the Strand desks were built to order, tho they did have a couple to show interested clients. I visited them once in Great West Road. Brentford....
Old 2nd June 2011
  #14
Here for the gear
 

Hi guys, I am Sam Wise who worked for Theatre Projects from 1971 to about 1981. I was the first electronics chap there when dimmers still got hired out that had wire resistor or variable transformer technology inside. My job originally was too look after the West End, where TP was the dominant lighting and sound hire company and also had recording studios which produced a lot of the sound tracks for the various shows. And operators for them too.

Actually, the mixer that you show was originally designed for Theatre Projects Services - the sound and lighting hire division of Theatre Projects in those days. It was simple, but had very good audio performance, low noise and particularly a lot of headroom so that the less-well-trained operators of the day could set up the gain wrong and still avoid the worst of noise and overload issues. It also was very robust and survived well being thrown in and out of trucks. The equaliser controls were also designed with the opposite philosophy of Soundcraft's. As operators, we thought that mostly eq needed to be subtle - to cut a notch in audio to let something else peek through, or to give a little lift just to clarify the speech or the instrument's character. On this, our most basic mixer, the frequencies were fixed, but carefully chosen, and the knobs were subtle around 0, getting more fierce the further they were rotated. Operators did like them, but they were harder to demostrate at trade shows!

The success of this led in part to the development of Theatre Projects Special Projects group, which became a sound and lighting control manufacturer and installation contractor.

At a certain stage, various things colluded so that TP sold the manufacturing / installation business to Rank Strand. Maybe the Barbican Theatre was part of that - though actually, Rank Strand was looking to expand beyond lighting then, which is why they bid for the sound at the Barbican. One could say that there were several mis-adventures in this arrangement, as Strand didn't really organise themselves to be a permanent player in sound. For one thing, the design team stayed with TP. The audio part of the mixer that John Leonard describes was designed by the TP team (mainly me and my electronic circuit wiz partner Dave Higton), and the memory part was derived from Strand's lighting desks as John correctly states. Interestingly, our team never heard anything more about the particular mixer John describes after it was built, so we were never aware of problems. We assume that must mean that the memory part was unreliable, rather than the audio control elements.

Anyway, later on, when TP started to explode, Tecpro was established, Strand Sound collapsed and we continued to make mixers occasionally, completed a revamp of the TecPro Theatre Intercom (which was in continuous production from about 1981 to 2009 or so - just revamped again a couple of years ago), and developed audio test equipment which also became an industry standard and was later sold to Neutrik - now NTI.

In 1980, we also got an order for a large film post-production console from Pinewood Studios, which in its day was one of the largest in the world at 60 channels, 32 groups, with automated faders and automated surround sound panning (a world first). This was satisfactorily delivered and worked away mixing the soundtracks for Pink Floyd's The Wall, many Superman and James Bond films and a lot of other things. It in turn was sold on by Pinewood in about 1998, to a new home in Hong Kong dubbing sound for kung foo movies. I sold the spares to the HK purchaser as well, having only replaced one fader and no channel pots during its entire life. Mind, those pots were very special conductive plastic types with special control laws and nothing like the ones in the mixer you show - which were basic carbon track types.

So..., given that the pots or your mixer are updated with new ones, the little mixer you have is part of a quality audio history. On the other hand, we didn't make those Strand branded ones personally - so canno entirely vouch of it.

And yes, I am now a theatre consultant with Arup - still doing audio and video, but also overseeing everything from building planning through to Stage Machinery.

Keep having fun with audio.

Sam Wise
Old 2nd June 2011
  #15
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very cool.
Old 9th July 2011
  #16
Here for the gear
 

James camerons aliens was mixed on this console by Graham v hartstone for which received a nomination for an academy award. Great old desk which was replaced by a series 12 Harrison
Old 7th December 2011
  #17
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johnsound's Avatar
Only just see Sam's reply:

Sam's correct that almost all of the problems were related to the computer side of things, although there were several audio problems with the Barbican desk as well which were never satisfactorily resolved. All requests for help went through someone at Rank Strand and were largely ignored, as far as I recall. Eventually, the one remaining person who knew anything about the desk had to be contacted on his home phone and ferried in by mini-cab as he'd left the company. (Or possibly the company had left him - I can't remember which came first.)

My comment that the desk was ill-conceived still stands and was acknowledged by David Collison in his latest book, but I don't mean to malign Sam's design work. The lead time on the desk was so long, thanks to hold-ups in the building work of the whole Barbican complex, that requirements had changed considerably and the member of the RSC who had originally been consulted had long since left.

Regards,

John
Old 12th February 2013
  #18
Here for the gear
 

Hi Sam,

Overall did this console have a warm sound?
And are the EQ's Valve?








QUOTE=samwise;6707069]Hi guys, I am Sam Wise who worked for Theatre Projects from 1971 to about 1981. I was the first electronics chap there when dimmers still got hired out that had wire resistor or variable transformer technology inside. My job originally was too look after the West End, where TP was the dominant lighting and sound hire company and also had recording studios which produced a lot of the sound tracks for the various shows. And operators for them too.

Actually, the mixer that you show was originally designed for Theatre Projects Services - the sound and lighting hire division of Theatre Projects in those days. It was simple, but had very good audio performance, low noise and particularly a lot of headroom so that the less-well-trained operators of the day could set up the gain wrong and still avoid the worst of noise and overload issues. It also was very robust and survived well being thrown in and out of trucks. The equaliser controls were also designed with the opposite philosophy of Soundcraft's. As operators, we thought that mostly eq needed to be subtle - to cut a notch in audio to let something else peek through, or to give a little lift just to clarify the speech or the instrument's character. On this, our most basic mixer, the frequencies were fixed, but carefully chosen, and the knobs were subtle around 0, getting more fierce the further they were rotated. Operators did like them, but they were harder to demostrate at trade shows!

The success of this led in part to the development of Theatre Projects Special Projects group, which became a sound and lighting control manufacturer and installation contractor.

At a certain stage, various things colluded so that TP sold the manufacturing / installation business to Rank Strand. Maybe the Barbican Theatre was part of that - though actually, Rank Strand was looking to expand beyond lighting then, which is why they bid for the sound at the Barbican. One could say that there were several mis-adventures in this arrangement, as Strand didn't really organise themselves to be a permanent player in sound. For one thing, the design team stayed with TP. The audio part of the mixer that John Leonard describes was designed by the TP team (mainly me and my electronic circuit wiz partner Dave Higton), and the memory part was derived from Strand's lighting desks as John correctly states. Interestingly, our team never heard anything more about the particular mixer John describes after it was built, so we were never aware of problems. We assume that must mean that the memory part was unreliable, rather than the audio control elements.

Anyway, later on, when TP started to explode, Tecpro was established, Strand Sound collapsed and we continued to make mixers occasionally, completed a revamp of the TecPro Theatre Intercom (which was in continuous production from about 1981 to 2009 or so - just revamped again a couple of years ago), and developed audio test equipment which also became an industry standard and was later sold to Neutrik - now NTI.

In 1980, we also got an order for a large film post-production console from Pinewood Studios, which in its day was one of the largest in the world at 60 channels, 32 groups, with automated faders and automated surround sound panning (a world first). This was satisfactorily delivered and worked away mixing the soundtracks for Pink Floyd's The Wall, many Superman and James Bond films and a lot of other things. It in turn was sold on by Pinewood in about 1998, to a new home in Hong Kong dubbing sound for kung foo movies. I sold the spares to the HK purchaser as well, having only replaced one fader and no channel pots during its entire life. Mind, those pots were very special conductive plastic types with special control laws and nothing like the ones in the mixer you show - which were basic carbon track types.

So..., given that the pots or your mixer are updated with new ones, the little mixer you have is part of a quality audio history. On the other hand, we didn't make those Strand branded ones personally - so canno entirely vouch of it.

And yes, I am now a theatre consultant with Arup - still doing audio and video, but also overseeing everything from building planning through to Stage Machinery.

Keep having fun with audio.

Sam Wise[/QUOTE]
Old 13th February 2013
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Jamie,

No, by the look of it, there probably wouldn't be Tubes/Valves in this console. Looking at the photo of the electronics in the channel card, the preamp is transformer based and the EQ is Inductor based .. At a guess, it still might sound "Warm" .. But not warm enough to cook your eggs on like some Tube gear ..
Old 14th February 2013
  #20
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dft3670's Avatar
 

Excellent thread. Always enjoy hearing the history from guys that lived it.
Old 16th February 2013
  #21
Gear Head
 

There's one of these mixers going cheap on Ebay UK now if anyone is interested.
Old 25th March 2013
  #22
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DaveUK's Avatar
Nice thread :-) stumbled upon it searching for sowter transformers with regard to an ancient Amek desk I have...
Old 18th September 2015
  #23
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another strand sound console

here is a sidecar I built using 12 channels from a 24 x 8 Strand console that was installed at Okeefe Centre in Toronto in 70's/80's
Each channel has 43 transistors and is coupled with
Sowter transformers: 3257, 3995, and 4231
Attached Thumbnails
Any info about this rare console??-dsc00183.jpg  
Old 18th September 2015
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhitbyAbbey View Post
here is a sidecar I built using 12 channels from a 24 x 8 Strand console that was installed at Okeefe Centre in Toronto in 70's/80's
[...]
Hey, that actually looks kinda cool!

...How's it sound?
.
Old 9th October 2015
  #25
Here for the gear
 

It sounds very warm and rich. It has the 'ballpark' sound as other transformer coupled discrete circuits of the 70's, reminds me of NEVE, CHILTON etc. The Sowter's are wonderful.
Old 10th October 2015
  #26
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43 transistors per channel?! Is that a typo?
Old 27th October 2015
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzcrisis View Post
43 transistors per channel?! Is that a typo?
no typo. 43 transistors, plus 2 IC's for peak O/L metering

attached is a pic of an unserviced module, before the restoration. The PCB is dual sided. With no schematics, it was a little time consuming to reverse engineer for the purpose of restoration.
Attached Thumbnails
Any info about this rare console??-dsc00589.jpg   Any info about this rare console??-dsc00590.jpg  

Last edited by WhitbyAbbey; 27th October 2015 at 03:05 PM.. Reason: syntax error
Old 27th October 2015
  #28
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Wow! I bet that was time consuming... how does it sound?
Old 6th November 2015
  #29
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studjo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by samwise View Post
Hi guys, I am Sam Wise who worked for Theatre Projects from 1971 to about 1981. I was the first electronics chap there when dimmers still got hired out that had wire resistor or variable transformer technology inside. My job originally was too look after the West End, where TP was the dominant lighting and sound hire company and also had recording studios which produced a lot of the sound tracks for the various shows. And operators for them too.

Actually, the mixer that you show was originally designed for Theatre Projects Services - the sound and lighting hire division of Theatre Projects in those days. It was simple, but had very good audio performance, low noise and particularly a lot of headroom so that the less-well-trained operators of the day could set up the gain wrong and still avoid the worst of noise and overload issues. It also was very robust and survived well being thrown in and out of trucks. The equaliser controls were also designed with the opposite philosophy of Soundcraft's. As operators, we thought that mostly eq needed to be subtle - to cut a notch in audio to let something else peek through, or to give a little lift just to clarify the speech or the instrument's character. On this, our most basic mixer, the frequencies were fixed, but carefully chosen, and the knobs were subtle around 0, getting more fierce the further they were rotated. Operators did like them, but they were harder to demostrate at trade shows!

The success of this led in part to the development of Theatre Projects Special Projects group, which became a sound and lighting control manufacturer and installation contractor.

At a certain stage, various things colluded so that TP sold the manufacturing / installation business to Rank Strand. Maybe the Barbican Theatre was part of that - though actually, Rank Strand was looking to expand beyond lighting then, which is why they bid for the sound at the Barbican. One could say that there were several mis-adventures in this arrangement, as Strand didn't really organise themselves to be a permanent player in sound. For one thing, the design team stayed with TP. The audio part of the mixer that John Leonard describes was designed by the TP team (mainly me and my electronic circuit wiz partner Dave Higton), and the memory part was derived from Strand's lighting desks as John correctly states. Interestingly, our team never heard anything more about the particular mixer John describes after it was built, so we were never aware of problems. We assume that must mean that the memory part was unreliable, rather than the audio control elements.

Anyway, later on, when TP started to explode, Tecpro was established, Strand Sound collapsed and we continued to make mixers occasionally, completed a revamp of the TecPro Theatre Intercom (which was in continuous production from about 1981 to 2009 or so - just revamped again a couple of years ago), and developed audio test equipment which also became an industry standard and was later sold to Neutrik - now NTI.

In 1980, we also got an order for a large film post-production console from Pinewood Studios, which in its day was one of the largest in the world at 60 channels, 32 groups, with automated faders and automated surround sound panning (a world first). This was satisfactorily delivered and worked away mixing the soundtracks for Pink Floyd's The Wall, many Superman and James Bond films and a lot of other things. It in turn was sold on by Pinewood in about 1998, to a new home in Hong Kong dubbing sound for kung foo movies. I sold the spares to the HK purchaser as well, having only replaced one fader and no channel pots during its entire life. Mind, those pots were very special conductive plastic types with special control laws and nothing like the ones in the mixer you show - which were basic carbon track types.

So..., given that the pots or your mixer are updated with new ones, the little mixer you have is part of a quality audio history. On the other hand, we didn't make those Strand branded ones personally - so canno entirely vouch of it.

And yes, I am now a theatre consultant with Arup - still doing audio and video, but also overseeing everything from building planning through to Stage Machinery.

Keep having fun with audio.

Sam Wise
Hey Sam

thanks for posting all this info! I really like to see a pic of that wonderful console you built for Pinewood. I guess more people than me would be interested in such a rare item of audio history!

Jo
Old 30th March 2017
  #30
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Hi Guys. I came upon this thread by accident. I worked with Sam and Dave on this Pinewood Studios Console back in 1980. I designed the PCB layout for the Channel module.

Attached is a Theatre Projects brochure page featuring the console. It shows the channel front panel and oddly, my PCB layout!.

I have pictures of the design office with consoles being built, but unfortunately I was feeling a bit creative at the time and they are all taken with a fisheye lens!. Seemed a good idea at the time, but not very useful for inspecting console details.

Cheers, Fred
Attached Thumbnails
Any info about this rare console??-pinewood-console.jpg  
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