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The Custom API at Oceanway
Old 7th November 2011
  #31
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mgod's Avatar
 

I'm pretty sure Dennis still has his console.
Old 11th April 2012
  #32
Gear Head
 
orphanaudio's Avatar
 

Dalcon, Urei-Bushnell

Dennis' Dalcon is still in service up in the northwest at a Non-Profit recording school he is running.

I worked on multiple albums with Dennis and the Dalcon in the late 70,s / early 80,s when it was in one of the old Heider/Filmways trucks in Malibu. (including several Surf-Punks albums). We also had a Urei-Bushnell mixdown desk upstairs that belonged to David Gordon. This was the green desk that got sold to Don Landee and eventually ended up at 5150. I spent quite some time making stereo mods inside that one, and I still have a few Urei 1108 amp blocks from other Urei-Bushnell gear, some of which I,ve built into unbelievable sounding rackmount preamps.

The eq sections on both Dalcons are in fact 70,s Spectrasonics 3bands. They are inductor based and designed to go in the feedback loop of an amplifier.
The really cool thing about Dennis' desk is it was designed to quickly split apart into two sections (tracking and monitor/master sections) so it could easily fit thru a doorway for mobile recording. Dallas even designed quick bolt-on handles that allowed two guys to pick each section up and walk it into a room or truck. You just dropped the superlight tubular aluminum frame in place. walked each section in, slid them together on the frame and turned two huge jackscrews that simultaneously bolted the desk back together and seated the giant array of built-in AMP multi-pin signal connectors between the two sections. Absolute genius!

The Signetics chips are so far out of production, only their memory remains, however I have a stash of several thousand of them ready to build Dalcon-like preamps if anyone is interested. The preamp is transformer input to a transistor/signetics hybrid circuit that is so fast it can actually pass video. And yes, it will pick up any stray radio frequencies if you are not extremely careful. This is not a preamp that anyone can use and will get you into trouble fast, especially with digital gear since it can be sounding mad-good and oscillating full tilt at 1mhz at the same time. Push that into a DAW front-end and see what comes out.........
Old 11th April 2012
  #33
bee
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bee's Avatar
 

This is a great thread, thanks to everyone for sharing this info.
Old 11th April 2012
  #34
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+1!
Old 11th April 2012
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airmate View Post
Some more... details... all the 550a could be patched in the channels with the buttons below the eq modules... heh




that's amazing,
is this a DeMedio desk?
what 2520 version is in those?
Old 11th April 2012
  #36
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

+1 .....subscribed, in case any more amazingness comes falling in
Old 11th April 2012
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
that's amazing,
is this a DeMedio desk?
what 2520 version is in those?
No a Dalcon desk - this was at Oceanway before they replaced it with a huge Neve 8068.

The API 550's were off to the side in a rack to patch in..
Old 11th April 2012
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack P View Post
No a Dalcon desk - this was at Oceanway before they replaced it with a huge Neve 8068.

The API 550's were off to the side in a rack to patch in..
wow, not familiar with Dalcon
what does that sound like?
can it be compared to something?
Old 11th April 2012
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
that's amazing, is this a DeMedio desk? what 2520 version is in those?
There are various photos of some of The DeMedio consoles over on the Heider website, and some clear recollections/accounts by Russ Gary. The DeMedio Consoles share a similar look to the Dalcon (Similar Dimensions, Rake, Cream Panels, Black Knobs and the 8 Buss Switches at the Top of each channel), but there appear to be differences in the channel strips (?). I've read some claims that the Dalcon arrived at Oceanway from Heider's Hyde Street Studio (?), and others that it came from Heider's famed Studio C in LA (?)

Mr Gary recounts that Frank DeMedio designed/ built/ modified a number of consoles (8?) for Heider's in LA, & San Francisco, and the mobile trucks. Apparently a number of them were all based (cloned) on the console from the famed Studio C in LA. It would appear that most of the old Heider consoles have slightly different Designs/ Topologies & innards in various of them.

It would be great to understand the history of these consoles and some of the other records made on them during this period of recording : Creedence, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Cal Tjader, etc ..
Quote:
Originally Posted by orphanaudio View Post
I worked on multiple albums with Dennis and the Dalcon in the late 70,s / early 80,s when it was in one of the Heider Trucks
This is a great thread. Thankyou to Mark and Ken for posting so far. If either of you, or others could shine a little light on this we'd love to know more.
Old 11th April 2012
  #40
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skybluerental's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
wow, not familiar with Dalcon
what does that sound like?
can it be compared to something?
listen to Beck “Sea Change” and you can get some idea what it CAN sound like.
Old 11th April 2012
  #41
Baz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
listen to Beck “Sea Change” and you can get some idea what it CAN sound like.
Really? Man that's quite an endorsement. That album sounds fantastic.
Old 11th April 2012
  #42
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baz View Post
Really? Man that's quite an endorsement. That album sounds fantastic.
Correct... so deep sounding!
Old 12th April 2012
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
listen to Beck “Sea Change” and you can get some idea what it CAN sound like.
+20
Old 12th April 2012
  #44
Gear Head
 

Here We Go Magic's forthcoming album 'A Different Ship' was recorded and mixed mostly on Nigel Godrich's Dalcon I believe. Very very good sounding album!
Old 20th October 2013
  #45
Here for the gear
 

Drew Recording, a small studio owned by song writer Sid Robin, commissioned a 24-input Spectra-Sonics style console from Dalcon. It was eerily quiet but sounded like the world's cleanest AM radio. It was reworked by John Horton, former Bolic Sound engineer, years later.
Old 18th February 2018
  #46
Gear Maniac
 

Does anyone who has worked on this console have any thoughts on what sounds closest to it in the world of obtainable (vintage or currently made) preamps/channel strips? Sophisticated guesses based on knowledge of the design are OK, but it would be really nice to hear from someone who has actually used it.

Separately, is anyone working on a product that reproduces its sound and design? This is a really special sounding board to my ears...
Old 19th February 2018
  #47
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rob S's Avatar
I worked on the ocean way Dalcon and really loved it.
Jack Joseph Puig was kind enough to give me the heads up on the console right before I jumped into a mix for the first time on it.
Always have the 550’s engaged whether you’re using them or not and watch the headroom on the stereo buss.
It was not a slam the stereo buss type of console.
He was right.
Old 19th February 2018
  #48
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yrplace's Avatar
 

The Dalcon was indeed a fantastic sounding console. I recorded a lt of projects on it including three Brian WIlson solo albums.

I was also the first one to use the Neve when it replaced the Dalcon and felt that it was not an improvement.

BTW before the Focusrite console was installed in Oceanway (now United) Studio A there was a large API console in that room so maybe that is what the original poster was thinking of.

I believe that console ended up in Neil Diamond's studio.

And since we are talking about custom APIs, here is a picture of my 36 chl 2488 that was modified by the great Steve Firlotte to include two stereo busses and 12 echo sends........
Attached Thumbnails
The Custom API at Oceanway-wide.jpg  
Old 20th February 2018
  #49
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Sweet !
Old 20th February 2018
  #50
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skybluerental's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by yrplace View Post
The Dalcon was indeed a fantastic sounding console. I recorded a lt of projects on it including three Brian WIlson solo albums.

I was also the first one to use the Neve when it replaced the Dalcon and felt that it was not an improvement.

BTW before the Focusrite console was installed in Oceanway (now United) Studio A there was a large API console in that room so maybe that is what the original poster was thinking of.

I believe that console ended up in Neil Diamond's studio.

And since we are talking about custom APIs, here is a picture of my 36 chl 2488 that was modified by the great Steve Firlotte to include two stereo busses and 12 echo sends........
What is your impression of the differences between the Neve and the Dalcon?
Old 20th February 2018
  #51
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yrplace's Avatar
 

Frankly I've never been a big Neve fan and of course all projects sound difft, but the Dalcon always sounded so clean and punchy whereas the Neve as I recall seemed slightly duller .

To be fair this was only my impression because I had used the Dalcon in the past and the project done on the Neve still sounded good, I just would have preferred the Dalcon.

Something along the lines of "if it aint broke, don't fix it" I suppose.......
Old 20th February 2018
  #52
CEB
Gear Head
 

Very interested in hearing more about the passive EQ and pres on this desk. Did you guys like using it or preferred the 550As?
Old 21st February 2018
  #53
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Dalcon equalisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by CEB View Post
Very interested in hearing more about the passive EQ
sorry pal. the console equalisers were active.
in the feedback loop of a NE540.
Old 21st February 2018
  #54
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yrplace's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CEB View Post
Very interested in hearing more about the passive EQ and pres on this desk. Did you guys like using it or preferred the 550As?
I recall using the Spectra Sonics eq that was built into the console more than the outboard API 550a eqs, but then with good sounds "on the floor" and good players you didn't need a lot of eq in that studio.
Old 23rd February 2018
  #55
CEB
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cathode View Post
sorry pal. the console equalisers were active.
in the feedback loop of a NE540.
Ah okay. Thanks, much appreciated. This sent me off looking into the Spectra Sonics 502 EQ. Interesting.

Was the preamp/EQ basically a Spectra Sonics channel or was it different enough to be its own thing?

Just curious because records done on the Dalcon are very very punchy and clear. There are some things that seem reminiscent (Flickinger) but I'm wondering if there are any other vintage channel strips with so few amps in the signal path and similar punch.
Old 23rd February 2018
  #56
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yrplace's Avatar
 

I used to have several Spectrasonics modules with those same eqs. that I bought because of the Dalcon.

However I suspect that the mic preamps in the Dalcon were difft as the modules I had did not seem to have the same sound.
Old 23rd February 2018
  #57
CEB
Gear Head
 

Thanks so much for your insight. I've always been curious about the desk.

I am normally not so fixated on specific equipment used on records I like, but so many records that are personally important to me have been done in Studio B of Ocean Way / United and particularly on that console. Glad that the sound is in good hands with Nigel Godrich. I've also seen that Greg Koller (Jon Brion, Blake Mills, Brad Mehldau, Dawes, etc.) has two racks of Dalcon channel strips.
Old 30th January 2019
  #58
want to echo other peoples' calls for a suitable / available replacement for the Dalcon preamp - it seems all my favorite records were made with a Dalcon. I've been recommended this kind of 0hz - daylight preamplifier many times and am very curious about picking up something similar. spectra sonics maybe? quad eight?
Old 31st January 2019
  #59
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Dalcon console

Quote:
Originally Posted by limbs View Post
want to echo other peoples' calls for a suitable / available replacement for the Dalcon preamp - it seems all my favorite records were made with a Dalcon. I've been recommended this kind of 0hz - daylight preamplifier many times and am very curious about picking up something similar. spectra sonics maybe? quad eight?
get your super tech acquainted with the Signetics NE540 amplifier.
if he/she can tame it, no oscillation, then there is the building block for your
Dalcon preamp.
Spectra: nothing close.
Quad/Eight: not worth discussing.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf NE540L.pdf (181.5 KB, 38 views)
Old 31st January 2019
  #60
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Nigel’s room with Delcon is available for hire atr strongroom London .
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