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The Custom API at Oceanway
Old 24th May 2006
  #1
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dokushoka's Avatar
 

The Custom API at Oceanway

Does anyone know any of the details about the API in Studio B at Oceanway Hollywood?

A lot of records I love were mixed on this board, and I'd love to know how this differs from other APIs.

http://www.oceanwayrecording.com/owhb.htm
Old 24th May 2006
  #2
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JohnRodd's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dokushoka
Does anyone know any of the details about the API in Studio B at Oceanway Hollywood?

A lot of records I love were mixed on this board, and I'd love to know how this differs from other APIs.

http://www.oceanwayrecording.com/owhb.htm

Ah yes - Studio B. I worked at Ocean Way for about a year in 1996-1997... I knew that room well.

The console is a very rare thing called a Delcon - I have never heard of one anywhere else in the world.

It is the simplest, most basic console you could imagine.... it has been described to me as straight wire with gain. If I recall correctly there isn’t a pan on the monitor fader - things were either left, right or both (meaning center) .... tho there was a monitor sidecar that could also be put into use.

The mic pre DOESN’T HAVE ANY ADJUSTMENT.... yes, you read that right. It is a fixed level.... and you can put in a 10 db pad, a 20 db pad, or both to get 30 db of pad. The thing is that the pads slightly screw up the sound (ever so slightly) - and the more you padded the pre the worse it sounds..... so one always tries to get away with not using a pad at all..... funny, eh? The console sounds just mind-blowingly good.

The acoustic of the recording space is very, very cool. I was a part of many, many recording and mixing sessions there - Jann Arden, Ry Cooder, Charlie Watts doing some drum overdubs.... string dates for all sorts of records (Michael Jackson to name just one) and a few film projects.... it was an amazing room to work in.

The API part of the room are a bunch of 550A eq’s over on the far wall.... they can be patched in wherever you want. If I recall correctly there are 24 550A’s there.

The 2” ATR124 machines sounded so great - a whole extra octave on the bottom end as compared to any Studer... but they had their quirks! Punching on them was a terrifying nightmare as the head gap is so huge you had to learn to punch WAY early. What was even crazier is that the delay to drop in wasn’t consistent.... so it varied from punch to punch and from track to track on the machine.

I don’t think they still have those machines in each room anymore.... from what I have heard the reason is that record companies don’t want to pay for the tape costs when things end up on ProTools anyway. Sad, really.

Anyway - there you go. A bunch of info for you

best

John
Old 24th May 2006
  #3
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dokushoka's Avatar
 

Thank you John! So the console isn't really an API hybrid at all??
Old 24th May 2006
  #4
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JohnRodd's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dokushoka
Thank you John! So the console isn't really an API hybrid at all??
You're welcome.....

The last time I saw it (and I think it is still the same)..... the console was a Delcon, with GML automation on the big faders... with the bank API 550A's off to the side.

I'd still call it a Delcon console (as it is one) - but nobody has heard of that.... so perhaps that is why they call it an API hybrid.

Old 24th May 2006
  #5
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glava's Avatar
 

I´ve heard that my Quad eight 2082 console had an Delcon console attached to it while it was the in Shangri-la studio in the late 70´s.

I would love to get some info on those delcon´s
they are supposed to sound very good.
Micamps?
Old 24th May 2006
  #6
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that micpad thing is exactly as it is on the MM61/MM71 QE strips
going from -30,-20,-10 or M(which means no pad at all)
and its working great the have a huge headroom and the fine trim is made with the fader.

But the delcon is suppposed to have an different micamp design.
than QE.
Old 24th May 2006
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

I think the the actual name of the console is Dalcon, not Delcon (but I may be wrong).

Is it still as John described it above, API's off to the side, GML on the faders.

I believe the there is only 1 amplifier in each channel strip that does everything, so when you set the mic gain you are actually setting the gain for the entire channel strip. The fader is, I think, in the feedback loop of the amp. That's why it is sooo clean. 1 amp.

Maybe Bruce Marien could chirp in, I know he cruises here occasionally. I'll forward him the link to this thread.

Jeff
Old 24th May 2006
  #8
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There are at least 2 amps... to keep phase (each time you go though an amp you invert the phase).

There is an API 1604 on the left of the main console with the 550A's on the right which have switches which put them in the insert path. The patch bay is flexible to allow you to tie the 1604, the main console and the monitor section together for mixing. The console has GML automation. Outboard gear added in the room include a rack of Neve's. The ATR124's were still in the room the last time I was there.

Rail
Old 24th May 2006
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail Jon Rogut
There are at least 2 amps... to keep phase (each time you go though an amp you invert the phase).

There is an API 1604 on the left of the main console with the 550A's on the right which have switches which put them in the insert path. The patch bay is flexible to allow you to tie the 1604, the main console and the monitor section together for mixing. The console has GML automation. Outboard gear added in the room include a rack of Neve's. The ATR124's were still in the room the last time I was there.

Rail
Heya Rail - how the heck are yah? It was great to see you at NAMM this year.

I had forgotten that it is an API 1604 to the left - but now you mention it I can visualize it clearly. Thanks for the reminder. As always, you have exactly the correct info!


heh

I do hope the ATR 124's are still in the room to this day, and I hope people are using them - as they rock! I feel badly for Bruce having to maintain them - as I remember him cursing at them more than once.....

take care man

John
Old 25th May 2006
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail Jon Rogut
(each time you go though an amp you invert the phase).

Only if its wired as an inverting opamp.



M
Old 25th May 2006
  #11
Gear Head
 

Oh what the hell, I might as well chime in here. The Studio B console was a special project that Bill Putnam commissioned with a designer named Dallas Jordan, hence the "Dalcon" name. Bill and Dallas worked together on this console, using the fastest op-amps at the time. This op-amp has a slew rate of 150VµS. One of the major problems encountered was how to get the amp to "settle down" and not oscillate out of control in an audio circuit. They over came that somewhat, but there were other problems. One of them was that the multitrack busses weren't on wire harnesses, like a Neve say, but were traces on a PC board that runs the width of the console. That made for cheaper manufacture, but there wasn't an easy way to shield it, so RF was a problem. There were grounding problems as well and after installing it in Studio One of the Western Recorders building, they just couldn't get it stable enough to keep it in service and the project was abandoned. Enter Allen Sides. Allen had just taken over Studio B in the United Recorders building and needed a console. Allen had a Bushnell/API console he could have used for a while, but he sold it to Don Landee and that one eventually ended up in Eddy Van Halen's personal studio in Coldwater Canyon. Allen offered to buy the Dalcon, Bill sold it to him and he installed it in B. His tech/studio manager at the time, Jay Kaufman, looked at the schematics and figured out a way to to solve the grounding problems. Enter the Dremmel tool ;-). Jay basically redid the grounding for the entire console by extensive mods to the circuit boards and changing the gain structure somewhat. Other extensive mods where an expanded patch bay, metering, and over time, an insert for the monitor mixer into the stereo buss and the inserts for the API 1604. One of the unique features of this board is the fact that there is only one amp in the circuit. What about the EQ you say? Well, the EQ is fully passive, with hand wound toroidal chokes, mylar caps and hand wound transformers in and out of the modules. The tricky part is that the EQ circuit is in the feedback/gain loop of the preamp. That's why there's no gain adjustment. Even though Jay got the console to work superbly, because of the speed of the preamps, it was still sensitive to external RF. When the GML automation went in, the digital data noise was potentially a problem, and the new faders changed the impedance the preamps saw, but Jay and George were able to figure it out eventually and the console wasn't compromised at all. There was a sister console in Malibu and that was eventually owned by Dennis Dragon, which he installed in a truck to record his band, The Surf Punks, among others. I don't know where that one is now. Hopefully not in the dump.
Old 25th May 2006
  #12
Ken
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wow, great history lesson!
Old 25th May 2006
  #13
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PlugHead's Avatar
 

FWIW,

Gems like this are the biggest reason I frequent this bb - to find nuggets of history like this - thanks a million for sharing!
Old 25th May 2006
  #14
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

I know Beck's 'Seachange' was supposedly mixed on an API @ oceanway???.. is this the one?

Cos that album sounds killer..

Cheers
Wiggy
Old 25th May 2006
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Amazing sounding album...

Was Hail to the Thief mixed/recorded there too?


Mark Ettel: do you remember what opamps are in that console, and roughly when it was built?

Thanks for the info anyway!


M
Old 25th May 2006
  #16
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Kris's Avatar
I love the Surf Punks! Great posts...
Old 26th May 2006
  #17
Gear Head
 

> do you remember what opamps are in that console, and roughly when it was built?<

I can't give away all the secrets on this forum, but I will tell you that the pre-amp was made by a company called Signetics. Signetics was one of the original Silicon Valley companies and was a major player in semiconductors in the '60's and '70's. They finally succumbed to competition from Intel and AMD.

Allen bought the console in 1977. I think it was built a couple years before. Bill Putnam had a few semi-trailers full of junk and experiments from the studio and UREI. The console was in one of those when Allen got it.
Old 15th October 2011
  #18
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Wow, I was just at Oceanway Hollywoods site, and perhaps I'm mistaken, but the B room now has an 8068 in it...?

What happened to the Dalcon?
Old 16th October 2011
  #19
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rob S's Avatar
it was sold.
what a bummer.
great console.
you had to watch the stereo buss headrooom
but as long as you did that,it sounded great.
Old 16th October 2011
  #20
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Could you say if it went to another commercial studio or did it wind up in a private facility? FWIW, I hope it's not getting parted out!
Old 17th October 2011
  #21
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Its not getting parted out.
Its in use in england.
Lets jsut say its in good hands.
Old 17th October 2011
  #22
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payne104's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob S View Post
Its not getting parted out.
Its in use in england.
Lets jsut say its in good hands.
Hah... why so secretive? If I bought that console I would be damn proud!
Old 17th October 2011
  #23
I don't think it's any secret... Nigel Godrich bought it... although Jon Brion would have also liked it.

Rail
Old 18th October 2011
  #24
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Well there you go,
I thought there was some kind of non disclosure agrrement beteween the parties so i didnt want to be the one doing the disclosing.
Old 18th October 2011
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob S View Post
Well there you go,
I thought there was some kind of non disclosure agrrement beteween the parties so i didnt want to be the one doing the disclosing.
That just makes the story and mystique about this console even better!

I wonder if that is the one in the sleeve liner of the last few Radiohead Cd's and on their website?

Cheers
Wiggy
Old 18th October 2011
  #26
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airmate's Avatar
 

Some gear p*rn...



What a console... Allen Sides once explained to me all the details. The whole idea behind it is just so great...
Old 18th October 2011
  #27
Gear Head
 

That desk sounded amazing.
Old 20th October 2011
  #28
MPZ
Gear Maniac
 

Jeez airmate... should have prefaced that with an NSFW... cause that's straight up hardcore.

Last edited by MPZ; 20th October 2011 at 08:22 PM.. Reason: my stupidity
Old 20th October 2011
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MPZ View Post
Jeez airmate... should have prefaced that with an NSFW... cause that's straight up hardcore.
Some more... details... all the 550a could be patched in the channels with the buttons below the eq modules... heh




Old 20th October 2011
  #30
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softwareguy's Avatar
 

That's so beautiful, I think my brain just exploded.
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