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-   -   Anyone know about Wright WFM-III Monitors? (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end/283782-anyone-know-about-wright-wfm-iii-monitors.html)

kjfarley 7th August 2008 11:43 PM

Anyone know about Wright WFM-III Monitors?
 
3 Attachment(s)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2741946787/http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2741946787/I have these:

wright front full on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
wright full on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
wright front close-up on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

What drivers are these? I want to replace the surrounds and missing foam. The tweeter is mounted in a cup which is attached to a tube extending through the woofer??!!

I'm curious who else has these or knows anything about the guy who made them (apparently in Atlanta). Thanks!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2741947721/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2742784670/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2741946787/

Jay Kahrs 8th August 2008 12:43 AM

I believe Fletcher used to have some Wright monitors...

Fletcher 8th August 2008 06:42 AM

...and loved them dearly until replacement parts became impossible to find... then I found some other monitors that would do the job but where no where nearly as perfect for the way I like to work.

Peace

MIKEHARRIS 8th August 2008 04:42 PM

they were made by Steven Wright in Atlants...he also had a mic line

Fletcher 8th August 2008 08:04 PM

Steven Wright is a comedian.

Tom Wright owned the Wright Microphone and Monitor company.

Tom was one of the true audio geniuses of our time though largely unknown outside of the Atlanta area he had a studio [I can't remember the name] that was one of the best ever built... he has one of the first SSL E series desks in the country [serial #11 which currently resides at Tree Sound in Atlanta] where he decided that the desk didn't sound good enough... so... he ripped it apart, redid the grounding on it and to this day it is still one of the best sounding consoles I have ever experienced.

Sadly, Tom passed away last year.

I will miss him.

Peace.

mark mcg 17th November 2009 03:23 AM

Tom Wright
 
Related info and a question:

Quote:

Tom was one of the true audio geniuses of our time though largely unknown outside of the Atlanta area he had a studio [I can't remember the name]
Melody Recording Studios in Atlanta (later Cheshire Sound)

Fletcher, if you see this can you tell me how Tom died? Tape Op announced this in the front of an issue but had no information on how he died and I could find nothing online.

A close friend who I have recorded with many times was an assistant AE to Tom at Melody. He helped him prototype and build the Wright Microphone. Ed Seay (then at Web IV studios here) was amazed by these mics and bought a pair. They were used recording Bruce Hampton, Paul McCandless and Eric Kloss on Late Bronze Age.

I have more info on these and hope to borrow one for recording as I still have never used one.

http://markmcgouirk.com/photos/wright_mic.jpg

http://markmcgouirk.com/photos/wright_mic_box.jpg


Mark

Louderock 17th November 2009 03:45 AM

Sorry to hear that Tom passed. He owned Cheshire Sound in Atlanta and was a true audio genius. He could fix ANYTHING and I saw him on a few occasions telling the manufacturer what the problems with their design was. He was always right. He was around the studio I worked at (Southern Tracks) quite a bit and was always helpful. We called him "Mr Sunshine". If you met him, you'd know why. Tough exterior but he was a good guy. Those monitors came in a 8" and 10". Very flat and sounded great.

mark mcg 17th November 2009 04:51 AM

Louderock, did you ever happen to record anything at Studio One in Doraville?


Mark

Knox 17th November 2009 05:04 AM

. . . . yea I knew Tom . . to say he was difficult would be a serious understatement. BUT he knew his stuff. As Fletcher stated, he had one of the early SSLs . . . .which as the story goes . . . he proceeded to take apart while some guys from SSL were there during the install . . . doing mods while they stood horrified because he hated the way it sounded. He was 100% right. They did sound like crap! He was an ex-cop with a chip on his shoulder a mile wide, yet I liked him at the same time. Smart guy / just difficult! I mixed a few things on some of his larger monitors at Triclops with Mark Richardson (an old friend who also passed away). I had a semi tough time with them but many people (Mark included) loved em. I just wasn't used to them. Yep he made cool mics as well. There are GREAT 'pissed off Tom' stories. *smile*

mark mcg 17th November 2009 05:20 AM

Yes, I wasn't going to say it but ... the friend who worked at Melody ended up having a total blow up with Tom and quit. I could go into detail here but won't.

I did briefly meet him at some Ensoniq Paris demo that Craig Anderton was doing at Atlanta Pro Audio.


louderock,

Do you remember a GSU recording class project that you tracked and did a quick mix on and the tune sounded like Dixie Dregs? Forgot the teacher's name ... Rich somebody? I ran a Scholz Rockman into the Harrison? console. Early days ... yes, we've met.

Mark

Fletcher 17th November 2009 01:15 PM

Tom wasn't that difficult... if you were competent, did what you said you were going to do and didn't try to bull**** him then you didn't have a problem with him... if you were less than competent, tried to bull**** him or didn't do what you said you were going to do, then you had problems.

The rules of engagement were very cut and dried... we got along very well thank you.

mark mcg 17th November 2009 01:26 PM

Do you know how he died Fletcher?


Mark

Knox 17th November 2009 03:30 PM

Partly true. I got along with Tom just fine. I had just arrived in Atlanta from NYC so I liked dealing with someone blunt like NYers as opposed to the southern tradition of smiling to your face while they cut you up behind your back. But to describe Tom's moods per your over simplified description alone would be highly questionable. Of course that could have been your dealing with him but I assure you there were many highly competent people who got the brunt of Tom's moods. And some of his actions toward certain people or situations was way over the top and inappropriate at times. He is not here to defend himself but I am fairly clear that there are many "competent" people who would agree that he could indeed be difficult though likeable and very talented. Tom stories are everywhere. Though mostly there is a smile on the person' face as they share it. There are also many great possitive Tom stories.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fletcher (Post 4791633)
Tom wasn't that difficult... if you were competent, did what you said you were going to do and didn't try to bull**** him then you didn't have a problem with him... if you were less than competent, tried to bull**** him or didn't do what you said you were going to do, then you had problems.

The rules of engagement were very cut and dried... we got along very well thank you.


themattgoldman 17th November 2009 04:28 PM

I believe he died of cancer, but I'm not sure which kind. I'm actually in his old studio now, and we have a pair of his speakers here, though they are not in use right now.

Knox 17th November 2009 04:54 PM

yes it was cancer

Quote:

Originally Posted by themattgoldman (Post 4792109)
I believe he died of cancer, but I'm not sure which kind. I'm actually in his old studio now, and we have a pair of his speakers here, though they are not in use right now.


Louderock 17th November 2009 09:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mark mcg (Post 4790823)
Yes, I wasn't going to say it but ... the friend who worked at Melody ended up having a total blow up with Tom and quit. I could go into detail here but won't.

I did briefly meet him at some Ensoniq Paris demo that Craig Anderton was doing at Atlanta Pro Audio.


louderock,

Do you remember a GSU recording class project that you tracked and did a quick mix on and the tune sounded like Dixie Dregs? Forgot the teacher's name ... Rich somebody? I ran a Scholz Rockman into the Harrison? console. Early days ... yes, we've met.

Mark

I did go to GSU in the early/mid 90's. Not sure if I remember the project or not that you're talking about. Most of the classes were at a studio called Oasis and James Oliverio was the teacher.

Never was able to work at Studio One. It was gone by the time I got into all of this. I was friends with Buddy Buie and Rodney Mills (both from Studio One) and worked on many projects with those guys.

badbadger 18th November 2009 01:57 AM

I believe the picture Mark posted above is of the second generation of the Wright mic (unless he made others, later.) If I recall correctly, unlike the original, it is transformerless, but I don't know if there were other electronic differences. However, there are some physical differences. It looks slightly longer than the original. Also, the original had round sound holes, not slotted. And the end of the original just had the same foam that you see in the holes, but not the brass screen. It looks exactly like a slightly prettier version of the original.

A little history (as I know and remember it): I was hired by Tom Wright as an assistant engineer at (what was then) Melody Recording Studios in Atlanta (later Cheshire Sound), but spent more time working in the shop on mics than anything else. Tom and I built the first 100 Wright mics. I hate to speak ill of the dead, but Tom really could be a bastard. But he was unquestionably very smart, and a talented engineer/producer. He had been messing around with building mics for some time before I came along. He hired me just as he was starting to get serious about building a commercially viable mic.

I watched him experiment with the electronics, transformers, and mic elements, and helped him test the mics in the shop and studio. Believe it or not, the mic element that he settled on (and is very likely what is in his later mics), was a tiny little hearing aid element. No kidding! It had remarkable frequency response and was extremely durable, both physically and sonically. It could take ridiculous sound pressure levels and not break (good thing when grandma yells in grandpa's ear!) And with proper electronics and custom designed transformer, it sounded awesome!

Once Tom had the basic design, he turned to the case design. Because the element and electronics were so small, we started thinking about smaller, more durable ways to house the mic, rather than the ubiquitous, fragile, "Coke can" that everyone is used to. I had recently purchased some Switchcraft male-to-male XLR adapters. You know, the barrel shaped mic cable extenders. I had the inspiration of installing the mic into the adapter. It made perfect sense because the barrel already had the XLR inserts and machined grooves in both ends, and all we had to do was remove one of them and slide the redesigned mic guts into it. I'm really proud of that idea, but the idea of "sharing" any part of the mic with anyone else was abhorrent to Tom. And though I lay no claim whatsoever for the mic design, he would never admit that I came up with the fundamental idea for the case, and actually denied it on more than one occasion. Like I said... a bastard.

So, we took an adapter, gutted one end, and drilled holes around it. We then crafted the electronics into a crude, but solid, latticework of circuit breadboard and heavy gauge wires, and slid the whole assembly into the case. All you had to do then was tighten the screw that held the XLR plug in the end, and it was done.

We built two of these into the Switchcraft cases and started testing. Tom did a little more tweaking on the circuit, and size and positions of the sound holes. He then had a transformer manufacturer custom build 100 transformers to his specs. We hand-punched the cylindrical foam inserts (encasing and shock mounting the element) from existing dynamic mic screens. We then went about testing these mics on everything we could and used them on virtually every session that was booked in the studio.

The results were phenominal! The mics sounded incredible on everything, particularly piano and acoustic guitar. But there were surprises. You could shove this thing down the throat of a saxophone, and it not only sounded great ... it sustained no damage at all. Can't do that with a large diaphragm! But perhaps best of all, the mic was virtually indestructible.

One day, Tom dropped one of the mics on the concrete floor in the shop. He knew the thing was tough, but his engineer's instinct made him cringe. So, we immediately hooked it up in the studio and started checking it out. No problems. In fact, at some point, Tom decided to literally throw it up against a concrete wall. No damage! This soon became the second best selling point of the mic.

One day, Tom and I went down to the other end of our building to see Ed Seay, the (outstanding!) head engineer of Web IV studios, and a really great guy. (Look him up. He's made quite a name for himself working with everyone, it seems, and is currently in Nashville.) Ed was naturally skeptical. First, we set the two mics up on piano, and Ed started testing them. He was blown away! Next, Tom grabbed them up and threw them both down on the floor! Ed just about **** himself! We hooked them back up and Ed checked them out. He couldn't believe they still worked perfectly. (By the way, this was Tom's favorite stunt. He would demo the mic to some engineer or studio owner, and after they raved about it, he would shock the hell out of them by bouncing it off the floor. Priceless!)

Ed bought both mics on the spot! $400 each, as I recall. Tom told him that he would build him 2 mics with the final circuit boards and in the new, brass cases, but Ed insisted that he did not want new mics... he wanted these! Tom said, "Well at least let me put them in the pretty brass cases for you!" Ed wasn't having any of it. I think he liked the fact that they looked like what they were... amazing microphones that looked like ****ty old Switchcraft adapters that had been thrown against walls! So, Ed got the prototypes, and, I'll bet, still uses them.

So, speaking of the new cases, Tom bought lengths of brass tubing with the same inside diameter as the Switchcraft connectors. We acquired various shop tools for working them ... saw, lathe for polishing, better drill press, etc. He had circuit boards fabricated. (Completely coincidentally, a few years later, I became a printed circuit board designer for a number of years.) Tom had a machinist create a die for us to punch out the WM badges (btw, in order to access the innerds of the mic, you pop off the WM badge and drill out the epoxy that fills the hole so you can get to the recessed screw. You then screw it IN. The guts will then slide out in one piece. NOT that I recommend disassembling a perfectly good, classic microphone!) He had a printer produce the custom boxes. We even hand-punched the foam inserts for the boxes. A clothespin style mic clip was included. Virtually everything was hand built, and there wasn't one of those first 100 that I didn't handle during construction, assembly, and packaging.

The Wright mic really impressed every musician that Tom recorded with it. I had the great fortune to work some late night sessions with Bruce Hampton, Paul McCandless (oboe), and Eric Kloss (sax) with Bruce's band, Late Bronze Age on their album, Outside Looking Out. The Wright mic was used on many dubs with everyone's approval. Kloss is blind, and I remember him extensively "fondling" the mic, blown away at how great this little mic made his sax sound.

Though working for Tom Wright wasn't a particularly pleasant experience, it was an experience that I treasure. Building those mics was rewarding, fun, and educational. And I got to meet and work with some very talented musicians, and I truly learned a lot about recording from Tom. May he rest in peace.

mark mcg 18th November 2009 11:43 PM

You're not Brendan O'Brien!
 
Thanks for the story Jeff!

Quote:

I did go to GSU in the early/mid 90's. Not sure if I remember the project or not that you're talking about. Most of the classes were at a studio called Oasis and James Oliverio was the teacher.

Never was able to work at Studio One. It was gone by the time I got into all of this. I was friends with Buddy Buie and Rodney Mills (both from Studio One) and worked on many projects with those guys.
It's been confirmed that Mr. Louderock is not Brendan O'Brien. abductionHow many people worked at Southern Tracks and recorded Stone Temple Pilots? (2) mezed

Anyway Ryan, Brendan was about to graduate GSU when he recorded my band doing this short number at one of the classes at Studio One (unfortunate copy from cassette / you get the vibe). Anyway it was 1986 and I believe the school had just purchased Studio One from Buddy Buie to use for teaching. I do remember James Oliverio. badbadger's brother informed me last night that it was Rich Goidel teaching that class at the time.

Atlanta memories ...


Mark

FistulatedCow 21st February 2013 11:11 PM

I just stumbled on this thread. I probably hand built those monitors -the speck paint suggests they are from fall 1995 or spring 1996 -I worked for Tom for about 2 years. That version had a driver OEM'd from Yamaha that he had them build-Tom spent months changing, tweaking, and switching components to get the right blend. He used Madonna and Prince most often for his real audio tests. lulz. Those were great speakers in their day -I still have some of the plans and diagrams for his various inventions including the great back electret piano/drum mic -I use it for high hats alot

Fletcher had it right, If you were completely straight up with Tom he was great -he was a big influence on me -I learned a lifetime's worth of stuff in my time working for him -Often it was running a session, building speakers and mics, or going over to do something for Mike Clark. If you crossed him though -look out -he had zero time for bull**** -No patience for anything not completely on the table.

Soundmine 22nd February 2013 04:05 AM

Hi Fistulatedcow, I have a pair of the Wright WFMI.
I have a few ? I hope you can answer,
For instance the woofer is rubbing against
The plastic coming out of the woofer.
Thanks!!

FistulatedCow 22nd February 2013 05:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Soundmine (Post 8772616)
Hi Fistulatedcow, I have a pair of the Wright WFMI.
I have a few ? I hope you can answer,
For instance the woofer is rubbing against
The plastic coming out of the woofer.
Thanks!!

Can you take a pic for me and I will give some instruction.

It's been 17 years, but I still remember most and have notes too.

Where'd you get them? The ones TS posted I specifically remember those were the first lot of 8 pairs that we painted with a slightly different process -previously we had versions painted by a craftsman in Avondale and a few other places -but getting the thickness and consistency Tom wanted was very difficult.

FistulatedCow 22nd February 2013 05:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mark mcg (Post 4798176)
Thanks for the story Jeff!

It's been confirmed that Mr. Louderock is not Brendan O'Brien. abductionHow many people worked at Southern Tracks and recorded Stone Temple Pilots? (2) mezed

Anyway Ryan, Brendan was about to graduate GSU when he recorded my band doing this short number at one of the classes at Studio One (unfortunate copy from cassette / you get the vibe). Anyway it was 1986 and I believe the school had just purchased Studio One from Buddy Buie to use for teaching. I do remember James Oliverio. badbadger's brother informed me last night that it was Rich Goidel teaching that class at the time.

Atlanta memories ...


Mark

Buddy Buie, what a sweet guy -I used to repair and/or hot rod recording equipment for him on occasion -he would drop stuff by coming and going from his songwriting excursions.

Soundmine 23rd February 2013 01:36 AM

Wright WFM 1
 
1 Attachment(s)
Thanks Fistulacted.
Here is the picture, any info you could give me would be awesome!!

Bill_Urick 28th March 2013 11:55 AM

Soundmine,

Is the woofer in yours a 10"? If so, the ones I've seen are a JBL 10" it appears Tom reworked into a coax.

The pics at the top of the thread are the 8" version which uses an off the shelf Vifa coax.

There may be other models, but I haven't seen them.

I really like the speakers. Also really liked Tom.

ripadgett 4th December 2013 10:19 PM

All. I just found this thread just recently. Thanks for the frank discussion of Tom and his talents. I'm one of his half-brothers. I've learned a lot about him from all of you. I only spent the first 5 years of my life with him around, then he disappeared and we saw him infrequently. In the mid-80's I came to live in Atlanta for a while. I was in the Army and our mother was dying of Lung, Liver and pancreatic cancer and I came to help him care for her. He was always good to me, but I did get to see his darker side more than I liked. I loved my brother but lost track of him after our mother passed away and I went back to my Army career.

emerald_pond 3rd June 2014 02:10 AM

I found this thread through a google search for Wright Microphones & Monitors. Facinating info and history here! To the point, I have a pair WFM-III monitors (as pictured at the top of this thread) as well as a single small condensor mic (pictured in #6 above) that I have unsuccessfully been trying to sell on my local craigslist. Beyond myself, and you folks here, it seems no one knows what jewels these are!

Please forgive my intrusion. Rather than continuing to cast pearls before swine, I thought a brief tag on the end of thread would get this out to people who know and appreciate Tom's work.

PJ
[email protected]

GaHusker2020 24th January 2020 02:53 AM

Hello, I recently bought a pair of the 15” Tom Wright monitors From Miller Music here in Atlanta. They are amazing!
I believe the woofers are JBL and the tweeters are Vifa. I love Altec 604’s and was very surprised at how detailed and balanced these monitors are. If JBL made anything like this as a product they probably would have taken a bite out of the co-ax market that Altec dominated.
These speakers also have great Bass response and seem to be pretty efficient.
I kick myself because a while back I had an opportunity to purchase a smaller pair of Tom Wright monitors from Audio Lab in Atlanta.
Miller Music let me hear the 15” monitors they had and I was immediately in love!
If anyone knows anything else about the development of these monitors and the quantity of each built I would really like to know.
I am definitely a fan of Tom Wright and the amazing things he did when he was around.
RIP Tom. Your speakers give me great enjoyment whenever I listen to them.
Steve F