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A vintage board question Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 18th April 2009
  #1
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A vintage board question

I have an old school mixing board that I know next to nothing about, and I am hoping that the knowledgeable gear slutz can help me out. Here is what I know:
1)Built in Bath, England in the 1960's.
2)16 channel board with routing section (sends, returns and the like)
3) LED metering (pretty sure, I haven't seen it in awhile)
4) The only other markers on it are a plate with "RIP" and "One Sugar" painted on it.
5) It's freaking huge! I have no room for it at home, so its stuck somewhere else for the time being. Sad. Very sad.

I will try to get some pictures up on here soon. I will also take another close look at the board tomorrow to see if I can get some more info on it. I guess for now, if anyone knows any companies that made boards in Bath, England, that would be a start. Thanks in advance!
Old 18th April 2009
  #2
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Not much to go on, really.

If it has LED metering - I'm guessing your date estimate is wrong.
Old 18th April 2009
  #3
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I figured that LED metering wasn't around in the 60's, but I do know that the board has been modded a few times. I am going to take some pictures of it today, and hopefully get some time to take a look inside to see if I can get a name off of one of the channel strips.

The guy I got it from didn't know anything about it. I am right now pricing out some AD/DA stuff so I can hook it up, but I want to know a little more about it before I lay down the cash. I also got a Fostex B-16 reel to reel with it as well, but the thing doesn't work. Do reel to reel's require more voltage than normal? I was thinking of experimenting with reel to reel at some point.
Old 18th April 2009
  #4
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andychamp's Avatar
Pictures might help...
Old 18th April 2009
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insomniaclown View Post
(...) I also got a Fostex B-16 reel to reel with it as well, but the thing doesn't work. Do reel to reel's require more voltage than normal? I was thinking of experimenting with reel to reel at some point.
B16's didn't age well, especially when not used for some time (like all tape recorders), and aren't very much sought after, either. They can be fixed, if you find the parts and someone familiar with them, but from there it's an uphill battle all the time.
An E16 would be an entirely different story. The "B" probably stood for "budget".
Voltage is not an issue.
Old 18th April 2009
  #6
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The B might have been budget....who knows.

I had a B for a couple of years. Really a pretty cool little machine if you can get it happening. PITA to align....2 heads.

Still...I really don't see that it was uilt all that much differently than an E16....both were budget machines.
Old 18th April 2009
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steffmo View Post
The B might have been budget....who knows.

I had a B for a couple of years. Reakky a pretty cool little machine if you can get it happening. PITA to align....2 heads.

Still...I really don't see that it was uilt all that much differently than an E16....both were budget machines.
E's just regularly seem to fetch better prices at auctions. I tried to sell a B several times, never could get even 1 bid on it, even with the big remote.
All the while watching E's do pretty well.
But as long as it was OK, the B was cool to work with, no doubt.
Old 19th April 2009
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So I have more info and some pics. It was made in 1977, I was a little off, by MP&L Palace Acoustics.
Attached Thumbnails
A vintage board question-full-board.jpg   A vintage board question-channel-strips.jpg  
Old 19th April 2009
  #9
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and a couple more pics
Attached Thumbnails
A vintage board question-close-up-eq.jpg   A vintage board question-routing.jpg   A vintage board question-nameplate.jpg  
Old 19th April 2009
  #10
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I think that because of the amount of time the B 16 has been sitting in storage it will need a butt load of work to get working again. Not within my means at the moment. I know of 2 guys in vancouver that might be able to repair these machines. Maybe I will look into it after I can get the board moved into a studio space of some kind.
Old 20th April 2009
  #11
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No one has any ideas about this board? Or is it just crappy and you guys just afraid to tell me.

I have googled Palace acoustics with no results. I guess I am just trying to find out little history on the company, and whether its worth it to keep the board. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Old 20th April 2009
  #12
I'd try to get a module out for a look see. Most manufacturers (even one off's) will put some sort of ID on the circuit boards. Have you looked at the power supply?
Old 20th April 2009
  #13
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I will definitely get a module out, and I haven't gotten around to checking out the power supply as yet. I ran out of time when I was taking the pictures. Would the modules be something that would just plug into a circuit board? Or will I be looking at something a little more complicated than that.

Thanks for the reply!
Old 20th April 2009
  #14
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I have one more question. There is another strip on this board that I have no idea what it is meant to do (see attachment). Any thoughts?

When it comes to replacing modules, how difficult would it be to find replacements? Maybe not the same type, but were there a mish mash of formats back in the day?

Thanks again for all the help! I will get a look at the modules as soon as I can.
Attached Thumbnails
A vintage board question-what-.jpg  
Old 20th April 2009
  #15
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Did a quick google and came up with this:

Bath free festival -Windle Manor 1972

"the guy on the left with fuzzy hair and white jacket being hugged by brunette girl is spitting image of Phil Oates from St Ives,who arrived in Bath in '72 with Mick Phelps, later of Palace Acoustics,(built gear for Budgie/Talisman etc) for the Other Festival, with a flatbed loaded with audio,lighting etc gear of which we had very little at the time. "

M.P on your console - Mick Phelps probably.. So there's a good chance it was a live board.. (which would be confirmed by looking at the configuration/routing of the desk.. If there's no buses/dir outs, or limited buses, then it would be live board probably?) I dunno..

I think there was a lot of custom stuff going around in that era, relating to live audio.

St.Ives is also mentioned, which is related to Neve products, and I know it's where Tim De Paravinici (EAR) makes his stuff..
Maybe some of that crew in the UK might be able to help you.. I certainly can't.. I just google around, and do a **** job at being a detective..

Dunno if that's helped any..

Google is your friend tho I reckon.

Good luck
Old 20th April 2009
  #16
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Thank you so much! You are the Sherlock Holmes of google! This gives me a great starting point. I can check out some of these names, and maybe come up with a source for this board.

The live board idea makes a lot of sense. Each channel has 3 aux sends with gain knobs on each which I assume was for doing monitor mixes. I know that this board has been through many hands though. The guy I got it from used it to mix sound for films and to mix/record music in a studio here in Vancouver, but that was in the late 80's. Looking at the pieces of masking tape on the routing section probably means that there has been a little re wiring done inside.

I will take a look around for those names that you found for me and try to get in contact. Thanks again!
Old 20th April 2009
  #17
Gear Maniac
with a desk that old, it must be asked: have the electrolytic capacitors been replaced?
Old 20th April 2009
  #18
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thanks for the link to that site . . brought back MANY memories. I think I had 14 acid flashbacks looking at that site! *smile* Sorry to be off topic to original poster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by binary View Post
Old 20th April 2009
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insomniaclown View Post
I have one more question. There is another strip on this board that I have no idea what it is meant to do (see attachment). Any thoughts?

When it comes to replacing modules, how difficult would it be to find replacements? Maybe not the same type, but were there a mish mash of formats back in the day?

Thanks again for all the help! I will get a look at the modules as soon as I can.
A "Varispeed" knob for remote control of a recorder, perhaps? Or some sort of built-in "special effect"? On a 1977 console? That is puzzling. Particularly if all other clues point towards it being a "live" console. We must now stroke our imaginary goatees thoughtfully. Hmm.

Are there any other "transport" related buttons or controls anywhere else on the console?

All things considered, the whole thing's worth the trouble of preserving just for the gravestone-looking floral engraving pattern and "R-I-P" on the nameplate.

Plus, even though it just says "treble, mid, bass", you get to say "but it's got authentic British EQ" regardless of how the thing actually sounds. Possibly even "warm". And maybe "punchy" as well.
Old 20th April 2009
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mercurydime View Post
with a desk that old, it must be asked: have the electrolytic capacitors been replaced?
I sadly have no idea if they have or not. When it comes to this technology, I in the dark. Where would I look, and how will I know if they have or not? How tricky of a procedure is it?

No worries on the off topic Knox! Looking at that site was very interesting, and it makes me wish I was around to see something like that. I have a question though, why only 14 acid flashbacks?

As to your question Chrisrnps, I cannot see any other transport controls on the board. I guess what I will need to do is run some audio through it, and see what happens when I turn the knob. I would definitely like to put the board to some good use. Just have to clean it up a bit, and figure out a way to patch it all up to my laptop. The only description I have about the sound is "not the loudest, but a very sweet sounding board", and you gotta love the nameplate!

Just looking over a picture close up, I discovered the words "Producers module- MK 40-27-32" stamped on one of the strips. The only thing the strip contains is the on/off switch for the board. Wierd.
Old 21st April 2009
  #21
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Alrighty, so I checked inside the board and pulled out a couple of the modules. There are no labels on the circuit boards. The faders are "Penny and Giles" branded, and most of the components are made in england. Also, the board doesn't accept regular 1/4" cables. What it does take looks similar to the 1/4" we all know and love, but the end looks quite a bit different. These other connectors do hook into regular 1/4" recepticals though.

I did run a little audio through the board. The low end response is smooth and extended, very powerful and very clear. The highs are also very smooth, and the mids can be a little harsh when boosted, but nice cutting. There is a ton of that old school vibe. Several of the faders do not work properly, and it took several seconds for some of the channels t come alive.

I think I will need to put some money into this board before I can realistically think about using it in my setup. I will keep trying to track down some more history on this unit for the time being. Thanks again for everyones help.
Old 30th June 2009
  #22
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Got me some info

I was finally able to get a little more information on this board. I was able to get in touch with the guy who gave it to me. Palace Acoustics was started by 3 engineers from Midas back in the day. I have emailed Midas to see if they can give me a little more information on Palace Acoustics, and maybe gain a little more technical information on the board itself.

I pulled it apart a little more to see if I could get some more clues as to what kind of parts are inside. I have inspected the channel strips up and down, but there are no clues as to who manufactured them. Maybe my email to Midas will yield some more info on that. I have discovered that all of the inputs are transformer balanced with RS transformers, and the entire board is set up to use Bantam TT connectors. Luckily I was able to score a whole bunch of TT to 1/4" adaptors from the same guy who gave me the board.

I found out that the board was last serviced shortly before it was put into storage. I will soon be able to talk to the guy who serviced it! Should be able to get all kinds of good info from him. I have also finally moved into a place where I have some space for this board, and will be spending my days cleaning the crap out of it. May look into replacing some of the faders and what not.

Thanks again to everyone for your help!
Old 30th June 2009
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insomniaclown View Post
I have also finally moved into a place where I have some space for this board, and will be spending my days cleaning the crap out of it. May look into replacing some of the faders and what not.

Thanks again to everyone for your help!
Replacing Penny & Giles faders? I'd google for cleaning suggestions first.

Seems like a potentially very nice board.

best,

john
Old 30th June 2009
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabney View Post
Replacing Penny & Giles faders? I'd google for cleaning suggestions first.

Seems like a potentially very nice board.

best,

john
I will certainly try cleaning them first. I am going to pick up a couple of cleaners today. I have heard that Penny & Giles faders can be quite expensive. I am missing one fader in the monitor section, so I may get to find out how much they actually cost very soon. I have asked around, but it seems as though everyone has a different way of cleaning faders! Oh well, I have sixteen channels which means I have sixteen chances to get it right.

I am hoping it will be nice. Right now I am only set up to track through it, but I want to make sure its nice and clean before I do that. Once I get it all cleaned up, I will try and post some sound samples for you fine slutz to check out.

Thanks,

Ryan
Old 30th June 2009
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by binary View Post
Did a quick google and came up with this:

Bath free festival -Windle Manor 1972

"the guy on the left with fuzzy hair and white jacket being hugged by brunette girl is spitting image of Phil Oates from St Ives,who arrived in Bath in '72 with Mick Phelps, later of Palace Acoustics,(built gear for Budgie/Talisman etc) for the Other Festival, with a flatbed loaded with audio,lighting etc gear of which we had very little at the time. "

M.P on your console - Mick Phelps probably.. So there's a good chance it was a live board.. (which would be confirmed by looking at the configuration/routing of the desk.. If there's no buses/dir outs, or limited buses, then it would be live board probably?) I dunno..

I think there was a lot of custom stuff going around in that era, relating to live audio.

St.Ives is also mentioned, which is related to Neve products, and I know it's where Tim De Paravinici (EAR) makes his stuff..
Maybe some of that crew in the UK might be able to help you.. I certainly can't.. I just google around, and do a **** job at being a detective..

Dunno if that's helped any..

Google is your friend tho I reckon.

Good luck
That's interesting..... Budgie were a British metal band of the era who were HUGE in England during the late '70s - if the guy who built the board was doing custom work for them the board could definitely be of interest.

If the company was founded by 3 guys from Midas of that era there's a chance that the channel circuit might be somewhat similar to the old Midas PRO3 module, which as I recall had a fixed 3 band EQ.

Have you figured out what that mystery knob does yet? Maybe a mono master out? A lot of live rigs in the '70s were mono.....

Sounds like a great old console.....
Old 11th March 2010
  #26
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Palace Acoustics Vancouver connection?

Hi!
I was searching for info about my old buddy Mick Phelps and found this thread. I wrote the stuff you found referring to the festival at Widcombe, (not Windle!) Manor in Bath. As I said there, Mick arrived in Bath from St. Ives in '72, and stayed on, setting up shop as Palace Acoustics.
The MP & L would be him and our mate Lol who worked with him from time to time. I ran a film workshop in Bath in those days, and used to buy Mick's prototypes for the cost of the bits, and had a very similar 10 channel board until it got nicked.
Mick was a bit of a mad genius, and came up with pretty up to the minute gear. Unfortunately my technical knowlege is non-existant, so can't help with the innards!
I am guessing though, that the board arrived in Vancouver with Pete Kilgour, of Beat Productions, who lived in Bath in the mid 70's, and had a studio in Wales. Mebbe you bought it from him? If not, check him out.
Mick returned to Bath after many years in 1995 and ran a workshop at my late record store for a time. We then lost touch, and last I heard he had cancer. I now live in Brasil, and I reckon he maybe is no more. I'll keep digging and let you know if I find anything further.
Cheers, Nasher.
Old 3rd April 2010
  #27
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Correction to above.

Me again...just a correction to my previous post, MP & L should be Mick Phelps and Loz, not Lol. My memory kicked in properly. Also a thought re the mystery speed control knob, Mick did produce gear for Nottingham Film Workshop, and probably other film facilities, so could be a controller for a magnetic fullcoat transport or a projector.
Old 3rd April 2010
  #28
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The "mystery knob" has "varispeed" silk screened onto it, so I would bet that it controlled the speed of an analog tape deck that was used for echo.
Varispeed was used to vary the echo delay times.

Kelsey consoles of that era (and earlier) had a knob called "SPIN" which fed the echo return back into the echo send.
I assumed that "spin" was a Brit term for regeneration.
This is how I used the knob.

If it wasn't then maybe can tell me what "spin" meant in British audiospeak.
Old 3rd April 2010
  #29
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The routing "wheels" on the top's 2nd picture do look like those found on older Midas Pro40 live boards.

Checking with Midas was a good thing to do.

777artin
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