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Description

Along with Neve and Helios, Trident was undoubtedly positioned at the pinnacle of UK recording desks during the golden years of rock. Malcolm Toft’s designs—collaboratively with other Trident in-house staff—have certainly made an indelible impact on the sound of record making that is nearly impossible to gauge. The desks made available to Trident Studios, and to other studios on both sides of “the pond” fortunate enough to acquire them, were legendary in breakthrough flexibility and huge sound. During this time period, every record made on a Trident desk was uniquely and quite positively altered by the sonic imprint of their distinctive designs. Arguably the most famous and best loved was the original design, the Trident A-Range. The console in general—specifically the EQ’s frequency and tonal response—was tailored over a year’s time at Trident with many of the in-house staff and independents offering their input for the sonics. This process was done almost exclusively by ear, and is an important aspect to the Trident/Toft design approach as evidenced by the enthusiastic and lasting interest in the A-Range design. As is so often the case, customer-driven products prove to be superior! The unique EQ section of the board is what the Trident A-Range sound is all about. A series of three high pass filters at 18 dB per octave and three low pass filters at 12 dB per octave are arranged at the ends of the EQ section. They are unique in that the switches can be pushed in simultaneously, offering distinct cut filter combinations with unusual filter curves. The rest of the EQ section allows four frequencies at any one time, switchable to one of four frequencies. Low Shelf: 50, 80, 100, 150 Hz; Low-Mid Bell: 250, 500 1k, 2k Hz; High-Mid Bell: 3k, 5k, 7k, 9k Hz; High Shelf: 8k, 10k, 12k, 15k Hz. With a unique tactile experience, linear faders control the gains, with around +/- 15 dB of boost/cut. Remember, these were the good old days before sweepable frequencies and Q controls. In an interview with Tape Op, Toft made clear that the "holy grail” of the design was minimal distortion in the audio path, but for me the most interesting aspect of the inductor-based EQ design is the measurable band dependencies between both the two bell filters and between the two shelving filters. This adds to the unique Trident A-Range sound, and it seems clear that beyond the already interesting filter shapes, this band interaction and parasitic phasing is what imparts unique filter anomalies that one might call imperfect, yet somehow is magical in the context of mixing a record. Was it intentional? Is it sometimes best to let the mystery of “by design” versus “happy accident” remain?

Discussions

Trident A Range

...an interesting one. Initially designed for London's Trident Studios by Malcolm Toft and Barry Porter in the early '70s, the A Range console was also produced for sale, though only 13 were actually built. But the A Range spawned an entire generation of consoles, and many hit records were tracked and mixed on its...

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Sound Techniques USA products & console

...Almost 2 years ago, as many of you know I had some monitor modules stolen from my original Trident A Range console.. I began a journey reaching out to people who might have known where on earth to find parts to rebuild four monitor modules! In that process I came across Danny...

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