As an owner of a small recording studio I have a life-long interest in recording equipment including microphones, tape machines, audio interfaces and, of course, studio mixing consoles. My attention was recently drawn to an interesting on-line video documentary about one of the legendary brand names in the audio recording business: Focusrite.
The video is about the time when Focusrite decided to build no-compromise, large format mixing consoles for the very highest end of professional studios. The first was created by Rupert Neve for Air Studios in London in the mid-80s and, as the documentary shows, used the highest specification components. The desks were constructed around ISA 110 pre-amps and had an incredibly low noise floor. The studio console boasted 72 channels across a range of 8 track modules (or buckets) and the whole thing looked, as someone says at one point, “like a spaceship”.
Amazingly only 10 of these consoles were ever built and the documentary team set about tracking them down where-ever they had ended up around the world. In the course of the documentary one of the tracked down desks is lost for good after a serious flood – although some elements were later salvaged – leaving a total of 6 studio consoles still in working order.
I think my favourite moment is when they track down console number 6 which has been bought by a sound engineer in Spain only to find it has been installed in a bedroom at his Dad’s (rather palatial) house.
It looks like this –
And in the film the guy is tracking a single acoustic guitar downstairs in the lounge through this amazing desk. As someone in the comments section puts it “what a waste, waste, waste”. Yeah! Only slightly jealous.
If you are interested in audio equipment in any way it’s worth half an hour of your time – You can find the video by searching “The Story of the Focusrite Studio Console” or watch it here