Archive for the 'custom recording equipment' Category

klangenschmitt mixer in new york


“”  GREG.  Seriously, what the hell?!  This thing sounds amazing. So fat, silky, smooth, and versatile. She’s all routed in and just sounding freaking sweet.  Every channel rings clear and gorgeous.  So many options now. Like so many. The gain on these channels is endearing.  You seriously blew right past my hopes and dreams on this one. Nice job.
I’ll keep the updates coming.  – Christian


the listenator



been fooling around with this listenator design. a wooden meter bridge will be luxurious. yes .

this listenator has 3 stereo inputs.
3 stereo outputs. (1st output has 70hz splitta)
2 stereo headphone output channels. & artist.
VU meters . variable level controlled
1 mic input for talkback into artist phones.
operates dimmer across monitoring.

stereo/reverse/mono/solo left/solo right control switcher functions

in phase / phase diff . switch to hear the difference between left and right channels.
its twists one channel out of phase and mixes the two channels mono –
hence the result is ‘only the audio that is different about left and right’
iow  … left minus right.

raving . the onboard TALKBACK mic preamp injects producer speak into the dedicated artist headphone mixer.  the engine ear producer can anytime directly monitor (into the crm phones )  exactly what the artist is hearing – so as to fine fine balance between talkback comm and music that the artist is play/ing with.  when the talkback is GO!  (either momentarily ‘talk’ or set latched ‘more talk’ ) – the control room monitors dim so as not to howlaround of course. dimmed to a user variable preset volume level.

the switched ‘go’ talkback signal can also feed an external power amp/speaker out in the studio.  for a voice of god vibe.

i know u can buy controllers – plenty of choices .
but.  what’s in there? . a bunch of 2$ ICs is what.
ekadek controllers contain NO CHIPS
.. only have ekadek’s own sweet neve ish transistor amplifiers.

the result is just clear clear fat sound.
no superfluous b.s electronics.

zebulon Bult wrote me about his minifenk –  (same transistor amplifiers as the listenator) he was chucking a mackie big knob out. . Hi Greg. the fenk sounds great, I listened to music for a couple of hours last night. I instantly noticed the mid range was not smeary, snare drums sounded tighter & overall it sounded like there was more space & depth. ….   In a nutshell, it sounds like I have removed a kind of hifi emulation from my signal path. I love this thing, it sounds fantastic, thank you very much. Zeb.  please read all ekadek testimonies.

new building alfredo mixing desk



been working on this  klangenschmitt alfredo console for a crazy cool jazz musician from wellington. after several months exhaustive designing and planning.  today i got the first two channels completely going and sounding really beautiful. these channels are all tube mic/di/line/two way eq/pultec MB1 line output – preamps.    with neever transistor console mixer stage amps. thick – warm  –  hot in fact . clear and FAT!. this  console is 8 mono channels and 8 stereo channels. 3 stereo buses including stereo AFL complete control room. 4 auxiliary sends per channel –  pre/post fader.  bloody hell a lot of wiring yet to do.


ekadek neever fenkner brenda

ekadek neever fenkner brenda


just in time for christmas.  3250  nz$ ono.

** twin’ neever’ mic/direct/line amplifiers.

**control room section.

**selects to listen to mics  / lines E1/ E2 / E3 or blenda circuit.

** line output selection for three monitor speaker pairs.**stereo / reverse stereo / mono/ left-right solo.

**phaze test function – switches one channel out of phase .. and then with mono selection as well … will monitor the difference between left and right channels. useful for mastering.

**blenda function – mixes E1 (computer monitor return) and mic amp channels to allow zero latency ‘alive’ overdubbing.

**phones amplifier – monitor the listen selection or the blenda mix. all 1970’s transistor amplifiers. fat and clear – miles of headroom. low low self noise. built expertly into the character 1960’s tolex covered plywood cabinet.




“gidday! How are you? Just wanted to let you know the kaimaitron is going strong. Really getting to know my way around it now. It’s really amazing how many different tones come out of this thing from clean and clear to fat and warm to fizzy and aggressive. I’d still like to get the germanium stage up and running but even without it this thing has become a centerpiece and I’ve done everything on the new album through it. Apart from the beautiful quality of sound in itself, it’s also a very unique sound. What’s the latest?”

many thanks to  ruban from U.M.O  for those words.



bagnall hill stack of ekadek

bevans trinity2

bevan from bagnall hill studio in country te pahu has just completed his trinity rack. contains three choice ekadek builds . on top is the dual channel 535 neever mic di amp .has original neve 535 twin channel awesome transistor amplifiers. in the middle is roger all tube dual channel mic di equalising amp. and down below is the four channel all transistor neever commando mic di amp. bevan has a  big recording space out in the country side that he built himself. genius.  he also makes guitars and ukeleles out of juicy native timbers. boom! double genius. check out his CAPTAIN brand.

cambridge electronic workshop console



rebuilding this cambridge electronic workshop console.
it will be 14 channels into 2 stereo mixes with 2 pre/post aux sends. there is talkback facility to aux 1. there is a small speaker p.a amp on board. there is a complete control section. her he is all taken apart with new and old circuit boards arranged onto mothers – almost all ready to be reassembled and wired . next weeks task.
i rescued this desk in melbourne about 1996 from the infamous RAY EMERY – he was a sound guy of years and years who had a house in the sticks piled high with old tech of all sorts. he was an awesome guy who was very generous with parts and infos and rum. the other desk i could afford at the time was a mackie style . i hated those measley thin heaps with zero headroom and bad eq. i.e no fun.

so i bort the cambridge and a heap of other bits off ray and slowly remade it work and have used it ever since in my studios.

the cambridge is all transistor from around 1975. just before chip amps became normal to use in consoles . i.e the burying the good clean audio signal with multiple multiple stages of chips each with a gazzillion transistors each. those cheap mass produced consoles are major electronic bullshit.
ive never found anyone who has ever heard of the cambridge audio workshop. so this must have been a prototype – originally designed to be a special functional theatre console.
the cambridge transistor operational amps are very neve ish .. 1070 thru 1080 like. the similarity is bonkers. they utilise different sex power supplies and opposite polarity bi polar transistors .. and yet they can live on the same circuit board. it’s a mystery wraped in enigma




NRU broadcast mixer


this is a five microphone input – one line level output mixer. made by NRU ( Nederlandse Radio Unie ) netherlands in the early 1960s… i think. it was a super high end specicfication /price unit made for any outside broadcast application of the day.
if in NZ … NZBC concert programme recordings i imagine,
right thru to televised rugby matches.
and ‘ it’s in the bag’.
i saw this on trademe a month back. and surprise ! my tauranga client and friend damian lunson got it. so i get to play with it for a while.


so far it seems like the building block 2 tube amplifiers are the gold. there are 8 of them – mostly the same. except their individual input and output topologies are messed with according to the functionality design. 5 are channel amplifiers with switched input mode and selectible amplifier gain. one is a mixture amplifier. one is an output amplifier. one is an afl (cue function) amplifier.
the thing to do is to reverse engineer a module – draw one out – get it going – see how awesome it sounds. get familiar with the rest – draw out an overall layout – test the theory. and finally decide what the freak to do with it.



rolaphon mixer box



stereo recording mixer build.  8 mono channel input – two further stereo inputs.  pair of mike  amps and a pair of germainium preamplifiers .  two fx sends per channel with individual go switches for extra play-ability.  a pair of mono subgroups and a stereo mix bus of course. a full control room section enables complete studio and mixer monitoring . and processor insert abilities over all the inputs and outputs conveniently arranged in one row of top panel socketry . this ‘ rolaphon ‘  contains 38 transistor neve-ish amps and will fits  into an  old ROLA 66 tape recorder cabinet. the rolaphon opens up like a chest. plenty of expensive goodies in there.




ekadek neevatron. here’s a drawing for a new six channel amplifier .
the guts of it is three of the last (in the world) five NEVE B535 dual line output amplifiers – n.o.s original right out of  the 1970s – another world.

the neevertron features real simple functionality.  mic pad – phantom power – phase changer –  fantastic clear sound.
there is a negative feedback stage gain adjusting control which allows to set how hard the preamp works on the input signal.
the output signal volume control  chooses off a good proportion of that and feeds the totally juicey B535 line output amp.
an uber fat lo lo Z isolated balanced output is fresh made.

thornophon 8 – 2 mixer



 thornophon mixer build 

 8 channel stereo mixer.
line level input  with fader.go.pan.
+      echo send
+     4 other stereo inputs

– also a single neever microphone/di  recording amplifier.

– also  a 5 stereo input control room monitor section with stereo.reverse.mono.left solo.right solo.speaker a.b.c.

all up a pretty powerful tool made to last .with all   transistor amplifiers for maximum fatness with minimum puss. a big clean sound. and  in a beaut portable cabinet. it’s made to be configured as a studio mixer and controller. to receive and mix a sound card’s multi-track outputs,  and mix  into a perfect new stereo thing.

it’s a smart little bug!r .   can listen to and switch compare all the musical stereo sound outputs u know u need to.

select  the  MIX output OR external stereo inputs (sound card monitor outputs) E1 & E2,  OR  check/listen to the neever mic amp or the echo send.  throw the sound around to check stereo – reverse- mono. left right solo. and then control 3 pairs of monitoring speakers in a studio.

manual mixing with a panel of sliders and pans  is the best method to balance a mixture of sounds. when u can move two or three faders at ONE time .. u can find , and then fine tune resonances in the harmonic structures of the sounds. extracting more peaks and valleys. adding life.  finding those parts gets to the spark between the instruments. the distance between things locks in and the depth expands.

a computer mouse  can  move one fader or click one button at a time. what the hell use is that?  ok . so  u have a computer fader panels.. good choice.  ..but then ur still just inside the box.  

so further more  i reckon the mixing  sounds better done outside in a real amplifier  mixer with faders , and outboard special fx and  maybe even a room mic. give a poor computer smacked up thing more oomph –  driven  energy.



roger eq off to big smoke

off to the big smoke tomorrow . this new roger 3 ways very  flash all transistor dual channel eq. features
neve 1081 style 5 frequency high  and  low frequency control stages.  very  fat and sharp . for a deep deep sound. teamed with a freaked out sweeping midrange stage. boost or cut   200hz – 6Khz he has double series band pass filters for a  tightest Q potential. with  selectable band pass gain effects .
1.  normal      NICE and clean
2.  sharper q     Q.TIGHT
3.  turbo sharp     INSANE
hook this baby to a mad playable keyboard and a echo box and u could have a mother of a synthesizer sound. learn to play it like one thing and freaking shit. thats a real  human electric direct sound! right there. one take.  the circuit board  contains cards of electronics arranged as two in line channels. left to right . treble – midrange – bass – output. each stage contains perfectly simple fat A-class inverting amplifiers made of just four transistors. no chips. plus.  quite a bit of  specified frequency selective boosting cutting circuitry is in there on the mother too. . it’s the prototype to a unit that can make a few of. or maybe a more largess thing  for DJs .. that item would need preset-able fitments and lets make it  xfade-able thru a delay effect loop. to create some very far out transitions. the all transistor circuits make it clear and fat and low low noises with richness and real balls.

kaimaitron 4 channel amplifire

custom kaimaitron 4 channel  mic/instrument amplifier with internal /external source control room or headphone monitor section. built all of  transistor amps into a 1960s brown leatherete portable case . also features an insert-able   germanium amp stage which can be sweet or stinging.

kaimaitron telefunken V372 amp

james duncan guitarist creationist-contortionist for dimmer and sjd  and punches  bort a telefunken V372 module off of ebay and asked me to add a preamping stage to it.  so i made a neever preamp with a handmade mic inputting  transformer AND a switchable germanium transistor stage as well , the germ amp  does a  smoothe sweet  edge  to  top end when run at a ‘normal’ kind of level input. and  if you boost it’s input to overload it – wow it can really get on fire – a very sustained burnt up kind of distortion.  so –  a really fat and clean clean sound  OR  varying degrees of audio assassination badness  is available.

after james received the kaimai telefunking amp he quick-as wrote back –

“I hate to speak colloquially but “BRO” I had a crack on it last night and its off the hook. The neever section is just what i was looking for. Thick, warm and big.. I’m so very stoked. The Ger-mania section is crazy and will take a little getting used to, but in all honesty I was a little skeptical at first of the Pultec pre/guitar amp combo. Now its my number one recording guitar amp because of all the tubey tone possibilities. So I’m very much looking forward to finding out how to use it. (ek – not quite sure what james is saying  right there – but he’s quite left field so maybe he’s actually fallen off of the field all together) This pre is a total win Greg. Thanks! “

the kaimai telefunken will surprise and amaze . a  different voice which can be like a gentle horned diva or mangley bitch with guts hanging loose. blood. yes a buttload of blood. … got to get out more.


cat visconti arriving

the cat visconti channel is almost gasp. complete.  just waiting now for a final bit of metal worked rear ass covering solution . sounding perfect . it’s made to be a best quality mono recording channel with mic/di/line stages and 4 way eq and filters with processor insertabilty. the output of that can mix (or not) with two stereo line inputs. the listenator function runs either the alone channel or the mixture of the alone channel with the stereo inputs –  into one of two selected pairs of speakers.  alla fenkner functionality.

vortex valve spring reverb

all valve amplifiers.  the vortex is designed to be used in a control room situation.   fed from an aux send and equalizer –  either outboard or ITB –  so as to tailor the signal that hits the spring . and then the vortex output should feed another eq to feed the reverb back into the mix.  with THAT set up u can really get in there and create specific characters for different purposes. you can make a vast and bassey booming atmosphere on a bass guitar or synth or vocal. or you can make a splashey little fat crack under a snare drum. or make a very fantastic-realistic room sound drum and bass section. or add a single magical distortion to a guitar.

the spring tank is mounted out of the chassis. so as  to ‘ adjust ‘ it.    place bits of soft cloth or sheepskin ontop  the springs to damp the reverb time down. then drive the spring a bit harder ..   and wow. its pretty much there into lee perry land. some smart tweaking on the send and return eqs . to clean and refine the energies and wow wow its amazing.  the kind of depth and delicious fullness of a fat refined reverb can do.  yummy experimentation.

the vortex also features a very beaut switched internal speaker.   the function is there partly to test the signal that is hitting the spring. check for too much level –  distortion –  and the signal’s balance. very useful for getting the verb sound clean of  noises or too much bottom end. or whatever. the spring is very sensitive to it.

because the speaker and amp is  EF86. EL84 A-class hi fi and pretty fat sounding for its size – u can use the  vortex as an auxillary mini monitor. it is definitely good enough to be your ‘radio sound’. the speaker has a clear valvey tone that can fill a room.  the speaker has a pretty fat bottom end.

price is 1450nz$ .   inclusive of gst (in NZ)

there’s  an iceypole’s chance in hell –  that  software emulations can build that organic authentic sound – that feels so alive – like this real electromechanical device.

spooning catvisconti trident totally ekadeked

mind altering breakaway holiday? no freaking way.  the wiring is set and a power supply is made and its been running perfectly hot! . after sorting a couple of easy sorted  errs.  (its kind of difficult thing to photograph cos it lies on it’s side.  spooning).  really does work well tho. set  to try it out in karaoke session with the family over next few days. the mic amp sound is so fat and quiet with  mountain ranges of gain. the eq with its new backwards and flipped out order is richer and precise and more equalizer power full. …..    and YEP  i have indeed made a most awesome karoke mixer . hooked up my old grampian  spring reverb to the cats fx send and return, and wow. so good. theres at least a couple of jammed albums in this rig .

phono roger eq one

ive been experimenting with a valve mag phono stage for a while and have at last nailed it. the mysterious circuit had suspicious boobitraps and ommisions, pfff.   i think by marrying it with the fabulous roger eq one …  your record player can  now drive a truck!   so fat and powerful.  u can pop your boat and caravan on there too. i’ll make this one into a beaut thorn  mk12 tape recorder cabinet over the summer . that  understated grey vinyl covering is a perfect foil for the bright electric valve sound about to be transplanted in.

catvisconti’s big toe

i’ve been designing a piece of wood today . a big toe to go at the front below the faders of the cat visconti gogo five’s boot shaped sound shaper slash recording monitoring channeling. hope-ing the photos do this project justice. the electronics has been fitted commando style to a frame connected behind to the upright eq/control-room face. cat visconti’s boot will be ready for final assembly and wireing next week after mr anodizer does his magic.

inside the cat visconti

the cat visconti gogo prototype channel is completely rocking. but it looks a bit strange.  it is just the  test bed of amps so far. even with its all unshielded looopey connecting wires and floating switches,  the sound is crystal clear and clean of noises or interferences.  the trident tsm 4 way -with filters eq  design is turned backwards and inside out.  now the H.F  has new mojo from coming first on top.  the L.F needed  utter lobotomy. the old chip band pass sweeping eq is changed out for a simple tough and tight 5 freq shelf eq. (neve 1080)  much better bass control with no lumps.

the  all transistor channel amplifiers are on this motherboard along with the jensen input and output trafos (ex of other parts of the trident console) . theres two gain controlled amps in series as the mic/line amp.  the series gain controlled preamps push the signal so long far forward with no noise – effortless big gain.  and then a fader and  post fader amp. theres also  an amp for the extra input section to feed the extra stereo output buss. so many extras. and then one other dual amp board that creates an isolated clean monitor send for a headphones system and a meter . ah. feed the meter. the other mother  (r.h)- board is a stereo twin inverting stage buss amp and control room amps and stereo line buffer amps  designed to be a recording and monitoring unit for andrew’s loungeroom desktop computer set up. more pictures to come.

new product . ROJER EQ1

here’s a new twin channel rojer eq .  a drawing for a new build for an old client .   the 2 way valve eq design was inspired by an american rogers hi fi amplifier that i repaired years ago.   sounded  ahhmazing .. such a really clear sweet hi freq and fat low tight bottom end. and with some ekadek tweaqs and refinements – even better.  the size of the sound adjustment  is impressive. a vast tone and body control. go subtle and careful with a mix  or slash and bash a single sound input to pieces. the output stage is the  big pultec MB1 . all in all an eight tube box. kind of extravagant?  you betcha squealing piggy banks its extravagant. roger is completely worth the 3500 nz$ – every buck. he can build  or bust mountains. sort the trash and make cream buns and make glass shatter . he’ll do the dishes and never answer back. and who doesnt want that in their crew.

the cat visconti trident project

the cat visconti trident project. only a couple of 151 fabulous 1970’s TRIDENT TSM consoles  have ever washed up on these fine NZ shores. after being circuitry flavour for albums from artists like david bowie, ringo starr, and cat stevens. also metallica, elton john and the beatles (hey jude)  many many more –  even tony visconti had one in his good earth london studio where he mixed one of my all favourite records .  diamond dogs.  dam.

well the guts of it is… i just played my copy of diamond dogs thru my experimental cat visconti rig ..   and the trident sound is indeed awesome.  and rich.I reckon that-  in its day – musicians loved that 1. it sounded really good. – BIG – 2. and the eq was  wow wow selective. 3.  the big consoles had a engineers end 4.  a producers end. 5. AND 6. you could switch the switches and use all gazzillion chanels in-a-row for extra massive stereo mix downs. 7. have a real 70s mix down party where 8 or 9 people take on a few  instruments and mute buttons each.  rehearse some moves over few takes and tokes and then ….    to nail yet another iconic mixdown to a two track master tape.  fuck. those were the days. anyway – these consoles are huge. and need their own river mounted hydroelectric plant.  there are so many chips and the power supply is so huge that they present a real threat to the ecology and power line voltage drop. so my client who has the before mentioned gazzillion channels is needing to cull the desk channel electronics right down to bare sexy bones without any coke snorting steroid add slash hang ons – buffering amps – and non essential chains of integrated circuits. oh . and not to forget the numerous very unglamorous electronic switching. this trident and all the other chip desks of the day are awash with chains of chips.  too too much. so ive connected the output of the mic amp directly to the eq and then to the channel fader and output amplifier. and avoided about 30 chips!. (i mite be exagerating there)  the eqs need new pots and i dont think the fader boost cut controls were ever quite precise enough.  so the next stage is to design and build the prototype high breed cat visconti trident TSM channel version one point one. with all new metalwork and layout and that old fashioned klangenschmitt functionality .   i  love my job.

special effects feastanator

the effects feastanator.    an fx input and regeneration creation system. i think these are better off to be refined together.  so im going to build them into a transportable handled cabinet with clip on front and back covers. the tape echo needs to slide out on a tray (to carefully examine and take care of it’s tape and  machinery innards). and to connect the mixer and echo and reverb forever together.  i need a dubb switching performance ready  effects mixer. which i started there on the left top. each of the six channel inputs of the main mixer will have an aux send level  which momentary/on switches thru to one or both of the sound regenerators. spring reverb subtle/disaster and echo dreamy or funky. the big toggle go switch has a spring loaded momentary downwards position or a latching on position upwards. brilliant for tapping morse code or breaking up an echo beat and feedback send.  or any manner of creative play-able fx function combinations. it’ll be a hell of a thing. the echo and reverb have capability to regenerate in an on or morsed up state too. quite a bit of work to do but what a substantially insane cool toy at the end.

skyqueen pultec MB1 tube preamp

this EVER READY SKYQUEEN  is straight out of the 1950s. shes been (tenderly) gutted and had a beaut pultec  MB1 design  two tube mic/direct preamp built into her.
the 1/4″ direct input is a tough sounding hiZ instrument amplifier,
super great for direct bass guitar or keyboards.

the microphone input is balanced low Z  with switched  phantom powering . she uses an american edcor input transformer with custom sheilding.   the  pultec MB1’s custom output transformer is made from the highest quality japanese grain orientated steel. this improves the low low bottom end signal integrity.  xtal clear and solid bottom end gives an amp the big dynamic smack ability.

the stereo 1/4″ input  has a left/mixed/right signal switch.  –  matches from a media player whatsit. ipod or cd payer. sounds awesome – the valve amp gives that signal a very much sweet tweaking.

she also has a tube  P.A  stage to drive the small but fat sounding internal  speaker.  or headphones.  the p.a amp isnt a powerful one, just 1 or 2 watts of valve radiogram style.
the skyqueen has very desireable looks.  with creamy aligator tolex vinyl covering and brassy trim bits. she has a fancy – and so modern perspex handle too.  i hope the photos taken in the lovely matamata early evening light  do the skyqueen some  justice. she really is  unique.  weve been soak testing skyqueen day and night just playing cds thru her. wow . so good.


been in the lab making a new minifenk today.and first had to fashion a special support ring to fit under the oversize top panel pilot lite hole.  so as to capture a magnifier glass up there. so as then looking into the spooky innards of said minifenk and bask in the golden LED glow becomes actually quite trip inducing. these  friendly little guys will always playback your sounds most truthfully tho. flat response dc to daylight and very open clearness from the simple best quality honest transistor amplifier.

nominee for ugliest amplifier in the world

so far the  MB1 amplifier (12ax7 & 6aq5) and the small speaker power output stage (6aq5) are built onto an ugly custom stripped out chassis. its chopped up  to  fit neatly into the lovely old skyqueen cabinet.  it sounds great even with it’s very temp/experimental control  wiring. just need to  drill and letter stamp up the panel, anodize it.. and finish the build. the ugly chassis looks like many  50’s european radios . those crazy germans made the ugliest most dangerous looking electronics   …placed  inside beautiful veneered plywood cabinets. u just dont see  that stuff being made anymore. if anything has curves –  safely assume it is moulded plastic.

philip the MB1 tube mic/di preamp

famous pultec MB1 design two tube mic /di amp. my ekadek clone of it lovingly  built into this  1960s philips portable tape deck. i made this one is 2002 and  have used it with great success to sell the design and portable concept over and over again. as well as stereo and 4-8-16 channel rack unit models.  clients who borrow philip  fall in love with the sound of the thing. its fat and hi-fi – has very low shushed self-noise – no hum –  and has a totally valvi-licious tone. his natural warmth and clarity makes for very characterful recordings. build up  multitrack layers with philip and a mix becomes  super easy. if you are looking for main recording amp good for all microphones / sounds / and instruments – then u just found one. the direct input is especially awesome for bass guitar. so BIG and rich. the amp loves keyboard sources too.

there’s a 150 ohm balanced mic input xlr with phantom power switched and pad. a direct input jack and level adjustable line input jack.
gain control – this alters the negative feedback within the preamp. with a low gain setting (and maximum feedback) the amp is in its most controlled high fidelity state. the higher gain settings cuts out the negative feedback and lets the amp go wild.
then there is a phase switch – self explained. and also an output trim control to fine adjust the balanced floating isolated low low Z  xlr output into when u need to. (best left right up actually – to preserve that low Z)

scorpion final assemblage

yesterday i picked up the fresh anodized metalwork from tokoroa. marcel from advanced anodizers reckons  he and his crew never have any infections from cuts and scratches. the chemicals have fried all the germs. i wanna take a bath in that stuff. cos i have so many cuts and grazes. i also bort some awesome records from the methodist op shop there.  linda ronstadt – heart like a wheel. mint, echo and the bunnymen  45rpm the cutter , cat stevens – tea for the tillaman, roxy music – flesh and blood, and john barry – conducting an orchestra playing his most famous film soundtrack themes. fantastic. im always struck by the number of ray coniff.englebert humperdink. james last, accordion party hits,  moog meets pop records, and harry freaking seacombe christmas albums . i guess i was too late for the really good old shit. my turntable has worked overtime today. my neices are staying atm . they love saturday nite fever and abba. im glad to oblige cos thats (embarrassing?) is the music of of my teen years. what a old fart.
tomorrow i’ll finish  fine wiring  the scorpion chopped up and start him up i reckon. ooh , and we bort an old dishwasher today – heaven – in a most beaut schlubbish way. no more wasted hours a day, just another noisy 20th century machine all up the place.

scorpion at the chop shop

a client got himself a tac scorpion 12 – 8 – 2 . straight out of amek california 1987. these consoles were fairly  big and heavy. made solid out of quality materials really. and  representing for a heap of bang for your bucks in their day. and actually still now. an assfull were sold back then for only about 6000us$ each.  inexpensive because of the ship technology.  only to be mothballed thru the nineties as computers and software took over the recording world. along with every other world.  im making a 12  chopped channelled racked  version of the scorpion for him. the electronics is being rechipped and capped with the newest fangled devices to quicken up to compete for the 21st century.  even tho i dont really personally ‘approve’  (old school snob)  of full chain integrated circuit designs like this scorpion..  the new compact rack mounted package is an attractive one. a dozen very tight sounding mic amps with powerful good sounding equalizers ready suited to plug straight into any multichannel soundcard.  ive just moved to matamata so this job is testing the local industry. i get metal cut and shaped in tauranga. a perfect drive over the kaimai ranges. and anodized in tokaroa. a quick spin down a different highway. my parts coming from sydney and UK were quicker ! than when i was in auckland. theres no traffic lites here. awesome.

one live ferralgrapha

the ferralgrapha has passed all the tests and has left the building.   wow. he  is awesome so so sweet sounding. the mic sound is fat .  clean and solid.  50/150/600 mic balanced input types make for very useable tone variations with any mic.   the special extra  amp stage gets very miles of gain for the ribbon mics.  the eq is tight or deliciously wide. very flavour enriched. wow,  it sounds so so alive. im hearing my records for the first time again. theres a weird effect with good tube circuits – suddenly the music just really feels like something again. just so big and warm – all the soul regained purified of any digital scurge. and the very back background feeling gets clear. my freakin spine is tingling. thanks alex for letting me build this. man u are going to love it. your stunning microphone collection will love the ferralgrapha too.

black lions getting ekadeked

a  client had purchased a heap of black lion audio gear . he has liked the sound from the units – and reckoned they represented quite good ‘sonic trustworthy’ value — except for the build quality and control component (pots) quality and robustness. dam cheap little things. busted and broken after only a bit of use. i discovered that quite alot of them weren’t even soldered in … like  –   at all at all- just sitting there ‘plugged’ into the board – no soldering.  w.t.f.  anyway…  after he’d tried my  gyrator ten8tor luxury stereo eq (loved it’s sound and quality) he decided to have me turn his dual mono black lion gear into stereo control stuff . wow. i did not see that coming.  crazy? yes! dumb? no!  so far i’ve stripped the mono parts off the black lion boards. and prepped some metalwork and collected the strange value stereo pots  and parts.

ferralgrapha is building

ive drilled up the panel and letterstamped it. it’s been  bent   to fit the cabinet properly and is getting anodized as i type.  while it is soaking  .  i’ll finish and test  the tube chassis. 8 tubes . 6 signal transformers. my evolved prototype chassis sounds great – really open feeling microphone sound.   the tube amps – the very flavorful equalizing  possibilities –  and the in/external monitoring functionality make the ferralgrapha a complete one machine for studio or live recording sessions.

minifenk in zebs world

zebulon wrote me the day after he picked up his new minifenk control room monitor station.
Hi Greg,
the fenk sounds great, I listened to music for a couple of hours last night. I
instantly noticed the mid range was not smeary, snare drums sounded tighter & overall
it sounded like there was more space & depth in that range. The low end seems to be
more defined, so frequencies in the upper low range sound less boomy, low lows sound
tight & thick. The high frequencies sound less fatigued & cloudy. In a nutshell, it
sounds like I have removed a kind of hifi emulation in my signal path.
I love this thing, it sounds fantastic, thank you very much. Zeb.

new ferralgraffa studio unit

an australian  client has ordered this stereo MB1 chassis  – versus  –  my sweet lady tube 2 way EQ . a great combo  .  he has supplied a beaut old ‘skin’ tolex covered ferrograph tape recorder case for it .  so im going to make this stereo mic/di/eq amplifier into that –  complete with on board 5 watt tube amp and the original 9X6 inch goodmans monitor speaker.   the new dual pultec MB1 tube mic  amp will  have variable input impedance. 30.150.600 ohms . alex has some real old ribbon mics .  and wants extra tonal front end augmentisation capability in general.  the big old meter switches between the two preamp outputs.  as does the EL84 single ended tube P.A. amp.   the 2 way tube equalizer  features as the MB1 alternative input source.  reverse engineered design from an american roberts (or rogers) stereo system. a unit that i repaired once really impressed me. the eq sound was so fat and deep. a very particular circuit built around the feedback of a single valve amplifier stage. ive added a preamp stage to it to enable an  effective rumble filter,  and hi/lo frequency switches to the bass and treble stages  to complete this massive sounding 2 way eq adjustment scope of this ferral graffa transportable 2 channel studio preamp unit .

gyrator ten8tor tested

David Chechelashvili is one of the tutors at SAE sound recording college branch here in auckland. he spent time at ekadek mastering an album for ‘battle circus’ last year  and just recently took a luxury gyrator ten8tor home for a try out.  his words.

“This EQ is something very special. It seems to penetrate the sound fundamentally and rebuild it rather than add on top of what’s already there. It never sounds hyped or fake even at extreme settings! I tried it on several instruments like drums, guitars, vocals and bass and it sounded great on all of them. However, I found it to be most effective (amazing really) on richer, pad-like sounds like strings, piano, organ, synth, etc. on these instruments it really shines. Sweeping the hi-mid frequencies while applying generous amounts of gain produces a truly magical result – adding depth and lushness of sound only a top quality analogue EQ can provide. Well done Mr. Ekadek! Another uncompromisingly organic piece of kit.  Dave “

thanks dave. ek.

dressed best DJs in the world

classic set up . mixer. and a monoman running the big mono kick ass speaker stacks.

ruggedtechniques .  hal smith stevens has been visiting me for years now. he is always so enthusiastic and charming. and extremely talented.  and one day we’ll get to work on a major major project together.

my god man !  dont hurt yourself with that contraption.

it might be a crazy musical  technical adventure that is biblical. or  it may even  be a technical musical product thing that is functional AND biblical.

dont worry kind groom.  we are completely trained for all complications.

he got formally hitched to a wonderful girl and threw a very special  party at alberton.  it was an awesome event for hal and kirsty .


everybody had a great time and of course the good djs were impeccable

wot the blighty chaps . we have sullied this LP record surface with our party antics.

toby muir with his big monoman mono pa system out to play.  … sounds  rude actually .. but he was very well mannered about it all.  the monoman unit contains a valve preamp –    4 system output distribution amplifiers –   and a 4 way adjustable speaker amp xover amplifier splitta unit. all transistor circuits . its way expensive so forget about it.  it does so much that we dont know what even to call it other than the monoman.

mini fenkner. the control room monitor c.r.m dog

control room stations are one of my favorite things to make.  these little guys can be fashioned to be your best friend. with really nice individual character. loyal and hardworking and never complain. they are not just fake arse bells and whistles cheap shit with chips crappy plastic rubbish. (take a pill ek)  …..   gear that you always suspect doesnt really give you the real thing.
the folks that have my custom  fenkner control room stations all say that they never never have heard so much sound in their music . boom! . seriously tho. the ekadek’s  genius kept secrets  have made  a life changing improvement to the clarity of the sound of their sound.    yes .

the transparency of the audio. at all volumes is the most important thing.  never cloudy.
the clarity and completely open fatness of our simple sweet transistor driver amp.
utterly flat frequency response. low low impedance output. simple class a transistor tech.
headroom you can drive a truck with.
and quietness. no buzzes. hums. harsh crackly hissing. etc etc.
just a very hushed quiet smooth stable friendly quiet quiet black background.

they really are lovely to control and admire  to touch and  flick the switches. and they sound like the sexiest voice you ever heard.

now that that is that sorted  . another best thing is  ..  they are so easy and loyal.  they dont go on strike. they dont  run off with the family silver.   they are a decent fair price of  only 1200$nz   (check your  currency calculator for that one)  for a beautiful new zealand handmade thing  .   for  a minifenk1 . ( freight to be arranged).  gets basic stereo 3 line input 3 output transistor amp  active monitor control room dog.  with stereo-reverse .stereo-mono. solo left. solo right .   knobs and metering  and options are available  for discuss.

ace tone needs home

this old tape delay has just entered my world. and will be looking for a new home.  he’s all broke up and sad. already ive replaced the incomplete-parts-missing direct drive captain motor with a whole new bastard drive system.  the motor is from a radio station cart machine,  the flywheel/captain/bearing assembly is from a 1960 grundig tape recorder. a swiss german japanese kind of party. the electronics  work  and the functionality is there. i need to redesign the speed control circuit of course.  the ec-10 has had internet schtick because its replacement model – the first roland 201 space  echos  – had most all the ec-10 bugs ironed out. therefore they are a better catch ?.  i dont think so. im planning on making whatever mods i can to help it get right up hi fi and further.  even a new neever mixing equalizing output stage.  some record and playback amp fine tuning. a much improved power supply. and some tape path re engineering.

two portable fattys

two quick builds this week.  small and fat. the akai-ish playback unit now has a line input suitable for ipod or computer plus a hi impedance input so u can jam along with a guitar, keyboard or hi z mike .  the  5 watt tube amp and 8 inch speaker has a lovely full clear sound, and can distort like a nasty bitch on demand. the lower box is a two channel all transistor mike/di amplifer  –  custom built into a beaut old phillips tape recorder box.

the killer rig

this stack of shiny junk is the killer rig  to kill all other so-called killer rigs.  fat as  pultec-ish MB1 stereo mike/di/line preamp. 4 tube chassis. the FAT LADY 5670 stereo limiting amplifier. 8 tube chassis. and the TEN8TOR GYRATOR stereo eq. about two bazillion transistor chassis. the most extreme channel strips you’re ever likely to see.  amazing sounding. so gutsy and so quiet!.  the sweet sweet clean fat MB1 valve preamp amping up . the totally sexy fat lady gain control freak limiting amplifier holding back . and the  sophisticated ten8tor gyrator equalizer being the ultra cool frequencies outputting amp with its devastating signal shaping powers.  i’ve been playing everything thru the killer rig last couple of days and am astounded at the improvement-of-everything-isation   power of it.

postcard from klangboy

ronan charles lives in the beautiful west australian hills around perth. he rolls with the ekadek klangenschmitt gogo 1 . klangboy 2009.
he’s been busy developing his studio enviroment. and klang had a  problem with a switch. it got banged or something. he decided to fix it himself and i had just mailed him to say – hi – how’d it go? . his reply was my monday heart starter. brilliant.

I’m good thanks Eke.
Happy Father’s Day (Klang asked me to pass that along…)

Yes I did manage to get it in, beaded brow like a bomb defuser and full of
admiration for the absolute gazillion of more complicated wirings that you
performed inside this beauty. Attached are a couple of pics of the Klang
desk I built around him. I hope you aren’t too offended but I figured that I
may as well build him his own house and make it nice and sturdy and
permanent-like. Its all built around him like a wooden glove, without
removing any part so he could roll out of there when necessary. You can’t
see it in the murk but there are 2 little holes to get at the headphones
from the front.
It was joyful to finally plug him in again and hear just how outrageously good he
makes everything sound . Phenomenal thing this is.
In a way its been the touchstone of quality – it’s the reason I’m going to
so much care over the building of the place he lives in.
Oh btw: there are 2 black wires coming off the klang. Are they earths? I’ve
got 2 earth wires ready to connect to them if they are.
No problem with noise. I was nervous as hell plugging it in to speakers for
the first time. But its all rock solid. Thanks so much for the electrical advice and
assistance. Really helped me.

At the moment I’ve finished the control room, bass traps and all, and am
currently moved onto finishing of the live room. building a huge 20m2 wall
of diffusers to tame the reflections coming off the brick walls I built in
the big live room… Its gonna look great but will take a few more weeks.
Its been absolutely ages in the works, this place, but I figure I may as
well go gangbusters and head off some of the problems that I know are there
before I start rolling tape again. ahhh… what a dream…

hope everything is going great with you.
Can’t wait till I can bang on your door again for some more ekadek sound

gyrator ten8tor luxury stereo love party

our new  eqs will be slutting around a few studios this next few weeks . roundhead (the checks producer loved them) tony’s place (loves them) chris (loves them too) and  state of mind stu tore it up. so im looking forward to receiving written blow by blow accounts of their lovin times.

monoman progress

igor spent the day testing and tweaking his filter circuits. 4 eight pole switches controlling 12 active frequency filtering operational amplifiers.  an uber complicated device with a few hundred things to potentially get wrong.  igors dam good and smart tho and they sound awesome.  4 clean bands. sub- bass- mid- hi with sweepable crossover frequencies. it will no doubt become our new studio mastering sound splitter equaliser.  a stereo control version would need 16 pole 5 position switches. woof. and it will eat your computer for breakfast. late last nite i got excited and rough assembled the front panel to see what it was going to look like…. and it looks pretty cool i think.  so absolutely unique. but this morning  i scuttled our progress totally. after noticing some paint spottiness. well.. it actually looked like someone had spit up on the thing. and we cant have that can we. so its all dismantled now for a few days while that gets redone.  gives me time to  admin and fix the car and mow the lawns and the dishes.

the monoman will need dr who tech

the ekadek MONOMAN is a mono tube transistor multi crossed over split P.A control unit-anator. as you can tell we dont quite knowly sure  what to call it  . the input stage is an  MB1 two valve amplifier with volume, gain, and an output attenuation/loading circuit . it  feeds  4  isolated distribution amplifier level controlled output stages.  one of those then feeds a four way four output sweeping cross over frequency  balancing amplifier. so as to fine tune the main central 4 way stack of the sound system. . the other distributed outputs feed the other amplifiers and speakers strapped all together. a big gangbanging strapped up solid  P.A machine. and all this happens at the speed of light. the monoman control unit will be  housed in a  old tape recorder vinyl-led plywood skin and even has its own 2 watt valve phones/spka monitor amplifier.  just for those days when the 2000 watt stack of speakers is looking too big for the boot. the cunning stunt of the job is fitting it in the box. 2 valve amps/3 tubes. associated transformers. 8 output  amps. 16 filter  amps. all transistor. 8 pole 5 position switches. 3 line transformers for phase reversal options. all those xlrs. all that shiny sexiness with  black knobs and a fat fat tubed  transistor sound.

at the alter of equilizer wiring

progress is steady on the luxury stereo model gyrator ten8tor equilizer. so many other things to do. the cabinets and panels are anodized and coated and are ready to assemble and wire and finish . thus the alter of wiring. each little fricking wire has a home. so far ive got the first channel of the first unit installed and working perfectly. next to bring the five other chassis up to that same point… test them all. and then wire the second channels in. quite a mission of preparation. not so hard to make one… doesn’t matter how long it takes.  but to make six in a reasonably time efficient organic methodollyology . i.e affordable…it’s a whole other universe.

ekadek is actually saving the planet

my want and need for a few days last week was to dissembowel an AUDIMAX  4440A.  ive appreciated  the quality of the line sound sound of these . they are all transistor. no chips. made well. fat sounding. hi class parts.  made expensive for 1980s FM RADIO broadcast mixer insert and transmitter output stages.  but the dynamics of the thing doesnt have much  to offer a modern studio context. the long hardly changing average level adjusting functionality doesnt fit with any useful requirement that i know of. ok. well just maybe… to keep one thing absolutely the same. huh wtf etc. ( wait a minute. isnt that a whole new music genre?) . anywhoo.. this audimax is kind of made to be an  “AVERAGiNATOR” ….  ..good for making overall levels incredibly hi quality average. sounds  like the eighties to me.

so ive ripped out the “MEMORY UNIT” .  this expoxy potted mystery thing contains live electrical memory that judges how ‘loud’ a track is overall and then compares that knowledge with another sensed and evaluated voltage doubled  judgement of whether the newly adjusted overall level is moving upwards .. or downwards.   brilliant…?  it then makes an external  transistor and fet act against eachother to make that prepostperceived judgement into an overalled averaged representation –  as a dc sucking blowing potential that operates on the balanced patented varilosser signal attenuating circuit . averaging the averaged control signal to make everything extremely average.

so  i was saying..  ive ripped this average brain  right out of the picture. (and fully intend to gore out the epoxy, plunging into that waxy juicyness))  and have transplaced it with an awesome workaround to recreate these puppies into very good working almost brick wall limiting amps. they are way more like a punchy solid state compressor now. still more experiments to do tho.

all without wasting all that energy that originally went into their 1980 manufacture.  just another fine example of how ekadek and its minions works so hard to save the planet. so other news is that IGOR is working up a top secret design for extra sensitive single cycle  transient suppression.  he wants to bring every dominating inth that computer functionality has …back  out of the box and into the sunlight… (cue  manic-al laugh)

teneightor-nator stereo luxury models

the build is going well.  i got a meal of metalwork till im stuffed full of metalwork to eat until all the metal cabinets/panel fully worked and finished. and then we quickly place the boards and the controls. wire the wires and hey. fat eqs. stereo ready to wear .

luxury stereo equalizer progress

in order to eventually switch around the hi lo filter frequencies   and bass and treble frequencies    in the process of finding  more magic, these switches must be pre-made special ready to neatly wire from the front panel of control back a wee bit into the circuit boards. and i couldnt resist making a smiley face from them once this part of the work was finished. ! counting the two switches currently fitted to the prototype chassis –  thats  24 x  6 pole-5 position switches all prepared with various coded looms.a total of  about 864 (24 switches at 36 connections each) little X$@#  freqin wires. zen times are good times of course.

the metalwork will be the next fun thing once the cutting and folding is finished … again. a mistake’s been made and it’s been sent back for a redo.

teneightor gyrator luxury equalizer prototyping

heres news of the all new ekadek  prototype of this luxury equalizer. igor’s been ages eagle designing and stuffing the operational amps and mothers with the pretty components…  while ive been gathering all the stock and full function experimenting. we’re making enough boards to be for a pair of mono control units and 4 more units of the full stereo control teneightor gyrator luxury model.  full single knob stereo control 6 variable band eq.

the design is a chain of six stages all transistor amplifiers arranged as filters and frequency specific boost cut elements. in circuit order.  low.f filter 27hz.47hz.82hz.150hz.270hz –  hi.f filter 18khz.12khz.8khz.5k6hz.3k9hz – Hi.F eq is  5 treble frequency shelving/peaking  boosting/cutting action  15khz.10khz.6k8hz.4k7hz.3k3hz. first midrange eq is 23 position sweeping type boosting/cutting 70hz thru 1k3hz – second midrange is constant sweeping boosting/cutting gyrator circuit bent with turbo boost switch and resonating hi Q switch. 250hz thru 6khz.  finally the bass eq is low frequency shelving/peaking boosting/cutting action 33hz.56hz.100hz.180hz.330hz. you just dont need more than that.  the whole thing sounds awesome and fat with seemingly miles of headroom and signal adjustment scope . the top end has that gorgeous expensive clear brittle sound . the bottom end is a bodifull  weight and the low low low end is bigbig clean and clear. boost to ridiculous ultra lowness. the two midrange stages are surprising and inspirational with their fine accuracy and schwhooshiness. woof. almost dangerous. all the switching is click/bump free so as to make dubb/dump playing the eq easy and bang free fun. mono units are sold. 2 stereo models are sold. 2 stereo models are for sale.

bbc neever microphone amplifier machine

BBC NEEVER 8  microphone amplifiing machine * 8 separate microphone amplifiers * all transistor two stage blocks* xlr inputs- individual switched 48v phantom – 12db mic pad – phase change – lundahl input transformers – neve 538 preamp stages with  feedback gain controls – channel volume level controls – BBC am7/11 output stages. floating balanced xlr outputs.

simple – tough – best quality – and a compact 2 RU size.  its been a while in the making this one , as  igor and I have been tied to commissioned builds. and our development work on the the new gyrator teneightor five stage equaliser