Friday, June 26, 2009

The Eagle has Landed!

So - my good friend Michael Ackerman spotted this on Craigslist, in Orange County (about an hour from here). It was an old A&M Records recording console, custom built in 1969/70. It took a lot of sleuthing to find anything about these, but information finally showed up. The photos of it in the ad were really poor quality - so I (and anyone else looking) couldn't tell much about it.

This is the console, as it sat in storage for a plumbing firm for 26 years...

I finally got better photos, but could not identify it in the few vintage A&M Studio photos that survive. As it turns out, it was used in a rarely-photographed room, called "Mix 2" where people would simply mix - and not record new parts. All the desks were built by HAECO - by their chief technicial engineer at the studios, Howard Holzer, a famous designer and engineer himself. These desks are excellent quality, built of various legendary components; Spectra Sonics, Electrodyne, API, Stephens, etc. Many famous records were done on these A&M desks - Almost all of Joni Mitchell's LPs, Herb Alpert, The Carpenters, Carole King's Tapestry, etc etc.

It took months and several trips to the O.C. warehouse, but we finally got the console up here to L.A. again, it's old hometown. (A&M is actually just up the street from my house). It took a sturdy trailer (we tried trucks and lift-gates - all too small) and a special winch to get it on and off...

The cool trumpet logo is for Herb Alpert, who was the "A" in A&M:

Colorful sucker - isn't it? From the mellow/yellow formica top, to the colored switches, and the custom-made plastic balls on the fader tops! One of the reasons I'm happiest to find it, is that almost ALL vintage consoles have been removed and repackaged from their original situation - the desk and frame are usually changed. This one is intact, including the "belly up to the bar" brass footrail underneath! (See top photo).

One of the few shots of these mixers is this one of The Carpenters sitting at one of the sister Haeco desks made for A&M. Smiling because it sounds SO good, I think! Or maybe because theirs has the colored-ball tops too!

I stored it for now in a space right near a friend's studio. They are gonna refurbish it and get it running. In return I will let them install it in their studio to use. (I have a GREAT mixer already to use - so this will be nice for them, and I can keep my eye on it while it gets used!)


Susie Singer Carter said...

Hey there! Fun to see your blog and these pictures. My father was Howard Holzer. Interesting fact: Bernie Grundman STILL uses his equipment today! (My father mentored him.)

Good Luck!!

Susie Singer Carter (Holzer)

Brian said...

Hi - Howard is still revered in the industry by those who know. Not only Bernie, but many other people still use his HAECO designs for disc cutting...