Neotek Film Console Gets a Manley Master Section
The console that now resides in the project studio of Michael Fuller, began life as an Encore film console designed to produce surround mixes on a dubbing stage. The original 80's console technology, no longer suitable for modern film work was sold for what seemed like a bargain at only a fraction of the original cost. Forty channels of quality EQ, GML Automation and 80 inputs made the console quite attractive, along with the complex master section containing a dizzying array of knobs and switches that surely must provide unseen flexibility.
Unfortunately, pre-microprocessor 80's style flexibility meant miles of wire, hundreds of optical relays and mechanical matrix switches that would have made Rube Goldberg proud. It is a testament to the Neotek design team that sonic integrity was maintained while routing the audio through such a maze of circuitry. However, for a music studio requiring stereo mixes, this presented a compromised audio path, not to mention the total lack of conventional monitoring functionality.
When I was first brought in to evaluate the console, I stared at the opened master section that had been abandoned by a previous technician who declared the project as hopeless. I was looking for quick easy fixes, just to make the console usable, but it soon became apparent that it would take some major re-engineering to accomplish the objective. As we continued to talk, Michael began showing me his collection of unique studio toys, and one of the pieces happened to be a Manley 16 channel rack-mount tube mixer. "Could this be used in any way", Michael asked?
That question started the gears turning and by the end of the day I had tapped into the console busses so we could listen to the Neotek through the Manley. It might have been the nostalgia of the Led Zeppelin CD being played as a sound source, but in spite of an obvious power supply problem, Michael gave it the thumbs-up and said, "Yeah man, let's go for it". And so we did.
Neotek / Manley Console
This project took place in 2006 before it was common to leave a workspace for computer peripherals in the center of a large console.
Well Equipped Studio
No shortage of very cool gear in this place.