Sunday, 31 October 2010

BBC Radiophonic Workshop Desks

This is my 100th post for Balance, so I thought I would do something a bit different. Here is a review of the various consoles used by the totally great Radiophonic Workshop over the years

I got these pictures from this gallery where you can see tons more

Also check out this post over on my other blog and you can listen to an exclusive mp3 of the RW in action

The picture above shows the various rooms that made up the RW

The first desk from the earliest era seems to be a custom job similar to the ones used throughout the BBC at that time, possibly Glensound like this one, but they referred to it as the 'Glowpot'. Here is the caption text from the gallery website: Delia Derbyshire at the controls of the desk in Room 12. The rotary control to the extreme bottom right is a 'Glowpot' gain control. The quadrant faders shown here were replaced by carbon sliders by the mid-seventies. Note the metal gangers for linking the faders. To the right are preset level controls, echo select, echo mixture and group switches. To the left are four PEUs. In the centre are remote start facilities (not used later on), cue light, talkback and line-up tone keys, as well as a standard mono Peak Programme Meter (PPM)

They later [during the early 70s] definitely moved over to a Glensound desk, shown above. From the gallery caption: Paddy Kingsland in Room 14, then equipped with the old Glensound mixer. The box to the right of the controls is a Programme Effects Unit (PEU), whilst an EMT echo plate control unit resides on top of the mixer

During the 70s Studio E got a beautiful 20 channel Neve 8066. I wonder what happened to that when the RW got dissolved - put in a skip along with the EMS Synthi 100?

Look at the console in this picture. That is the exact  same one that I bought for Mike who used to be based in my studio! He's moved out now along with the desk to a place round the corner. Here is a post about the desk I did when we got it. Anyway, this is the caption for the pic above: Elizabeth Parker in Studio H, formerly room 11, in 1982. The desk is a Soundcraft Series 2, fitted with a narrow penthouse containing illuminated buttons for controlling the tape machines and adjusting their speed. There are 16 input channels and 8 output groups, the latter of which feed the multitrack

It seems they liked something about the Soundcraft desks, as they got another one that was used through to the 1990s. Above is Malcolm Clarke and the Soundcraft 2400

Keep your eyes on my other blog Its Full of Stars because I will be putting up a few more mp3s of some other RW recordings soon

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