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littlesongs
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Joined: 02 Nov 2006
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Location: the oregon country

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:49 am    Post subject: Stevenson Interface Electronics Series 100 Reply with quote

I just acquired an Interface Electronics 100D 8X4X2 mixing console. It is a little beast designed for location sound recording and was primarily used by crews in the production of movies and television shows. According to the dates on the cards, it was built in late 1975. It is outdated, esoteric, relatively unloved, and yet, I believe it can still be useful. The unit came with a nice cover and when it is bundled up it looks a bit like a portable typewriter.

After a few weeks of getting acquainted, I have found it to be quirky, charming, and obviously handmade. To complete the mad scientist vibe, it is outfitted with an optional 17" Accutronics reverb tank. The multiple gain stages are really nutty too -- and can amplify a microphone loud enough to hear a mouse tap his feet to an iPod. However, the noise floor at extremely high levels is very present. That being said, I imagine quiet sources could be quite passable using the direct outputs.

I have never seen a manual or complete schematics for any Stevenson or Interface Electronics mixer on-line, so I scanned mine as soon as I could. You will find it here -- http://www.divshare.com/download/3085382-5c8 -- in jpg format. It is locked to keep the evil trolls away, but for the folks here it is easy: The password is simply our secret handshake.

If my research is correct, every manual was assembled by Louis Stevenson to match the unit to the recorder. According to the documents and the previous owner, my mixer was custom built to accompany an Ampex 440 four-track machine. As a sidecar, or monitor mixer, I am willing to bet it will be happy with both the AG-440-B and the Scully in my humble studio.

I have also discovered two of the strips are not functioning quite right and will need either repair or replacement. The 100D has high and low pass filtering, and since these channels are interchangable, I am flirting with the idea of finding a pair or two from a 100B with three band eq. It would be nice -- or at least interesting -- to have two sets of options. Since my mixer is already matched to them, I want the versions with Beyer input trannies.

Obviously, anyone with spare Series 100 channels, SIE anecdotes, or further information is encouraged to post or contact me via pm. Here are a few little bits I have found in my use of the search engines here and elsewhere:

From our beloved TOMB, "Stevenson Interface Electronics 108k Q's Now have schematic" --
http://messageboard.tapeop.com/viewtopic.php?t=46244

A thread from Prodigy with pics of 100B channel strips --
http://www.prodigy-pro.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=248077&sid=5371815de25aaaf061af5d1967a72dad

A little discussion from PSW --
http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/m/175941/0/

Several threads from Gearslutz have talked about SIE. The first link has a fuzzy picture of a Frankenstein Series 100 --
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/49387-anyone-know-about-mixer-interface-electronics-pics.html
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end/69556-intarface-electronics-series-100-mixer.html
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/60011-anyone-know-console.html

The Experimental Music Studios at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have seen many great talents including John Cage. One notable moment in their illustrious history occurred in 1976: "Studio A is redesigned and rebuilt. Two Studer B62 tape decks, an MCI JH-110 half-inch 4-track tape deck, and a Stevenson Interface mixer are purchased and installed."
http://ems.music.uiuc.edu/history/timeline.html

In July of 2005, Marty Garcia talked to Mix magazine about his career and included this tidbit: "We also built our own consoles, with both house and monitor boards built by Louis Stephenson of Interface Electronics. We showed this 40162 console with 4-band full parametrics on every channel to the Todd Rundgren camp and ended up doing their sound for five years. Curiously, that board still exists. It's at Brookdale College in New Jersey."
http://mixonline.com/live/applications/audio_need_inears/

King of the Attic uses a Stevenson 32X8 --
http://www.kingoftheattic.com/studio.html

This post is typical of many that I found, chuckled at, and skipped over --
http://homerecording.com/bbs/showthread.php?t=101917

A big thanks to Brian Roth for being at the center of the most productive discussions here and elsewhere. If I run across anything else of interest, I will be sure to pass it along.
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brianroth
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:15 am    Post subject: Re: Stevenson Interface Electronics Series 100 Reply with quote

Thanks for the kind remarks.....I've been sort of "MIA" here recently, with some projects, and for the past two days, no AC Mains here at Camp Chaos due to the ice storms here in Oklahoma. (The latter has put a crimp on what WILL be a fun project: restoration of a relatively rare MCI JH-652 desk with "plasma metering" that should be a topic here Real Soon...once AC power is restored at the site and we all thaw out a bit <g>).

Re. the topic at-hand. I would like to add those schemos to my "library", but I tend to prefer PDF collections. Ping me off list...I'll be more than happy to credit you for the submission, since my goal is to try and capture as much arcane info as possible and share.

Eons ago, I met Lous Stevenson and toured his factory in Houston, Super nice guy.

As for the 100 series, from a brief look (I'm doing a fast "hit and run", since my furnace is still fighting the cold temps here), I would say the opamps were 709's, the first generation opamps that didn't totally suck for audio. I wonder why Louis ran everything from a unipolar power supply? shrug.

I probably have some Stevenson stuff here, but am in no mood to look tonight Wink.

The phanom powering design on the last page is semi bogus, with a 10K R in series with the "branches" onto pins 2 and 3 of the XLR. Early MCI desks made a similar error.

Bri (brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.............)
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littlesongs
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:34 am    Post subject: Re: Stevenson Interface Electronics Series 100 Reply with quote

Brian, you're welcome. Wow! I cannot wait to see the progress on that old Jeep Harned masterpiece. There is something mighty attractive about the term, "plasma metering" -- especially if you say it like an engineer played by the late James Doohan: "Accorrdin' t' th' plasma meterrin' there just aint enough signal in this sector t' do it. Our only chance to capture that beastie might be rigging up an M49 in a Jeffries tube. She's old and fragile, but she'll hold, Captain." yeah, right

I must digress further as well. The weather has been wild here lately too. Last week, I had a compressor arrive from Florida through the DHL hub in Chehalis, Washington. I felt doggone lucky. Within 24 hours, the railroad and interstate were closed from here to Seattle. Floods make me pretty grateful for my home on high ground. I hope things get a little less frigid in your neck of the woods.







Now, back to the dinky desk: These photographs are what it looked like when I found it in an on-line auction. I converted the original scans of the manual to pdf and sent them to you, Brian. Your library is a fantastic resource. I will try to get some more pictures, remember to pull a few channels and post the numbers on the op-amps in this thread.

There really isn't a heckuvalot going on in each channel strip, and it looked to be a relatively simple design. Each preamplifier has decent range with a switch to choose between a 20db pad, or 20, 30, 40, and 50db of gain. This leads me to believe that direct outs ought to be just fine for many applications.

One strip had what looked to be an op-amp conversion of some kind. Since the transformer and other differences show that this channel is newer and not original to this mixer, I wonder if the later units had more issues and that is why this was a candidate for experimentation. Something tells me that a cache of 709/1437s is not exactly a hot item, so it makes sense that people have tried different things. Whatever the shadetree tech dropped in there boosts the gain higher than the other strips -- but it cuts out every other word, or every other note when signal is passed through it. I didn't like that so much, and quickly abandoned that channel.

I guess this is as good excuse as any to assemble a mutated hybrid 100.

(please forgive the obsessive editing)
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Last edited by littlesongs on Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:36 pm; edited 7 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:37 am    Post subject: Re: Stevenson Interface Electronics Series 100 Reply with quote

In my brief experience with these diminutive Stevensons, I have learned an extremely important caveat:



Always remember to turn off the monitors and/or headphone amplifier before you turn the mixer on or off. Or, make sure that the outputs from the mixer are unplugged. The other-worldly and indescribably loud transients this board makes for those brief moments must be avoided at all costs. The blast can potentially render listening systems useless, and if it is experienced in the cans, one may suffer a stress disorder. For what seems like a lifetime, it sounds like a flock of geese at a raceway being flogged by a group of screaming little girls swinging cats. This quirk is a real engineering gaffe, and as far as I know, it was smartly corrected in later models.

In my Googling, I also found out that if you aren't super careful these can burn out components. Make sure the power is off and the unit is unplugged when you work on any gear, or you may experience this fate:
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/117602-problems-interface-electronics-portable-mixer.html
A real shame, as that looks like a mighty sweet little board.

I would love to hear about the good, the bad, and the ugly from other folks with orphans built by Interface Electronics.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 4:52 am    Post subject: Re: Stevenson Interface Electronics Series 100 Reply with quote

Maybe it's a "regional thing" (Louis was located in Houston!), but IMHO, his gear was Above Average for the time, the 1970's.

709 opamps were also used in the front end of Auditronics desks from that era as well. One thing...709's do NOT like to have their outputs shorted when driving any sort of signal; that was one of the "improvements" with the 741 (yuck!) opamps that came later.

Re. the MCI 652 desk...the locale with the monster is still without power, and I'm bummed, 'cuz I was all set to work with it this week.

Besides the "plasma" meters (still semi-available from Vishay):

http://www.vishay.com/displays/list/product-37027/

...are all of the backlighting elements on the meter bridge, which used electoluminescent strips that have long-since faded out.

I dig EL, and it seems to have found a resurgance amongst folks making their PC towers glow, and apparently from folks doing odd things to the interiors of automobiles. I found this interesting EL resource:

http://www.shentech.com/eltaperd.html

I also learned that Walmart (!) is selling some sort of kit in the automotive department for "fancy lighting" of dashboards, etc. Hehehe...it will be funny if I resurrect the MCI's backlighting with Walmart components!

I should start a new thread re. EL, since that is the core/guts of an LA-2/LA-3!

Bri
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littlesongs
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Stevenson Interface Electronics Series 100 Reply with quote

I understand a certain amount of regional bias. I firmly believe that Symetrix created some really well built and interesting gear up the road apiece. Shiny Box and Hamptone are both great outfits. On the flipside, I am not blinded to the many shortcomings of products from Biamp and Tapco -- even though they have roots around these parts. However, they are still the best local bargains in cheap rehearsal mixers, sound mangling equalizers, and noisy reverbs. Wink

Every region has a legacy. A few folks have touched on this in the past, but I think Michael Joly has put it best. He made some very thoughtful and interesting observations about the rich history and heritage of Tula being reflected in Oktava microphones. I think the watershed of audio ephemera from different places -- like New England, or Italy, or Chicago, or Germany, or Southern California, even Texas, et al -- has the flavor of the spot where it was created and the folks that built it.

To digress a bit more, I think that there is an interesting quality to products made in small quantities by imaginative people exploring possibilities. Perhaps the engineering cannot rival a company with a global staff, but for better or worse, the tools will always have a personality. It feels different working with gear that does not represent huge firms with tons of money and technology from a century of engineering projects ranging from scientific exploration to war machines.

The vibe is often like a few dozen labcoats are silently gazing down at you from workbench heaven. If you show some love for their maligned and neglected offspring, they watch you work with relieved smiles. Sure, they might have had to cut that corner and this component because of the budget, but my layman observation is that most engineers fought really hard to have the core idea preserved when the accountants were swinging a cleaver. I cannot be the only one who has noticed that often a better transformer, or other simple upgrade often brings new life to solidly thought out ideas of the more recent past.

It is obvious to me that a great deal of love went into the construction of my little board. This desk is tough. It was used by film students at a midwest college for decades, then, to cap it off, it survived a punishing shipping experience in the days before it arrived. Now, it sits happily perched on a rolling typewriter table from the 40s -- as if the two were built to work together. My space is tiny and this is a perfect sized addition.

Being someone who loves remote recording, I adore the concept of a suitcase mixer. Especially one that is another 100 Series board and a cable away from being a 16X8X4 that I can carry around. I imagine that these quirky mixers -- with their oddball layout and modular swap-out capability on location -- had loyal fans in their heyday. I really wish that I could stumble across some sort of love or hate for these desks from film folks, but they do not mutter in public quite as much as audio geeks, radio nerds and other sound engineering malcontents. Wink

Thanks to Google, I know that SIE remote mixers were featured in an article published in the April 1978 issue of the AES Journal. Not being a member, I remain tantalized by this summary of "Theatrical Sound Effects Systems: A Survey of the State-of-the-Art" by Rollins Brook: In the five years since John Sanford delivered his two papers on the need for a generic control board for theatrical sound effects systems, a number of manufacturers have introduced such units. This paper will review these systems and describe functional capabilities. Many block diagrams and slide photographs are included.

http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=2978

Most of the vitriol on-line for Stevenson seems to be reserved for their bigger live boards. Folks, we all know that any gear that doubles as a beer coaster, ashtray and airsickness bag is gonna have issues. This is why there are no recording studios in daycare centers or primate exhibits. Unfortunately, club environments are a combination of the two. Like many things, Interface Electronics boards probably needed love and care, rather than pounding and cursing. If a PM-1000 is bulletproof for decades in the asylum, and later on it happens to sound fantastic in a studio with a good cleaning and a few mods, wonderful. I agree that most FOH gear is simply rugged first, and sonic second. Not every live piece is suited for recording, and not every recording unit can withstand the rigors of the road.

With what little I know, I am already willing to bet that Louis was a "learn as you go" kind of fellow. Though the results may have been mixed (pun intended) he pressed on producing custom gear in a market full of pretty big guns. In retrospect, it was pretty damn heroic to try to keep any specialized company afloat among the waves of imports in the 1970s. Like my Quantum, this small desk has an interesting personality, and thankfully, it was relatively inexpensive because of the current -- and often soundly reasoned -- disdain for IC based gear.

Some ICs were decent, or at least had an interesting or pleasant personality. I suppose folks can begrudgingly admit that 709s do not completely suck. Anybody got a sack of 'em stashed around? No? I do not think we ought to generate a run on old lumpy gear. I know what will happen if anyone thinks we are saying that the things made by Louis and his crew are wonderful magical tools that will change your life. In reality, at best they are simply, as you put it, "Above Average" -- probably good enough for tight budgets and a few creative applications. No more, and no less.

Brian -- speaking of low dough thrills that require a bit of work -- the EL stuff has my imagination rather captured. I have a rack that was part of the original Planetarium control system at OMSI. It really deserves to have a useful and groovy glowing aura. I think that wasn't the first Mall-Wart mixer restoration idea, but perhaps the first for an MCI. Cool I am looking forward to following both topics, and I really appreciate your input.

Thank you all for riding this train of thought through tangentland.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Stevenson Interface Electronics Series 100 Reply with quote

These are great posts, guys; thanks a lot.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:19 am    Post subject: Re: Stevenson Interface Electronics Series 100 Reply with quote

Thanks Inverseroom! Scribe that you are, it is awful kind of you. By the way, I love that new tune and the video too. It features a gorgeous Scodiddly creation -- and that ties right in with what I was saying about the love that is put into manufacturing small batches of gear. Someday, I hope to use one of Scott's "Alice" mics in my own studio.

Sadly, my computer with the piles of information and pictures has been down for a few weeks. I had some other photos of Interface mutts to share, and if I can resurrect the beast, I will post them here. I also still owe you all a tour of the innards of my own desk.

In the meantime, here is what I culled from a short jaunt on-line. My thanks go to both David and Walt -- the eBay sellers. Or, my apologies -- if they are unhappy with my pinching of images from their recently closed auctions. I felt it was a good idea in the spirit of sharing. This thread is solely in the interest of helping others who have these misunderstood dwarves.

The first pictures are of 104D channel strips. I am guessing that the later 100 Series boards had a more advanced numbering system. Overall, this looks a bit different than the channels in my desk. I love the Osterizer buttons. Still, if the 1976 Beyer date code is correct, it may only be a few months that separate them. This seems to be more evidence that Louis developed new ideas with almost every console.











Here is a big batch of pictures that represent perhaps the oddest of the 100 Series: 100Q channel strips with quadraphonic pan. The space age joystick is made even more charming by the use of a wire nut for a knob. From what I have observed in other Interface gear, it might be original equipment. This pair also leads me to believe that Beyers were an option, but not the only option. Some parts may have been expensive in budgeting a build of the larger desks. Exclamation One important thing to note is the photo with the pin-outs labeled. Many thanks to Walt & Early!





















After my initial post, some images have been disappearing in other forums. I felt it would be beneficial to host them and post them here. Since I would love to track two or four of these buggers down, I want folks to know what they look like. So, with my thanks and apologies to Tillman, here are two nice shots of 100B channel strips.





These pictures all seem to demonstrate the handbuilt charm of these mixers, their many eccentricities, and some of the evolution of the layout. They also show that rechipping them seems to be tops on the to do list for many techs. However, not being able to hear the results, I am still rather skeptical of modifications that deviate from the original design. Knowing what crappy sounds like, I am more than willing to settle for better than halfway decent.

I sure wish somebody from the old days at Stevenson would surface. They could tell us a story about a wild Christmas party, or the woes of an impossible client, or share some engineering insight. C'mon, we'll buy you a beer. Very Happy Of course, I would still like to hear from other people who have SIE trials, tribulations and triumphs to share. These mad little custom built desks have got to have a few fans in these parts.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 10:18 am    Post subject: Re: Stevenson Interface Electronics Series 100 Reply with quote

littlesongs wrote:
Thanks Inverseroom! Scribe that you are, it is awful kind of you. By the way, I love that new tune and the video too. It features a gorgeous Scodiddly creation -- and that ties right in with what I was saying about the love that is put into manufacturing small batches of gear. Someday, I hope to use one of Scott's "Alice" mics in my own studio.


Thanks a lot! Yeah, I love stuff, old and new, that bears the mark of individual attention and careful design. Scott's mics are great--the Alice solved all my acoustic guitar problems, and the stereo Alice solved all my overhead problems.

And it's true, it's rare to find good writing on an internet messageboard. Keep it up. You oughta write stuff for TOMag actually, if you don't already.

I totally want that mixer. Embarassed
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Stevenson Interface Electronics Series 100 Reply with quote

Athough I appreciate great gear from any era, I have a soft spot for battle scarred eclectica. Thanks for the encouragement, but no, I have not written for TapeOp. If there were room in the magazine for a column that was called "Analog Flume" or "Audiorphanage" or something, I'd be more than happy to be a stringer. Idea

As for the lust for a perfectly imperfect desk, friend, you have my empathy. (Of course, as a Hill owner, you have my envy as well.) I completely understand the intangible, yet utterly magnetic attraction to these handcrafted little boards. I first saw one a couple of years ago. It was a very early Series 100 8X2 in silver with black lettering, a fair bit of rash, and a cracked meter cover.

It was kinda like love at first sight. The crooked labeling, the chaotic layout and the unknown enigma factor drew me to it like a moth. The desk was in Seattle and seemed like a no-brainer.

It shared many features like high and low pass filtering with the 100D that I now own. The lettering also had the cartoon-like imperfections that mark all the SIE stuff that I have seen. I think that the dropped "L" in "LOW" that appears on every 100 Series channel borders on poetic genius.

To my chagrin, I was sniped at the last minute.

Predictably, the very same mixer resurfaced on eBay last spring with a BIN of like nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine bucks and a whole bunch of speculative jive about Louis working for API. (I have yet to encounter any evidence of truth in that particular rumor, but I am all ears.) After two relists at that price, it disappeared again.

So, when this one popped up with a really generic title like "8 Channel Interface Mixer" or something, I bid silly high and hoped I wouldn't have to pay that much for a relatively unknown quantity. It ended while I was at work, and I was pleased as punch to come home to an invoice of around $ Cool including shipping.

Sure, it does have some issues from both age and design. Of course, I really want to run it through some more paces before I reach any concrete conclusions. Still, I cannot be the only one who believes that something old with personality deserves my attention over the latest junk at Banjo Mart.

Usually I lurk here, laugh and learn, but after a few years of irrational Stevenson desire -- and finally ownership -- I had to say something. I hope my speculation and research does not contribute to high prices for this gear, just a greater knowledge base. I am an idealist. I think that folks with any esoteric stuff ought to feel comfortable discussing it.

The fear of creating the next "Shure Leveloc Monster" keeps far too much good information a secret. These are somewhat rare custom curiosities, quirky as hell, and interesting, but not holy grails. Then again, I have said nice things about Pioneer SR-101 tube reverbs in the past and watched in amusement, horror and disbelief as one fetched over $600 last week.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:25 am    Post subject: Re: Stevenson Interface Electronics Series 100 Reply with quote

I am not merely posting more cheesecake. Cool

In the interest of potentially helping another Interface owner, here is another batch of pictures. This first shot is from "shadubular" on GS who sadly -- as I referred to in an earlier post -- had the misfortune of killing his or hers while cleaning it. Since it happened this past spring, perhaps they will stumble across this thread and can add a happy ending to their story. Judging by the advanced layout and many features, this desk is newer than any of the 100 Series so far in the thread.



With thanks and/or apologies to the seller, here are some strips that were listed as "300 Series" in an on-line auction. Perhaps my old peepers are failing me, but the numbers at the top seem to be 104L or something similar. I recognize the clear round buttons as being the same part as some Valley People, Collins-Rockwell and MCI switches. All things considered, they appear to be from the late 70s or the very early 80s.









These both show a great deal of evolution and upgrades over the original units.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Stevenson Interface Electronics Series 100 Reply with quote

Studer also used those clear plastic switches with the colored dots inside. I need a replacement one, actually.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 4:02 am    Post subject: Re: Stevenson Interface Electronics Series 100 Reply with quote

Those switches are "F Series", originally made by Schadow, which was bought out by ITT-Cannon. Earlier this year, Cannon sold their entire switch product line to a venture capital firm (uh-oh....sounds like the beginning of the end).

You can find the F series catalog here:

http://www.ck-components.com/media/pdf/catalogs/Pushbutton_Switches%5CF_Pushbutton_August_2007.pdf

The "winkie" button caps are most likely the F08 models (see page Cool, and making up a part number (see page 2) and then entering it into the C&K "distributor inventory search" page comes up with zilch. It might be safe to say the winkie button cap is obsolete, unless you can convince the vulture....uhhh...venture capitalists to crank out a few hundred thousand for you as a special product run.

Even scarier is the slow disapperance from the various distributors of the actual switch modules themselves, such as the F2UEE, F4UEE, etc. Millions of those were used in just about everything built back in the 70's through 90's but they are no longer in vogue.

Bri
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Location: the oregon country

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Stevenson Interface Electronics Series 100 Reply with quote

It really is a shame how little the concept of keeping existing equipment running means to the marketplace. My idealist wonders if some small manufacturer will step in and fill the gap on those switches -- as well as other popular electronic parts -- sometime in the future. Will there be a recycling fiend who ends up really wealthy in the next ten years for having foresight and a hoarding disorder? Perhaps the secret is convincing a big audiopoly that the recording community wants less "blinkies" and more "winkies" on their gear. Wink

I have had my Stevenson for a month now, so I feel like I ought to add a few more thoughts. I will get the digital camera out soon and take you on a tour inside the mixer, but for the moment it is kinda busy. While four of the eight channels range from one dead to three kinda squirrelly, it has become quite useful in other ways.

The initial runs included a fair amount of pushing my noisy old ARP through the reverb. A real plus is that I can easily tame a few peaks, clean up some pillowy hiss or tune the tank to resonate using the high and low pass filters on direct sources. With either the Symetrix or the Dyna-Mite on the output, I was also able to clean up the rest of the hiss and get some sounds I really liked from a synth that is not always behaving.

There is no reverb in the signal from the direct outputs. The echo send on each channel strip controls the input, and the trimpot on the right side of the mixer controls the level of the return of either the spring or an external effect. The reverb only works in one channel at a time and outboard gear overrides the internal tank in any of the four channels when it is plugged into the associated effects loop. This arrangement is logical in that SIE way.

There may be something not quite right about my tank though, because it feeds back with no input at all. In fact, any movement of the board can be heard on both the four output and two mixdown busses. A friend suggested that on a tank that long, the springs may be a bit tangled in the middle from shipping. What do you folks think? I will definitely check next time I open it up. Even crippled, the reverb is great, and this is not just a one trick pony.

Many of my initial impressions may have been correct, but not all of them.

First of all, at unity gain -- old caps and all -- this mixer is actually pretty quiet. Not only that, I have buried the meters with many different sources and still cannot get it to clip, so perhaps the dreaded headroom issue can be put to rest -- at least with this unit. Considering the plosives in both film and soundstage work, this really shouldn't be a surprise. Though not all the channels are fully functional at the moment, if they were, it would make a decent backup to my Soundcraft 200.

Second, I have spent more time using the pres for vocals and acoustic guitar. The filtering kindly obliterates the wintertime furnace noise. When shockmounts are used, it also removes all but the most aggressive time keeping feet. I imagine that this was a great board for location recording. In fact, taking the direct outs to the Otari MX-5050, I am constantly surprised at - lean a little closer -- how really good the preamps sound. It performed just fine on a variety of common mikes including the AT-2020, Avantone CK-1 and MK-319. Like my happy old Ampex AM-10, there is no phantom power, but I have a little buddy to help out.

Finally, as I've said before, this is a useful tool. Do not let them get tossed in the dumpster. There is still life in these old critters. I'm definitely hunting for at least one more pair of 100B or similar 100 Series channels to try in the board. In fact, I just bought a second Accutronics tank that was pulled from an SIE and is complete with the original amplifier card. These bits are instrumental to exploring a stereo reverb option. I also like the sound enough to want to stumble on some 1437s to have in reserve.

Since this is proving to be such a good mic pre option for me, the same informed pal who had the tangled spring suggestion also put a bug in my ear about trying something like a John Hardy 990 in rebuilding one or two of the funky channels. The rails are 17 volt and there is real estate available. I am definitely curious enough to see if any of you would weigh in on the idea.

Thanks again for wandering with me to the dustier corners of the equipment world.
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"Keep singing, keep writing, keep playing, keep recording. Stay humble, follow your heart, and it'll all lead to a good place."
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littlesongs
pushin' record


Joined: 02 Nov 2006
Posts: 223
Location: the oregon country

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:42 am    Post subject: Re: Stevenson Interface Electronics Series 100 Reply with quote

After typing my last missive, I did a bit of exploring and found a potential goldmine of information.

Apparently, Todd W. White -- the curator of the comprehensive Unofficial Homepage of Altec Lansing -- actually knew Louis and has quite a bit of insight on the Stevenson operation. I was delighted to stumble on this brief tangental exchange on the Altec User's Board. Yes, if you make it through the whole thing you will find me begging for more information. Can you blame a feller?! Embarassed

Todd lives in Sapulpa, so I'd better wire Brian Roth some beer money to spend an evening picking his brain. thumbs up
_________________
"Keep singing, keep writing, keep playing, keep recording. Stay humble, follow your heart, and it'll all lead to a good place."
-- F.M. Cornog
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