VINTAGE AUDIO RESTORATION
Shimby also collects, repairs and refurbishes vintage studio equipment. He spends many a late night looking over ancient schematics with soldering iron in hand. Below are a few recent examples of gear that he's had the pleasure of restoring.
A pair of TAB V76 and pair of Siemens V72 tube preamps I restored and wired up in an original rack with some basic controls. Designed in Germany between 1949-1952, the historic V72 was to be used as a combo mic/line amplifier delivering 34 dB of gain, in a broadcast studio managing spoken word and pre-recorded music. When the recording of rock music was going through its technical boom in the 1960's, the historic V72 was having a hard time keeping up. Studios such as EMI started pushing the boundaries of recording with bands such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd. Siemens made a special version called the V72s. This unit delivered 40 dB of gain- an additional 6 dB which would effectively quadruple the "volume level" to our ears. Eventually, the demands of the studio were such that even more gain was needed and the historic V76 was born. But even this unit was merely two V72 units; one cascading into the other. The V76 is considered by many to be the best mic pre ever made for capturing kick drum and bass, the high gain output, EQ shelf and built in gain control made these units very popular with engineers throughout the years. For way more information on the history of these visit the experts at TAB - Funkenwerk
These peculiar tube compressors were commissioned by the Department of Commerce for the Civil Aeronautics Administration in the 1950's. They were designed exclusively for speech signals so their frequency response is limited to the mid range. They have a really unique sound and can make a snare drum sound like an explosion when pushed to the limit. On this unit, I changed out some capacitors, tubes and added a variable attack control and grounded power cable.
This beautiful beast is a vintage Gates SA-39B tube limiter from the 1950's. Gates was an American company that made primarily broadcast audio equipment, but a few of there designs have come to be loved by audio engineers over the years. This 75 pound behemoth takes up 8 rack units and has 11 tubes. Originally intended for radio station limiting, it sounds particularly good on vocal and bass tracks. It needed some basic recapping and retubing to get up and sounding great again!
These UA2100SC preamps were designed by Bill Putnam of Universal Audio and Universal Recording fame. Only a few original consoles were made for use at his United Western recording complex.They have a 2 band inductor based eq and a curious optical compressor which flashes a light with brightness proportional to gain reduction. I refurbished and racked these rare channels, including the fader mechanisms that turn a potentiometer via a string on a pulley.