MCI Tape Machines - Prototypes and Custom Tape Machines


Message Board - MCI Tape Machines - Prototypes and Custom Tape Machines


Most people are probably unfamiliar with the name of Grover C. "Jeep" Harned, Mississippi State '52, but almost everyone has heard the results of his work.

"One third of the records in the Billboard top 100 and 60% to 70% of the albums being currently manufactured were recorded on MCI consoles," Harned says proudly of the company he founded more than 25 years ago.

Jeep's MCI, Inc. is a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,-based firm that manufactures some of the best equipment available for use in the recording industry. MCI broke into the field only 12 years ago when it introduced the first low cost, quality multi-track recording system. Today MCI is the leading manufacturer of professional recording equipment in the world after passing corporate giants like Ampex and 3-M.

Brother Harned claims to have been a hi-fi nut since "before anyone knew what hi-fi was." In 1955 he gave in to his desires to enter the hi-fi business, and he and his wife borrowed money to set up a stereo and record retail store. The shop was a failure despite their efforts, and in 1965 they offered their entire stock for sale, at a cost of $50.

Though the hi-fi business was a financial disaster it allowed Harned to find where his talents lay, in the design and repair of electronic equipment. During his years as a struggling salesman Jeep met a struggling record producer, Mack Emerman of the Miami-based Criteria Studio. Harned spent much time repairing and rebuilding the equipment in the Criteria Studio, and soon artists, engineers and others began to sit up and take notice.

This success in the Criteria Studio led Harned to start work as a designer and builder of custom recording equipment, a role he kept until 1968 when he began designing a line of high quality, low priced professional recording systems. In 1969 MCI introduced its first system, the JH-5. By the end of the year the company had sales approaching the half million dollar mark, and projections to double those sales the following year.

Brother "Jeep" Harned's business has progressed from a point where its worth to him was only $50 to a point where its world-wide sales will probably reach $50 million in the next few years.

When you hear a song by the Bee Gees, the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac and many others, think of how those sounds first made their way to the record plant, via MCI and "Jeep" Harned.

Photos and foundational text courtesy of Larry Lamoray and Carla Harned, of MCI.


MCI 2-Track Tape Machine with AMPEX Transport

Early MCI 2-Track Tape Machine electronics with AMPEX Transport. Photo courtesy of Larry Lamoray and Carla Harned, of MCI.


MCI 8-Track Tape Machine with 3M Transport

Early MCI 8-Track Tape Machine electronics with 3M Transport. Photo courtesy of Larry Lamoray and Carla Harned, of MCI.


MCI Early 8 Track Tape Machine with AMPEX 300 Transport

Early MCI 8-Track Tape Machine electronics with AMPEX Transport. Photo courtesy of Larry Lamoray and Carla Harned, of MCI.


MCI Tape Machine with AMPEX Electronics

Early MCI 8-Track Tape Machine with AMPEX electronics. Photo courtesy of Larry Lamoray and Carla Harned, of MCI.


MCI 8-Track Tape Machine (Early)

Early MCI 8-Track Tape Machine. Photo courtesy of Larry Lamoray and Carla Harned, of MCI.


MCI 16-Track Tape Machine (Early)

Early MCI 16-Track Tape Machine. Photo courtesy of Larry Lamoray and Carla Harned, of MCI.


MCI 16-Track Tape Machine (Early)

Early MCI 16-Track Tape Machine. Photo courtesy of Larry Lamoray and Carla Harned, of MCI.


MCI 16-Track Tape Machine (Early)

Early MCI 16-Track Tape Machine. Photo courtesy of Larry Lamoray and Carla Harned, of MCI.


MCI 16-Track Tape Machine with JH-10 Transport

Early MCI 16-Track Tape Machine with a JH-10 Transport. Photo courtesy of Larry Lamoray and Carla Harned, of MCI.


MCI 16-Track Tape Machine with Wayne Newton

Early MCI 16-Track Tape Machine featuring, an excited, Wayne Newton. Photo courtesy of Larry Lamoray and Carla Harned, of MCI.




MCI Tape Machines - Prototypes and Custom Decks

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Sessions in "B" at Criteria with one of Jeep's first 8 tracks.  Not rated yet
I remember doing sessions in "B" at Criteria with one of Jeep's first 8 tracks built on the Ampex 300 deck/platform. Jeep had to build a special tape …

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