Other notable consoles

by Mx. Remy Ann David
(Washington DC)


Sphere of Chatsworth California. Created by Don McLaughlin. These were incredible sounding, lovely high-end consoles. Mostly all discrete transistor where IC chips were used to buffer the effects sends.


The model that I had was a 1978, black in color, Eclipse C. Which was the crowning achievement and most elaborate console. It was designed for quadraphonic mixing.

The equalizers that were available were phenomenal. Most utilized ferrite core inductors, just like on the Neve's. They had a combination of quasi-perimetric with ferrite core inductors. They had a couple different 9 band graphic EQ's, all utilizing ferrite core inductors. They also offered a pure perimetric equalizer, utilizing IC chips that was not all transistor as everything else in the console was.

It came with the Allison 65K automation. Originally with DBX VCA's, later upgraded to the Allison Research/Valley People VCA's.

Don's op amps were unique. They included a pair of light bulbs! No, the light bulbs didn't light, even though they were connected to the output buffer transistors. They would only light up if the output transistor shorted out. This way, it would not drag down the power rails to the other modules. Though many folks felt that the light bulbs also made this a particularly warm sounding console.

It's internal signal routing in the Eclipse C, was extremely extensive. Allowing the console to operate in numerous different studio configurations. It also had the capability of quadraphonic mixing while also generating 3 separate stereo mixes.

Unlike the SSL's of the same vintage, that used FET transistor switching, for the internal signal routing. The Sphere Eclipse C, didn't have the inherent distortion of going through a transistor junction as it utilized reed relays. The reed relays were not directly connected to any switches. It was energized by a separate IC chip driver, for a more pure, straight wire like signal path.

The Eclipse C with 32 channels in a frame that could accommodate up to 40, was approximately $85,000 in 1978. Even if a 40 input frame was short loaded, all 40 microphone preamps actually reside within the frame. So if you only had 24 channel strips, you'd still have 40 microphone preamps.

The Eclipse C, also contained within the frame a very comprehensive patch bay.

Mx. Remy Ann David

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