Greetings Fellow Sound Folks !

Hi everyone ! This seems like a very cool site, comprised of serious folks, without the trolls...I have been (very) tubeactive over at and still active at . Previously, since 1999, I contributed at the audioasylum, with a much different user name, very related to my appreciation of interstage driver transformers. With high grade trans, an IT is still the best phase inverter for pp tube amps, imho...

My audio related history is probably a bit unique. In 1975, entering college, I started an apprenticeship at their Electronic Music Studio, which was quite the state of the art, including PCM technology via 3/4 inch U-Matic vcrs and 2 inch Scully reel to reel decks, plus a Phase Linear amp driving Lincoln Walsh's Ohm As. Since the university also had an adjacent performing arts center, down the hall from the electronic music studio, thee staff sound engineer resided. His studio was immediately inspirational. The mixing board had it's curtained window facing the auditorium/stage of their 1000 seat theater. On the side wall, behind the two TD-124/SME 3012/681A tables with Shure SE-1 transcription preamp, plus Ampex tube R-R decks and Crown 800 deck, was another window with curtain. Behind that window was a good sized, sound recording studio. Once the electronic studio pro introduced me to the performing arts center sound engineer, he and I immediately hit it off. He would be looking for a new assistant the next semester ! Woo Hoo !

The next semester, I began my audio/electronics career, first as an intern, later a paid intern, then on staff. I actually took 6 years to complete my Bachelor of Science, Audio-Video and Film Production. As the perf. arts center was eagerly expanding with many more shows, I joined the staff as a sound engineer while still in university. I set up a work experience program and achieved 10 credits over the 5 1/2 years toward my BS (punny). My junior year, I took off school to be a full time, paid soundman and theatrical stagehand. One of the four theaters accommodated 3000 seats. My sound engineer "maestro" was also the licensed film projectionist. While he was in the film booth, I would be in that theater's sound room, with the spotlights room between us. That sound booth had all rack mount Altec tube amps powering the Altec theater speakers, as well as the side-wall mounted, theater surround speakers by KLH, enabling Maestro's thrilling "Enthraphonic" Sound system.

As you can imagine, audio overload for me was never reached. Meeting deadlines and roadying for many professional stage acts of all theatrical disciplines could get hectic. But, such was the nature of the trade. Since the perf. arts complex was adjacent to the college's Music department, many up and coming musicians had to be recorded for the archives. So, when a music teacher was obtaining her doctorate with her harpsichord, it was my job to record her live performance as best as possible. Her judging peers might be at her show, but the tape could make or break her career as a performer. Harpsichords "ring" naturally so I tried every mic we had and mikeing positions possible. That instrument is among the most difficult to record and playback properly, due to the inherent metallic sound. Geez, we had Altec condensers, Sony condensers, Beyer Dynamics, Philips/Norelco dynamics and of course, too many Shure SM-58s. For her archive, I could not get the noise down from the Sonys, so I used the best Beyers on hand. Her archived tape made all her peers vote for her doctorate. These archive recordings were my favorite activity, as my awareness of the sound of each instrument, as well as the sound of ensembles and full orchestras blossomed. I learned about the "action" of each instrument and my ears became well developed, if I may say so...

After my BS degree in January 1981, I sent out over 300 resumes to audio companies and studios alike. The studios I interviewed with were top-notch studios, demanding insane hours. The chiefs will take all credits for the sound engineering, which was depressing. A few audio companies actually responded to my rez, with a phone call. Nagra and Quicksilver were notable potentials, but moving cross country for $8. an hour to wire up Quicksilver amps in Mike's garage was even more depressing. I decided to stay on at the perf. center, while my wife continued her newspaper production profession, at that time. I worked at the perf. arts center nearly a decade.
I enrolled at a prep school to help obtain my FCC First Class License, the "ticket" to the broadcasting world. With that license, I could service any transmitter stateside. I had already been the assistant chief engineer at the college radio station, so a better paying career could be happening.

While in FCC school at night, there were job postings for 1st class ticket holders. I would write the info and consider calling the next day. One night, before my license was in hand, I called another soundman I met through the Audiomart fanzine. At that time, my Want List in audiomart was as large as my available for trade list. This gentleman was in Georgia and wished he could employ me, but recommended I focus on Fortune 200 companies which needed service engineers, like a certain name in Melbourne, FL. The company name rang the brain light bulb and I pulled out the list of job postings I kept, which had the job offering tele. #. I thanked him and called that company offering "part-time to full-time, real broadcasting work." As it turned out, all of their chief engineers were military trained. They did not like my beard at all. It took three persistent interviews, but with license in hand, I was hired. I could bicycle to work, in the backyard of an NBC studio, with a transportable, tractor/trailer with fold-out satellite dish, for transmitting/receiving. Since my first stereo in 1973 as a HS junior, I had never dreamed I would become a Field Engineer for broadcasting networks.

I was sent to High Voltage safety classes, in prep for a service van. The transmitter HPA final amps were 4KWatts, running water cooled, klystrons with 8.5KV at .47A. I would soon be able to choose between large "regions." One of the more senior field engineers, from Missouri, sent to learn the NY transmit/receive systems and I got along fabulously. He was a serious audiophile and was impressed with my knowledge of tube gear. My wife made supper for us one night. He was to become my next guardian angel just as the "Maestro" was at the theaters.

While eating, he was a three hundred plus pounder, who would not want to climb towers. He asked my wife if we would be willing to move to St. Louis and the Mrs. replied "When can we leave ?" So, Bill went back to St. L. and my relation with the current chief engineer was waning over a few more months . I called big Bill, may he rest in peace, and he said: "By Golly, I was just on the phone with the Florida chief. I will call you back in ten minutes." Five minutes later, the monotonical VP in FL. called saying "You must have good friends in high places...You will be flying to ST. L this Saturday flight work with Bill for at least 90 days. If your work is satisfactory, you will be able to choose your region thereafter..." OMG, this soundman hit the big time.

Two years as a field engineer, my wife finally got pregnant. My dad was sick but I did not know about that, yet. He demanded I transfer back east if I could, or he would hire me. He had to meet our baby and be a part of our family. I transferred back east to a contract with a broadcasting satellite farm and a fiber telecom/video network within the city. At the Ku-C band farm, I was quickly sought by a constructing foreman to join his team, within the building trades. I soon became a journeyman electrician, which I retired from after 31 years. That was three years ago.

All of this storyline is not as important as my true soundman identity, which really began in 1975. My compassion working with and on tube gear can be verified by many. I think I have tried and owned more audio transformers than anyone I know. Lately, as in the last decade, after fixing tube amps and preamps for 30 plus years, dabbling with retipping styli for a few more, I gravitated toward concentrating on phono preamps for the last decade. Some of my "Phono EQ: Design and Retrofit" essays have been posted at as well as . I anticipate posting some more right here in this safe haven...
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Thanks for sharing, GR8 stuff! Recording concerts was my life for 7 years. I started with Radio Shack#33-3007 into a Sony TCD-D7 portable DAT and worked my way up to Schoeps CMXY-4V>Grace Designs Lunatec V2 (then usually into a Tascam DA-D1 DAT but sometimes into a Sony SBM-1 ADC). Sometimes Id ask the soundguy at shows for a main L and R out then mix with mics(Mackie 1402 VLZ mixer)- Oktava MC012 with omni caps spread on stage worked well and the Schoeps on stage also worked well for groups without vocals (like Sound Tribe Sector 9). Thing is, my two favorite recordings (Ben Harper 5-17-97 front row center and Burning Spear 8-18-96) were made with the Rat Shack setup. Go figure, but I did learn that the most important thing as far as making a great recording is the location/placement of the mics. Ill take Rat Shack #33-3007 from the sweet spot over Soundfield AMS-250 (my favorite mic, run in Blumlein mode, and used to record Trinity Sessions by Cowboy Junkies) from the "taping section" every time. Welcome to The Haven!
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Greatings fellow Lenco Heavenite
I have to agree with your view in pp phase splitting with transformers.
Looking forward to your posting here.