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Posts tagged ‘Scotch and Soda’

Sound Reinforcement

February 7, 2015


The group at Carnegie Mellon’s WRCT radio station not only recorded classical music and produced Scotch and Soda records but also did live sound for concerts. The concert pictured was at Chatham College in 1972. Brian Rosen, who also mixed about a third of the famous Woodstock concert, headed up the sound reinforcement crew. He also worked for the CMU Computer Science engineering lab where we designed and built our mixing boards and power amplifiers. The board shown below was hand laid out with black crepe tape and then photographed and photo-etched in house and then hand soldered. Each of the nine modules was interconnected with a ribbon cable. The resulting twelve channel stereo board was only 3 inches deep and 19 inches high by 32 inches wide. The eight foot speaker columns were built in two sections, the bottom section having wheels. Each column was topped with a commercial horn speaker. The whole system was powered by four – hundred watt lunchbox amplifiers.

2015 02 07 blog 1972 05 00 00 Chatham PVW BSR2015 02 07 blog 1972 04 00 00 PVW

Scotch and Soda

February 6, 2015


Scotch and Soda is the amateur theater group at Carnegie Mellon University. In the 1970s the group would produce one full length original musical each year. Each Spring the group would take over the Skibo ballroom and transform it into a theater. The stage was stored under the football stadium and had to hand carried in sections and rebuilt each year. WRCT and later our studio would provide sound reinforcement and a records (vinyl recording) of the production. The color photo shows Joel Wolensky recording the tracks for a recording of the show “A New Day” in the Fine Arts studio. Since the studio was located two floors above Exhibition hall he was linked using video. That’s a Crown of Elkhart two track recorder directly to his right. The six rack recorder and its electronics are to his far right. The black and white photo was taken in the Skibo ballroom as we recorded the band and chorus for the show “Festival” again using the six track recorder seen to the far right. The band is to the left out of the picture. The Sony recorder and the board to the far left were used for a simultaneous stereo mix.

As most of you know by now the Emlenton Mill burned last night. I plan to continue the blog and will include pictures of its last night in future posts. We want to thank the firefighters who braved the cold and ice and fire and everyone who has contacted us today. Thank you. We loved the Mill and will miss it.

2015 02 06 blog 1971 04 00 02 S&S Festival2015 02 06 blog 1972 04 01 01 S&S New Day

CMU Fine Arts Studio

February 5, 2015


By 1973, the CMU Fine Arts recording studio was recording 100 recitals a year as well as producing records for CMU’s amateur theatrical group Scotch and Soda known for the debut of the musical Pippin. Some of our best memories were recording a CMU Kiltie Band concert at Carnegie Music hall in New York and being part of the sound crew for part of the 1969 Rolling Stones Tour. For Scotch and Soda we designed a home made six track recorder using three sets of quarter inch stereo heads (nine heads in all) and half inch tape on an Ampex data deck. In its original incarnation for the musical Something Personal we only had two channels of record electronics which we would manually replug to switch between heads. Also pictured is a Revox two track recorder and a Teac four track recorder. We used Advent dolby units and Stan Kriz designed a special system that could encode 90db of audio on standard Scotch quarter inch tape and also control the speed of the recorder using a huge tube amplifier for pitch adjustment.
2015 02 05 blog 1973 04 00 00 NRL Studio2015 02 05 blog 1971 04 00 01 NRL Studio