Strat96

Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« on: April 21, 2020, 01:53:22 PM »
It was suggested that I start a thread about the Musicland Helios Console which I am restoring. I have had this console for 7 years and I have used it since then. Over these years I have collected parts and learned a lot about what was used on these consoles, and some of the variations that occurred over time. I certainly don't claim to know everything about these, but anytime I stumble across new information or meet someone who has worked on these, I take notes.

As I go through the process of taking this apart and putting it back together I will share some photos or other information. And I will be completely honest, even though I have enough parts to get this project rolling, there is still much more that I am in search for. I have said this before, and I will say it again, this is a project of love. I absolutely love the sound of the records that were recorded on these, and I love the old-school process of recording, twisting knobs and capturing a moment in time. But always remember, no matter what equipment you have, if you can capture music - capture it. Performance trumps equipment, always.

To start off this thread, I will share a photo that I downloaded almost exactly a  year before buying the Musicland Console. I saved this photo because I thought the console looked so cool and I someday wanted to have one just like it. It wasn't until after buying the console and receiving it that I went through my notes and many of the photos and diagrams I had previously saved. To my very surprise I stumbled across this photo for the second time and at that moment I remembered the reason why I saved it. The same writing on the bottom of the console, is the same writing of the console I bought a year later...

I don't care how many tapes I must bake, Analog is still the best!

My YouTube Channel (Analog Noise :: Studio Gear, Music, and Life)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu4ZqdUdgNd6IOnymsdULlQ


Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2020, 04:10:18 PM »
Great! Thanks

Whoops

Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2020, 05:12:22 PM »
Great photo!

I guess sometimes things start that way, just an idea from a picture.

Thanks for this thread looking forward to check Out your restoration.

All the best

Strat96

Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2020, 01:02:14 PM »
Great photo!

I guess sometimes things start that way, just an idea from a picture.

Thanks for this thread looking forward to check Out your restoration.

All the best

Thanks you!
I don't care how many tapes I must bake, Analog is still the best!

My YouTube Channel (Analog Noise :: Studio Gear, Music, and Life)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu4ZqdUdgNd6IOnymsdULlQ

Strat96

Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2020, 01:21:23 PM »
Sometimes the simplest things can give us the hardest of troubles. The top row of the Helios uses 15 pin Painton connectors for the majority of the passive equalizer modules. There are a few exceptions. These are the same connectors used in Painton Faders.

Some day I will post more photos of the console from over the years. Currently the top row has most of those Painton connectors removed, and that is how it came when I bought it.

I decided the first step for this new chapter in the restoration was to put in the replacement paints I bought a while back.

Yesterday I tried to loosen the nut on the rack panels that had these replacements on them, and then SNAP! The mounting nut and screw broke out to the connector.

 :-[ ...Guess I got to glue that one...  :-[

I then added WD40 to all of the nuts and let it sit for a day.

Today I placed a NOS male into the female connector to try to brace the lug in place, while ever so gently trying to loosen another nut, and yet again...SNAP!  :'(

The photo attached shows the snapped connector from yesterday on the left, and the one I tried to loosen today on the right. I have tape holding the broken bits in place. It appears the plastic is so thin on the edges that it cannot take any torque whatsoever. Granted these are old and the plastic may also be brittle, this thinness still doesn't help. I may give it one more try with attempting to clamp the connector on it's sides with a woodworking clamp and seeing if it the pressure will prevent it from breaking.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to save these or have had to deal with instances like that please feel free to share your experiences.
I don't care how many tapes I must bake, Analog is still the best!

My YouTube Channel (Analog Noise :: Studio Gear, Music, and Life)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu4ZqdUdgNd6IOnymsdULlQ

Whoops

Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2020, 05:56:50 PM »
Sorry for that,
maybe you can 3D print a small part to fit on both ends and glue that to the original connector

Whoops

Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2020, 11:31:58 PM »
found this nice  picture of Musicland


Strat96

Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2020, 02:51:50 PM »
found this nice  picture of Musicland



That is a beautiful picture. Crispin of Helios in the UK sent me another photo during the shut down too. I will have to ask him if I can share it.
I don't care how many tapes I must bake, Analog is still the best!

My YouTube Channel (Analog Noise :: Studio Gear, Music, and Life)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu4ZqdUdgNd6IOnymsdULlQ

Strat96

Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2020, 03:06:07 PM »
Today I retried getting the nuts off of the Painton connectors by soaking one of the broken pieces in sunflower oil.

IT WORKED!

Now I am going to hope that it works on the rest of the connectors. I definitely lost traction on the project after hitting this snag. It took a lot of thinking and writing down my goals to reorganize and get back on to the horse again.

I posted a pic on Instagram of them sitting as we speak: photo of helios console painton connectors sitting in sunflower oil.
I don't care how many tapes I must bake, Analog is still the best!

My YouTube Channel (Analog Noise :: Studio Gear, Music, and Life)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu4ZqdUdgNd6IOnymsdULlQ

Whoops

Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2020, 12:56:04 AM »
Today I retried getting the nuts off of the Painton connectors by soaking one of the broken pieces in sunflower oil.

IT WORKED!

Thanks great.
Moving forward


Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2020, 02:21:53 AM »
That what I call gear envy, a Helios from Musicland, you sir are a lucky gentleman indeed

boji

Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2020, 03:08:22 AM »
Wow!  You're the new steward of a legendary console. How cool is that!   

Quote
ever so gently trying to loosen another nut

I was going to suggest using a slightly stronger version of WD40, called 'Penetrant Spray', and more importantly, shocking the screws/nuts with a crescent wrench during the wicking process.  Might be due to luck, but I've found after tapping fairly hard on the tops of seized bolt/nuts, it tends to allow the penetrant to seep in and get the satisfying crack off a welded thread.  It shouldn't take all night for the seep, btw; the shocking speeds this up.  However, I'm afraid from your picture I can't really see what it looks like before the plastic breaks, so it's hard to determine what else would work.

Good luck on your adventure!  It's got to be an amazing joy to have a piece of history under your care.

And btw,  yes please, more picts!~~ as many as you're comfortable sharing!
« Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 03:20:04 AM by boji »

rp

Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2020, 11:48:36 AM »
I just noticed the patchbay-in-a-drawer in that picture of Musicland. Pretty cool.

Best of luck with the ongoing restoration!

Whoops

Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2020, 08:34:02 PM »
Hi,
How is the restoration going?

any new pics?

Thanks

Strat96

Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2020, 11:49:59 AM »
I just noticed the patchbay-in-a-drawer in that picture of Musicland. Pretty cool.

Best of luck with the ongoing restoration!

Thanks! The design of the patchbay drawer is quite interesting. I don't have the original patchbay, or switchboard as it is mentioned in the schematics. There is an interesting photo of the Olympic console that you may not have seen:

https://amplify.nmc.ca/olympic-console-restoration/

The second photo from bottom, you can seen patchbays under the left-side of the desk. Kind of a similar concept.

I just recently purchased a slew of secondhand ADC bantam patchbays with ELCO 90s. I didn't think much about it, but the cabling is going to be more money than the actual bays  ;D oops!

On a related note, the Helios does have a nice feature where the inserts are switchable on the modules. It would be easy to have a normal patch point, and then the insert switch could bybass the insert if the patchbay is not engaged or even just to cut down on the runs of wire the signal travels through.
I don't care how many tapes I must bake, Analog is still the best!

My YouTube Channel (Analog Noise :: Studio Gear, Music, and Life)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu4ZqdUdgNd6IOnymsdULlQ

Strat96

Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2020, 11:57:27 AM »
Wow!  You're the new steward of a legendary console. How cool is that!   

I was going to suggest using a slightly stronger version of WD40, called 'Penetrant Spray', and more importantly, shocking the screws/nuts with a crescent wrench during the wicking process.  Might be due to luck, but I've found after tapping fairly hard on the tops of seized bolt/nuts, it tends to allow the penetrant to seep in and get the satisfying crack off a welded thread.  It shouldn't take all night for the seep, btw; the shocking speeds this up.  However, I'm afraid from your picture I can't really see what it looks like before the plastic breaks, so it's hard to determine what else would work.

Good luck on your adventure!  It's got to be an amazing joy to have a piece of history under your care.

And btw,  yes please, more picts!~~ as many as you're comfortable sharing!

Thanks for the suggestion. I ended up desoldering and removing the nuts for all the painton connectors. I would estimate about half of them snapped; but I did this all before your suggestion @boji  :-\. Your suggestion probably could have saved me a few.

Now the job is to figure out what the best kind of glue would be for these connectors. Does anybody have any idea what kind of plastic these are made out of? The plastic is kind of rigid and brittle. I could probably try to see what happens to them with a little contact from a soldering iron.
I don't care how many tapes I must bake, Analog is still the best!

My YouTube Channel (Analog Noise :: Studio Gear, Music, and Life)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu4ZqdUdgNd6IOnymsdULlQ

Strat96

Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2020, 12:14:45 PM »
Hi,
How is the restoration going?

any new pics?

Thanks

Hey @Whoops!  I have not had any big moments in the restoration since the painton connectors, but I have been working on getting to the next few steps.

I bought some patchbays, and the thought was while wiring in the paintons I should get the Helios ready to be able to patch into outboard processing gear. It was probably a shortsighted forethought. I obviously didn't think that through at the time because it is a-whole-nother job to wire in a patchbay for all the insert points in the console.

I have also been working on trying to find a place to get some metal work done for some of the missing hardware, particularly the backing plates and stand-offs. There is still some minor tweaks that need to be done on the CAD files before I can get these made, and it will be especially important to ensure the painton connectors mate with themselves when inserting the top modules.
I don't care how many tapes I must bake, Analog is still the best!

My YouTube Channel (Analog Noise :: Studio Gear, Music, and Life)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu4ZqdUdgNd6IOnymsdULlQ

Whoops

Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2020, 03:41:35 PM »
I have also been working on trying to find a place to get some metal work done for some of the missing hardware, particularly the backing plates and stand-offs. There is still some minor tweaks that need to be done on the CAD files before I can get these made, and it will be especially important to ensure the painton connectors mate with themselves when inserting the top modules.

Hi,
where are you located?

Whoops

Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2020, 03:59:57 PM »
Thanks! The design of the patchbay drawer is quite interesting. I don't have the original patchbay, or switchboard as it is mentioned in the schematics. There is an interesting photo of the Olympic console that you may not have seen:

https://amplify.nmc.ca/olympic-console-restoration/

The second photo from bottom, you can seen patchbays under the left-side of the desk. Kind of a similar concept.

Just as a note, that console was the second console that was installed in Olympic studio 1.
It was not the console designed by Dick Swettenham that was the Helios precursor, that was the first console that was installed there.

The second console was designed by Jim McBride and Jim Dowler and as far as I know doesn't have any relation to Dick Swettenham  or Helios.

"The new Olympic Studio Two space was finished in 1969, complete with a vibrant décor designed by Mick Jagger. By this time, Dick Swettenham had left Olympic to form his own console manufacturing company, Helios, and Keith Grant duly commissioned him to build a new desk for Studio Two. This was the first and only Helios console to be installed at Barnes. In the late '70s, the original Studio One desk — which had been extended and modified several times over the years to accommodate larger multitrack formats — was replaced by a new in-house board, designed and built by Jim McBride with help from Jim Dowler. "

https://www.soundonsound.com/people/keith-grant-story-olympic-studios

Strat96

Re: Musicland Helios Restoration Thread
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2020, 08:34:47 AM »
Just as a note, that console was the second console that was installed in Olympic studio 1.
It was not the console designed by Dick Swettenham that was the Helios precursor, that was the first console that was installed there.

The second console was designed by Jim McBride and Jim Dowler and as far as I know doesn't have any relation to Dick Swettenham  or Helios.

"The new Olympic Studio Two space was finished in 1969, complete with a vibrant décor designed by Mick Jagger. By this time, Dick Swettenham had left Olympic to form his own console manufacturing company, Helios, and Keith Grant duly commissioned him to build a new desk for Studio Two. This was the first and only Helios console to be installed at Barnes. In the late '70s, the original Studio One desk — which had been extended and modified several times over the years to accommodate larger multitrack formats — was replaced by a new in-house board, designed and built by Jim McBride with help from Jim Dowler. "

https://www.soundonsound.com/people/keith-grant-story-olympic-studios

Good catch! I am in the Motown Capital, Michigan.
I don't care how many tapes I must bake, Analog is still the best!

My YouTube Channel (Analog Noise :: Studio Gear, Music, and Life)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu4ZqdUdgNd6IOnymsdULlQ


 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
Helios thread

Started by « 1 2 ... 14 15 » The Lab

292 Replies
98630 Views
Last post October 06, 2020, 04:34:54 PM
by Strat96
SSL THREAD + 1176 THREAD in 6 pages!!!!!

Started by gerardmanvuca « 1 2 » The Lab

21 Replies
7938 Views
Last post June 01, 2018, 01:03:57 PM
by SIXTYNINER
8 Replies
1954 Views
Last post September 13, 2009, 11:58:15 AM
by Kit
202 Replies
62951 Views
Last post February 10, 2019, 09:42:41 AM
by beatnik