Mark 3 Vacuum Tube Mixer

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Tubetec

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The name and link of the store escapes me now ,but Ill find it again and post here .
 

Tubetec

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I think it was an ebay seller ,but there was a website of their own ,packed with stuff . cant find it tonight ,I'll have a look tomorrow again .
 

PRR

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> a lot of work for one knob.

Yes.

If your 1937 4-knob Zenith only has 3 knobs left, it is utterly reasonable to spend an hour copying one more knob.

If you need thousands of knobs, it may make sense to duplicate one sample to a set of 10, copy that to a mold for 100, and pour pour pour.

But the small quantities you are needing, no. Not unless you can sell a set of "Vintage Style" knobs for $500. A few users may be tempted. Most will take whatever is fingerable and affordable.
 

Tubetec

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The Russians have some very tactile bakelite knobs , various military opperations across the planet do the same in cast metal , touch/feel goes a long way in the haze of war ,closing the eyes opens the ears ,way way too many visual distractions in the modern studio ,probably to make up for lack of human input or hands -on ability, bored to death is the usual scenario for musicians  in studio these days . Attention span in the younger generations is now down to seconds ,in future what? milliseconds ,
there like crack addicts with the phones,walking under buses and off cliffs there so engrossed. Producer 'bud bags' were always a great trick to get some space in the control room ,' come ere guys your not helping the artist ,feck off into the kitchen and roll yourself a few joints and have a pot of tea ready when were done    ;D
 

ruffrecords

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PRR said:
But the small quantities you are needing, no. Not unless you can sell a set of "Vintage Style" knobs for $500. A few users may be tempted. Most will take whatever is fingerable and affordable.
It is true that many prospective clients associate a tube console with bakelite knobs. I am uncertain if it is the look/feel/shape or just the material they are after; probably the former. From the designer's point of view, the problem is most bakelite available knobs are simply too big. In some ways I am surprised  no enterprising knob manufacturer has not brought out a range of bakelite looking knobs with modern fixings - which is why I am very interested to find tubetec's CHina source.

Cheers

Ian
 

Tubetec

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Sorry Ian ,
Been a bit busy in the winding shop this week ,its working out good though ,all the staff are really helpfull and willing to explain the various methods involved in testing and fixing  . The chief winder is on two weeks holidays ,so I havent been able to pick his brain about transformer winding yet .

I just found 'Tayda  electronic'    ,quite a nice selection of knobs under 'hardware' ,
https://www.taydaelectronics.com/hardware/knobs-8688.html

Ive a feeling most of the stock there is China made ,  so probably better prices to be had from a supplier in mainland China , still a very good selection there , a 'picture search' of an item you like might reveal other suppliers . They have nice repro 'Davies' style knobs ,and cute knurled alloy ones too .
 

ruffrecords

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Tubetec said:
I just found 'Tayda  electronic'    ,quite a nice selection of knobs under 'hardware' ,
https://www.taydaelectronics.com/hardware/knobs-8688.html

Ive a feeling most of the stock there is China made ,  so probably better prices to be had from a supplier in mainland China , still a very good selection there , a 'picture search' of an item you like might reveal other suppliers . They have nice repro 'Davies' style knobs ,and cute knurled alloy ones too .

Interesting site. I think I may have come across them before. Nothing actually made of bakelite but as I mentioned before it is more the style I think people like to give it the retro 'feel'. So the most likely candidates would be their fluted knobs such as these:

https://www.taydaelectronics.com/hardware/knobs-8688/kn1250-knob-black.html

These I can obtain in the UK from Thonk:

https://www.thonk.co.uk/shop/knobs-small-fluted/

Not as cheap but also available in D and T18 shaft types.

Cheers

ian

 

mjrippe

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I hate to say this, but I can tell the difference between Bakelite and plastic with my eyes closed and I think most other folks can too.  Bakelite has a nice dry feel, whereas the plastic knobs feel almost greasy by comparison.  It is definitely not just about the shape or look of the knob, IMHO.

I'm not saying that your tube console has to have Bakelite knobs, but if it does not then perhaps stay away from that style to avoid disappointing people.  I still can't stand using a Tube-Tech EQ-1A because the knobs feel greasy and the pots feel so loose compared to a real Pultec.
 

ruffrecords

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mjrippe said:
I hate to say this, but I can tell the difference between Bakelite and plastic with my eyes closed and I think most other folks can too.  Bakelite has a nice dry feel, whereas the plastic knobs feel almost greasy by comparison.  It is definitely not just about the shape or look of the knob, IMHO.

I'm not saying that your tube console has to have Bakelite knobs, but if it does not then perhaps stay away from that style to avoid disappointing people.  I still can't stand using a Tube-Tech EQ-1A because the knobs feel greasy and the pots feel so loose compared to a real Pultec.

I appreciate your comments. As I mentioned, the console is not designed to look retro. Because it has modern features it has a fairly modern look but, because it is a tube console, some prospective customers have asked for Bakelite knobs. My guess is they ask because they want the retro look but it is quite possible they also expect them to feel like Bakelite. What I should do is ask them because if they specifically want the feel then they are not going to get it from modern lookalikes. Do you know if anybody makes real Bakeltite knobs any more?

Cheers

Ian
 

Tubetec

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Yeah I should have said there all plastic , I do agree with Rippe that the feel of bakelite is nicer than abs plastic ,recreating the look and not the feel might leave some customers dissapointed . Of course your console is modern ,with many things not available back then , Id never underestimate the power of 'vibe' in sound equipment ,especially in a studio setting .
Maybe you can find a good deal on Russian Bakelite ,surplus stock, there not quite Dakkaware ,Chicago quality  but they will have that nice 'cold' bakelite feel . The wonderfull simplicity of the controls should surely encourage any musicians recording on it to get their hands 'on'  ,something thats so lost in todays recording process .Theres a number of places selling Russian surplus on ebay  , Ukrainian mostly , might be worth a look .
 

ruffrecords

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pvision said:
I know exactly where he goes. Somewhere quiet, relaxing & undemanding

Somewhere he can unwind...

Nick Froome

it must have been unexpectedly sunny in Brighton today  8)

Cheers

ian
 

ruffrecords

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A belated update to the Bakelite knobs question. I checked with my prospective customer who said it was mostly the appearance that attracted him. I did manage to create and all black fluted knob layout for him which uses the knob that is supplied with the MRK rotary switches and small black fluted knobs from Thonk. I may well offer this as an alternative look to the modern looking Sifam knobs.

In other news I have already outgrown my log cabin so I am getting a bigger one - this time it is more contemporary looking and will fit in much better with the style of the house. Plus it meets building regs for insulation so I should be able to keep warm without spending a fortune on fuel. I have already sold the old log cabin and filled the garage with all my tube related stuff. The guys that bought the old log cabin spent 5 days last week taking it down log by log. The new one arrives on 1th December so its an early Xmas present for me.

Since I cannot do any soldering I have started building a mock up of the Mark 2 using the panels and controls without PCBs. I'll post a pic when it is done. Waiting for some more front panels at the moment.

I have also had lots of discussions with prospective purchasers. As always there is a wide range of requirements from 24 track downwards with lots of interest at the bottom end. This led me to review the current frame and look at simplified low cost alternatives. Check out my blog for details and let me know what you think:

https://mark3vtm.blogspot.com/

Cheers

Ian
 

boji

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My humble perspective on Bakelite is its obvious association with hands-on craftsmanship and the extra time and human element that went into making devices that used them. Your console may be modern but it speaks more to the old ways than the new. 

The re-imaginings of classic muscle cars come to mind. How body lines, lights and gauge clusters remind onlookers of its pedigree.

Edit: I will say though I think the folks at Tree Audio took it a bit too far.  A new tube console doesn't need to be made to look like it was discovered in a hermetically sealed, abandoned WWII military bunker.
 

ruffrecords

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boji said:
Edit: I will say though I think the folks at Tree Audio took it a bit too far.  A new tube console doesn't need to be made to look like it was discovered in a hermetically sealed, abandoned WWII military bunker.
And it isn't a tube console either.

Cheers

Ian
 

boji

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And it isn't a tube console either.
ok, technically it's a tube hybrid.  =D  I'm thinking of the  Roots Gen II with those big ol' wiper switches.

Edit: In this modern world of instant gratification, I'd take your console on as a project over ordering a roots any day, Ian.  <3
 

Joechris

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The new layout on your blog looks very nice! But I think you must add a stereo return for DAW. It could be a fader to the far rigth,
or a rotary pot with a mute button, routed to the L/R buss.  It can be the same input as PB on your monitor selector, but
as a return as well.
 

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