Bob in the 1980s

I recently came across some old slides which we have scanned. Looking back at my career it was fun to see what I looked like and what I was doing in the 80s!

“BK recording 1980s”. Here I am recording a folk group onto a Sony PCM-F1 digital adapter feeding the video track of two simultaneous Beta machines. And for further backup, a cassette recorder so I could bring home at least some of the bacon if all else fails.

“Bob Katz custom suitcase mixer….” There were so many features I packed into this custom suitcase. It’s still sitting in my garage, but over time as I began to do more purist recordings I minimized my setup and didn’t need many of the features I had put into the suitcase. This is me using Stax Headphones to record a classical concert with the F1 and my custom-built suitcase mixer. Notice the NLS oscilloscope to check stereo phase. The custom suitcase mixer included a comprehensive patch bay so I could insert outboard gear in each channel, outboard gear located in the power supply suitcase you can see a section of under the table. You can also see two Gain Brain limiters embedded in the left half of the suitcase, the red and yellow colors visible below the oscilloscope. Daven 1 dB per step attenuators in the right half of the suitcase adjusted my monitor level. I had a mono/stereo switch to check compatibility. I had four UTC output transformers embedded under the patchbay so I could do balanced feeds to telephone lines for live concert broadcasts. Four Toyo peak level meters in the right half of the suitcase were designed to work with analog recorders but with sufficient “lead” told me something of what was going down to the digital recorder. But the ppm has seen its day and LUFS metering is the best way to go today. I had a small monitor mixer in the right half of the suitcase for custom headphone mixes and a special headphone distribution amplifier so I could record and overdub musicians.

“Producer Henri Debs….” Here’s Henri Debs, owner of Studio Debs on the French Island/Départment of Guadeloupe. Tanned and dark-bearded Bob facing the camera and a French engineer whose name I forget facing away from the camera. I built this studio… well, I supervised the carpenters and I soldered and wired all the connections with my assistants, including my friend Noel Smith, who I brought down from New York City. Studio acoustics were designed by Doug Jones. The video monitor shows the SSL computer automation.

“Suntanned…” Here’s suntanned Bob in another view of the studio from the back next to the 24 track Studer A80 and the 2 track Studer A80. In the rack you can recognize Lexicon PCM42 time delays, Neve compressor, Revox cassette deck and other outboard. There is a full horizontal rack (not shown) a meter and a half high, of other outboard gear located behind the mix engineer. I rented a motorcycle and on my off time (not too often, I promise) I explored the beaches, volcano and other features of the islands.

“Producer… ” Producer Ward Botsford of Caedmon Records and me in New York mixing the CD release of “The Nutcracker” with narrator Christopher Plummer. I assembled a custom assemblage of two Sony PCM-1610 and one Sony PCM-1630 plus the DAE-1100 editor to do a digital three machine mix. Something unheard of and probably never duplicated from that day on.

“REP…” Here’s the front page of an article I wrote and published in RE/P magazine, telling about the Caedmon achievement.

This is Bob recording a Princeton University singing group.

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