Sony Studios Custom Room 309 console, with Flying Faders Neve Encore Automation 36-input, 12-bus
Built for Dave Smith includes 572 position TTL patchbay to Elco panel, Neve Encore Computer, NeveFader Automation Control PSU, Neve MCS 2 Machine Control, Neve Fader Servo rack
Article courtesy of Mix Magazine
THE UNSUNG HERO
I had the pleasure of working with David [Smith] at Sony Studios [August 2006 issue] for five years as a senior technician. My primary responsibility was SSL 9000 and later Neve 88R console repair to the component level. David was my supervisor John Williams’ boss and his lab was next to John’s office in the tech shop. David was extremely dedicated to audio excellence and regularly spent evenings and weekends working in his lab on new designs and modifications to improve existing equipment.
The console in Room 309 was designed by David (something your article didn’t make clear, probably due to David’s modesty) with Richard Boisits, who did all the drawings and PC board layouts to David’s specs. Richard also assembled and tested the console with Marty Matyas, who contributed greatly to the mechanical and metal work design. Dominick Costanzo took over after Richard went to NBC in 2004. John Williams played a major role in the overall project management and procurement.
The console uses Massenburg ICs (and others) but is not a Massenburg- or GML-designed console. This project took several years to complete. Every circuit was painstakingly optimized for the absolute best possible performance. No corners were cut. No expense was spared. This console was built for the love of audio, not for mass production and profit. The result is the finest, cleanest mixing console in existence.
There is nothing like it at any other facility, anywhere. Unless Sony starts selling these consoles, no other facility will be able to emulate the Dave Smith Room. Nothing else commercially made equals its performance. It is simply not economically feasible. The mic pre’s that David designed for it (Sony Studios has a couple of portable outboard versions) are in, my opinion, the finest, cleanest and most transparent I have ever heard, even at very high-gain levels.
Dave not only cared about audio, he cared deeply about people, too. He was the kind of person who would take time from his busy schedule to help others, even those who worked at other facilities. His passing is a huge loss for Sony and the audio community.