28 September 2014

Studio maintenance

It's that time again - clean off the collected grime, service the bad parts, refresh the plugs and inserts.

Allen & Heath System 8 - I like the brown scheme. It reminds me of those early EMI consoles from Abbey Road. It is a warm colour, in tune with the warm sound this console has.

Knob Colour Scheme

While sorting out what knobs and caps are missing I can summarise the colour coding as follows:

  • Green = EQ
  • Brown = Aux send
  • Red = Level/Pan/Gain


To the VU meters. The SQ-10 meter is still being made by Anders, and is stocked by both RS (code 220-368) and Farnell (code 7758219).

Each one has an incandescent bulb to provide illumination. And they blow. And they're fiddly to replace. Channel 3 and 4 are bad but in view of the effort to change them I have decided that I can live with that.


Original Alps audio-taper K faders are available from Audio Maintenance.

Knobs, Buttons, Fader Caps

The knobs are non-standard parts it seems these days. So your best bet is either find someone who is parting out an old System 8, or get a similar vintage AHB mixer yourself as a parts donor. Same for the button caps and switch caps.

The faders have 8mm tabs, and you can still find supplies of suitable fader caps (see above).

Some history

The System 8 mixers have been around for many years, and were there at a critical time in British pop. Some artists that have or still use System 8's in their studios and productions.
  • Mungo Jerry apparently used a System 8 on the classic In The SummerTime hit
  • Martyn Ware of Human League and Heaven 17
  • Both The Devil and The Oscillation: From Tomorrow were recorded on a System 8 (in 128 formation).

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Thanks for your interest !