Things I remember

By Larry Miller, Chief Engineer, Audio House.

Audio House was started in 1951 by Ed Down. The company was located in his house hence the name Audio House. His specialty was on-location recording. He recorded concerts for public schools and music camps such as the Stan Kenton Music Camps and Midwestern Music Camp.

I met him in 1963 and began work for him as a tape editor. The studio was his living room. In December we moved from 909 New York to the downstairs part of 307 E. 9th, a commercial building (Turner Hall). We were able to add a reasonable studio area as well as more room for production. Over the next few years we expanded into more of the building and added a control room, more office area, 2 printing presses, album production, art layout area, and equipment maintenance area. We used the upstairs auditorium as a natural echo chamber/ reverb. In 1973(?) I started a company called Audio Systems that sold high end audio equipment and recording studio equipment, using the studio area for a demonstration area. By 1977 we had ten full or part time people working for Audio House.

After we moved to the larger facility, our studio business increased considerably.

Groups: The Ravens, Winter Consort, The Illusions, Mirage, Red Dogs, Bluethings, Smack, Tide, Upside Dawn, Spider And the Crabs, Ray Sisters, Sonlife, The Reflections, The Exceptions, Eric and the Norsemen, The Flippers, Sin-Say-Shuns,

We did our own disk mastering. In 1969 we added stereo disk mastering capability with a completely custom designed stereo mastering system. Steve Heider designed it and I built it. We used an Haeco stereo cutter head with McIntosh power amps. The custom electronics were based on hand assembled op-amps.

We added the ability to imprint album covers. We would order a stock album cover and then imprint them. Ed designed our first imprinting system. Later, we obtained a hand-fed printing press and used it to imprint the covers. We added another press so that we could print our record labels locally and die cut them.

We could do up to five on-location jobs at once. Our studio went from two-track to four-track and then to twelve track. We used a mix of AKG and Syncron (large diaphragm) condenser microphones.

The 4 track studio was an Ampex 351 modified with 4 track heads. Originally we used a set of Ampex Pr-10 electronics for channels 3 and 4. We only had two Sel-Sync switches so we had to choose which channels to listen to while multi-tracking.

The 12 track was a hybrid machine with Scully 12 track heads on an Ampex 300 deck with 351 and PR-10 electronics.

 

I added photography as Picture House. We would take pictures of each of the groups in the various music camps that we recorded and then sell black and white photographs.

 

 

In January of 1978 Ed died in his sleep of a heart attack. By the end of 1980(?) Audio House had closed.

 

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