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Broadcast Consoles

What ever happened to Ampro and their line of consoles?  Seems like you couldn't go into a station in the 70's or even the early 80's without seeing one of their very distinctive and rock-solid consoles.  I remember these consoles in WOKK, WALT, and WMSB, to name a few stations.  Word has it that KNOM had one as well.  If you've got info on Ampro consoles or other vintage console models that you'd like to share with the world, drop me a line.  

Here's  the Ampro AC-8 (from the original installation manual)

Ampro AC-8 - Click for view of AC-10

Here's the LC-12, the linear-fader version of the AC-12:

Ampro LC-12 Broadcast Console


Ampro AC- and LC-series consoles really were very rugged (as were many vintage consoles), being designed for use 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  The only problems that I've ever experience with one involved worn-out contacts on the input selector switch banks (right above the "audition" / "program" toggle switch that Ampro curiously labeled "Ch 1" /  "Ch 2").  I've also seen some wear on a few of the rotary-type step attenuators.  If you need schematics or specs, I have a complete service manual on the AC- and LC-series consoles, and do have an AC-6 that still runs well, including all inputs, the cue amplifier, and the monitor amplifiers.  I'd hate to think that it might be the last of its kind.  It is over 25 years old, and its signal-to-noise ratio isn't great (by comparison to today's digital-ready and all-digital consoles), but let's see if any of the consoles made this year are still running 25 to 30 years from now.

I've got an interest in consoles from other manufacturers as well.  If you've got info about (or better yet pictures of) other consoles, drop me a line.   


Below is a shot of an old Harris Medalist-8 console.

Harris Medalist 8

And an even older Harris Stereo 5

Harris Stereo 5


And, of course, what discussion of broadcast consoles would be complete without the Gates console known as "the Yard"?  The one shown below was modified over the years to include two extra input channels (the pots on the left).  These mono consoles were all characterized by the huge VU meter on the right-hand side of the board.  

Gates - The Yard


Modern digital consoles can be stand-alone systems or part of a router-based audio network. In fact, the device in the control room may not even be a console at all, but rather a control surface that communicated with a centrally located routing and mixing mainframe. Such a control surface has no audio in it, but functions like a fancy keyboard on a computer.  Because of the digital signaling, some are able to function as either standalone or router-based.


Here are some folks who are still making analog consoles for broadcast:

Arrakis Systems - In Fort Collins, CO.

ATI - In Horsham, PA - Their Vanguard line is great for the studio, and their NanoAmp series are great portable solutions!  They also make meters and other audio devices.

AutoGram - Originally from Plano, TX, got their start by building consoles for Collins, now part of CRL, in Benton, AR.

Dateq - Dutch manufacturer of broadcast and disco mixers and other devices, including some unique limiters.

Radio Systems - Check out their Millenium line.

In the digital world, of course Harris is making great strides.  The following companies have some great products as well.

Arrakis Systems - Check out their "Revolution" digital console.

Logitek - In Houston - They have some fabulous all-digital consoles.



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This page last updated 7/31/2007