As a console is the main centerpiece of any recording studio it also is the piece of gear you really should think about. When we discussed the budget for k22 studios we quickly came to the conclusion that a Neve, API or SSL console would be out of reach for us. Not just from the budget perspective but also in regards of cost of maintenance.
We therefore had a close look on the 2nd tier brands like Harrison, MCI, Calrec, Cadac, Audient or Trident and others. We finally very much liked the Raindirk Symphony consoles which Raindirk first launched in the late 1980ies. The electronic design of the consoles is astonishing, managing to keep the noise floor from 24 active channels 90dB below 0VU — a fantastic achievement, even by today’s standards!
The brand Raindirk is not as a well-known as Neve or SSL but for sure is one of the legendary British console brands.
Founder Cyril Jones used to work at Olympic studios in London and was part of the team which built the famous Helios consoles.
In the early 1970ies he was asked to design a 24‑track recording console for the band Deep Purple, to be installed at the old De Lane Lea studios in Kingsway, London. That console went on to record the likes of the Who, the Animals, ELO, Iron Maiden, Leo Sayer, Paul McCartney and Wings, and many others. Shortly after that first console proved such a success, Cyril built three more for Olympic Studios in London. Cyril’s work was recognised by Rupert Neve, who purchased a console himself for his religious foundation work!
(Deep Purples Raindirk console at De Lane Lea Studios 1973 – picture courtesy of Raindirk)
In Germany a couple of Raindirks are still at use – Mohrmann Studio in Witten has a nice LN1, Thomas D. from the Fantastische Vier has a Symphony in his private studio as well as Peter Maffey who’s Mallorca based recording studio houses a Symphony too.
We found a nice 56 channel Symphony in Montreal which was for sale but before investing in shipment we thought it might be a good idea to do some background check on the console. So we contacted Cyril Jones directly.
While long retired he very quickly answered and we had a nice chat about his old consoles and about the one in Montreal in particular. He also gave as the telephone number of a retired service engineer in Germany who installed most of the Raindirk consoles in Europe back in those days. Cyril said that “ACI” might help us with more information or might know someone who sells a console. Fortunately ACI lives just 15km from our location!
ACI invited us to his home studio and showed his own 40 channel Raindirk LN1 which he bought from a client back in the 1990ies and installed it in his attic.
(Christoph, ACI and Carsten at ACIs home studio)
During a long afternoon he finally offered us this console as he thought that this might be a good chance to finally reduce his home studio to a more suitable smaller console. Well – that was luck! Especially as ACIs Raindirk was very well maintained and he insisted on installing the console at our place himself!
During the last couple of month ACI also became a really good friend and our go-to service engineer. His knowledge about studio equipment and his ability to repair even the weirdest stuff is unbeaten! Big thanks tio Cyril for making this contact!