Son of moondog's twin vintage MCI JH-416b quadraphonic master recording consoles were both manufactured in 1973. Each mixing board has been fully restored by Chris Mara (Welcome to 1979) and extensively modified by Alex Kercheval (Postal Recording). The original fat-sounding transformers remain untouched.
During the 1970s, MCI built its reputation on technical innovation and their consoles were popular with music studios worldwide. MCI offered the “sound” synonymous with many critically acclaimed albums by great musicians including Eric Clapton, The Eagles, The Allman Brothers, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, AC/DC and the landmark album Saturday Night Fever by the Bee Gees. [photos below: David Bowie with Mick Ronson (1973) sitting at the MCI 416 console at The Château d'Hérouville in France recording the album, Pin-Ups].
The MCI JH-416b is a master recording console of modular design. The main frame and housing of the console contains a full 24x10 patchbay, 22 VU meters, 6VU meters – (4) masters and 2 – aux meters.), a mother board completely wired for all modules, quick connect splicing blocks, and all wiring for full 24 track operation.
Each input/output module contains all circuitry, switching, and control for a microphone input as well as a board track out. A three-way relay switching function controlled from an external buss provides simultaneous signal routing in all input/output modules. In the first signal routing condition, the microphone signal is routed through an extremely low noise preamplifier with balanced transformer input. Its gain is variable over a range of 24db to 50db through use of a front panel trim pot. The preamp out passes through the mix down relay, then through the patch bay to a Penny & Giles conductive plastic fader input modules, which feeds the equalizer booster.
The equalizer booster is of a novel design providing equalization simultaneously in three ranges. The MCI 416b modules has boost and cut in all 3 bands. The equalizer range is as follows, highband is: +/-10db at either 7.5 khz or 10 kHz (shelving equalizer) (Frequency shift can be changed with capacitor value changes.) Low band is: +/-10db at either 60hz or 100 hz (shelving equalizer) (Frequency shift can be changed with capacitor value changes.) Mid band is: +/-14db at 150, 200, 300, 400, 600, 900, 1.2k, 1.8k, 2.5k, 3.5k, 5k and 7k.(Peak equalizer). Additionally it provides 20 to 40 db of booster gain as well as, phase pre-inversion to pre-correct for the inversion of the summing amplifiers used for active mixing.
Following the equalizer booster is a solo button, a direct button, and sixteen assignment buttons to the 16 busses assignment of any modules #1-24 could be assigned to tracks 1-16, and all modules had a direct assign switch so input #1 went to Track #1 etc- thru input #24 going to track #24. The solo button routes the selected signal to the control room monitor without disturbing program circuits. It can be freely used at any time during recording.
The MCI 416b recording console is an IN-LINE console with all of the circuits needed for one complete MIKE CHANNEL and one complete REMIX CHANNEL in each I/O module. Therefore the number of input/output channels is completely flexible. Any number of I/O modules—up to the maximum for each frame—may be operated in any console. If additional channels are needed, they may be added by simply plugging in new I/O modules. A proprietary Op-Amp, custom designed for optimum Audio performance is used throughout the console. In critical stages this Op-Amp drives a complementary pair of transistors in an output configuration which produces a complete audio amplifier with very low impedance, low distortion, unusually good transient response and high drive capability.
This proprietary Op-Amp allows all of the internal circuits in MCI consoles to operate at OdBv instead of the usual -6dBv. Its larger voltage swing allows more headroom than most consoles in spite of the higher program level. With a program level 6db above the usual level, the signal-to-noise ratio is improved and the RF rejection on all summing busses is improved by 6db.