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Michael Leaders

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Interviews and Stories

Preserving the stories of significant individuals in sound recording generally and magnetic recording specifically is a major project of MOMSR. The Museum’s goal is to document the stories of those persons who contributed significant inventions, manufactured equipment and who engineered and produced audio recordings, especially in the areas of music, broadcast, film/video and science. These interviews will be available on MOMSR’s web site and in the permanent facility when it is created. These interviews have also been made available to the Audio Engineering Society (AES) and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammy’s).


Michael Leaders - Leevers Rich and more

The Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording greatly appreciates Michael Leaders providing us with the following information on his history

Michael Leader (L), John Vrtacic (C), Bob Brooks (R)  Little Mountain Sound Studios Vancouver Canada.  ca 1978.  Installation of British Columbia's first 24 track recorder.  Picture Credit:  Leader Sound Technologies Corporation

Hi...what a G-R-E-A-T  site!!!!Leevers Rich recorder

back in the 70's, i worked for the BBC in London.  Missing from your list is Leevers Rich. British maker of substantial studio recorders...a la Ampex... beefy and reliable.

Pity there are no pictures from the mid / late 60's of the studio professional Philips recorders.  It also would be nice to see Telefunken's  32 track / 2inch,  16 and 24 track recorders from the 70's / 80's almost none sold in the US.  There also are models M12 and M14 as studio simply superb machines.

Revox had a model G 36 available in two speed versions  3 3/4 - 71/2  and  71/2 - 15 ips.  I had three of them in the late 1960's.  With a few mods...the performance was remarkable in 2 track (or 1/2 track) stereo

Would nice also to see Studer A80VU recorders...literally thousands sold from 24 tracks to mono.

Cheers! Michael Leader

Leevers Rich reel tape recorders  Levers Rich E200 (above right)

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Hello Martin...many thanks, and yes I will get back to you with a few interesting stories.Leevers Rich reel tape recorders

and...btw..... Budapest has a company called Electroimpex back in the cold war era.  They made copies of both Telefunken Studio andSiemens Studio recorders.  I only ever saw and had  (now lost) terrific hi res pics of these 2 track recorders.  I also think if i recall  RFT in East Germany made something similar.  They for sure made condenser microphones in Leipzig if I recall correctly.

My company made over 2000 modified versions of ReVox  A77 and B77.  Our mods later resulted in the Revox PRO 99.  We do have data sheets in good shape for ourLb series of recorders.  We also once Studer introduced the B67 pro recorder modified Revox B77 and A77 electronics to further improve the performance.  Only did a few of these..too much work.

Our first A77 mod in large quantities was for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for 50 units.  Studer Toronto Canada arranged the deal with CBC.  These were the suitcase versions with the speakers.  

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I was born in 1948 in England.  My dad after WW2 had one of the few radio and tv stores in London.  Gerry was ex RAF...both as a musician and radar tech.  Built our first TV in 1950...and I do remember it as early as age 3.   

The first recorder I got my hands on was a Grundig.  Forget model, and this possibly 1955.  I still recall its "sound".  The microphone, circular shaped approx dia 3 inches approx 1.5 inches deep..condenser!!! Just imagine the polarizing voltage.

There are a few additional names that escape me from that early era.  Yes there were the Ferrographs ....  but i do recall another and not Brunell, where this mystery rather large machine took larger than 7 inch reels but not 10 1/2.  It was in a whitish/grey wooden box.  The distinguishing element was the the pinch wheel mech was manually brought into contact with the capstan and latched. Later prior to leaving in 1957 for Canada, that's when I came across the Geloso...cute.

I am also one of the few who has had his junior sized fingers on a Brush Soundmirror.  This in Winnipeg Manitoba.  My dad was the General Manager for Winnipeg Piano Company.  The Brush was in a dark corner forgotten.  The company a very large store with a full line of pianos, organs both Lowery and Hammond...yes tape recorders to include Roberts, Webcor (sold by the pound??!!), a few horrible brands looks like made from old beer cans with canvas belts  why does "Toledo' ? come to mind same junk like Wilcox.  A full line of guitars from Gibson and Kay, to include Harmony banjos and guitars.  Dad arranged a special deal with Fender, and the group Del Rios had the first Dual Showman in Western Canada.  The consumer line from Ampex was added around 1962 and in 1963 we left Winnipeg and moved to Vancouver.  Leader Sound Ltd opened June 1963.  Tape recorder lines:  DUAL, Grundig, Phillips, Roberts, ReVox, Uher 4000's Royals and the Nixon Special "Universal" i think it was called.  After I returned from working in London at  BBC TV we added a professional products division.  In 1977 we now have STUDER everything from A80's 24 / 16 / 2, A80RC etc to B67.  From time to time Scully.  I created our extensive mods to ReVox A77 and B77...for which I must find our brochures.  When Ampex discontinued the 600, 601, 602 etc around 1977 (ca) this was gold for ReVox sales into broadcast. Our A77 logger also sounded better than the factory version at 15/16 iips.

Here is a link to my dear dear sorely departed friend John Vrtacic's site:  (no longer availale)  this taken 1977 with the installation of Western Canada's Studer 24 track A80 VU...and the first 24 track "anything" in British Columbia Canada.  That's me on the left.   In one of the pics showing John at the Neve console, behind him can be seen a Scully 100 - 16   highly unreliable even when fresh out of the box.  That's not to say that many Ampex MM1100's were any better!  The 1200's were a great improvement.

The Soundmirror.  Wow..I held history in my hands around 1959 now age 11.  The paper tape felt so strange after my very early experience with the Grundig. 

Around 1964/5 I became familiar with Concertone.  There was a studio in Vancouver with two beautiful "Ampex" looking machines.  Robin Spurgin owned Vancouver Recording.  His custom built tube console was exceptional...pentode mic pre section.  I think it was 14 in x 3 out.  The separate PSU was massive.  I leaned a ton from Robin while still in school about tape machine mechanics.  He was soooo smart, the VU meters had a buffer amplifier on the console and on the Concertones...this in 1962 i guess.  Robin and I remained friends until his death about 5 years ago.  He moved studio locations around 1970.  Scully 4tk arrives early on, Concertones still there.  Then cant recall when..a 3M 8 track arrives.  After my return from England, and now we have the Pro Products division, we move Electro Voice Sentry 3 and Sentry 5 monitors to his control room.  To this day..the Concertones were stunning.  About 1995, I had developed a stunning tri amplified massive monitor speaker system...the sort of thing everything should be!  In my collection of tapes, I had a dub (Concertone) of one of his Datsun commercials.  I put it up on a Studer 2tk A80 RC......simply amazing.  Ok i know..the playback heads, amp ,EQ section and output line amp are different also with their own "personalities"..but my word..... what a sound!  The name CONCERTONE was most appropriate. The TEAC versions with the tube electronics never sounded the same at all..this model with the separate electronics and transport...quite disappointing....even a ReVox G36 2tk 15 ips in 1968 sounded more musical, open and transparent.  Listening to the noise floor of the TEAC was different quite considerably between channels even with the bias accurately set. I would do this at 10K...and then optimize for lowest distortion.

Cheers,

Michael


1978 Installation of British Columbia's first 24 track recorder • Studer 24 track A80 VU •   Picture Credit:  Leader Sound Technologies Corporation

1978 Installation of British Columbia's first 24 track recorder.  1978 Installation of British Columbia's first 24 track recorder.  1978 Installation of British Columbia's first 24 track recorder.  1978 Installation of British Columbia's first 24 track recorder. 1978 Installation of British Columbia's first 24 track recorder.  1978 Installation of British Columbia's first 24 track recorder.  1978 Installation of British Columbia's first 24 track recorder.  1978 Installation of British Columbia's first 24 track recorder.  1978 Installation of British Columbia's first 24 track recorder.  1978 Installation of British Columbia's first 24 track recorder.  1978 Installation of British Columbia's first 24 track recorder.  1978 Installation of British Columbia's first 24 track recorder.


Michael recommends other manufacturers that need to be covered in our listings:

17 names that come to mind that should be included:
 
DUAL Germany, TG12, TG12 SK and  TG 15 (same deck 4tk Mono /stereo playback).....  TG12 SK, Canadian $ retail price / stereo / mid 1960’s  $ 399  ( I still have aTG12SK..it is a bit dusty..left over from my fathers high end retail hi-fi store)  also a decent cassette deck I think model 901 with adjustable bias on the top deck user accessible....in my view not a good idea.
 
Loewe Opta Germany  consumer portable
 
Minifon Germany..both wire and tape
 
Denon Japan broadcast RR...nice!   Also made an excellent consumer 3Head  3 motor machine in the mid 60”s
 
Electroimpex Hungary studio recorders copies of Siemens and Telefunken
 
Geloso  Italy  consumer portable
 
OKI Japan   early / mid 60’s  3 motors, consumer..well built  flip-flop logic
 
Schlumberger France  broadcast RR.. i saw dozens at La Maison de la Radio in Paris around 1974.
 
RFT Nachrightentechnik  East Germany...  could be the original Neumann factory and also studio tape recorders....  I knew and met them at TELECOM ’75 in Geneva
 
I am sure that RCA Camden NJ made a studio RR
 
35 mm mag recorders / dubbers
 
SONDOR  Switzerland  (beautiful and I have used them)
 
Products Perfectone Switzerland   I also used these..literally by the 100’s throughout BBC both 16mm and 35 during the early to mid 1970’s
Mag stock 16 & 35:  Zonal British, 3M Italy, Agfa
 
Albrecht Germany..superb... a huge installation at Warner Bros Burbank about 20 years ago..also superb.... a Rolex watch as a dubber!  (OK Sondor as well!!)  Again, BBC TV by the hundreds around 1993 after all of the Perfectones were worn out..and they indeed were beautiful Swiss machines
 
Keller Germany  horizontal dubber systems
 
Magna Tech USA
 
Stancil Hoffman USA  (I actually met Bill Stancil)
 
MTM  USA
 
 
Not a bad list for midnight...eh?
 
Regards,
 
Michael


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