It should also be pointed out that none of these circuits in the console were “cookbook” circuits. Everything was in depth original development by Andrew, Dean, Carl, myself, and some other people who came and went… and there were plenty of instances where we were each surprised at some clever fine point that someone else would think of.
There was going to be a microphone level input section where mic tie lines would come in to a multiway connector, then a matching receptacle, then those wires (individual 2-conductor shielded pairs) would go to a connector on each mic preamp… so I suggested that we really didn’t need that; why didn’t we simply solder the mic tie lines directly from the studio to the input of the preamp? After 3 days of experiments we did just that – Andrew loved it, and he also loved the ease of working with the multipair Mogami wire. A pair of 24-pair cables were stripped back and laced into position. That means that at the far end there was about a foot of extra cable to dress trim, and at the near end there was about 18 feet extra cable to eventually cut off and dress trim.
I should point out that every metal to metal point in the console was gold on gold. Every connector had redundant Elco/Edac hermaphroditic pins. Some of the power and ground connections had 2 redundant pins each and some had as many as six.
Many of the PC boards I did by hand, at 1:1 on my kitchen table. Some were even two, three, and four layer boards. I set up a pair of 75 watt floods and a pair of dimmers (real autoformers, i.e. Staco) above and below a 1/4″ thick piece of matte glass; by carefully varying the ratio of the top and bottom bulbs I could see the tape lines. As soon as I find the Monitor Section of the PC board I will scan and post it. The backplane and larger PC board parts, were done on a very early CAD system by Allen Witters. Allen had one of the very first Computervision CADDS 4 systems on the west coast (if not the first one) and we worked on this design together. Notice in the scan of part of the actual backplane PC board above, we sign our work!
The attenuator / fader panel is shown at left. In an age when most equipment was silk-screened graphics on flat painted or stamped aluminum plates, Andrew wanted to simply be better. The entire board — visible panels and the undercarriage — were all machined T6 Aluminum. Andrew liked to say “My board is made of the same material airplanes and rockets are made of!” The user panels were laser engraved and the engravings filled in with epoxy catalyzed paint. There is simply no way for the markings to come off! Notice even the window bezel cutout for the the “dB ATTENUATION” display LED has a smooth chamfer.
After I left Crystal I did not really keep up with the goings-on of the studio, either technically or politically. I know that the studio experienced complicated hard times, and Andrew eventually moved to the Berkshires in Massachusetts. He visited Los Angeles in 2000 and we spent a good day together. Andrew passed away on August 30, 2002. I regard the time I spent at Crystal to be the most rewarding personally and technically of any major project I have ever been involved in.
— Barry 2010