Magic Machine

Audiotronics Mixer from Ardent Studios
Photo taken at the Rock and Soul Museum, Memphis, TN, December 2, 2018

What is this monstrosity in the photo above? Technically it’s a 24 input, 16 output Audiotronics mixing console from Ardent Studios in Memphis Tennessee. But for rock and roll geeks like me, it’s a magical machine. It was on display at the Rock and Soul Museum in Memphis when I visited a couple of years ago. A lot of great music went through this thing. So I had to take a picture of it.

Are you a Blues Fan? Albert Collins, Robert Cray and various permutations of the Vaughn Brothers plugged in and made records through this thing. Rock? How about Cheap Trick, Joe Walsh and Led Zeppelin? Country musicians Waylon Jennings, Tanya Tucker, Marty Stuart and Travis Tritt. Soul singers like Al Green, Isaac Hayes and The Staple Singers. Alt Rockers Big Star, The Replacements and The Cramps put their twangy vibes through this baby. Singer/Songwriters like John Hiatt, John Prine and (holy crap!) Bob Dylan put their voices and instruments through the thing. And great records came out on the other end. Isn’t that kind of cool?

It’s a little weird getting excited about a mixer, though, isn’t it? I’ve sat behind a few consoles in my time, but I still got a bit misty-eyed standing there and looking at this thing. It’s a big pile of metal and wires and knobs and potentiometers, a creaky analog machine for God’s sake, but the thought of all those musicians plugging into this thing one day and then you and I getting to listen to that music whenever we want now is kind of awesome.

In short, a lot of great music I’ve listened to (and still listen to) went through this board. Like I said, it’s a magic machine.

Hmm, suddenly I feel a need to hear #1 Record again. And In Color. And Toots in Memphis