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Gear (Read 8401 times)
09/02/04 at 18:05:12

the_white_suite   Offline
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Hi,
I was a bit too young when the showbands were in their hayday (i swear)  and the first gig I went to was Horslips...but I have always been intrigued with the gear you guys used . I  have heard of the Binson and makes like Marmac which you never see any more. I think  it was an Irish make ? Does anyone know? . But was it all mainly just fender guitars and  vox organs...?
What other gear did you use and also  where did  you record the music...was there more small studios back then....was it cheaper than today ?


 
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Reply #1 - 09/06/04 at 20:55:35

Admin   Offline
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Hi Aidan,
"Back then" there were few studios outside of Dublin and the gear was pretty universal at first...a Binson Echorec was a must and Dynacord was the rage for PA amps. Marmac was a manufacturer based in Sligo that manufactured Amps and speaker enclosures (I used to live across the street in Union Place). I'm pretty sure the name "Marmac" came from the two owners, one of which, John Martin, I knew well, but I'm not sure who the other owner was. John also worked for RTE as a technician, so he knew his stuff. There were only a few major retailers around, probably the most famous being Joe O'Neill's in Glenamaddy. There were a lot of Marshall amps, Orange, and Vox. Guitars were mostly Fenders, although some Gibsons and other makes were available. Later, Bose PA's became very popular (early 80's) and many of the top bands appreciated their compact size!
One could probably write a book about the various equipment being used. But the Echorec stands out as it was a real essential piece of gear that gave vocals that extra "liveliness" they all needed...especially when a hall or marquee was packed with sound absorbing bodies. As usual, many bands abused the reverb and sounded like they were singing from the bottom of a well! Anyone else? By the way, here's a photo of our Marmac 120 PA amp (circa 1975) with a Copycat echo (the poor man's Binson). Marmac eventually went into the cable TV business and stopped making amps and speakers years ago.
...
 
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Reply #2 - 09/07/04 at 12:45:13

the_white_suite   Offline
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Thanks for getting  back.Were the marmac's as good as  the rest of the amps.Can they still be picked up along with binsons now !...

I think it would be an interesting idea about a book of all gear bands used. I also love the idea of a  small independent Irish company making  amps...

What about pedals like Boss , DOD  or any other makes. Were they used.

Great picture by the way.

 
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Reply #3 - 04/21/05 at 15:22:23

francisk   Offline
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The wem (Watkins) Copycat was in my opinion a better guitar echo than the Baby Binson. (This was in a time before built-in reverb and effects).
 
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Reply #4 - 04/22/05 at 15:51:58

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You're right Francis, I had a Copycat for guitar and it did some great slap back effects, and although we used in on vocals (until wer got a HH Reverb), it wasn't the same thing as the Binson.
 
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Reply #5 - 04/22/05 at 15:58:33

Admin   Offline
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As for guitar pedals, I remember seeing Dunlop Cry Baby wah wah pedals (but they weren't used a lot), many guitarists used compressor (Dynacomp was popular), maybe a chous pedal, and many also had a fuzz pedal (the Fuzz face, Electro Harmonix, and a couple others). I don't remember anyone having a floor full of pedals like you see today. In the mid to late 70's, combo amps with built in reverb and sometimes chorus started to become popular, especially as bands downsized their gear and some started using sound systems with mixers located down the floor, or at the back of the hall or side of the stage with a dedicated "sound" man (usually the roadie).
 
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Reply #6 - 07/29/05 at 17:52:21

KeepTheSceneAlive   Offline
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The below mentioned John Martin's son is currently a copper pilot servicing the lighthouses along the Irish coast... nice guy...useless info I know!


[quote author=Admin link=board=Musicians;num%3
 
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Reply #7 - 07/29/05 at 22:27:19

liamo   Offline
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Bet ya didn't use Monopole strings. They were a fantastic yoke for breaking. 8)
 
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Reply #8 - 08/25/06 at 16:30:08

Rusty   Offline
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[I was talking to Joe o Neill in Glenamaddy last week, and he is still going strong after 40 years in the music business. We were talking about the first PA system I ever bought from him and that was 30 years ago at least!! It was a Simms Watts amp and a binson echo and a pair of Coffins.
At least thats what i remember them as because of the shape and it usually took two of us to carry them into the gig.
Joe told me that after Simms Watts he started bringing in Orange amps, then Dynacord.  He says he is still very busy supplying gear because everybody nowadays seems to want to up-grade their gear and the days of the 100 watt amp, and 2X12 inch speakers is gone. He was showing me a nice system he has on sale there. Only cost --wait for it---33 Grand!!   Oh well!! maybe next time Joe. 8)
 

Keepin it live!! --Nearly!!
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Reply #9 - 10/11/06 at 05:25:49

Greg_D   Offline
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hi there im surprised noone mentioned dermot hurleys crazy boxs they were the greatest thing since a rotten bugger on the way home from a gig  anyone still got a set
monday tuesday wednesday test,,,,,
 
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Reply #10 - 12/09/06 at 01:54:09

Rusty   Offline
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Why were they called crazy Boxes??
Just wondering??

what about The nolan contribution to the music scene ?
Nolan amps and speakers everywhere--at least plenty of them around london where i lived in those days 8)
 

Keepin it live!! --Nearly!!
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Reply #11 - 12/23/06 at 22:42:51

Barry   Offline
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Hi all.

This thread reminds me of something that an old Pro' said to me many years ago when I was starting out in the business.

We had just finished work and he was looking at the P.A. when he remarked. " In my day day we complained if there was an echo in the palce you were playing. Now we bring one with us" !!

Barry
 
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Reply #12 - 03/30/10 at 04:50:01

Recordist   Offline
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I remeber the Dermot Hurley Crazy Boxes, as to how they got their name......? I do know they were filled with 8 or 9 10" speakers and ran on 100v line so as to avoid a lot of impedance matching. The other thing is he used to hire them out c/w a philips amp ( vertical faders on the front) , a binson ehorec and a couple of Shure 'Skull' mikes. I am not sure but I think it may have been Dickie Roc who bought one of the original set-ups and helped to popularise them.
Other notable suppliers at that time, or soon thereafter, in Dublin, were Pat Dolan (near the airport) and also the Band Centre (Harcourt Road). In later years another site was  near the  Olympia Theatre and they specialised in Bose PA and Yamaha mixers. A very robust amp speaker setup common in those days was HiWatt, a very well built amp and took the rigours of the road extremely well. A late comer to the market was HH from Cambridge in England who made exceptionally good transistorised amps, gained from their experience in the broadcast industry (TV & Radio). Alas they got in to all kinds of adventurous stuff and ran into problems and eventually went belly up. Hope this helps you.
 
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