- January 31, 2020 at 11:31 am #19734Ted FletcherKeymaster
The last ALICE 828 was made towards the end of 1986. After 1983 there were just a few 828S made, mostly to special order.
I don’t know for certain how many 828 were made but cetainly during 1980 to 1982 there must have been about 6 a week leaving the factory, not huge numbers but as the vast majority were still in use 30 years later, that’s a fair number!
But now in 2020 most of them are 40 years old and often suffering from pot, switch and fader problems. Fortunately, WD40 is the magic fluid that frees up the grease in the pots and cuts through the corrosion inside the push-button switches; I get at least one 828 per week here for ‘servicing’ and I’m pleased to say that the majority of problems can be fixed without major surgery.
So what is it about the sound of the 828 that makes it relevant and desireable today?
It’s not magic; the original design was supremely rugged and reliable and the electronics were simple but ideal in a number of ways. The EQ was the simplest possible Baxandall type EQ that is constantly smooth. The mic amps were quality transformer inputs made to my specs by Sowter and Belclere, the output limiters were a lucky accident of design I worked on, originally designed for controlling dialogue in a film ‘voice-over’ studio, and the whole system was set up so that location film crews could operate a number of mics with little fear of overload.
The audio performance of the 828 looks average by modern standards, yet it excels in the right places making for warm full sounds that I could go into extreme detail about, but as Joe Meek used to say (did actually say to me),’if it sounds right, it IS right!’
I’m still debating on the possibility of making a re-issue of the 828, but right at the moment I’m too busy fixing the old ones!
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