Studio Story Book

Fader 34

Late one night I received a call from a studio that was in the middle of a session and a fader had physically broken.  I was asked to come in immediately, as this was crucial to the completion of the session.

Apparently, they were only doing overdubs using one microphone, so I asked the apologetic studio manager why they couldn't simply use a different channel.  No, it was an outside engineer who had meticulously checked every channel and had decided that this was the only channel good enough on the entire console for him to use.  It was therefore imperative that this fader was repaired immediately.

Upon arrival, there was an atmosphere of tension in the air!  The producer and engineer ruled the roost with an iron rod.  There were several famous Australian artists lurking meekly in the background, not quite sure what the hell to do with themselves while this terrible drama unfolded.  One of them gave me a knowing smile.

The fader itself had been physically torn from its mountings.  Apparently, the engineer had been slamming the thing down at the end of each take.  The console was an MCI JH-600 and, like most consoles, has a thing called a mute button at the top of the fader.  It works through the automation so that when operated, the audio is faded up and down, not switched.  I do not understand why this button could not be used instead of slamming down the fader, nor do I understand if you did want to operate the fader quickly why this would need to involve sufficient brutal violence to destroy the poor thing.  Most of all, I do not understand why these pricks would have the audacity to call me out so late at night over such an utterly stupid thing in the first place!

The studio bill was never paid.