The Les Paul Console


Les Paul was famous for his ---sound-on-sound--- (overdub) recordings. In the early 1950s, he did these with one, or later two, Ampex Model 300 ---inch, full-track recorders, in his ---home studio--- in Rahway, NJ. During this time, he employed Rein Narma to design and construct special audio equipment.

In 1956, Ross Snyder, at Ampex, conceived an 8-track, 1-inch, tape recorder with ---Sel-Sync---, and David Sarser sold one to Les Paul . To be of any practical use, this of course required an 8-channel mixing console. For this, he turned to Rein Narma Audio Engineering, which, at the time, consisted of Rein, the chief designer; Bob Flint, electronics fabricator; Richard Schulze, mechanical designer and draftsman; and me, assistant designer of the equalizers.

In 1958 October I was living in California again, and visited New York for the AES Convention. Rein took me out to Les--- studio to see the finished system, and I took the following photographs.



Fig. 1 Les Paul sitting at his Console. Two Ampex Model 300, ---inch mono recorders at the left.





Fig. 2 The 8-input, 3-output custom console, made by Rein Narma Audio Engineering. The electronics are modules mounted below the gain controls. There's a good color picture of the inside of the console, and one of the plug-in electronics modules, here, from Preservation Sound.





Fig 3 Les Paul---s recording room: (left-to-right) back of turntable; back of Ampex mono Model 300; Console; Ampex Model 300-8 transport and rack of other electronics; equipment rack, with Narma Compressor at top.

JAY MCKNIGHT,  (jay.mck

Magnetic Reference Laboratory, San Jose, CA


AES - Audio Engineering Society