This post by darrylo started it all. I read it on a weekend and promptly dispatched my father in law there. Saturday morning, just before closing time, he reported "lots of big silver machines" nut no names and a small Sony tape recorder,the odd Revox all being melted down in an open fire. Could it be? Studer,really could it be the famous A80s?
Monday morning was chaos. I briskly walked into my office told my secretary the day isn't happening, grinned madly at my astonished colleagues and drove to Port Elizabeth ,wife ,kids in tow all thinking that Dad's finally lost it.
This is the only photo I have left of the scene that greeted us:
My most horrible memory was of a guy ,having axed a 8 track Studer A80 to pieces, calmly throwing the headblock in an open fire to melt any non-metal away. The hours counter on the machine was next. It read 200 hours.In the photo, above, the top part or "doghouse" that carries the audio electronics can be seen from the side. I saved the doghouse with the audio electronics and the Studer A810 (in the other post) that was lined up to go next.Number 6 of the 8 modules here in service as a level monitor.
I was too flabbergasted to do anything about the other smaller machines- I was looking for the "big silver ones".There they were, in a lean- to shed. At least they had partially escaped the weekend rain - 4 Studer A80 master recorders. The special ones built for the SABC and designated Studer A80 R-SABC. The SABC specced additional controls and, maybe due to our skunk status at the time, the Studer name was moved from the top to the hidden front panel ,making them nameless. I grabbed them all.
Also 2 of the Dok Viljoen turntables and one forlorn EMT turntable, I was a bit irrational by now and mindlessly picked a few Studer CD players , a few modified Revox relay tuners and stuff. Left was all the "portable " Studer and Revox machines,the huge MCI machines,countless Studer cassette players , seemingly hundreds of beautiful aluminium racks and the boxes with Tannoy Golds.
How much I asked the nice owner of the scrapyard. On the scale it all went. R1000 he said. I gagged and gave him R2000.
My father in law fetched the stuff on the Wednesday. By then everything left was melted down for its scap value and gone.
Two of the four A80s worked perfectly at switch on,the other 2 became donor machines. They were restored at enormous cost,one receiving the fabled Mark Levinson electronics,headblock built by JRF engineering to ML spec and a custom PSU turning it into a Mark Levinson ML5 master recorder . The A810 had its tired heads relapped and received a brain transplant. Working perfectly. The Studer CD players had their displays brightened up and do daily service. The Revox tuners both are quiet thanks to the quality broadcasts of our wonderful SABC where they came from initially.