AMIS 2022: Rebuilding the 5th Triad A Range

The American Musical Instrument Society (AMIS) promotes better understanding of all aspects of the history, design, construction, restoration, and usage of musical instruments in all cultures and from all periods. In June 2022, their annual meeting was held at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre.

Rebuilding the 5th Triad A Range
Jason Tawkin

Jason Tawkin is the Studio and Electronics Engineer at the National Music Centre in Calgary, Alberta. A dedicated gearhead, he has a background in fine arts and radio, and over fifteen years of experience recording music. Since 2013, Jason has assisted with many of the conservation-restoration projects on NMC’s musical instrument collection, including its three historic recording consoles. In his current role, Jason splits his time between maintaining and repairing NMC’s “living” collection and facilitating recording sessions

The Triad, also referred to as the Trident A Range, is a now-infamous piece of recording technology history. Its sound transformed Trident Studios into one of the most sought-after recording studios, attracting artists from around the world. Originally developed by the technicians and engineers of Trident Studios, this console was developed out of a personal technical need for the studio. Upgrading to 24-track recording, the studio required a new recording console to facilitate this new setup. While many manufacturers were contacted, no one could make the equipment small enough to fit the room. The staff took it upon themselves to develop the circuit and design in-house, resulting in a prototype custom built for the studio. This afforded them the ability to achieve the quality and f idelity they wanted. Upon the success of the first A Range build, Trident studios opened Triad (Trident Audio Developments), going into business making their first product, the Trident A Range. Thirteen A Ranges were made before the product was discontinued and Triad moved from Class A audio designs to more affordable integrated circuit designs. The National Music Centre has pioneered a new approach to collections access through its facility Studio Bell. Incorporating 160,000 square feet of exhibit space, performance spaces, recording studios, and classrooms in one building, the NMC is like no other place on earth. The recording studio features unprecedented access to musical instruments and recording equipment. The National Music Centre acquired the 5th Triad A Range in 2007. As a part of living collection, this A Range is now the heart of NMC’s Control Room A. Jason Tawkin, Studio Bell’s studio and electronics engineer, will take you the through the process of restoring the original fidelity of these modules, while improving their reliability and longevity for future service. From designing the PCB using the original schematics, to designing new brackets to accommodate these PCBs, the process of the restoration will be shared. The talk will be followed by a demonstration of the working modules in a portable lunch box to demonstrate the unique musical sound of these electronics.

Watch more videos from the 2022 AMIS Conference here.