All analog consoles will require a good old-fashioned overhaul every decade or so to remain viable. If you’re purchasing a used console you need to know its true condition to make a smart choice. Sometimes that’s possible, sometimes not. One strategy is to find a console that’s been recently overhauled by a competent shop. They’ll be the most expensive and will most likely limit your choices. One of the best strategies is to build an overhaul into your console budget.
That’s the strategy Jimmy Nutt of The Nutthouse Studio chose when searching for his console. After several weeks of hunting, Jimmy came across a Trident 80B in storage. The story was that it had been checked over before storing and that although it had a few common issues, it was intact and in physically good shape.
The console was delivered to FunkWerkes for the two week rehab. It was quickly gutted and a production line set up. The star of this rebuild is the Nutthouse’s own Cody Simmons who drew the short straw and did 99% of the desoldering/soldering. Anyone who’s worked on a console “recap” knows what a big job this part of a refurb is. You have to have skill, patience, and an ability to “Zen” so the hours go by without insanity. The man himself, Jimmy Nutt even put in some time behind the desoldering machine.
Once all electrolytic capacitors were replaced the Mic transformers and front facia were removed from each channel, readying them for the ultrasonic bath. This is the perfect time to clean up the channel faces and treat them with liquid car “wax” or a similar product to repel future dust and fingerprints.
The channels went through an ultrasonic bath, then ultrasonic rinse followed by time in a dehydration oven. Pots and switches were treated with a spray of EML straight from England. I guess we didn’t get pictures of this process, but it appears in other tech articles here on the site.
As the channels were reassembled and quality-control checked I installed them into the frame for testing. I was worried that the Elma Silmic II capacitors that are so much bigger than other modern caps would cause problems. There were very few issues which speaks highly of Cody’s workmanship!
I converted the mode switch lighting to LED and devised a chip LED/resistor lead “bulb” to replace the stock meter lamps. They really look natural and bright and should last for years.
All hands were on-deck for the delivery and setup. Once the reassembly and commissioning was completed The Nutthouse Studio had a beautiful example of the Trident 80B. These consoles have a very straight-forward design that translates into great specs on paper and a very nice sonic character in the room.