I think another factor is that few Scully machines survived. I've never used one so I can't comment
on their reliability or durability. I've only seen two working, and one of them is Steve's.
That said, I can name at least two studios with Scully machines in service for at least part of the
1. Stax -- numerous pictures show Scully 4-track in the control room when they were still mixing to
mono on an Ampex AG-350. There may have been a Scully or Ampex 2-track elsewhere in the control room
in the pictures I've seen.
2. Fine Recording -- Scully 8-track installed in Studio B in 1967, along with one of the first Audio
Design and Manufacturing modular solid-state consoles. Later swapped or upgraded to a Scully
12-track. I don't think the Scully machines were in service very long, may have been leased. Walter
Sear's Moog room upstairs had an Ampex AG-440B-8. When Studio A was rebuilt in 1969 for 16-track, it
was with Ampex MM-1000's and a huge ADM board featuring early routing automation.
I've also heard of Scully machines in several different radio stations. From what the Ampex veterans
tell me, Ampex basically shut down manufacturing for a year or more while moving the facilities to a
new factory. Furthermore, the 300/350 type machines, updated in an early solid-state design with
AG-300/AG-350, were very long in the tooth by the mid-60's -- and the MR-70 was a bomb in the market
due to too-high price. Here comes Scully with a new machine and more modern solid-state designs at a
time when Ampex was producing zero machines, and priced competitively with good leasing terms from
what I've been told. Zappo, they get a toe-hold, especially in the northeast near their Connecticut
base (remember that many northeast studios already had Scully cutting lathes). Then in 1967, Ampex
finally gets back in the market with the AG-440, which was a very durable machine with then modern
solid-state design, and priced to be in the heart of the market. I believe Scully was out of the
tape machine business less than 5 years later. Remember also that in the late 60's/early 70's era,
3M was working hard to sell tape machines outside of the West Coast (they did get a small toe-hold
in some northeast studios, but Ampex was still king). Then Studer and MCI came along by the late
70's. Most 80's and onward upgrades or new studios I saw in NYC had Studer tape machines, a few
Question for Steve P -- do you have any idea how many 12-track session tapes there are out there?
How many studios actually used 12-tracks? It was actually a forward-looking format (precursor to
24-track with roughly same specs), but didn't have time to catch on before 16-track appeared.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bob Olhsson" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, December 07, 2006 8:16 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Yahoo discussion group for Scully tape machines
> Steve Puntolillo writes:
>>There is a puzzling lack of information on the web about Scully
>>professional tape recorders.
> It's not that puzzling to me. They only had around a five year heyday 40 years ago in maybe a
> hundred US music recording studios. Scullys had mostly been replaced by Ampex and 3M 2" machines
> by the time recording studios became a common part of popular culture. Everybody had to build
> their own one-off recording consoles back then too and we see very little about this on the web.
> Bob Olhsson Audio Mastery, Nashville TN
> Mastering, Audio for Picture, Mix Evaluation and Quality Control
> Over 40 years making people sound better than they ever imagined!
> 615.385.8051 http://www.hyperback.com