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Part 4. Mosfet amplifier and the first mixer with MIDI
... 1984 - 1986
Early 1984 saw the launch of the Mosfet 1000 power amplifier. This marked a significant development in amplifier design and ended the long running 800B range. Mosfet technology offered much greater audio performance and reliability over previous bi-polar designs. The power rating was a massive 500 Watts per channel and housed in a compact 3 rack space cabinet. All input and output connectors were located on the rear panel (the 800B were fitted on the front panel) and the large VU meters gave way to stylish 12 segment bargraphs. This was the amplifier pro sound companies were waiting for; many buy up to 100 units. The Mosfet 500 (250 Watts per channel) was introduced the following year and offered studios a high power amplifier to drive their monitors and with out the need for noisy cooling fans. Both models stayed in production for several years until replaced by the 1200B in 1989.
MIDI was fast becoming the standard in electronic instrument control and the development department reasoned that this format could be adapted to mute the input channels of mixing consoles. This was the first step in simple mixer automation as the mute function could be stored as note on/off data in a MIDI sequencer along with keyboard and drum machine information. The original intention was to mute or close unused channels on the mixer to lower back-ground noise although it was subsequently put to many more creative uses.
Demand for larger format mixers to support the growing number of project and home studios resulted in the Series 2 consoles. 4, 8 and 16 bus configuration, expandability, 6 auxiliary send and 4 band (2 sweeps) EQ was impressive but the Series 2 was to be the first mixer with MIDI automation. All connectors were on the front panel to make patching easy, the meter bridge gave clear signal indication and the 100mm smooth faders felt like a much larger mega buck console.
The promotional material around this time featured a number of new and established artists who were happy to be pictured with a Studiomaster product. Phil Collins, Phil Lynott, Martin Kemp were just a few that were using Studiomaster products. The picture of Phil Collins shows him next to his Series 2 consoles.
Although Studiomaster had pioneered the compact on-stage monitor console back in 1978, it was time for a larger format model as most bands were now demanding quality monitoring. Built into a flight case, the 12 bus configuration had full parametric EQ on each output - an impressive start to this very unique console. Called the 12M, it had 24 inputs with an optional 8 channel expander, HI pass filters, insert bypass switches and 100mm faders. The input channels could also be used as effects sends to supply on-stage reverb or delays. There are still many 12Ms in operation around the world. This is due not only to their reliability but the fact that there has never been a console with these features to supersede the 12M.