I recently acquired some old Yamaha mixing consoles. One is the old MR1642, and the other is a smaller MC1202 . Both models were produced in the 1970’s. I know what you must be thinking, those mixing consoles are ancient! They may be old, but they just don’t make them as durable and straightforward as they used to.
At first glance I thought they were both live mixing consoles. After some experimentation and forcibly demonstrating my DJ and MC skills to my neighbors (audio equipment testing), I found there was one difference between the two consoles proving that one had multiple intended purposes.
The MR1642, which boasts 16 channels, has a somewhat odd signal path from input to main output. In order to get signal of the main output you must assign the channels being utilized to one of the 4 groups. In other words the console requires stereo busses to produce an output. To older audio technicians, this probably was no stranger than a cow producing milk, but I was born into the digital age.
You see, the MR1642 was configured this way because it’s a studio console. It was also manufactured when the recording industry still used analog tape machines to record audio. Tape machines in the big studios were usually 4 or 8 tracks, so bussing would be required if you had more than just a couple of instruments to record.
This may sound like gibberish to anyone unfamiliar with audio production, but bussing was a big deal in the days of analog tape recording. Just imagine if you will, Pink Floyd goes in to record Dark Side Of The Moon, but they only have 4-8 tracks to get everything in one song. What do they do? The engineers would utilize bussing, grouping instruments and sounds together into one track. Instead of having 4-8 tracks to record an orchestra, bussing would easily double and or triple the number or recordable tracks. It’s amazing what they could do with tape machines back then!