Jul 12, 2005

Music Venues


--Experienced sound engineer Robbie Barrow sees it as his mission to introduce the new generation of DJ’s to the legend that is the Urei 1620LE rotary sound mixer.

“Even before I heard it I knew of its reputation at Studio 54 in New York, and as part of the famous Richard Long system at Paradise Garage 25 years ago,” he exclaimed.

Barrow has been technician in residence at Shoreditch’s (Legendary) Herbal dance venue — pretty much since Spencer Carroll and Chris Michaels first opened the place five years ago.

By the time Bobby & Steve’s Zoo Groove arrived at the club clutching a Urei 1620LE, the engineer had already introduced his dance system to the House/Drum & Bass emporium. Soon the two were to form a lethal combination.

The former Kiss FM DJ’s told Robbie Barrow how they believed the 1620LE could enhance the sound system, believing it to be the perfect tool to create their classic House mix. “Since then I’ve been hooked,” says Robbie. “In a perfect world I would have the bottom end of my Watt.Co’s through the switchmode power supply of Crown Vz5000’s, taking advantage of the warmth created by the transistors of the 1620LE.”

He explains, “This produces a different kind of sound from the other mixers I have used; it’s a lot more subtle and you can get a dip from it — probably because it has been built on transistors. I like the design of the filters and preamps, which allows me to experiment to great effect with the crossover points, and the ±10db ‘sweetening’ of the master bass and treble controls on all main outputs is another bonus.” Finally, he says, using it in conjunction with the new isolator he has acquired, has enabled him to get further extension of the Urei’s performance.

But the real beauty of the 1620LE, he says, is the history behind it. “The fact that it has come back after all this time, with very little changed in the design, is amazing.”

Soundcraft were determined to remain as faithful to the original template as possible when they set about re-engineering the famous six-channel rotary mixer (2 phono, 4 aux matrix); and that includes the original circuits and classic components. Only slight modifications to the circuit have been made in order to minimise noise, while the 1620LE has more than enough connectivity to handle sophisticated system configurations or installations.

As well as the classic rotary level and balance controls, the mixer boasts source flexibility, separate House and Booth outputs, an elegant headphone section and true balanced connections.

All of which will be important to Herbal’s roster of top resident acts. For in addition to Bobby & Steve, the club plays host to the likes of Grooverider, Groove Armada, the Bedrock crew, Kila Kela, Metalheadz and many more.

“This venue has been built from the sound system out and it’s really hit a chord with the DJ’s who perform at Herbal,” summarises Spencer Carroll, who has recently purchased several adjoining premises to facilitate further expansion (including usable space outside on the Kingsland Road).

And the Urei 1620LE — which was supplied by Chadwell Heath-based DJ Empire — further underlines that.

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