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Avolites History


Ken Coker
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Dear All.

 

I'm looking to find information on Avolites console #219702. Blue finished, 120 way three preset, analogue, with pin matrix chase. Built for TFA at some point, legend has it for an Abba tour; Abba last toured in 1980 (DON'T ASK ME HOW I KNOW ,OK!!). Any information gratefully received.

 

Also, I'm looking for specs or even examples of the Avolite TD. Opera North had one and I think the Blackpool Grand still have one. Any info? if anyone still has one do let me know.

 

Thanks

 

Ken

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Also, I'm looking for specs or even examples of the Avolite TD. Opera North had one and I think the Blackpool Grand still have one.

 

Hi Ken;

 

Long time!

Can't help you with the blue console, but as John says phone Avolites. They are a very helpful bunch and I'm sure would be delighted to talk history.

 

The TD console, or fully the QM-500TD, was Avolites' foray into the theatrical market. They developed it in conjunction with Opera North, and although pretty basic by today's standards, it was a rugged enough touring desk. Built-in gas plasma display in sickly monochrome yellow, keyboard and backup drawer, P&G faders throughout, nice padded front edge to rest a weary forehead on..... and you got your company logo on it!! :)

Memories were basically rock& roll style 'states' that you then had to organise into a 'stack' in order to give them fade times and play them in sequence.

 

I bought one for Scottish Ballet way back then (hey, it was a good deal together with the dimmer racks!), and they still have it flightcased and sitting in the store, although nowadays they tour a Strand 520. No idea if it still works, but I don't see why not. Might need to warm up the rack-mounted PCBs with a hairdryer though (yes, we used to have to do that on cold winter mornings when it was fresh out of the truck)!

Call George at SB if that's any help to you.

 

Grahame Gardner

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Guest lightnix

Hello Ken, welcome to the Blue Room :)

 

Patrick Woodroffe used to light Abba AFAIK, he may possibly remember something about it, if you can possibly get hold of him. It wouldn't surprise me if the desk was consigned to a skip a long time ago. That's rock 'n' roll :(

 

Steve Warren is the main man at Avolites and yes, a very friendly and approachable bloke.

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Playlight Hire in london used to have a 500TD... but they are no more so it may have gone to ELP or HSL when the company got carved up. it was in full working order and lovingly used for testing dimmers. If you do track it down I know of someone who'd probably buy it!

 

Regards

 

Tim

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Dear All

This is all very useful stuff. I am in contact with Avolites, oddly I have a meeting there on Tuesday, and they are indeed being very helpful. Patrick I am also in contact with. I'm going to Blackpool on Wednesday to look at a TD in operation and I shall follow up the Scottish Ballet link - Hi Graham!!, I feel a trip to the North coming on!

As I say, all very useful, keep it coming and the fruits of my research will be unveiled in the medium term future!!

 

Cheers

 

Ken

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Must admit,

 

I am wondering why all the interest in such specific desks.

Am very intrigued.  :(

 

 

Aha.........well, the very old desk I actually have and a student is repairing it and adding an embeded DMX chip to it as a final year project. The TD is an important desk in the development of the Avolite OS, and that is part of a longer term project that I am working on..............yes, I should get out more!!

 

Ken

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Guest lightnix
Must admit,

 

I am wondering why all the interest in such specific desks.

Am very intrigued.  :(

It's a lampie thing :D

 

Old lighting desks are a bit like rare sports cars and hold the same kind of appeal for some of us. Their history is full of oddities, antiquities, curios and great ideas at the time. Not just with the hardware, but the operating systems and philosophies behind them. Sound systems, while vastly improved in quality, have remained basically the same for a long time IMHO, while the story of lighting offers a far more richly varied evolutionary tale.

 

See also the MMS thread.

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Hey all,

 

For the record I am "student who is repairing it and adding an embedded DMX chip to it as a final year project" in conjunction with Ken.

 

I have a pic of the 80-100 online. Any information anyone has would be extremely appreciated.

 

Cheers,

 

Kev

 

http://www.glos-ha.com/assets/images/DSCF0001_2_.jpg

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  • 6 years later...

Hi Ken,

 

I you are still interested....The original Avolites QM500TD No1 console is now sitting on the stage of Cargilfield Prep School in Edinburgh. It arrived today 18th October 2011 in a somewhat road worn looking flight case. [Relic guitar lovers would love it].

 

In 1985, not long after I took over as the Head of Lighting at Opera North, I commissioned Rick Salzedo at Avolites to design and manufacture a touring memory desk for Opera that would refuse to crash.

Just before this, I read read a newspaper report on a riot at a Beastie Boys concert in Glasgow. A full size Avolite Diamond had been knocked off the front of the circle of the Glasgow Apollo [ around 20']

into the stalls. It survived and when plugged in worked.

 

Opera North were only in their 7th year as a company and were already on their 3rd desk, a Strand Duet I think. After many journeys from Leeds to London and many meetings, we came up with the first version of this desk which was larger, analogue and with an external monitor. This arrived in Leeds in the summer of 1986. A year or two later, the DMX version was born as the QM500TD. This is the desk that arrived in Edinburgh today after having been in it's flight case for around 18 years.

 

At 12.00 today, I took it out of it's case with help [it's heavy}, along with the Operators Book, gritted my teeth and plugged it in.................IT WORKS!

 

Hope you are all well

 

Ian

 

Ian Sommerville

ilumini@me.com

 

PS. It never crashed!

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