Fans of rock legends Pink Floyd will have a chance to own a slice of the bands legendary live performance history when the unique, hand built quadraphonic mixing consoles used on the Momentary Lapse of Reason and Division Bell world tours are auctioned at Bonhams
Entertainment Memorabilia sale in Knightsbridge on December 15th, with a percentage of the proceeds going to concert industry charity Stage Hand.
The consoles, a customized Midas XL3 quad console and a Britannia Row Productions custom-built quad panning device, are being sold by their owner, Britannia Row Productions (BRP), the sound company originally formed and owned by Pink Floyd, which has been independent for the last 26 years.
The hand built device used on the Momentary Lapse of Reason tour has a pre-sale estimate of £5,000-£7,000, while the more technically complex, and also specially commissioned, Midas XL3 Quad mixer used on the Division Bell tour has an estimate of £25,000 £30,000. Both items are unique and were designed and engineered specifically for each tour.
Every Pink Floyd tour since the late 1960s featured quadraphonic sound among the many live sound and lighting effects pioneered by the band. Sound effects including helicopters, the famous chiming clocks and gongs of Dark Side Of The Moon and many more, were whirled around massive arenas and stadiums using banks of loudspeakers positioned in an approximate diamond layout, with one stack at the rear facing the stage, the two side stacks to either side on a line slightly behind the mixing desk position, with the main left-and-right PA handling the front point of the diamond. The effects were sent to the speakers using one of the special hand-built quadraphonic (quad) mixing desks.
Only six generations of quad mixing desks or external quad panning devices were made during the bands performing history between 1969 and 1994, each using the best audio technology available at the time.
Britannia Row Productions Mike Lowe comments: We have kept these mixing desks on our stock and looked after them very carefully because of their historic place in the Pink Floyd performance legend.With the onslaught of digital technology, the ways to deliver quadraphonic sound has radically improved and we felt the best outcome would be to offer them to collectors at auction and in the process make a donation to Stage Hand.
Stage Hand (registered as a charity in the UK as the PSA Welfare & Benevolent Fund) is supported by the Production Services Association (PSA), a trade body for concert and event crew. The Welfare & Benevolent Fund offers financial hardship support and retraining grants for those in the concert and event industry who are unable to work through illness or injury.
Bonhams Consultant Specialist Stephen Maycock said: This is a unique and exciting opportunity for a Pink Floyd fan, collector or museum to own a piece of the bands technical heritage. The desks are hand built one-offs specifically designed for Pink Floyds tours, and because the music world has adopted digital technology on a large scale, its highly unlikely that anything similar will ever be made again.