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FX Console

  • years of production : 1965 - 1970
  • number of units  : env. 60
  • original price (£) : 1500
  • dimensions (cm) W x H x D : 129.5 x 99 x 68.5
  • weight (kg) : 159

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Streetly Electronics created the FX Console on the BBC's request. It is a modified Mark II, which could play sound effects for radio or television programs (Doctor Who).

The rhythms, accompaniments and instruments were repalced by 1260 various sound effects.

Because of the BBC's demands, the technical features of the machine were modified :

- Each keyboard was divided in two parts (keys 1 to 18 and 19 to 35), and each part had its own head-block and a preamp with integrated circuits. The signal-to-noise ratio was improved compared to the Mark II.

- a volume control for each of the 4 keyboard sections, and a master volume control.

- a headphone socket with volume control.

- an electromagnetic track selector. Unlike Mark II, it was impossible to play two tracks at once : A + B or B + C.

- Being made for the BBC studios, the FX Console didn't require an amplification system as big as in Mark II : it simply had a small amp with integrated circuit (no more tube amp) and a 8" speaker.

- There was no more reverb unit.

- The wooden cabinet was not made of polished mahogany anymore ; it was in plywood, painted grey by the BBC, or black.

[click on the photo to enlarge]
FX Console

The Mellotron used by the Beatles, most notably on Strawberry Fields Forever, is the Abbey Road Studios' FX Console. This Mellotron was sold to Mike Oldfield during an auction organized by the studios in october 1980. It was then sold again to Paul McCartney in 1994.

Abbey Road's retired general manager, Ken Townsend, in 1980 with the Mellotron used on Strawberry Fields Forever.