Hand-built quadraphonic mixing consoles used on Pink Floyd’s two world tours following the mid-80s departure of co-founder Roger Waters are to be auctioned at Bonhams on 15 December.
The desks – which were deployed on the 1987-89 A Momentary Lapse of Reason tour and 1994’s trek in support of The Division Bell – are being sold by Britannia Row Productions (BRP) on 15 December, with a percentage of the proceeds going to concert industry charity Stage Hand (the new name for the PSA Welfare & Benevolent Fund).
At the cutting edge of live audio ever since its use of the Azimuth Coordinator at 1967’s iconic Games For May event in London, the Floyd went on to incorporate quadraphonic sound effects – from chiming clocks on The Dark Side of the Moon’s ‘Time’ to the menacing helicopters of The Wall – into its concert presentations thanks to the use of custom-built mixers.
Now, BRP – which was owned by the Floyd until the early 1980s – is auctioning off two of these pioneering systems. A BRP custom-built quad panning device used on the Momentary Lapse... tour has a Bonhams catalogue price range of £5,000-£7,000, while the specially-devised Midas XL3 Quad mixer used on the Division Bell shows has a catalogue price range of £25,000-30,000.
Mike Lowe (pictured) from BRP commented: “We’ve treated these historic audio artefacts with great care because of their special place in the Pink Floyd live performance legend. […] Now, with the advent of digital technology, the ways to deliver quadraphonic sound have radically changed and we felt the best outcome would be to offer these unique vintage devices to collectors at auction and in the process make a donation to Stage Hand.”
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 band’s technical heritage. The desks are hand built one-offs specifically designed for Pink Floyd’s tours, and because the music world has adopted digital technology on a large scale, it’s highly unlikely that anything similar will ever be made again.”
Supported by the PSA, Stage Hand offers financial hardship support and retraining grants for those in the industry who are unable to work through illness or injury.