Live Sound Mixing book cover



Substrate Overload!

©1998 Duncan Fry



Business in the rehearsal studio and Honest Afghan Discount Records at the Sunday Market soon outstripped income from the shop, so in conjunction with my brother I rented a small factory in order to expand the studio business.

Even I found it hard to be in two places at once, so the shop had to go.

Advertising the business in Juke magazine (memories!) as "Record Shop for sale, Southern Suburbs, good lease, low price" I sold it to the first person who rang up - a mobile disco operator looking for a base to work from plus a continuous supply of cheap records and young girls! My DJ guru Nat Prick had never heard of him, so I should have smelled a rat then, but he appeared to be a suitable buyer, so I said OK and the deal was done.

We did a stocktake, agreed on terms, he paid me half up front, moved in and took over, and promptly declared himself bankrupt before paying the rest! Further conversations with his lawyer resulted in an offer to pay it back at $30 per month!


But I had enough to get PFC Mk 2 off the ground, and this time I incorporated a small control room so we could do demo recordings there.

Looking at the prices that studios that are far better than mine ever was charge today makes me realise what a ripsnorter of an earner it was back then. $25 per hour for basic 8 track facilities. And I truly do mean basic! For $25 an hour nowadays I could rent a studio with 24 tracks and available effects coming out of its backside.

But it was a whiole lot of fun, and a succession of local bands trouped through with their 3 song repertoires and happily went home with a cassette of their performance in exchange for a couple of hundred bucks!

The good ol' Gigmaster Mark One 12 into 2 console finally decided to vaporise itself one session, as the band played obliviously on.

"Shit what's happened?" I asked Col.

"It's stuffed," he replied. One of the benefits of having technical people on hand is that they can always come up with a pinpoint diagnosis of any problem!

"Jeez I can't tell them that," I said, thinking of my dollars flying out the control room window.

"Well, tell them it' them it's substrate overload," he said.

"Sounds technical enough for me," I replied and went into the studio to give the boys the bad news.

I waved my hands for them to stop.

"We'll have to stop now, guys - you'll have to come back tomorrow night."

"What's wrong?" they all asked.

I put on my most serious courtroom appearance voice.

"I'm afraid we've got a bad case of...substrate overload in the control room. We'll have to work all night to try and correct it, but we should be OK for 6 o'clock tomorrow evening. Thanks for your understanding, guys" and I went back into the control room.

We listened to them on the talkback as they packed up. "Wow, sounds serious...What do you suppose it is...Do you think we might have caused it?...Jeez let's get out of here quick!"

Of course, the problem was simply a fried chip and was easily found and replaced the next day. But 'substrate overload' has always been our universal catchphrase for an electronics problem ever since.



This story unpublished so far

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