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1960's

Phantom productions has a 5 hour 2 DVD set profiling our vintage tape recording clooection for $14.95.  The set also includes some history of sound recording; how the tape recoder works and a bit about recording in Texas during the 1960's through the 1980's.

More detail at this link

 1964

The creation of Highland Sound Company/Phantom Productions, Inc.

In the early '60s Martin spent a lot of time at Alpine's radio station KVLF with DJ's Phil Wayne Ebensberger, Bob Biel and David Forchheimer (a high school classmate). He became "hooked' on the music and radio business.

 

s

The photo above was taken in Alpine's KVLF studio at a time RCA was testing new smaller video cameras. KVLF was only a radio station, however Gene Henricks (station owner) provided space to enable the trial of the new RCA equipment and ran a VHF television station (KVLF-TV Channel 12) 1963-1965. The person at the mike is a French foreign exchange student Claude Guillimet.

 

Martin's room early '60's

"The Believers"

Junior/Senior High School Prom, Alpine, Texas May, 1964

When the Believers (poster page 1, page 2) played at the AHS Junior Senior prom in 1964, Martin asked for a copy of the tape recording made on their Roberts recorder (seen above). The Believers were a group of Sul Ross State College (now University) students. After the prom the band members headed for their homes for the Summer of '64. Go to Believers page

picture of Martin and Grainger in April, 2004 (40 years later)

picture of Ron Newdoll's business card for Accurate Sound in San AngeloMartin and Grainger 40 Years later 

The Lead Singer, Grainger Hunt (seen in the middle of the photo above) stayed in Alpine with his family. Knowing Martin had acopy of the tape, he called and asked to hear it. Just the month before, for high school graduation, Martin's parents bought him the Webcor (below) which enabled "sound with/on sound." Grainger asked if Martin would help him develop some new songs. The rest of the Summer was spent in numerous ("fun & learning") sessions and the "draft" recording of new material for the Believers, including the development of their new song "Motor Mouth." The Believers then went to San Angelo and recorded"Motor Mouth" at Ron Newdoll's Accurate Sound Company.  The studio had a #1 hit with "Last Kiss" by the Cavaliers.   More on the Cavaliers backup

 

Accurate Sound building in San Angelo in 2003Here's a picture of the AC building as it looked in 2003 and 1960s inside the studio with the Cavaliers.  More stories Accurate Sound Company

 

 

 

   

picture of Webcor Squire and Sony 300  picture of first HSC mikes 

First reel to reels - 5" Western Auto, Webcor & Sony 300 (Alpine HS).  Being allowed to borrow the Alpine High School band's Sony 300 enabled the first learning about mixing and copying.  Microphones came from Lafayette Radio.  Wish we'd bought more of the $5.95 Calrad 500C in the center as its now being sold in auctions for up to $350.    Go figure.     Several years ago we bought a carton of brand new unopened Calrads.  View our Calrad Sightings page

Click here to see great brochure on the Sony 300 See Webcor catalog listing

Martin created a recording company (his Grandmother suggested the name Highland Sound Company after her Scottish roots). This was later changed to Phantom Productions created from the idea of phantom powered microphones and the "behind the scenes" empowering the company envisioned itself performing through recording and promotion. View old movie of studio

1965

  picture of HSC Alpine studio  picture of HSC Alpine studio

By early 1965, Highland Sound Company was working with several bands including the Believers, a couple of other rock and country groups as well as a pair of great guitarists from Mexico. Martin convinced his parents to remodel part of their home into a recording studio (control room and single isolation room). Often, more of the house was taken over for the cutting of multiple tracks. The Alpine School District contracted with Highland Sound to record their weekly radio program (picture below). This evolved into remote recording and production for KVLF radio.

  Phantom productions, Inc. / Highland Sound Company euipment in 1965

 

This photo shows the equipment in use in the early studio (1965-1966). The man in the picture was the PR person for the Alpine ISD who recorded a weekly radio program for the schools. There's an Electro Voice 665, a Calrad (or Lafayette) mike for "talk-back" (studio window is out of picture to the right), Sony 250, 260 & 600 recorders; plus the Garrard Lab 80; an Eico 2080 Amp; Sony F-87 mikes on the shelf with Robbins splicer; head demagnetizer; head cleaner; and Sony headphones. You can also see a Lafayette 4-channel mike mixer (beside the clock); another 4 channel mike mixer on the "Davis" speaker (under the Garrard dust cover); a Switchcraft source switcher to the left of the Garrard; and a Lafayette power box by the Alpine School employee's right hand. The two audio boards were custom built by Martin and enabled multiple mike and line mixing, as well as, a "pan" control. The lower unit on wheels was constructed of wood and intended to go "on-location." The weight was a bit much though.

1966

It was difficult to buy recording and sound products in Alpine. Martin had upgraded to Sony recorders and approached Sony Superscope in New York with a view to represent them in the Big Bend area of Texas. Sony connected Martin with Balco Sound of Lubbock, Texas. The relationship resulted in Highland Sound becoming the re-seller for Altec, Ampex, Electro Voice, Shure Sony and many of the other major manufacturers. Martin's parents home and their commercial building next door became showcases for recording tape and supplies, as well as the full line of Ampex recorders.

picture of recorders for saleListen to HSC Radio ad 

picture of Sony 260 with recording literature in HSC's first studio 

Equipment display with Sony 260.  Note variety of literature from Ampex, Electro Voice, Roberts, Shure Sony, Turner, etc

   

Martin in original Phantom/Highland Sound Company studio 1965-1967 - view video (RealPlayer)

 

   picture of promo picture for Bob & His Agents

Bob Simonetti and his band Bob & His Agents were one of several Alpine bands who recorded at the HSC Studio • 1966 Alpine Studio rates

1967

     

The pictures above are of a Phantom Productions (Highland Sound Company) remote radio broadcast set-up for a concert at the Sul Ross State College's main auditorium. The equipment included an Ampex 800,the Sony 600, a Bogan MXM-A, and three pieces of remote equipment from Alpine's radio station KVLF.

1967 equipment display with Eico amp, Fisher receiver, Atec speakers & Sony 350

1967 equipment display with Eico amp, Fisher receiver, Garrard turntable, Altec speakers & Sony 350

      

Phantom's equipment in 1967 - Concertone 800, Garrard Lab 80, Eico Amp, Ampex 1100

 

The Big Bend photographer Peter Koch contracted with Highland Sound to produce the sound track for a film he produced about Texas' Big Thicket. This film helped enable the area to become a National Preserve.

1968

 

While working on his Bachelor's degree in Music, Martin produced most of the music recording for the Sul Ross University recitals, concerts, tours, plays (Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, etc.) and College record albums. The Band Director, Lloyd Cook, provided two customized 30' microphone stands (collapsed to 5') which were erected at each major session. When the band and choir were on tour, Martin would arrive (by car rather than bus) early at each site to set up the recording gear. Here's one of the album covers.

picture of Sul Ross Concert Band album cover   

 

Click here to listen to some of the band    SR album cover • HSC sign on car •  Sony 630 Fisher tuner and Eico amp • Sony 630 and Altec Seville speakers

1969

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Phantom productions has a 5 hour 2 DVD set profiling our vintage tape recording clooection for $14.95.  The set also includes some history of sound recording; how the tape recoder works and a bit about recording in Texas during the 1960's through the 1980's.

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