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Author Topic: Gates SA 39b.....  (Read 6309 times)

New Orleans Steve

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Gates SA 39b.....
« on: March 11, 2011, 01:52:15 am »

  So over a year ago, I mixed in a friends (nice) home studio. We used his Gates SA 39b on vocals - I loved it. So, I mention, "If you ever want to sell it...." The sound was just great, quiet and with a power and authority and a little audible distortion when it dips hard. 
   Then, I get the call.......Price is reasonable and I have about a month to get all of the money together. So I think I have committed to get it. I will raise the money with a quick sell off of some nice unused stuff around here.

  I don't have pix yet, but when I did a web search I got pix of 3 or 4 and they were all different than mine and each other! Different number of knobs and different internal components. Mine has a larger square meter and has a 5 position switch that is release and perhaps attack / release in one switch according to the owner - he wasn't sure.

 My question is - What era is the SA 39 and various revisions from/ How old is this one?
What were the primary markets for this and other Gates units, the Stay Level, Level Devil, etc.? I think they were radio broadcast limiters, but am interested in what other applications may have been common in that time period.
Any other discussion would be great, as well.
Thanks Steve Daffner
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Steve Daffner Frenchmen Street Records - Straightwire Studios

Mike Cleaver

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Re: Gates SA 39b.....
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2011, 07:48:59 pm »

All radio broadcast devices with the SA series from the '40's and '50's.
The SA designation was used for all of the Gates broadcast equipment of the era, including the SA 40 and SA 50 consoles while the modules inside also were designated SA as in SA 70 for input modules, etc.
I worked on the consoles in the '60's, three of them at two different radio stations.
There were various revisions of all of these and many have been modified by broadcast engineers to "improve" them and others who acquired them after they were "retired" from the broadcast transmission chain.
Gates always was the "second choice" of most North American broadcasters who usually wanted RCA but didn't want to pay the price.
It was considerably cheaper to buy than the RCA stuff.
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MagnetoSound

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Re: Gates SA 39b.....
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2011, 11:58:33 am »


Doug Williams at Electromagnetic Radiation Recorders will be able to tell you all you need to know.
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Dan Sansom
Magneto Sound
UK

Haolemon

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Re: Gates SA 39b.....
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2011, 06:35:16 pm »

"Gates always was the "second choice" of most North American broadcasters who usually wanted RCA but didn't want to pay the price.
It was considerably cheaper to buy than the RCA stuff."

Which RCA models?

Thanks
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Mike Cleaver

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Re: Gates SA 39b.....
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2011, 08:36:22 pm »

Practically anything.
Gates made it a practice to undercut RCA on price.
If you've ever worked on their stuff from the '40s through the '60s, the RCA was better built and more reliable.
I worked on many models by each manufacturer.
The RCA stuff was pretty much bulletproof, requiring only switch and pot cleaning and tube replacement.
The Gates stuff ran a lot hotter, leading to more parts failures.
Part of the reason for that was stuffing things in too small cases.
The Yard console was a good example of that.
There aren't many without serious heat burns on the sides and top covers.

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New Orleans Steve

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Re: Gates SA 39b.....
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2011, 10:00:58 pm »

All radio broadcast devices with the SA series from the '40's and '50's.
The SA designation was used for all of the Gates broadcast equipment of the era, including the SA 40 and SA 50 consoles while the modules inside also were designated SA as in SA 70 for input modules, etc.
I worked on the consoles in the '60's, three of them at two different radio stations.
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Steve Daffner Frenchmen Street Records - Straightwire Studios

New Orleans Steve

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Re: Gates SA 39b.....
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2011, 01:01:22 pm »

Oooops,

  O.K., 1950's! Older than I thought. I was told this was a very late one. It looks different that several others that I have seen. The Meter is Square and has the model number and the Gates logo, so I know it is original.

   So, The SA 39 was never concurrent with the Stay-Level? Do you know the dates of the Stay-Level and the Level Devil?

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Steve Daffner Frenchmen Street Records - Straightwire Studios

Bubba--Kron

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Re: Gates SA 39b.....
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2011, 06:32:54 pm »

I was outbid on one of these last week on a ebay auction, which was good because I really dont have the money for it.

From the research I did, I gathered that it was very popular in LA at one point a few years back.  I read that it compress's nicely but leaves a little sheen over the mix which a lot of people liked about it.  Kinda like a ELA 251 vs. a U47(sta level).

This was all just stuff I read, so take it as you will.  It looks like a great unit and seems like would really make a rack look nice too.

Cheers
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Cheers, Bryan Richards

Mike Cleaver

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Re: Gates SA 39b.....
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2011, 09:26:18 pm »

The Sta-Level and Level-Devil definitely came later but not too many years after.
The last time I saw any Gates gear in use at a radio station where I worked was in 1971.
By that time, it had all been replaced by more modern, transistorized gear.
Of course, I had moved on to much larger metropolitan area stations where money for gear was no object.
One chain for which I worked pretty much bought or demo'ed every piece of broadcast gear produced.
As for different looking models of the SA 39's, see my earlier comment about "improved" models, both from Gates and by various broadcast engineers.
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