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Wally Heider UA610 Studio Mixing Console

Wally Heider UA610 Console

A famous mixing console with a big-name rock-and-roll history

Originally located at Wally Heider’s Studio C, 245 Hyde St., San Francisco

Wally Heider was a recording engineer, whose career started in the 1940’s with the big bands and orchestras.  He learned from his mentor, Bill Putnam, (a leader in modern recording at the time), at United Western Recorders, Hollywood.
After some time, and making a name for himself, he decided to venture on his own. In 1966, he did recordings at the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and then went on to opening his first recording studio in 1969 at 245 Hyde Street, San Francisco. He quickly built up a reputation as an in-demand recording engineer in his own right, producing high-quality work.

The UA610 Console at Audio Garden

Wally Heider UA610 Studio Mixing Console at Audio Garden
Frank DeMedio built all of the studio’s custom gear and console. He used  UA610 (Universal Audio) amplifiers to build the console. It has 24 channels with an eight channel monitor and cue, military grade switches, level controls, and one preamp for everything in a channel. The monitor speakers were modeled after Putnam’s design. It included the Altec 604-E speakers, powered by McIntosh 275 Tube power amps.

This famous console has a lot of history. This is where Jefferson Airplane recorded their album, Volunteers. Other well-known artists such as: Grateful Dead, Steve Miller, Santana, and many more also began here. Perhaps the most famous recording at Studio C was Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young‘s album, Deja Vu. Creedence Clearwater Revival was so impressed with the studio that they named their record, Cosmo’s Factory, after Heider’s studio.
Bill Halverson, Stephen Barncard, and Glyn Johns were other well-known engineers on staff at Studio C at the time.

Wally Heider, Recording Engineer Extraordinaire

Heider’s work spanned from the Big-Band era to rock bands, for which he was best known during the 1960’s. Regardless of the eccentricities requested by various artists, he was quite accommodating for any need they had, no matter how unusual it seemed. For example, when Grace Slick wanted to sing surrounded by light at a Jefferson Airplane session. To facilitate, Heider brought a ring of lighted cans into the studio.
Heider had planned to build four studios — A and B on the ground floor and C and D upstairs. Studio B was never finished and became a game room. Audio Garden has recently acquired all of Studio C and part of D.

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2 Comments on Wally Heider UA610 Console

  1. Holden Cox
    Replied on January 12, 2021 at 4:06 pm

    Volunteers was actually Jefferson Airplane’s fifth studio album (sixth to date). Wally Heider studios didn’t even exist when they recorded their first album, Takes Off, in 1965/66.

  2. Rick Hocks
    Replied on January 13, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Terrific Article – but “Volunteers” was NOT the Jefferson Airplane’s first album – it was their fifth studio album (and sixth album) … But it was the first album they recorded with Wally Heider … More recording was done by those musicians with Heider over the next couple years …

Leave a Reply to Holden Cox