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Recording Engineer At Studio 3
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Studio 3; A Place Of Recording History
David Sarser at Town Hall of DAVE SARSER at STUDIO 3, NYC. Dave Sarser, who played his violin, the "Zimbalist Stradivarius", for Arturo Tuscannini and his NBC Symphony Orchestra throughout the 1950's, is also an incredibly innovative audio engineer and electronics design pioneer. Around that time, there was a studio called Audio/Video on 57th Street and 5th Avenue in New York, owned and run by Dave Sarser's friends, Ollie Summerland and Gene Shank. Dave Sarser was, among many other things, the original east coast Ampex sales rep. He sold the first 3 track Ampex to RCA for Jascha Heifetz for his work at Republic Studios. Sarser at Tape Dave Sarser checking out one of the 3 Ampex 300 Consoles he installed in the Toscanini Studio in the basement of Villa Pauline in Riverdale. (Note the Brush headphones hanging next to the patch cords) Dave Sarser's close relationship with Les Paul made him a great part of the legends of recording history. The collaboration of Les Paul and Dave Sarser, along with none other than singer/actor Bing Crosby, an early supporter and benefactor, led to many classic (and amazing) recordings of radio and television success for Les Paul and vocalist/guitarist wife and partner Iris Colleen Summers, better known as Mary Ford. Excerpt from a email from Dave Sarser: "The" 3 track 1/2" Ampex 300 deck sold to RCA by Dave Sarser. Dave joined 3 of these Altec 342B mixer/amps to build the first A&R Studio in the old Mogel film building on 48th St. in NYC. A colleague of Dave's, Skitch Henderson was the well known orchestra leader of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. Dave, Skitch and Skitch's second wife, Ruth Henderson entered into a partnership in a recording studio and called it Studio3, simply named after the three partners. The studio was constructed by Dave in the last remaining landmark New York City carriage house of the Peter Stuyvesant estate. At an auction at the famous New York Roxy Theater, Dave bought some electronic equipment and a basic metal panel cabinet which were part of the theaters original sound system. On a napkin during a lunch, he laid out the design draft for a console in the style of a broadcast board. Using the panel purchased at the auction, he machined holes into it. He then sent the panel to his friends, Ollie and Gene, designers of the world famous Pultec Equaliser, at Audio/Video Studios. They painted the panel in their renowned Pultec Blue enamel finish, so the console would match the Pultec gear Dave would install in the studio's equipment rack. Three of the pre-amplifiers were modified by Dave Sarser, by paralleling the output triodes and adding a feedback loop in the circuit to give them sufficient gain and power to output audio up to +24 decibels into 600 ohms to be used as the mixers final stage program buss amplifiers. Dave Sarser at His Studio Dave Sarser at his Studio3 custom board. I met Dave Sarser in 1961, my last year of high school. I was on my way to Pratt Institute of Technology when I realized there were no courses in recording technology or audio engineering. I was at a loss. I had all the audio questions in the world, and Dave had more than all the answers. He taught me that the secret to creating audio circuitry is in the experimentation. Since Dave was an Altec distributor as well, Altec mics including the three 21c Lipstick condenser mics (below), and Schoeps, Sennheisser 421, were among some of the Studio 3 mic collection. In STUDIO 3 during '60's STEINWAY PIANO campaign recording session. Dave Sarser, shown here manning his console NW AYER representative looks on (top left next to Dave). The voice-over talent reads the Steinway scripts at the Altec 21C "lipstick" condenser tube microphone with omni capsule to his right. Dave Sarser with the right stuff, "tweaking" the Pultec EQ, Fritz Steinway (seated right) and the NW AYER advertising reps looking on. The commercials I and Dave recorded of Rudolph Cerkin, Vladimir Horowitz, Van Cliborn and other amazing concert pianists of the day, and then gave their testimonials to the great sound of it, were among the recordings I edited with this outrageous editing splicer created by Dave. P.S., Dave gave me my very own splicer in 2005. What are friends for?... Here is a custom preamp made by Dave's friends at Pultec. The left and right speaker pads were added later. Dave Sarser's Pultec How's this for a plug-in? Gee! 80 watts of mono power. Dave Sarser's Compressor He designed a custom tape record and playback equalization curve for RCA to improve their sound. Dave Sarser's Custom Lipstick Microphone I just thought it might be nice to point out that the wife of Dave Sarser, my favorite voice-over talent Jim Reeves with Goria and Dave Sarser in 2005 Eulogy form the son of Dave and Gloria Sarser One day, while at rehearsal waiting for Maestro to come out, there came a page on the loud speaker for David Sarser to come to the Maestro's dressing room. The Maestro was upset - his favorite little radio he listened to Bruno Walter playing Beethoven was broken. They had sent it up to radio recordings but they couldn't fix it. Dad opened the radio and noticed that a piece of copper antenna had broken, so he repaired it. From then on, he was like a member of the family. Ironically he met Toscanini by repairing a radio, not by being a violinist! Sometimes Maestro would be confused when speaking with my Dad - was he speaking with a musician or a technician? While the Maestro did not like the sound of his recordings, Dad made one that he liked. He soon became an advisor to Toscanini, a friend of his son Walter, and a frequent guest at the family home in Riverdale. He loved to tell stories of times spent there - of the Maestro's love of black BANANAS and of his preference to San Pellegrino water (dry water). And every time he told these stories, I would see the sparkle in his eye and a smile overtake his face.
Frequently Asked Questions
Around '64, as a recording engineer at Skitch Henderson's Studio 3 during the daytime, my mentor, Dave Sarser (see web site) who had set up private discotheques like LÈ Club (almost "speak easy"-ish) in the '50's and '60's, assigned me to a new club called Ondine.
It was named after an Olympic winning sailboat.
The Walter W. Naumburg Foundation - Previous Winners
David Sarser, violinist
HRS | DMH
Dave Sarser, a violinist in Arturo Tuscannini's NBC Symphony Orchestra in the '50s, is also an audio engineer and electronics designer.
Around that time there was a studio called Audio/Video on 57th Street and 5th Avenue in New York, owned and run by Dave Sarser's friends, Ollie Summerland and Gene Shank. Dave Sarser was the original east coast Ampex rep. He sold the first 3 track Ampex to RCA for Yasha Heifitz for his work at Republic Studios. Dave Sarser's close relationship with Les Paul made him a great part of the legend of recording.
Links to General Resources & Unofficial Web Pages About Particular Manufacturers
Studio 3 History Site devoted to the career and studio of David Sarser, violinist, Ampex rep, engineer and electronics designer.