BY GEORGE PETERSEN
I often go flea marketing on Sunday mornings and one of today’s odd discoveries—no, I didn’t buy it—was this Digidesign 003 Pro Tools LE hardware DAW controller/interface.
Sadly neglected and somewhat abused with missing knobs, etc., this artifact was marked with a piece of white tape as serial #14. As an audio archaeologist, this was interesting to me as it was obviously a prototype/alpha version of some sort. Clearly, there’s no outer case and the silk screening on the front panel is somewhat different than the later production models. (CLICK ON PHOTO FOR LARGER VIEW)
The annotated stickers in the upper right corner on the unit’s top surface have hand-written scrawls about an ADAT rework, a main software rework, a PLL issue and something about headphones and the monitor fader.
The artifact’s rear panel has no manufacturer’s name, no serial number or country of origin. As you can see in the picture above, the identification of the monitor out channels is different (clearer in final version) and the artifact has hand-punched pop rivets holding the XLRs, MIDI jacks and RCA S/PDIF ports onto the rear panel—a definite indication of a prototype version. Also note the additional air ventilation holes in the production version—right above the XLR mic inputs. (CLICK ON PHOTO FOR LARGER VIEW)
THE REAL MYSTERY
The more interesting story here is the mystery as to where it’s been all this time and how it eventually wound up on some junk merchant’s table.
Just another audio archaeology mystery, but if only this gear could talk…
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