As Pro Sound News writer Phil Ward observed in his recent article about the Formidable return of Turbosound Flashlight, “The mics, processors and speakers that made the rock and roll catalogue are as revered as the music itself by people who are young enough to know better.” But what’s the difference between simply blowing away the dust from old equipment, and actually blowing away the listener?
No nostalgia trip
Formidable Audio has just completed a remarkable two-year odyssey to assemble, renovate and upgrade possibly the world’s largest and finest collection of Turbosound Flashlight. However, the company’s vision has never been clouded by some misty-eyed view of the past.
Yes, Formidable founder James Barden was inspired and driven to recreate the legendary Flashlight sound he remembered from live gigs back in the 80s and 90s. But he knew instinctively that a simple recreation of the past would not cut it in today’s live music industry. Simply blowing off the dust and plugging in was never going to be enough in today’s world of PA systems hire for A-list live gigs.
Flashlight for the 21st century
So, having procured a very large inventory of Flashlight enclosures from around the world, the team at Formidable set about a wholesale modernisation of the entire collection: not simply a refurbishment, but also an upgrading to 21st-century standards.
As Barden explained in an interview with Pro Sound News, “We couldn’t offer something that was unreconstructed from 20 years ago, so our renovation goes all way through from the cosmetics to the drivers. However, it’s still the same acoustic construction of the cabinets and the same waveguides, so the sound is quite recognizable. It has that unique musical quality that’s missing in so many later systems.”
He continues: “Clearly technology has moved on since Flashlight first graced the stage, but mainly to become more convenient; PA systems for live concerts haven’t necessarily improved sonically as a result.”
Heritage team’s “tremendous contribution”
What has helped enormously in the rebirth of Flashlight for the modern age has been the visionary input of the ‘heritage team’ – a group of Turbosound and Britannia Row alumni who were delighted to reprise their involvement with the Flashlight boxes. Pete Brotzman, Danny Cooklin, David Cole, George McKechnie and Tony Andrews have all made a tremendous contribution.
To pick out just one example, Tony Andrews had hands-on involvement with the refurbishment of the 6.5-inch mid-range drivers, which were upgraded by Precision Devices under Tony’s guidance.
Other Flashlight expertise has been provided by Danny Cooklin, a design engineer at Turbosound for 17 years; by David Cole, also at Turbosound in the 1990s; and by George McKechnie, a BBS Audio engineer behind the crossover and amplification designs created for Flashlight.
Lots of detail on the Flashlight refurb project can be found at http://www.formidableaudio.com/flashlight-reborn/flashlight-refurb-in-detail/
There’s also photo gallery at http://www.formidableaudio.com/flashlight-reborn/flashlight-refurb-project-photo-gallery/
Prepare to be blown away
Every step in the renovation and upgrading process has had a clear aim: to prepare the system to compete in today’s market, without sacrificing the essence of the sound quality that made Flashlight so special in the first place.
As you can read in other articles on this blog, the whole Formidable Flashlight collection is now being readied to blow away, in no uncertain terms, any cobwebs that may have attached themselves to industry ears in the last decade or two.
To find out more, please contact:
Joe Turner, Formidable Audio:
Office: +44 (0)1892 686018 Mobile: +44(0)770 234 9534