Yorkville Sound

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Yorkville Sound

Yorkville Sound is a manufacturer of musical instruments, audio amplifiers (including the Traynor amplifier line), loudspeakers and related professional sound reinforcement equipment. Based in Pickering, Ontario, Canada, the firm has a global presence as an importer and exporter of audio electronic products.[1]

Yorkville manages its original Traynor brand, its own Yorkville brand and has expanded to include other brands such as Apex, Applied Research and Technology (ART). [2] Yorkville provides North American distribution for Hughes & Kettner guitar amplifiers as well as exclusive distribution for Epiphone guitars, Gibson guitars, Garrison guitars, Ritter bags, beyerdynamic microphones and Gallien-Krueger amplifiers.[3]

History[edit]

Yorkville Sound began in 1963 in the back room of Long & McQuade, a music store on Yonge Street at the edge of the Yorkville neighborhood across the termination of Yorkville Avenue. Peter Traynor was working as the business's repairman and had been customizing amplifiers to save time and costs by using readily available components. Through his experiences doing this, Traynor developed a rugged bass amplifier that was more resistant to the rigors of the road and began renting this new 'Dynabass' amp to customers.

By the end of 1963, Traynor began selling his Dynabass amps along with matching 15-inch speaker cabinets, as well as public address (PA) speakers[4] based on a reference book of 1930s RCA commercial loudspeaker designs.[5] Traynor approached Jack Long, co-founder of the music store, with the idea of starting Yorkville Sound to sell Traynor-branded bass amplifiers and more. Long and Traynor partnered in the venture, with Long owning two-thirds and Traynor one-third.

Original Traynor logo; Yorkville Sound's first brand

The line of products was sold with Traynor logos on the front and rear nameplates reading "mfg. by Yorkville Sound."[5][6]

In 1965, Yorkville Sound incorporated as "Yorkville Sound Limited" with Long as President and Traynor as Vice-President. The operation moved to Dundas Street near Parliament in Toronto. In 1966, more products were introduced including the YVM-1 "Voice Master", a portable 45 watt tube amplifier combined with a four-channel microphone mixer. The Voice Master contained 1/4-inch phone jacks for PA speakers, a master volume control, treble, mid-range and bass tone controls and patching points for the TR-1, a spring reverb unit made by Traynor. The portable mixer-amplifier concept was a novel idea that quickly proved popular among musicians, and was the inspiration for the 1967 introduction of the competing "Vocal Master" product line by Shure.[5]

In 1967, Yorkville moved to larger quarters three blocks down Dundas Street, and expanded distribution westward to Vancouver and southward into the United States via Buffalo, New York.[5] In 1969, Yorkville began designing larger concert equipment including eight-, sixteen- and 24-channel mixers with a pair of integral graphic equalizers, an audio snake and heavy folded-horn "W"-style bass bins loaded with 18-inch drivers. The sound contracting business also designed and used wedge-shaped monitor speakers on stage for artists to hear themselves.[7] Concurrently, Yorkville incorporated their Buffalo operation to create a US-based business entity: Yorkville Sound Inc.[5]

In 1970, Philips, the major supplier of the 6CA7 tube used for nearly all of Yorkville's power output circuits, had changed the design of the tube without informing their customers. Because of this change, Yorkville was experiencing a wave of amplifier failures and was faced with the redesign of every amplifier in production.[5] Pete Traynor was contracted to provide sound for a 1970 Toronto concert by the Steve Miller Band but during the performance, the new amplifiers Traynor had brought failed one by one. Pete Traynor caused enough of a commotion with the band's production crew that they carried him to a truck and locked him in the back.[5] Jack Long got him out of the truck and, seeing how stressful it was and how it was not allowing Traynor to focus on the design and manufacturing side of the business, began to shut down the contract sound department, with its final concert date in 1971.[5] Also in 1970, the Canadian dollar ceased to be pegged to the American dollar and US dealers found their Yorkville prices suddenly jump 10% higher, followed quickly by another 10% added due to a short-lived US surtax on imported finished goods.[5]

In 1972, Yorkville expanded operations to Europe, opening offices in the UK and Sweden.[4] In 1976, Peter Traynor left the firm, suffering from a bad back. The Traynor brand would be slowly phased out over the next 17 years until its reintroduction in 2000. Steve Long, son of founder Jack Long, began working full-time at Yorkville Sound in 1981. Steve Long would eventually progress through managerial positions to become company president.[5]

During the 1970s and 1980s, the company grew. Around 1981–1982, Yorkville Sound was contracted to fabricate loudspeaker enclosures for Martin Audio's North American market, saving Martin Audio the expense of shipping large, heavy cabinets across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1983, Yorkville Sound used their acquired experience in building enclosures to create their own "Sound Crew" line of concert speakers. In 1985, two new product lines appeared with the introduction of the "élite" series of portable loudspeakers with non-user adjustable 'black box' processing and the "Audiopro" line of electronic amplifiers. A thousand-watt subwoofer was brought out in 1986: the SW-1000.[5]

A line of studio monitor speakers was created in 1991.[5] In 1996, Yorkville introduced the "TX" line of concert touring loudspeakers.[4] In 2001, Yorkville contracted with veteran designer Tom Danley to create the "Unity" line of loudspeakers which was introduced in 2003. The Unity design, licensed from Sound Physics Labs, Inc, uses multiple speaker drivers in the same physical horn to create better transient coherence between mid- and high-frequency passbands.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Canadian Trade Index. Yorkville Sound Division
  2. ^ MIX. News Articles. August 12, 2004. Yorkville Sound Names New Brand Manager.
  3. ^ Yorkville Press Release. May 2008. Yorkville Sound to distribute Hughes and Kettner guitar amplifiers for North America.
  4. ^ a b c Yorkville Sound. Company History. Retrieved December 21, 2008
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Yorkville Sound History: 1963–1991. February 20, 2002. Mike Holman. Retrieved December 21, 2008
  6. ^ Quoting from Mike Holman: "To set the record straight with some self-acclaimed Traynor historians, it’s worth noting that at no time was there ever a “Traynor Amp Co.”, or “Traynor Sound” or whatever. The operation went from a repairman building things for customers in his spare time, right to Yorkville Sound, all during this brief 6-month period in 1963 and all within the confines of Long & McQuade Music. And, once again, it was Pete’s idea to form Yorkville Sound with Jack agreeing to put up the bulk of cash – as he’d been doing all along."
  7. ^ Yorkville Sound. Vintage Traynor Overview.
  8. ^ Yorkville Sound. Unity

External links[edit]