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Top five: FX Rentals’ most-requested products since 1992

Audio equipment hire specialist FX Rentals has been open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, since 1992. In this time the company – who jokily refer to themselves as the fourth emergency service – have had their fair share of business. Here are five of their most asked-for products, as told to PSNE by joint owners Roger Evan and Nick Harris…

1. Yamaha SPX-series effects units

Despite not being the fanciest, most impressive multi-effect units in the world, the Yamaha SPX-series has continued to be popular through most of FX Rentals 25-year history as a solid, reliable and easy-to-use tool. Front-of-house engineers love the flexibility these boxes provide, and there are still some mix engineers who rely on them.

2. Urei 1176 compressor/limiter

Probably the most common sight in studios around the world. The 1176 is the outboard compressor of choice for engineers, who have used it on everything from vocals to drums. It’s a very aggressive device, capable of pushing any sound to the front of the mix. 

3. Neumann U47 valve microphone

Despite its age, the Neumann U 47 remains the one mic that just about everyone wishes they had in the mic locker. The U 47 initially used Neumann’s M7 capsule, and a circuit based around the Telefunken VK14m valve, later replaced with the K47/49 capsule and a circuit based around the 13CW4 Nuvistor valve. Opinions clash as to which combination sounds best, but all of them remain highly sought after for their silky smooth sound.

4. Fender Rhodes electric piano

Instruments are just as much in demand at FX Rentals as recording equipment, and none more-so than the Fender Rhodes electric piano. The Fender Rhodes was designed by Harold Rhodes as a simple portable instrument that he could use to teach recovering soldiers during World War II, and has gone on to become a staple instrument of blues, jazz, rock and hip-hop.

5. Yamaha NS10 nearfield monitors

Despite being nobody’s favourite, the black housing and white cones of the Yamaha NS10 became ubiquitous in studios through the ‘80s and ‘90s as the nearfield monitors everybody simply had to have. Beginning life as a poorly received home hi-fi bookshelf speaker, the NS10 was rescued from oblivion by mix-engineers, including Bob Clearmountain, looking for a portable speaker they could take with them from studio to studio.

Read the full feature celebrating 25 years of FX Rentals here.