A celebration of Strawberry Recording Studios, Stockport,
1967 - 1993.
26th February 1981
SOUNDING OFF FROM STOCKPORT
Whenever he is on a worldwide tour, Demis Roussos uses a mobile sound system specially designed and made for him on the top floor of a town-centre building in Stockport. Weighing four tonnes, it is the biggest of its kind built here and cost £70,000. The Syd Lawrence Orchestra, The Fivepenny Piece and 10cc own sound systems which also originated in Stockport.
The firm which produced it all is Formula Sound which is housed in the same building on Waterloo Road as the Strawberry Recording Studios - another of their customers.
It is just over nine years since Tony Cockell, a recording engineer, founded Formula Sound. He built his first system in his spare time in the garage of his home in Offerton. Tony, originally a TV and electronics engineer, who also plays the guitar, realised what was needed by artisties, groups, orchestras and DJs. He and a colleague, Ric Dixon of Bramhall, who is still a director of the company but who is now in artist-management, formed themselves into Formula Sound Limited.
Tony went into the business full time, designing and building professional sound systems for mobile use and permanent installations. He was joined by his wife, Sandra, also a director, who initially worked with other part-timers on the assembly benches, but is now engaged full time in administrative work.
What is being done, high up on the third floor of 3 Waterloo Road, is an eye-opener and in many ways unexpected. Here Formula Sound's light engineering department, run by Steve Crossley, does its own metal work on centre lathes and milling machines. The firm designs their own printed circuits and produces any specialised equipment to meet clients' requirements.
Local disco installations created here include those at Quaffers Country Club, Bredbury; the Pinewood Hotel, Handforth: Carriages, Droylsden; Sidings, Alderley; and Tramtracks, Royton. A complete sound system is being installed at present at Rockfords in Liverpool.
Apart from Strawberry Studios, others using Formula Sound equipment are the Revolution Studios, Cheadle Hulme; Bootlegs in Reddish; Pluto Studios, Manchester and Cargo in Rochdale.
Sound systems have been exported to Spain and Holland and their eyes are on the American market. Tony Cockell and his colleagues are now looking into the future. Apart from manufacturing their own unique half octave graphic equaliser-analyser which is very popular here and abroad, there will be in production soon a compact modular mixing system particularly aimed at the high-quality disco market, but verastile enough for many other users. They are now building a new demonstration lounge which will allow clients to see and hear the full range of Formula Sound products.