GJC Designs is a business privately owned and headed by Gareth Connor. It is the parent business of Connor Audio and Connor Electronics. We provide electronic engineering services to the professional audio, broadcast and electronics industries that include design, manufacture, customisation, installation and maintenance. We are based in the West Yorkshire area of the UK in what we believe is an ideal location for access to the rest of the UK.
I HAD A Dream...... in the 1970s
Gareth's interest in electronics started at around 10 years of age. His lifetime dedication to audio electronics started two years later when he saw the inside of a radio studio control room and wanted to know everything about the mixing console - how it worked, how to design mixers, how to build mixers - a career path was chosen: professional audio electronics. Two years later in 1975 he built and sold his first mixer - all two channels of it! By 1978, whilst still at school, he had mastered enough theoretical and practical knowledge to design and build a 12 channel console for a theatre. The standards achieved were deemed to be at the professional level, and the console was used for numerous productions in the following years. His first modular console (10 channels) was built in 1980 for the college he was attending at the time. It was subsequently donated to Gareth in 1997, and one day may become part of Gareth's museum! Until then it remains in storage.
Gareth has worked professionally in the UK's audio industry since 1982 principally in research and development roles at Soundcraft, Focusrite Audio Engineering and Nemesis Electronics where he was a founder. Nemesis was acquired by Shep Associates in 1988 and Gareth maintained an interest in the products, helping to update existing products and add new ones to the Shep/Nemesis portfolio. In late 2006, when Shep's owner moved to France, agreement was reached whereby Nemesis returned to Gareth. The intention is to continue the product line and undertake further development.
The Early Years Of GJC Designs
In 1983 Gareth started to seek-out and take-on private work, pointedly avoiding any conflicts of interest with his employer's activities and always ensuring that the full-time job took priority. It was at this time that GJC Designs was started. The private-work ethics under which GJC Designs operated were limiting to the size of projects that could be undertaken, and also the time that could be put into projects. The types of work were wide and varied: PCB design, process-control system design, and security electronics. For a number of years there was never enough regular work to encourage the jump to full-time self-employment.
Mid 1992 saw Gareth move from Soundcraft to Focusrite Audio Engineering, where he worked on the test-engineering and installation of a Focusrite Studio Console, then on to development work on the Red Range of products, in particular Red 3. Shamefully his depth of involvement has never been acknowledged.
Situations change, and in mid-1993 GJC Designs began operating as a full-time business. Its first project being a long-term design contract with Calrec Audio. After the Calrec contract ended, the business continued to grow and undertake work for various clients in and around the London area.
The New Millennium The New Beginnings
In 2000, the difficulties of working from home led to the acquisition of basement premises in central London. The space provided by dedicated workshop premises has allowed expansion into console refurbishment work, where there has been increasing activity in work on classic Neve and Calrec consoles, with the Calrec refurbishment projects covering both analogue and assignable consoles.
The extensive knowledge and experience is drawn upon in the design and development of stand alone products under the name of Connor Audio. The different name is to differentiates between the manufacturing and custom / design consultancy facets of the business operations. As with the custom work, there is a fastidiously attentive attitude to detail in circuit design, manufacturability, ease of maintenance and quality of product packaging.
By 2004 changes had been building-up in the types of work and the locations of work that the business was undertaking. The internet had been a positive influence, for with e-mail it was no longer necessary to physically be at a client's site when doing design work. Furthermore, the basement workshop was proving to have limitations on the size of consoles that could be moved in and out. It was also becoming more like an oppressive concrete bunker; great for security, but certainly not conducive to creative design. The decision was taken to re-locate. In the mid-1990's some very good times were had in West Yorkshire during the contract for Calrec Audio, and it was to West Yorkshire that Gareth first looked when seeking a new home.
Business and Personal Moves Took Place During 2005
GJC Designs and its subsidiary businesses are now all located in part of a complex of former farm buildings that have been converted to business use. The environment is exactly what was being sought when looking for new premises - open spaces, fresh air, grass and trees.... plus easy access for large consoles! Very conducive to creative work. All of the products that leave the premises genuinely fulfill the description of "the best in analogue is lovingly hand-crafted in West Yorkshire".