This object is a patching matrix of the same type as was used in the EMS VCS3 audio synthesisers. It was used to connect the output of the main control desk of Tristram Cary's studio with the tape recorders and the mixer he used to finish his works and listen to them.
It comes from a very early version of Tristram Cary's studio. Photographs of the Fressingfield, Suffolk studio, about 1969, show it mounted in a rack above the central mixing and signal selection panel.
It is most likely to have been assembled from surplus equipment acquired in post-WWII military equipment disposal stores in London in the early 1960s. It would certainly have been used in the production of much of Cary's electronic music and continued to be incorporated into the studio in Adelaide up to his death.
When electronic music was first developed studios consisted of packages of test instruments, like the function generators used in Cary's studio, custom built effects units such as the ring modulator and the transient waveform modifier, and various filters, echo and reverb units. There were at first no audio synthesisers until Robert Moog produced his Moog Modular system in the US about 1965. Cary's special contribution was the musical support and physical design advice he gave to his friends Zinovieff and Cockerell that led to the establishment of the Electronic Music Studios company and the development of the VCS3. Between them they produced a cheap versatile and portable audio synthesiser that could be used in schools and other music courses. Because it was so cheap it took the English popular music scene by storm and was used by many bands from the Beatles to Pink Floyd, King Crimson and soloists like Brian Eno.