In the 60's a gentleman called Dick Swettenham worked as a Service/Design Engineer for Abbey Road Studios. In the early 70's he moved to work for the legendary Olympic Studios, where he was in charge of Design and Maintenance. He approached the owners of Olympic, with the idea that if they allowed him to order the parts, he could build a desk that was far more musically advanced than anything built at that time. He got his green light.
When the desk was completed it was used by many legendary musicians including the famous "Jimi Hendrix Masters" who started to book time at Olympic. Most top British and even some American recording artists were now also using Olympic Studios because of the console, including Chris Blackwell of Island Records. Blackwell decided that, instead of using the console at Olympic, it was a way smarter business idea if he built an own studio a around a Helios. But Dick Swettenham, the man who built the one and only Helios console, worked for Olympic, and it wasn’t likely Olympic would let Swettenham built another Helios for a competitor. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way. And the way was simple. Blackwell put up the funds and went into business with Swettenham to build Helios consoles.
Seven Helios consoles were originally built for Island Records which included Mobile Studios. At this time Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" was selling well for Virgin Records, so Richard Branson had Helios build three consoles, one for The Manor Studio, one for The Manor Mobile and one for Townhouse Studios. The "Who" built Ramport Studios around the Helios, The Rolling Stones built the legendary "Stones Mobile". 10cc built Strawberry Studios and so the sound spread; even the Beatles built "Apple Studios" around a green Helios Console.
In 1972 the legendary Hansa Studio Berlin "by the wall", ordered one Helios console. This console recorded David Bowie's "Low" Album, which was the first of the successful trilogy of albums Bowie made in Berlin (Low, Heroes, Lodger). As well as Bowie, other legendary music from Iggy Pop, Brian Eno, Tangerine Dreams, Zarah Leander, Ilse Werner, Eartha Kitt was recorded on Hansa’s Helios console.
Today, Helios consoles are extremely rare, indeed, and very much sought after. There are only few of these fantastic boards left in the world. The very one from Hansa Studio in Berlin - is fully discrete and has a unique wide fat and open sound. After all its faders were cleaned... removing all the dirt and other memories from the old glory days of Sex, Drugs and Rock ́n Roll, this venerable Helios console was completely rebuilt and modified with tender loving care and meticulous attention to detail by the extremely skilled designer Charly Bohaimid. Now, it is the center point of Schleiwies Studio. David Bowie and Tony Visconti remember this console as one of their favorites and both graciously signed it in 2004 when it was installed at Schleiwies Studio.