I was wondering because somebody claimed only CBS test records had been used and I distinctly remembered my big grin seeing that RCA hanging in your CBS room. I'm curious, was that cutting room pretty much what Bill Putnum had installed before selling the studio to CBS or did they bring in their own gear like they had for the big studio?
The CBS studio in SF was leased from Putnam. Coast Recorders was the name of the SF branch of Putnam's studio empire, first on Bush Street, then they built a big new facility on Folsom Street: 3 studios, a voice-over room, dupe room, mastering and offices. Within months after the grand opening CBS approached him about leasing space there. This was the beginning of the SF rock explosion and several labels wanted a foot on the ground there. CBS made a deal with Putnam for two studios, the cutting room and a couple of offices. Coast continued to operate the rest of it. A lot of the gear came from Coast, a lot was shipped in by CBS. They shared a lot of staff too: George Horn, in charge of cutting and maintenance, had done the same thing for Coast before being hired by CBS. Mike Fusaro came over from Coast too.
The equipment in the cutting room belonged to Coast for the most part. The lathe was already theirs. They built a console--actually in vertical racks, but functionally the console--to CBS's specs. It was put together by Bob Bushnell, working for Putnam in LA. It included a couple of proprietary pieces that were built by the console shop at CBS in New York. (Ironically, I eventually bought an almost identical system that had been installed in the CBS Records studio in Hollywood: vertical racks, Scully lathe, even the proprietary gear. Even more ironically, the lathe has a property tag from CBS Records in Stamford, CT, indicating it may be the lathe they used to cut the CBS test records.)
After four or five years Coast moved over to Mission Street, David Rubinson moved in and took over the remaining studio, naming it The Automatt, and we moved the cutting room into larger quarters across the hall. I continued to cut in there even after CBS left and The Automatt took over the whole operation, until 1983 I think.
Back to your point, I kept the RCA test records that we had at CBS, used them to keep the system aligned in The Automatt, and use them to this day at my own shop. Don't tell George Horn, he probably wonders where they went.