I first noticed these computer/instrument... Mainframes? On Stargate SG-1.

enter image description here

(Background right)

enter image description here

(Background centre)

I've seen them in other shows too, such as Batwoman's batcave.

enter image description here

(Background left)

I'm sure I've seen these in other shows too. They are quite distinctive, looking like something out of the 60s.

They get periodic redressing but they are the same basic prop; flashing banks of lights, oscilloscopes and simple function generators, control panels with buttons.

What is the history of these props?

  • 5
    They're often old [80's] audio studio processing racks [top right in pic 1], though I've never followed their history as such. Whack some tunes through them, watch the pretty lights.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 16, 2021 at 18:54
  • 1
    @Tetsujin maybe that's an answer? I was tempted to VTC as trivia but then I saw some questions about Wilhelm scream, for example movies.stackexchange.com/questions/45631/… . Maybe this is interesting since the prop has been reused so often?
    – Luciano
    Jun 17, 2021 at 8:14
  • Only if it was actually the same exact prop...which i doubt is the case.
    – Paulie_D
    Jun 17, 2021 at 8:54
  • I can put in 'a bit of an answer', but my recognition of this stuff is because back in the 80s I actually was an engineer/producer, so just sometimes I'll recognise a bit of kit they have in one of the racks… Oooh, it's an Eventide… etc;)) I'm sure half the time it might be old lab equipment instead. It's not definite enough to claim it's always that.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 17, 2021 at 10:56

1 Answer 1


Requested to put this in as an answer, but it's really only half an answer.

Often, it's old 1980s studio audio effects rack processors.

Back in the 80s I was a studio engineer/producer, so sometimes I'll recognise a bit of kit they have in one of those racks as a piece of old 80s studio effects rack unit - maybe an old reverb or harmonizer etc. Some of them just have very recognisable faces if you used to see them a lot.
Some, on the other hand, I don't recognise at all - they might be effects I'm not familiar with, or they may be old lab equipment. In the first image in the question one bit looks like an oscilloscope… not really studio kit, more lab.
I don't specifically recognise any of the pieces in the pictures, they're too indistinct, which I suppose is the whole idea.

The advantage of a lot of the old sound effects gear [and oscilloscopes] is you can just play some music through them & watch all the pretty lights & meters on the move.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .