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RTW Celebrates 30th Birthday of Modest Device That Changed Audio Metering Worldwide

In 1979 Supertramp’s “Logical Song” and Billy Joel’s “My Life” topped the international charts, Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev signed the SALT II treaty, and RTW released a new peak-program meter: the 1206. While the meter was nothing much to look at, its introduction marked a significant advance in sound monitoring, one that would soon be appreciated and adopted by audio professionals around the world. Now, to celebrate the device’s 30th anniversary, RTW has embarked on a search for the oldest 1206 unit still in working condition — with a great prize awaiting the winner!

Designed as a low-cost, entry-level model, the 1206 nevertheless featured the same distinctive orange and red gas-plasma display as more expensive models. From the very beginning, the modest little meter also scored points with users for its innovative technical features, including a signal-controlled power-on/off function and two independent inputs. Over the years more improvements have been made, including double the number of per-channel resolution segments, implementation of SLR and RCA inputs as well as a sliding scale that allows quick changes between horizontal and vertical use, and housing in a new case. Today, the 1206 analog peak meter is available with multiple scale variants and optional transformer-balanced inputs. In addition, RTW now offers the 1252DIG, which provides similar functionality for digital input.

About 25,000 units of the RTW peak-program meter, which is still in production, have been delivered and are in use at broadcast studios, recording studios, and audio installations in no fewer than 42 countries worldwide. As with all RTW products, the 1206 is appreciated by professionals for its durability and robust operation, which is why so many units built during the early years of production remain in use today. To enter the contest, owners should visit and enter the serial number of their unit. Users of units lacking a serial number may contact RTW directly via e-mail (

The winner will receive a valuable RTW 10500X-PLUS monitor. In addition to the well-known PPM bar graph, this modern TFT-based monitor offers many ways to view stereo signals, including vectorscope, correlator, AES/EBU status display, and now an integrated ITU BS.1771-compliant loudness meter.