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Board Maintenance or New Board

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by DavidDaMonkey, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. DavidDaMonkey

    DavidDaMonkey Active Member

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    We are using a 32 channel VLZ Mackie at our theater that has been there for as long as I have. I've been told its been around for about 10 years. It has never been maintained, has been treated poorly, has had all manners of food and beverages probably spilled on it. We have multipe dirty pots, channels that flat wont work, missing knobs and faders, and who knows what else. All I know to do is blow it out with compressed air.

    My question/s is/are this: is there more maintenance I can do to this? Should it be sent off? I am of the opinion that this board has served its time and we should get a new one. The theater spends money on all sorts of other things, but keeps putting off getting a new board even though they've been talking about it for years. Am I unreasonable to keep asking for a new one?
     
  2. howlingwolf487

    howlingwolf487 Active Member

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    Maybe you can post some pictures to give us a better idea of the severity of the matter...

    BUT I would say:
    Get a new console. Frankly, any mixer or console that has been not been maintained or cleaned out for so long (or ever) should be replaced. I wouldn't trust it for another show if I found it in such a condition as you describe. Your employers hired you because they felt your skills and knowledge could benefit their venue. If your main work surface is not functioning properly, you cannot do your job effectively.
     
  3. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Yep, replace it. It's a Crappy Mackie, and it's been treated rough too.

    The first thing I'd look to is an A&H GL2200, or its newer counterpart the GL2400. The Mixwizard is a good choice too if 16 channels will fit.

    I know you guys don't have a lot of space there, otherwise I'd suggest a larger board like a Yamaha GA32 or MC3204.
     
  4. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Having just returned from a meeting at a university where this issue was raised, consider presenting a plan to prevent the same situation from occurring again if/when you ask to purchase a new console. Showing that you are addressing maximizing the useful life of new equipment and minimizing any required ongoing maintenance may help.
     
  5. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I second the GL2200 or GL2400 recommendation. Rock solid boards. And if the board hasn't been cleaned in that long, I think it's time for a replacement.
     
  6. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I agree, replace the board. It is to critical a piece of equipment not to be reliable.

    ~Dave
     
  7. airkarol

    airkarol Member

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    We have a few Mackie consoles. As we replace them, they move down to the less-important spaces. We just replaced a 32 Ch. Mackie with an APB Spectra Ti-48, (HUGE improvement) however, no matter what you decide to do, it's probably worth getting the console repaired. Our 24 Ch Mackie console just came back fully working. The 32 is about to get serviced at a Mackie Service center.

    If you get it fully serviced, it will most likely come out working great. (Great as in Mackie-Great, it won't magically turn into a decent mixer :p)

    It's probably worth it, because then you can have a backup mixer, or have a bit of money if you decide to sell it.

    My two cents. :D
     
  8. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Dave, which venue is this at, by the way?
     
  9. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Compressed air is generally a bad idea for cleaning electronics. Compressed air is WET due to condensation, and it also contains small amounts of cylinder oil, both of which are highly undesirable in electronics. The only thing that air compressor should do is power a nail gun, run a paint sprayer, or pump up the tires on your Schwinn.

    I prefer to vacuum as much dust out as I can, and the reverse the vacuum to blow what remains. You do have to be careful not to drive the dirt further into places where it could do more harm, like into fan bearings.

    I'd lean toward seeing what Mackie service can do with the console, but if you decide not to spend the money, then you have nothing to lose by trying some fixes. I have had great luck cleaning switches and connectors with Caig DeoxIT. Often, dead channels are a dirty switch contact inside the insert patch point jack. For faders, try Caig's Fader Lube. I have no experience with it, but it might be as good as their other products.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2008
  10. DavidDaMonkey

    DavidDaMonkey Active Member

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    Just to clarify, I meant those little canisters of compressed air that are specifically meant for cleaning things. I"ve seen those used on electronics all the time. Are they also bad?
     
  11. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Not blaming DavidDaMonkey as he probably inherited the situation but does anybody else see the irony here? I bet the administration/management might.
     
  12. jkowtko

    jkowtko Active Member

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    I've used one of those boards in the past -- it was horrible ... very noisy preamps, etc. Probably was just old and falling apart.

    If the establishment can afford $1000 or so I would shoot for a used Allen & Heath GL2200/2400, Soundcraft LX7, or Yamaha GX. Aside from the noise issues you should notice an improved clarity of sound with a Soundcraft or A&H board over the Mackie. The Yamaha I don't know firsthand and is probably a step down from SC or A&H, but is probably still a notch up from what you have.

    And if there are times when you won't be around to protect the board and fear it getting trashed, you might consider picking up a smaller second board, such as a Mackie 1604 series, which can be found in the $200-300 range on the used market. Those seem to be well respected and are easily portable.
     
  13. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Also keep an eye on Ebay, Soundbroker, et al. Good deals pop up there at least every now-and-then.

    A buddy of mine and I have a small on-the-side soundco. We deal mainly with the church youth rally market in the area. Not a lot of business, but it's fun. We've in this past year gone from only one console (a crappy Behringer digital) to four(!) good 32-channel consoles .. each of them a good deal we couldn't pass up, two of them over the Interweb.

    Something like an older GL or MC board might be a winner.
     
  14. DavidDaMonkey

    DavidDaMonkey Active Member

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    We actually have an offer from another company that uses our building to buy their A&H GL2400 with road case for a very decent price. The new boss, however, refuses to buy anything "used" (even though this board is trotted out MAYBE twice a year, and is otherwise kept in storage in a top quality road case). She also has some obsession with Yamaha because "that's what they used at her old theater" and she has a "special relationship" with Yamaha. I don't know what that means, but I can't help but be reminded of the recent Office episode about business ethics :rolleyes: . It doesn't matter to her that I'm going to be the one running it, not her.

    Oh, she also refuses to get the Mackie fixed (price not an issue here) and would rather junk it just because she doesn't like Mackie.

    Anyway, all ranting aside, form the price range and seeing what is on Yamaha's website, it looks like the Yamaha MG series is my only choice (particularly the MG32). Anyone had any experience with these? I personally feel like this is just taking a step sideways instead of forwards. I've heard that the Yamaha quality doesn't necessarily extend down into their cheaper line of boards, but I've never had any analog Yamaha experience. If anyone can give me any ammo, I might use it to try one more time to talk her into the A&H, but otherwise I'll just be happy to get ANY new board.
     
  15. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Aha.

    A problem you're going to run into is that Yam has gotten rid of most of their mid-line analog consoles. The MC and GA lines are (or rather, were) nice mid-line consoles .. not as top-end as the PM4K, not as low-end as the MG. If you have to buy Yamaha, there's absolutely nothing between MG and PM5K.

    And, on MG series .. it's what they had to come out with to compete with Mackie. It's cheap crap. To buy Yam MG is exactly the same as to buy Mackie. So that means you're in luck: your boss has just promised to buy you a PM5K or 5D or M7 or LS9.
     
  16. TimmyP1955

    TimmyP1955 Active Member

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    They would seem to be OK, but they don't have enough poop to get the job done.


    Other than performance and superior channel EQ, one of the nice things about the A&H is that it is built from individual circuit boards. If something needs fixin' the tech can remove just that channel. On a Mackie such as yours, oftentimes a repair means removing innumerable knobs and pot nuts to get to the problem.

    I believe that the Yamaha also has the single PCB construction "problem". Additionally, it's not as good a console as the A&H. I'd take a used A&H over a new Yammie or Mackie any day. (I work for a Yamaha piano and electronic keyboard dealer, and we cannot buy Yamaha consoles. As such, I doubt she has a "special relationship" - I think she just likes to exercise her power.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2008
  17. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    For those of you who are worshipping the A&H, do you ever wonder why many riders do not spec them. While out on the road, I had 2, they both had channels going out, when they were only about a year old. Luckally I was not the owner, b/c i would never buy one. With the makie, we own several, one needs some serious work, it managed to not get put back in its case and got ran over by a bunch of other road cases, so besides missing about half the faders it still works. I would look at the sound craft, as a nice mid range console, the pre's are very sweet. On multiple PCB construction, it differs across the yamaha, some lower consoles have one or two boards, on the higher end they are single channels or groups of 4-5. Yamaha doesnt have as warm of a sound as the soundcraft, but it can be helped by some good engineering. Yet when you get into the 1 and 5d's they are really nice. I always purchase for rider friendlyness, common no's are Allen and Heath, Peavy (hard to believe....), and Mackie. They all way sound craft, Yamaha, Midas. Also take a look at the Midas consoles they are a bit of money, but in this business its mainly you get what you pay for. Also the crest console are not bad.
     
  18. howlingwolf487

    howlingwolf487 Active Member

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    Most of the problems associated with any of the Allen & Heath consoles I have worked with have been related to a ribbon cable, somewhere inside, that simply needed to be reseated to its PCB. Our GL4000 has a little bit of funkiness going on with the meter (a loose ribbon cable that is grounding to the chassis, maybe). It does not affect audio or monitoring quality, so we haven't opened up the console to fix it yet.

    That being said, I would also recommend a look at Soundcraft. The GB4 and GB8 are cool consoles with a good feature set for the money (no pads and a couple other small gripes, but that's it). Some of the Crest is good, too. I would also look at the APB Dynasonic Spectra or ProDesk series. Fantastic analong consoles are still to be had -check 'em out.
     
  19. jkowtko

    jkowtko Active Member

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    And for the low end of Soundcraft, the LX7 (original version, not the ii) can be found more cheaply than the A&H GL2400 or GL2200. No pad, individual phantoms, or polarity switches, but the smooth faders and quality sound is there. I was lucky and found an LX7-32 for under $1000 and it has been a world of difference over the Mackie CFX-20 that I replaced. I imagine you would hear a similar improvement.
     
  20. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    This should not be interpreted to be an A&H specific problem. A goodly number of consoles with seperate channel cards suffer ribbon problems at varying times. Vibration worls them loose, and much of the time, reseating the connectors will fix the issues. Not this also applies to things like active splitters which can suffer the same problems...
     

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