The true use of mic checks!


This past weekend my college, Saginaw Valley State University, was putting on Fiddler on the Roof, for the second weekend. All was going well until the second to last show. I was using a 32 channel Crest Century GT console with 28 mics and various monitors and recording outputs. An hour before house opens we start mic checks. My friend (calc) was starting the checks for me while I was finalizing some recording settings. He started the check on Tevye, and it started to feed back and send bad signal to the subwoofer. So I natually go out to the mixing position and see what was going on and by the time I got there, smoke was poring out of the main mono channel. We kill the power to the board and it still was sending signal to the speakers so we pull the outputs. All the while smoke is now comming out of both the main mono and main right channel as it reaks with the smell of burning circuits. We then start unscrewing the ripping out the main channels on the board. Three minutes go by until we get the mains out. As we pull out the main right channel it is still on fire. By this time we have the stage manager, director, and the couple of people from the cast who know something about tech. Once we got the fire out we had to decide what to do and fast because we only had an hour until house opened. We had no replacement parts and no board to take parts from. So I deciede that I need the two small 16 channel Crest Century TCs and join them together. I send someone to contact the Conference Center, because they have all of the equipment (I know it sucks having to request equipment from them, including gaff tape and mic cables). The message back I get is that their (unknowledgeable) tech will be here in 15 minutes. I told them I dont need their tech I need a sound board from their lockup. By the time I finished hooking up all the equipment and setting all the monitor routings we had just enough time to do mic checks with only holding the house for 5 minutes. We ended up selling out the house that night. The show went on without a hitch and no major equipment failures. It sure made a memorable run of the show. In the end we ended up frying two channel boards, and traced it to starting on the main mono board, burning through the board, burning the paper on the back side of the board and starting the main right board on fire. What a night!

Sound Designer/Operator
well it sounds like you had an entertaining show..... it wouldn't be fun if you didn't have the fun fires on your sound board every now and then....

your very lucky that you had the place right next door to get the extra equipment that you needed, as you needed it..... I know had that happened to me....yea.......

sounds like a fun night....
Jeremy and myself are really the only two knowledgable individuals capable of running the extensive setup we had created. To add to the confusion, I was already in costume and makeup as the Rabbi, which consists of heavy age makeup and a long beard. With several layers of clothing and a heavy overcoat, I was already warm just sitting there.
Two of the circuit boards we took out of the board were fried pretty good. We took them to a Crest Tech today, and he had never seen such damage. It looks like a resistor on the lower end of the Mono Out board started the problem. This left scorch marks extending upwards, and the heat lit the paper insulation on the back of the board on fire. The fire spread to the next board over, (Right Out) and melted numerous components. Most of the buttons on that board no longer depress (a few melted so they stick out at strange angles), and about half the knobs don't turn. We'll post pictures soon.
sounds like an eventful night... however more pressing matters, is it just me or are there now three jeremy's here... correct my if im wrong, but isnt wolf a jeremy?

dont let me down!
He, I once had a lighting board lock up on me, one of the PSU's capacitors was failing, and I remember this happened an hour before the opening of the doors. We had someone send me a console (dumb, I had 45 channles, they sent me a 24ch..wide mode= no presets!!!!) I had to mannualy do 144 cues!!!!!!! By heart cuz I didn't have a cue sheet, just a script saying when to send a cue. :(

This was the show before the closing night. I re progrmmed all on closing night and some dude sat on top of the DMX line and severed it...nice light show we had there!

As an off note, the director actually went on stage before the show and said me had some technical difficulties, but "We have Iñaki at the board so he will make everything go smooth". I had 300 faces turn and look at pressure huh?
Here's a link to pictures. Please excuse the lack of any formatting on the web page, but I don't have the time right now.

You can see that both boards were serviced at one point, within a few days of each other. The Crest Tech we took them to says that most of the resistors on the main mono board are shot, not just the two that are scorched.
Wow, really glad I wan't the one that had to deal with that at the time. Good job hooking everything up and opening on time!!!

i had the same problem once withh a A&H desk one of hte gx or gz models or whatevre they are... blew outthe main mix, had to do the whoe with 2 24channel desks and a 16 channel desk, luckily another tech for pioneer was able to fix it that night and get it back into action!
ha. those pics crack me up.
i might print them out and put them on my wall.
o dear.
we had a dodgey external PSU on a new Behringer last year.
finally went and hour before a night of the prodution.
luckily i wasnt on sound.
it was a known fault too.
So, now that the show is done, the board is still out of service, but we have moved on to the next show with a smaller board. The next problem arises, our right woofer amp just went into protected mode last night. I dont know why yet, I will be looking into it today. Somehow this is connected to the board fire. The amp is a Crest CKS 800-2. Very interesting, all I hope for now is that the LCR sums and the digital processors aren't fried too. This is really bad because the whole system is about 8 years old, but it hasn't been very well maintained (not by my choice, this is my first year here). In the past the technicians' managers did not let them maintain the system because if it is working why do we have to maintain/fix it. Well, its time now to go see what else is in serious disrepair.

last year we did yet another rough setup but we had a snake and mixer by then. we had the amps up under the stage, guitar amps on the stage and most of these and the mixer we hacksawed the earth off the plugs to stop the 50Hz hum in the system. (i think most of you have a different deal with your power).
i was doing stuff down at the desk and a (junior) techie ran down and said my amp was pissing out smoke.
when i got there they had turned it off and unplugged it.

curiously enough it works fine now.
with the earth connected, mind.

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