Well, it has finally happened and though I have never mentioned anything about it on the Blog, my mixing board has died. While I do enjoy servers and photography my first love is audio. I am in the process of building a recording studio and was using a older mixing board made by an English company called ‘Soundtracs’. I had the 16 channel version of the Solo series. It was a very basic board lacking any kind of automation or other advanced features but it had a rich punchy sound that I just loved.
I bought it I would say about a year ago on Ebay for something like $300 USD and had no idea what to expect from it. I had read a lot of information about the board and it came very highly reviewed by almost everyone I could find that had used one but I hadn’t heard of it until it was recommended to me. The seller, being in Canada, started the shipping process. It took ages. I thought the jokes about Canadians being slow were just jokes….Truth be told it was US Customs that held it up. A ton of paperwork had to filled out and faxed to all corners of the galaxy and then signed by George W himself in order to get the thing moving.
It finally arrived and I was immediately thrilled with the board. When I first powered it up I plugged in a crappy microphone and just spoke into it and it was clear that this board was something a bit different. I had a friend of mine over at the time and without even knowing what I was doing said ‘Wow, that sounds great!’ Since that day that board has been a real joy to work with. It was very easy to use and very versatile. It had all of the features I needed and sounds amazing. Only trouble was it was 15 years old and when I got it it worked great but I don’t think it had seen much use in a while and it started to deteriorate about 6 months after I bought it. I’m sure being kept in a very cool enviroment during the winter didn’t help much either. It was always kept above freezing and never used in an unheated room but the cold took its toll.
So, about 10 days ago the board finally got too difficult to use. The problems with it are actually very simple but quite numerous and crossed the line from annoyance to unbearable. Switches would crackle or fail to make a solid connection. Faders would somehow forget where they were supposed to be and just start blasting. I mean I’d be in the middle of rehearsal and the piano channel would just crack for about 30 seconds and then just drop off or the overall volume in the room would just jump 20-30db out of the blue. I routed around the issues at first, repatching things as needed but it just got to be to much and I had to retire it.
The good news is that the board can be salvaged, sort of. My friend has taken it upon himself to try and create out of the ashes 8 channels that I can keep in a rack case. So far it looks like it may work. We still have a long road ahead but we’ll see. I will of course keep updating the blog with progress.