About Studio Systems

Who are heck are Studio Systems anyway? ( also please see FACEBOOK.com/studiosystems )

 

Studio Systems is now located near LOOE in Cornwall, UK BUT WE STILL MANAGE TO TECH SUPPORT THE ENTIRE SOUNDTRACS RANGE ACROSS THE GLOBE !

 

I think this video from DUBKASM in Bristol tells the whole story very well , these guys wanted a vintage console for there new DUB studio and this movie shows the process perfectly - thanks guys!


  poor old Harri PASSED AWAY in 2015 :(
  KAM , ONE OF THE TECH GUYS FROM THE OLD DAYS

And some bloke with a small squirrel
!

typical method of transporting the SOUNDTRACS console :you need the tools !

Harry starts work!

Another Jade comes out from hiding in Brussels !

 

 

Harri is looking for suspicious substances, but sadly didnt find anything.

So moving on... what we actually do down here in Cornwall?

Soundtracs In Line 48 in the "spray shop "

You'd think I'd seen just about every console fault /problem /issue or whatever you want to call it occur in the last 23 years , but I havn't, and thats what makes it all a challenge , there are still new and nasty gremlins that creep out of the modules or are just lurking quietly ready to pounce !!!

My point is that I don't only test refurbish and repair all the consoles that come through Studio Systems, I also look for trouble , potential trouble and trouble that has been and may not have been sorted out properly. I always double check just for peace of mind, I might do a mod' or enhancement to prevent a "classic" fault from occuring: the M25 is already full of white service vans !!! And flying around Europe after the event just isnt an option .

Power supplies for instance, ALL manufactures seem to underate thier power supplies, or folks just let them get too hot, and time and time again I find myself replacing bridge rectifiers, regulators and the like. This isnt just a Soundtracs problem, ALL mixing consoles develop psu faults over the years, it what keeps the Techs in beans! Anyway I always check for signs of potential psu problems, and replace parts - just in case.

Megas battery replacement (tricky stuff)
loading test on SOURCE power supply

Work on the JADE PSU

I always give the PSUs a good going-over: I dont want to see or hear from them again for at least 5 years!!!

(see TECH HELP LINE for TOP tips on JADE and other service notes. please see our Premium Tech Support pages

Spares: as you can imagine after 25 years I have shed loads of Soundtracs bits and bobs so I can often A/B stuff which sometimes is the quickest way to fix things, or I can supply replacement modules/cards cables and the like.


Oct 2008: Heres a typical email enquiry follow-up from Tobias in Berlin, he was interested in a Soundtracs In Line 48. I thought I'd post this as its a fairly typical email:

From what I understand from reading your web-site the desks comes fully refurbished and maintained?

Yes. I have been doing this for over 20 years, every customer has been delighted with the service I provide.

Does that include recapping of any sort, exchange of faders and switches and pots where it´s necessary?

Absolutely, I don’t want to see or receive any after-sales problems, waste of everyones time, I don’t recap the whole desk, with the Soundtracs product I find the odd dried out cap. which I replace, you hear of these RECAPPING stories, it's usually needed in consoles that run too hot: with eccessive LOGIC (switching) or the caps are under- spec. (design) Soundtracs don’t suffer this problem the same as AMEK / NEVE. The only desk I ever had to replace about 200 caps on was an AMEK 2020 - a huge beast of a desk - never again !!!! Now I stick to what I know. When I get a desk in that hasn't been properly serviced for years I have to make sure every single one of thousands of connections and functions works. Customers expect EVERYTHING to be working as if it was new. This is a VERY time consuming job. Sometimes I have to fix things that havnt been working for years. For example I've just spent probably 5 days (30 hrs or so) refurbing an "In Line 48". It really amuses me,these desks pop up on Ebay and the description usually says "a few scratchy pots and switches" Believe me, as these desks get older there is a ton of work that needs doing.

I did of course search the internet about soundtracs desks and often find things about the weak patchbay. What is your experience?

Soundtracs have always used switchcraft bantam sockets, as do Soundcraft, Trident, Amek - all of them

Usually people don’t service their consoles as much as they should, allow dust and crap to drop into the PB sockets and then you get problems OR of course after 15-20 years you are bound to get mechanical stress, dry joints etc. so the usual story is people leave them for years and years then start getting hassle. Sussing out patchbay problems is real tricky stuff, basically an access nightmare: not for the feinthearted, so people get really worked up (I've been there!) and get onto the Internet forums to vent thier anger. It's the old "bad hamburger" syndrome. Actually I'm amazed how other people who read the forums judge maybe 20 years of production (hundreds of consoles) from a manufacturer after seeing a couple personal nightmare stories on a forum.

I know it´s a stupid question but I ask anyway: how would you describe the quality and sound of the IL compared to D&R desks?

I would say at this sonic level its all down to money v features, and what's out there at the time of course.

I also saw your name mentioned several times as THE expert for soundtracs. Do you know of any modifications that make sense in order to raise the sonic quality of the desk?

I've been doing this for years; I just try to restore the old girls to there former glory. There are "forum- mods" but I leave that to the boffins.

Since now I had a Tascam M3700 as mixing desk but I really don´t like it anymore (if I ever have?) one reason is the poor grounding scheme and lots of noise (not to speak of cheap build quality etc).

Well it's probably just power supply problems OR grounding problems. Tascam have made some great stuff but its all down to price of course. Soundtracs have made budget product as well as 50 grand product.

Is that also a problem with the IL, does it have a reasonable noise floor and is there also grounding a big issue, given the fact that I don´t have the best power layout at my little shed, yet.Are all the I/O symetrical in the desk?

Like I say, don’t worry. Everything will be serviced and working as it should be BUT you should always have a REALLY GOOD ELECTRICAL ground in a control room for a start off, maybe you need an earth spike? or get an electrician in to check your ground/earth quality - they use an "earth loop impedance meter" to test this. All the noise and clicks need to escape somewhere out of the system ……….to ground, probably why your Tascam is so noisy.

That´s it for now. Sorry to bug you with all these questions. But I just don´t want to spend money on another desk that´s not worth it. Of course it would be better to see and hear the thing live but I don´t know of anybody with such a desk here.

Well if you’ve got the money go for it , nice to have the right tools for the job but at the end of the day it’s the guy behind the tool !

Oh and congratulations for the game last night. We were really lame. But next time...;-)

No worries; didn’t see it , but everyone's talking about it.

WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT ANALOGUE DESKS :

this email was from Karel Post a lng time IN LINE 48 console user :

Yo Tim!

Well, about analog desks... Hmmmm

Don't think they are "Finished" YET!

Look at the Analogue synth world.

Even the cheapest of cheap analogue synth fetches several hundreds of euro's these days.
Not to mention the FLAGSHIP synthesizers like the Jupiter 8, fetching over 6000 Euro's these day's, a MemoryMoog running close to 10.000 Euro's and not to mention
vintage compressor / limiters! They are being cloned to death because there is so much money to be made.

Desks are for the connaisseur, the men with EARS, be ware that desks will sell again in 6+ years from now...

I hear more and more people complaining they "miss" something with their Pro-Tools mix.

The latest converters do not help DIGITAL either. Where DAC's of 2003 clearly outperform 2013 units, simply because the new ones have to be built "El Cheapo" and we know SMD caps sound a lot crappier then classic full sized capacitors....

Desks that are taken care for and maintained properly will hold value and in the future will rise in value, because people will get bored with the "new DAW that offers even more things you don't need"... :-)

I run a computer mix too, sure, but only to mix "same type" sounds like vocals into a stereo stream. My synths are analog and stay analog till the end.
In my studio, turning the DAW off will only kill the vocals, ALL music is put through and mixed on the desk!

Mixing Analog is like cooking on a stove, gently heating and blending under more influences then just the sum in weight and colour.
Analog mixing means pushing and pulling of voltages and amps in the desk, in a perfectly natural manner, like an organic animal. (that's my theory at least)

Digital is just adding volt value with another at one specific time only, without raise times and analog slopes, like cooking without the fire, just every ingredient into a big pan at the same time..... Perfect mathematically, but completely tasteless... Always sounding VIRTUAL, NOT REAL


Keep up the work Tim!

You're NEEDED for the MUSIC's sake.

Best regards,
Karel


Email /phone tech support: Our new phone number down in deepest Cornwall is 01503 220457 or send Tim an email

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