Soundtracs Technical Help

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Cables and Installation

Picture of phono connectorsWe have been doing studio installs' for nearly twenty years and its about the only thing in pro audio that hasn't changed in the last twenty years - you still need a soldering iron, a pile of cable and tons of various connectors... And once its all hooked up that's when the fun starts : chasing earth hums, gremlins and strange alien events!

We at Studio Systems have been there, seen it all and got the T shirt.

We can price up a job and offer various price breaks and options. All our large consoles with integral patch bays are usually hooked up using 56-way EDAC connectors / multicore and balanced line connections. This configuration usually works out at roughly £6/line on a 4m run or £8 /line terminating on XLRs:

So a 16 way EDAC > 3m > 16 x balanced gold jacks will set you back around £100. (Studio Spares price is about £120 and VDC £140 inc VAT)

We can make up any configuration you require - please email for a quote.

Day-to-day maintenance

For switch cleaner use CAIG DE OXIT at £15 per 200ml is the best spray for switches and especially those annoying INSERT /send and return jack sockets. (Remember the Studiospares BURNISHER tool is king for this job too).

We are still searching for a new POT cleaner as you cant get SWISH anymore (EEC ruling). OMEG recommend using IPA spray.

Tech. stuff

THE BIG question I keep getting asked is about UPGRADING the ICs in these older consoles. Steve from VTI who does the USA tech support has to have the last word on this :

The IC looks as if the specs are like that of the TI/BurrBrown and will definitely cause your console to sound sterile. The LM4562 is a higher slew rate (20V vs 8V) lower distortion and noise floor approx 50% lower than the chipos used.

The problem with all this is that the console voltages are at the maximum rail capacity and therefore they will cause extreme problems as well as with all "New and Improved" IC's, draw lots of current and sound completely sterile.

The console was designed with the IC's that were state of the art at the time and maximized for their use. In all my years of playing with some of the IC's out there I find they change the sound so drastically that the console is no longer what it was designed to sound like nor is it preferable to how it was. Almost none of my clients have ever kept the newer chips.

Their consoles were no longer British sounding with a warmth and musical charachteristic that makes them what they are.
Please feel free to try 1 channel with the newer IC 1st, only in the 5532 spot as the TL072 is a J-FET chip and very warm. If you like it then change the TL072.

Please let us know what you think.

Steven M
Exclusive National Authorized Soundtracs Analogue Service

Another "chip" enquiry from Alec in London who wanted to enhance his PC Midi console, which he loves. He suggested putting in LM4562

Steves reply:

The LM4562 has a better noise spec and higher slew rate. The 55MHz bandwidth is great but be careful of compensation and stability under unity gain.
Another factor is that the max V is +/-17V and may cause offset if not failure problems as well as limit headroom.

The 5532 is still the baby to stay with and has a bit more crunch in the sound but fuller sound vs bandwidth.

If you would consider trying the OPA2107 for the 5532 only in the Master summing or fader booster I believe you may be more pleased even though I still think you will move back to the 5532.

The LT1359 is a very impressive chip from checking the spec sheet and seems to be unity gain comp'd. The operating voltage may again cause a problem and be extremely careful with overshoot and ringing as it is a very high slew rate amp. Never saw one for audio application with 600V/us and would feel
that would have a very fragile high end and possibly limited low end. Please be careful to not exceed the specified rail voltages.

I am sure that you will find that the TL074's have the warmth and fullness that is more classic to the vintage console sound.

Please let me know how the test goes. I would appreciate it. Talk with you soon.

Alec's reply:

Thanks again Tim - I'm sure that will be fine.

Steve has been very helpful indeed with his advice about the chips and I must say I am close to admitting there will be no benefit. However, if I do try changing the master summing chip I will let you know how it goes. If you like I can send some sound files for you to judges yourself.

I intend to recap the power supply with the best quality components I can get my hands on.

The lead that accompanies it has a Studiosystems sticker on it so it is quite possible you have already done this yourself. However, as I don't know how long ago that might have been it can't hurt to do it again.

The desk does sound very good in my opinion. I have no other desks to directly compare it with but A/B comparisons with in-the-box mixes I have done are so "night and day" it's almost funny.

Thanks again,

Tim's 2 pence worth: In my opinion if you really want to get the best out your SOUNDTRACS console give the POWER SUPPLY a damn good service !!It is WELL WORTH fitting new smoothing and other circuit - stability caps', beefing-up the ground planes and replacing any suspect overheated cabling, if the transformer looks like its been on gas mark 8 for the last 10 years put a new one in. I can do all this for you : Find a two week break in your consoles busy life and send the supply down to us in Cornwall and we'll give it a good thrashing ! A very good investment if you plan on keeping the "old girl" for another five years (and the console!)





These supplies a FAR superior to the original SOUNDTRACS supplies and use about 75% less electricity than the old LINEAR type SUPPLIES: thats a saving of about 150 GBP of electricity /year !!!


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