Monday, February 2, 2009

new board

The ol Mackie 1604, alas, is not as reliable as it once was. I saw a 24 channel Allen & Heath System 8 put up on the local Craigslist for....well, not quite peanuts exactly, but it was a pretty good deal. The guy said a friend of his who worked for FedEx managed to get it from some place, and thru his job was able to transport it from whereever it came from to KC. Then that guy passed away, and the guy I bought it from (a friend of the deceased) said the last owner's family had given it to him to more or less get rid of. Serial # = 4144, which makes it a MkIII, probably built 1987-1988 or so.

Pretty much everything seems to work. Some of the knobs and fader caps are busted off, and it's missing some case screws, but that's strictly cosmetic; I get some noise when I adjust some of the input trim pots, but it's not too overwhelming; the VUs don't light up and some of them (although not 1/2 and the master L/R) don't seem to work at all; and some of the more arcane jacks on the rear panel don't seem to want to function either. (I'd love it if I could get the cue/monitor outs to work, for example....)

But all in all, it sounds fairly clean and well-taken care of, even if it is a little beat-up looking. Here it is....

So I went out to Olathe to look at it....I didn't have the full amount at the time anyway, so I figured I could pay half and take the power supply. Instead, he told me to take the board and come back for the PSU! Luckily my neighbor was home, and he helped me drag this heavy sonofabitch into the basement. I reckon the board weighs north of 80 lbs, maybe 100.

So I finally got the power supply about a week ago. The seller said he had gone to the trouble of ordering the PSU directly from A&H before he sold it, which would indeed make the damn thing a lot easier to sell. The literature refers to a different model # than this one, so the seller was definitely telling the truth about getting a brand new PSU.

What sold me were 1) the direct outs on every input channel....

....and 2) the weird group output/tape return section.

(These jacks correspond to the fader section on the far right hand side on the front of the mixer.)

For some reason, the group routing buttons on each input channel (left side of mixer) and the returns (outputs) from tape go to the same faders, and you switch between the two functions with a button. The bus outputs are male XLR, which I find bizarre, but was probably really useful for anybody using an 8-track tape deck, which is what this was obviously designed for. Since this thing has only three (mono!) auxes, and my headphone amp is eating up two of them, I really need to get those bus outs working.

What has me excited is that since I record to a Delta 1010LT, I can connect all 8 outputs to my 8 tape returns, which is after all what they're for. When I had the Mackie hooked up, I had to either run the outputs from the Delta to the patchbay or not use them at all. I mostly didn't use them. I don't really have much outboard gear to speak of, so I guess it's not that big a deal. But I'll still be able to create different headphone mixes just by adjusting the aux 1-2 sends on the tape returns (instead of having to mute things on the computer).

And if (when, really) I get a 2nd Delta, I'll still be able to route all 8 of that card's outputs to tape returns 9-16, giving me even more flexibility. This will save me a lot of repatching. And if for whatever strange reason I need to do something drastic with Delta outputs 13-14, I can just stroll to the back of the A&H and move the cable over to a leftover input channel (cause I'll always have several spare input channels, which is a good thing), push one button to send it to a group fader, and then I can zip it anywhere in the room from the patchbay.

Or I could just get insert cables and wire all of those to the patchbay.

Today's lesson: jacks are a good thing.

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