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Soundtracs Topaz 24:8
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T_BlueGrass_S
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#1
16th May 2009
Old 16th May 2009
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Soundtracs Topaz 24:8

I have am opportunity to buy a 24:8 ST Topaz that stays on for approx 5 min then negative seventeen (-17) light turns off and board stops working. Guy wants only $250
I have heard from a tech that , "The Diode rectifier bridges need to be replaced with GBPC2504's or equivalents and the regulators to LM338K's. The power supply is inside the console mounted on the bottom chassis and can be removed and sent to me with the external power box. Make sure that all wires are properly marked for reassembly. Turn around for me is approx 3 to 4 days and cost approx $120.00 less shipping. "
Does this sound accurate????
Good Buy..Or Bad Buy??

[IMG]http://images.***************/3na3o63pbZZZZZZZZZ95e33230c43c9f81af4.jpg[/IMG]

Many Thanks for the help!
#2
16th May 2009
Old 16th May 2009
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Good buy. It is exactly as he explained to you by him. Unscrew and lift the bottom cover carefully, mark the connectors with stickers, and unplug them without stretching them too much, unscrew the earthing from the cover and it is separated with the PSU board mounted on it. Unscrew the PSU board as well and send it off. Ask him to fill the optional blanks for the power transistors as well, so that the PSU won't heat up as much as it used to. Those transistors are normally put on for 32-8 versions, and not 24-8 versions, but they certainly help for a cooler operation. I've also found that opening up a few holes on the bottom of the sides help the air circulation inside, which makes the desk operate even cooler.

In fact, if you have the cash, actually send the entire desk to the maintenance guy, and ask him to remove the transformer inside the meterbridge, and put it outside in a box as well, and feed the desk and the meterbridge from two separate AC PSUs. At the moment the power goes into the meterbridge first, and then goes into the desk, which is a cheap solution hence not preferable in my opinion. Removing the meterbridge transformer out helps lowering the noise floor (I've had two of these, one with the VCA and mute automation, and I had modded all the fixed auxes to be post-fader as well, because I was not using pre-fade mode much.).

With the proper mods, this desk can be even more useful than it was originally planned, and performs better than many multi-thousand dollar desks of today in the same league.

B.
T_BlueGrass_S
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16th May 2009
Old 16th May 2009
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Other than the obvious..what would have to be wrong or should I look for that would make it worth repairing and not buying at this price?
#4
16th May 2009
Old 16th May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T_BlueGrass_S View Post
Other than the obvious..what would have to be wrong or should I look for that would make it worth repairing and not buying at this price?
Look out how the board is setup, either -10 or +4. It came one or the other from the factory, and switchin' is not a simple job. You have to do a solder per channel hence open up the board. Not very funny. Absolutely doable (I did mine) but a bit of a pain in the back.

Apart for that, I think the Topaz is one of the finest home studio board out there. The EQ is quite broad and musical sounding, not very precise or surgical, but good to your ears. Never tried the on board preamps (I had the Topaz for a little while my D&R was serviced and had only a chance to mix on it).

Good luck.
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#5
16th May 2009
Old 16th May 2009
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I've made some additions to my post above, just re-read it.

There's not much to go wrong on this desk. It's fairly straightforward. You could perhaps have the master section overhauled and the aux, group and master outputs converted to balanced, but I have no idea what your current setup is so I don't even know if these would be necessary for your case at all. It's one fine desk as it is, except for its relatively lower headroom compared to the bigger systems so using hi-gain pro outboard with it can get a bit tricky -or at least it was so for me, cos I like to push the sound and volume a bit further to the limits myself in my own music, and I thought that this particular desk sounded best when it had the channel signals wander in the lower red LEDs on the meter, which is why I think the headroom was always a bother for me, but for quieter applications, it was totally fine.

BTW, the mic pres on it are perfectly usable, and at least better than the ones you'd find on Digi 002. I've recorded some very acceptable drums, guitars etc on that desk.

B.
T_BlueGrass_S
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16th May 2009
Old 16th May 2009
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WOW...Thanks for the help. You really know this board. Why not just send it to you?
All seriousness, are you still mixing on a soundtracs?
FYI...I really do not record or mix any drums. Most of what we do is multi part harmonies, a lot of acoustic (Bluegrass) and stringed instuments, piano and choirs.
Lots of headroom and amibience needed. I grab some vocal and pitch correction via a TC Electronics Processor (Rack Mounted), Alesis 3630 for any compression needed and more rack mounted gobly gook most of which you never use. I capture it in Cubase 5..
Mics include Shure KSM 44, AT 2020's Shure 81 and several 57's and 58's.
I am still using plug in reverb...still looking for the Analog reverb racked unit that would compliment this style the best.
Oh yeah...Using a Behringer Xenyx 1204 mixer up to this point....>insert laughs here<
I guess Im in for a treat with this new board......

Last edited by T_BlueGrass_S; 16th May 2009 at 01:58 PM.. Reason: forgot something.....
#7
16th May 2009
Old 16th May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T_BlueGrass_S View Post
WOW...Thanks for the help. You really know this board. Why not just send it to you?
Well I am in Istanbul Turkey right now so I don't think that it would be a feasible idea

I don't work on Topaz anymore. I've had them when I was back in Glasgow, but I have moved to Istanbul last summer so I've left them behind.

If you are doing bluegrass stuff then this desk should serve you quite well. It's very easy to polish sounds on them. The EQ is very musical. I've recorded some dobro and national through it as well (yeah I know it sounds a bit weird for a Turk like me to be involved with resonators, but they sound wonderful and I love to use them in my music.)

I used to use a Kurzweil KSP8 as an analog digital reverb machine with it. I'd patch 4 or 6 auxes to KSP8's analog inputs and return their outpus to desk channels, and by automating the return channels I'd switch between short and long reverbs etc.

For a long time I looked for another 8 channel VCA board that I could connect inside with a modification to allow me to automate subgroups or auxes as well, but the desk and its optional cards were no longer in production nor in stock and none of the existing users were willing to sell theirs to me either, so that idea had to remain just an idea.

I also happen to be an electronics engineer so that kind of stuff is very easy for me but they may not be so to you, which is understandable. But still, you would make a very good use of it as it is.

I think your fellow national Jim Williams of Audio Upgrades offers a master section modification for this desk, so I'd suggest you consult to him before going ahead with any maintenance work with it. Frankly speaking I've never heard the sound of any of his work, because we are in totally different parts of the world, but judging by the things that he has done and has been doing, I can't see him going wrong with anything.

BTW, this desk is all balanced-in/unbalanced-out, so consider your wiring accordingly.

Good luck.

B.
#8
16th May 2009
Old 16th May 2009
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Bluegrass - where are you located?

I have a 32x8.. and while my studio is in a sort of temporary state until my new room is finished - I'm using it a bit, and I think it's great. I'm using it for drums at the moment - and it's definitely a pretty good cut above most small-format mixers.

If you're in the states ping Steve M.
Steven Magalnick - The Soundtracs Guy - Exclusive Authorized Representative in North America
he can hook you up with whatever you need (he may be the tech you already spoke to).
#9
16th May 2009
Old 16th May 2009
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Quote:
The power supply is inside the console mounted on the bottom chassis ...
I had a 32x8 Topaz a while back and it had an external supply.
#10
16th May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
I had a 32x8 Topaz a while back and it had an external supply.
It's only the transformer in the external box. The regulating electronics is inside the mixer.

B.
#11
16th May 2009
Old 16th May 2009
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Aha. Too bad. It would be easier to send an external supply to a tech than the whole console.
#12
16th May 2009
Old 16th May 2009
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If that supply works fine for several minutes and then shuts down, I would look at the console itself. You may have a partial short which would put the regulator into shut down mode if it gets too hot. If after several minutes of cool down and it restarts, that is suspect.

Consider removing and replacing this small and troublesome power supply. A Power One HDD-15-5AG will do fine if you add the small 1/2 amp 48 volt supply to it for phantom. Use a 5 pin XLR and 18 awg cable to wire it externally.

Jim Williams
AudioUpgrades
T_BlueGrass_S
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#13
17th May 2009
Old 17th May 2009
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Thanks Biggator....I picked up the board today and Steve M and I spoke for a while on the phone. He is super smart and Jim Williams....I couldnt find your number!
He is walking me through opening her up and removing a part that I need to send to him.
FYI...I'm in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Man I love these forums. You can learn more in 5 minutes than anywhere else on the net.
Best to all!
#14
17th May 2009
Old 17th May 2009
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Hey I've been to Spartanburg. One of my best buddies lives in Clemson and I've visited him twice there. I've flown from Spartanburg to La Guardia one of those times...

Look how small this world can get...

I thought I gave you the link to Jim Williams' Audio Upgrades website up there, where you could get his number from the contact page but anyway...

B.
#15
17th May 2009
Old 17th May 2009
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Spartanburg.. not TOO far from me (I'm north of Atlanta).

Let us know how it turns out.. I love my board.
#16
17th May 2009
Old 17th May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T_BlueGrass_S View Post
I have am opportunity to buy a 24:8 ST Topaz that stays on for approx 5 min then negative seventeen (-17) light turns off and board stops working. Guy wants only $250
I have heard from a tech that , "The Diode rectifier bridges need to be replaced with GBPC2504's or equivalents and the regulators to LM338K's. The power supply is inside the console mounted on the bottom chassis and can be removed and sent to me with the external power box. Make sure that all wires are properly marked for reassembly. Turn around for me is approx 3 to 4 days and cost approx $120.00 less shipping. "
Does this sound accurate????
Good Buy..Or Bad Buy??

[IMG]http://images.***************/3na3o63pbZZZZZZZZZ95e33230c43c9f81af4.jpg[/IMG]

Many Thanks for the help!
An incredible buy as this board was ~$6k retail with meter bridge. The preamps & Eq section are outstanding and were borrowed from Topaz's bigger (and more expensive) brothers.

Also, each channel includes a Phase reverse button (cancels out inverse phase), a Flip button (swaps Mic/Line & Tape inputs) - feature you usually find on more expensive boards. You'll find the Gain knob is extremely flexible:

- Mic gain range is +10db to +60db
- Line gain range is -20db to +30db

Now, there is an EASY -10 to +4 mod you may need to do (simple solder blob for each channel). Harvey Gerst posted it on one of these boards (I'd google search it).

By the way, you could first contact Steve Magalnick - he's the American expert on Soundtracs boards (this is the last contact info I had of him; he's a great guy and I've emailed him on an issue and was a terrific help!):

Victory Technologies Inc.
1780 N.E. 191st. Street
Apt 212
N. Miami, Florida 33179
U.S.A
Phone#: 305-944-2503
Email: mag212@comcast.net
T_BlueGrass_S
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21st May 2009
Old 21st May 2009
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Thanks for the help...not suprisingly, he (Steve M) has a manual for the board too. He is shipping it back to me with the fixed power supply. He works fast...2 day turnaround..and that guy knows the boards. He walked me through opening it up and removing the PS by memory...nice!!
Yeah..Spartanburg is a great town...1:15 from Charlotte---2:30 from Athens or Atlanta (quicker if your drive like a native from Atlanta) located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains....no complaints. I grew up in Richmond VA and then lived in Raleigh for about 15 years, so a small city is a nice change!!
All said and done, I'll have $450 in this board with the mod, new PS and meter bridge.....
Not a bad day
#18
21st May 2009
Old 21st May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
I had a 32x8 Topaz a while back and it had an external supply.
My first console many years ago was a 32 channel Topaz 8 as well. It was fine as a hobbyist board. Though as my experience (and my ability to use my ears) grew, I found it to be lacking sonically. The low end was flabby and the highs were quite harsh. I got rid of it a long time ago and I don't miss it.
#19
21st May 2009
Old 21st May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T_BlueGrass_S View Post
Thanks for the help...not suprisingly, he (Steve M) has a manual for the board too. He is shipping it back to me with the fixed power supply. He works fast...2 day turnaround..and that guy knows the boards. He walked me through opening it up and removing the PS by memory...nice!!
Yeah..Spartanburg is a great town...1:15 from Charlotte---2:30 from Athens or Atlanta (quicker if your drive like a native from Atlanta) located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains....no complaints. I grew up in Richmond VA and then lived in Raleigh for about 15 years, so a small city is a nice change!!
All said and done, I'll have $450 in this board with the mod, new PS and meter bridge.....
Not a bad day
AND, you can put your preamp purchases down on the bottom of your Gear Needs list as the preamps (and Eq section for that matter) are excellent. They aren't NEVE or SSL of course, but you are going to be VERY pleased.

By the way, if you EVER develop a hum, open the top and check the grounding wire/lug FIRST (before you get solicitations to get your power supply rebuild). I bought the identical board NOS a few years ago and after a year, the hum appeared. The fix was to open the top up and add a couple of lockwashers to the lug/flat washer/nut then tighten it back up.

Congrats on your purchase!
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