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can my alesis quadraverb be saved?
Old 18th June 2015
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

can my alesis quadraverb be saved?

Hi everyone,

I recently got my hands on a free alesis quadraverb. The unit has two problems..

1. the display is very faint, but works. I MIGHT be willing to see if I can fix this but i'm not patient or skilled with soldering so it would have to be a ribbon connector for me to have the nerve to try it.

I recently repaired my ESI-32 display with a NOS display so Im' feeling a little more confident getting under the hood and hey this alesis quadraverb was free so that's also encouraging.

2. it works ok if i play really soft (no matter how much the input knob is down or up.. but if the sound gets very strong (even moderate signal) there is this aweful digital static that is heard on top of the sound... imagine almost like "I can't get no satisfaction" buzz that's constant and on top of the sound not "in" the effect.

It doesn't feel like a loose wire.. because it's not like shaking the unit does anything.. or bumping it.. (not that i was doing this much, heh).. but you know maybe it's something that's dirty or a chip that might be loose or something?


Any thoughts on how this might be saved would be appreciated. I can't afford to take it in to get looked at. it was free and i'm on a budget so I'm trying to see if i can DIY.


Thanks!
Caleb
Old 18th June 2015
  #2
Lives for gear
IMHO I think you would be better off finding a budget lexicon for <$100 rather than fooling around with this piece. The quad verb isn't exactly a great sounding unit to my ears. Functional yes, but Not "good" sounding in 2015.
Old 18th June 2015
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

good to know. i am kinda going for a early 90's / late 80's authentic sound so in some ways "not great in 2015" is not so bad, but yea my intent is to either fix it up and salvage it for what it's worth or sell it off for parts (power supply is still good, and kinda funky/unique).

I just wonder what the issue could be and if it's something that could be fixed somehow.
Old 18th June 2015
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Paradigm X's Avatar
 

IMHO the quadraverb is a great FX unit, all over early warp/90s techno/shoegaze all sorts.

if its not the screen it could be the PSU.

The PSU caps prob need to be replaced and would also benefit massively from this if still original. Fairly easy if you can desolder ok.

Theres also a good mod to reduce noise, im short of time now but ive posted in here before, search all the quadraverb threads.

cheers
ben
Old 18th June 2015
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

interesting thought about the power supply.. that might also explain the dim screen? and i could see how a stronger signal might be drawing more current to process.. i'll look into it.. because it IS the original

and yes you nailed it.. shoegazer sound.. cocteau twincs.. slow dive.. good stuff..
Old 18th June 2015
  #6
Lives for gear
 
emrr's Avatar
PSU is a thought, I bought a second hand unit once that was delivered with a 220VAC foreign PSU, it worked on 120 but the screen was extremely dim. Finding the right supply fixed it. As well the backlight could be dying.
Old 18th June 2015
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

@ emrr was it the text part that was dim or did the entire backlight feel dim? in my case it seems like the orange backlight seems fairly bright only the lcd text appears dim..

if the backlight is dying i don't think it would impact the sound which seems to be the case.. I love the idea that they are both potentially related.

bah! why couldn't these people make power supplies that were universal (i know why) but man what a pain..
Old 18th June 2015
  #8
Lives for gear
 
emrr's Avatar
There's not a screen contrast you haven't found is there?

My case the whole thing was dim and lacked contrast with the wrong supply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by part12studios View Post
@ emrr was it the text part that was dim or did the entire backlight feel dim? in my case it seems like the orange backlight seems fairly bright only the lcd text appears dim..

if the backlight is dying i don't think it would impact the sound which seems to be the case.. I love the idea that they are both potentially related.

bah! why couldn't these people make power supplies that were universal (i know why) but man what a pain..
Old 18th June 2015
  #9
Lives for gear
 
belzrebuth's Avatar
 

The display replacement is not that difficult.
See here : https://neilfrost.wordpress.com/2013...t-lcd-display/

The caps to change for reducing the noise of the unit are C3 and C7.Replace with same mF but 50 or 63V .
It's a good idea to replace the PSU caps with new.I also replaced the cable in one of mine.It was used live a lot by the previous owner so it wasn't in its best condition.
Great units btw,and still cheap so worth repairing.
Old 18th June 2015
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

I actually just bought a Zoom 9030 from a guy and he's selling a QV and has agreed to meet me to test the unit out with his verified / working power supply to see if it works. This will save me a lot of trouble / risk to know what the problem is. I'm hoping it is though getting a new power supply is going to run about $50.. I'm not skilled or confident enough to get into soldering things or repairing capacitors but I do know a couple of guys I can ask to see what they might charge and your insight is a big help on being able to give them clear instructions!
Old 18th June 2015
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by part12studios View Post
i am kinda going for a early 90's / late 80's authentic sound
I hate to break it to you, but it's 2015 and there nothing you can do can make authentic early 90's / late 80's sound. The whole idea of doing so is contrived and artificial.

Just because most modern DAW productions sound worse in some ways than old lower budget hardware, doesn't mean that using cheap old gear is going to be authentic. What made that era inspiring was that it was new and fresh. Trying to recreate it 25 years later is anything but.
Old 18th June 2015
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

it's not saying the music is any more "real" or genuine.. its about using the gear of the time. working within the limitations, so just relax man.



I've used modern DAWS and for me i found them to be a little overwhelming and distracting with so many possibilities and tweaks.. my perfectionist comes out and it seems like perfection even with limitless possiblities seems hard to achieve and that's just me.. but in reality after awhile I realized it just isn't as exciting as I thought they would be over the years as I went over to Cubase SX then Ableton Live and test driving several others as well.

However for a project I'm doing (music for a video game i'm working on set in a post apocalyptic 1996, with mix tapes and all) I'm going back to how I enjoyed making music at that time using gear that at that time i could never afford but now are bargains.

I have thought about your point before you mentioned it. Depeche Mode and all those 80's bands were using state of the art stuff.. and that's great.. i couldn't afford the best stuff then and I really don't want to buy the best stuff now.

I don't have to use this stuff I choose too and it's fun. If it's not fun, something isn't right.
Old 18th June 2015
  #13
Lives for gear
 
S2udio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreengold View Post
I hate to break it to you, but it's 2015 and there nothing you can do can make authentic early 90's / late 80's sound. The whole idea of doing so is contrived and artificial.

Just because most modern DAW productions sound worse in some ways than old lower budget hardware, doesn't mean that using cheap old gear is going to be authentic. What made that era inspiring was that it was new and fresh. Trying to recreate it 25 years later is anything but.
What has that rant got to do with the title of the OP's thread !??

The QV can be modded into a very "useable" unit ........for any generation.

But What.....?

Quote:
Originally Posted by part12studios View Post
I don't have to use this stuff I choose too and it's fun. If it's not fun, something isn't right.

Last edited by S2udio; 18th June 2015 at 06:06 PM..
Old 18th June 2015
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

So yea I'll be sure to let you know how it goes. In case anyone else has this problem. I'll also see if I can get a video of the faulty behavior so future folks (assuming the power supply test works) people might know what to look for as a quick solution because if I hadn't dug a little deeper I might have just sold it "for parts" and actually be able to make good use of it.
Old 18th June 2015
  #15
Lives for gear
 
belzrebuth's Avatar
 

I don't see any problem trying to emulate/recreate production techniques that were used to create music you (and others) still listen and admire.
It's not truly original nor authentic and the "sound" you're trying to achieve is not "yours" but the results could be also interesting and maybe unique or their own.
Plus,many people are still listening to extinct or obsolete genres to this day.
'Retro' elements inside popular music and the whole hipster thing and such is fake and contrived/bland but trying to keep a scene and sound alive is not something bad IMO.
Old 18th June 2015
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

yea for me it's mostly fueled by nostalgia.. I'm 41. This is a way of reconnecting with my 20's and all the ideas I had back then that I always meant to finish.. and now i have the means and time to finally get back to those old mini-tape riff ideas and demos.

Portishead did a nice job with "Dummy" of doing retro sound in new ways.. and that's just one aspect of it all for me.. having a zoom 9030 now doesn't mean i'm going to sound like NIN but it is cool to realize i'm starting with at least an element of what made Broken and Downwards Spiral sound like they did.. I'm not going to, nor am I trying to copy any ones sound as much as just using the old stuff to try new things.

The tools we use influence the music we make.. the UI of one is different than another and which features are easier to use on one vs another are likely to effect which habits a user develops using said tool.. So I'm trying out Bars and Pipes Professional for midi sequencing on the Amiga 1200.. or if I decide that's still too busy, there is good ol' Tiger Cub a 12 track midi sequence I used for years with its ability to use the Amiga's internal 4 voice 8 bit sound chip as a sampler along with external midi sequences..

good times
Old 18th June 2015
  #17
Lives for gear
Hey, I'm not trying to derail things, but it is a philosophical point to consider. I mean if you have the time to spend, and enjoy the practice of repairing a quadraverb, and you want to use it to make music, enjoying yourself and being creative that's great.

I didn't bring up 'authenticity' just riffed on it. And I'm certainly not one to decry using old gear, but many years into doing so, I have to look at in terms of making choices that genuinely make a big difference whether in terms of functionality or sound.

A quadraverb isn't bad for a budget reverb, and yes it's all over some older records. But you know what? A lot of those old records don't really hold up much outside the context of their era. And the ones that do, it doesn't really matter which reverb it was that they used. Not that everything is interchangeable soundwise, far from it, but that the creators would have found a way to do something interesting using whatever was available. Nostalgia is a cool feeling, but I don't feel like it is a positive motivation for creativity or art.

It's much easier to look back at an era and imagine that using the same tools will capture some of that spirit. But that's a mistake. The spirit is there for you to catch and when you've got it, you won't be wanting to spend the time to fiddle with replacing a LCD on a budget reverb, but will use whatever you have on hand that is working. Just the cost of the parts, equipment and the time involved make it a questionable investment.

I wish that 1% of the time that was spent thinking about what gear great musicians used was spent exploring what one can learn about how they found inspiration. Musical expression can be a pretty deep thing, and but it's not 'working within limitations' that's going to make it happen.

Last edited by bluegreengold; 18th June 2015 at 08:40 PM..
Old 18th June 2015
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

yea i hear what you're saying and you're right. i'm just viewing them as alternatives to modern software alternatives. As for the limitation thing I would disagree to some degree or at least better definite what limitations mean.. yes giving a person a kazoo and asking them to sound like an orchestra isn't going to happen. however putting boundaries and constraints (for me at least)... like rules to a game..

one thing i wanted to do but never got around too it with friends was do a "shoebox session" where you get together and only use what you can fit inside a shoebox.. not counting mixers / amplification / speakers / cables.. but the instruments and effects.. this deliberate restriction forces a player to explore what's in front of them more.. exploring options that otherwise might get glossed over because they are overshadowed by bigger gear / features.
Old 18th June 2015
  #19
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S2udio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreengold View Post
you won't be wanting to spend the time to fiddle with replacing a LCD on a budget reverb, but will use whatever you have on hand that is working. Just the cost of the parts, equipment and the time involved make it a questionable investment.

I wish that 1% of the time that was spent thinking about what gear great musicians used was spent exploring what one can learn about how they found inspiration. Musical expression can be a pretty deep thing, and but it's not 'working within limitations' that's going to make it happen.
Never read so much bull*hit in one post in my life...and thats not the half of it.
Old 18th June 2015
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

I really like this quote and while I don't expect everyone to agree (this art we're talking about still):

The Enemy of Art Is the Absence of Limitations - Orson Wells.

No I don't plan on buying anything to fix this reverb unity beyond a power supply (IE opening it up and soldering / replacing parts) as it's just not worth it. They can be bought on ebay for under $100 and i have several other units that are good enough for my needs..

However, if I can at least isolate the problem to the power supply I would know the problem is something that can be easily remedied.. if it's something in the motherboard and / or the screen is really just bleached out like it is.. i'll recycle it.
Old 18th June 2015
  #21
Lives for gear
You know what the problem with art is? Everyone is always judging other peoples art like it's an objective thing, forgetting that the process itself has great value, regardless of the "quality" of the outcome. I hope you get your quadraverb working, I've got one too, I used to use it a lot, like on everything, until I got a peavey univerb. Not nearly as flexible or programmable, but damn, nice sound.
Old 19th June 2015
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

Cool @ enginefire I've never come across one of those. I like peavey gear though, like my Peavey DPM SP Sampler.. kinda wish I could get my hands on a SP+ someday but those are even more rare than the SP's.. I might loan mine to the MidiQuest guys to see if they can make a library editor for it, but we'll see. I just worked with them to get the Zoom 9030 supported as a librarian.

I used to have a Digitech DPS-256 that I loaned to a friend who ended up losing/selling it. I recently got a DPS-128 ($30) so I'm hoping it shares a similar rich reverb that I recall liking from the 256.. I haven't had time to play with it much yet so I don't know.
Old 16th July 2015
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

Hi everyone, so I got my hands on a multimeter. I'm still trying to meet with a guy I know who has a working power supply but i'm not sure how soon this will happen now. So I'm taking some initiative and seeing if I can test the voltage and amps of this power supply and see if that checks out. Now to my question:

How do I test these prongs safely / correctly? What do I touch, what do I not touch!?



this is what it looks like.. i'm not much of an electrician. I know there are schematics but that doesn't fully inform me which ones i would touch and not cause a short or something damaging.. it is afterall an AC adapter not DC.
Old 16th July 2015
  #24
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Paradigm X's Avatar
 

test a 9v battery first to make sure you know how to use the meter. Should get either +9v (or less) with the probes one way, and -9v the other way. Use DC voltage (flat line)

You should measure about 9v AC across 2 pins, and the same across the other two, when the wall wart's plugged in.

this thread is also helpful.

Alesis Quadraverb, missing power supply
Theres nothing dangerous inside the QV, the wall wart deals with the high voltage stuff.
Old 16th July 2015
  #25
Gear Maniac
 

so it seems like i'm getting 9v on both.. but i'm not 100% sure how i check the amperage.. i did confirm both pairs are 9v.. but i wasn't sure how to check the amps.

Here is my meter.. do you know which setting would be needed to get this? I tried some stuff but i didn't see anything that clearly was "20 VA" and they mention. I was looking for something that indicated "AC Amps" but didn't see that.. only DC amps.. which may be the same but still unclear.




Thanks!
Caleb
Old 16th July 2015
  #26
Lives for gear
Amperage testing is connected differently. Amperage has to flow thru the meter from the PSU to the unit.
Don't worry about it, if it's giving 9vac then it's probably fine. If the unit is drawing too much current (amps) then the PSU will get very hot and fail (and/or damage something inside the quadraverb).

Chances are your problem isn't your PSU, but something else inside the qv.
Old 16th July 2015
  #27
Gear Maniac
 

darn. well i'll hold out hope with the guy with a known working power supply.. pitty though if it's not the power supply..

i wonder if a battery backup problem could cause funky audio clipping.. the LCD backlight is lit ok but the LCD text is very dim..
Old 16th July 2015
  #28
Lives for gear
To measure the current, you have to put the multimeter in series with the load. If you set the multimeter for measuring current and connect it directly to the PSU, you'll short circuit the PSU. The multimeter has a very low resistance on the amp range.

Anyway I wouldn't bother with measuring the current as this would only tell you how much the device draws.

Now the thing is that the "PSU" you are talking about is just a simple transformer. There are no capacitors inside. The PSU with the electrolytic capacitors that usually fail is inside the rack unit. You should check the DC voltages that this PSU outputs. Preferably under the load - when the unit is running.
Before you start measuring, look if you see any leaking capacitors.
Old 17th July 2015
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

yea that's great to know about the amp stuff. i'll open it up and see if maybe the backup battery looks bad or like you said maybe a bad capacitor...

what happens is if you play quietly it's fine.. but when you send a strong input signal you get a kind of digital clipping that is happening "outside" the effects it seems (not "in" the reverb).

I could imagine a capacitor could be causing this to distort (it's a bad distortion, not usable) maybe.. but i'm not an electrician so i'm not sure.. i'd take it to someone to fix but it would probably cost more than a used one on ebay.. :P
Old 17th July 2015
  #30
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

You can buy a working quadraverb for about 50 bucks. Unless you can do it yourself, it will likely cost you more to fix the broken one.
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