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Ssl service add on
Old 1st November 2017
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Ssl service add on

A friend of mine was saying that if you bought a new Duality console they also required you to buy a service contract. Any truth to this rumor?
Old 2nd November 2017
  #2
Why not email/call SSL and ask them?
Old 2nd November 2017
  #3
Lives for gear
 
gainreduction's Avatar
 

It would be unwise not to. Because those consoles break down and are prone to problems, and you can't service them yourself in the same way as the older SSLs.

I work on and off in a Duality room and the console is pretty much useless on bad days. There is so much computerised logic in a Duality, most of it controlled from the center section, and when the center section flips out (which it does in a major way after a few years) you definitely want the service contract as the console is pretty much useless without the center section working properly. You can't even switch on +48 on a channel without visiting the center section...

A Duality sounds good and is pretty to look at but is not built to last.
Old 2nd November 2017
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Thanks for the nfo. I've not heard good things about their reliability.
Old 2nd November 2017
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saxplayerz View Post
A friend of mine was saying that if you bought a new Duality console they also required you to buy a service contract. Any truth to this rumor?
you don't believe him/her?

I always wonder why people come here to question information from a "friend".

its like...somehow this place is more trustworthy, than your "friend"?

Or even, more knowledgeable?

I'll never understand this.....

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line....
Old 2nd November 2017
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
you don't believe him/her?

I always wonder why people come here to question information from a "friend".

its like...somehow this place is more trustworthy, than your "friend"?

Or even, more knowledgeable?

I'll never understand this.....

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line....
Well just accepting one opinion from a friend is kind of jumping the gun. I prefer to get several thoughts on the topic
Old 2nd November 2017
  #7
Lives for gear
 
SP2016's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saxplayerz View Post
Thanks for the info. I've not heard good things about their reliability.
But the SSL service department is very reliable.
Great lady and guys !!
Old 2nd November 2017
  #8
SSL will not release documentation on the newer SSL products to anyone. They will force you to go through their service department, and since you have no other option, will charge you whatever they care to and you really have no recourse. If you insist on a Duality, I would consider a service contract with SSL as price of admission.
Old 2nd November 2017
  #9
Lives for gear
 
SP2016's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinebox Studio Services View Post
SSL will not release documentation on the newer SSL products to anyone. They will force you to go through their service department, and since you have no other option, will charge you whatever they care to and you really have no recourse. If you insist on a Duality, I would consider a service contract with SSL as price of admission.
SSL never released service documentation and/or schematics to anyone.
A service contract gives you access to their telephonic service assistance and special prices for replacement- or exchange parts.
Old 2nd November 2017
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SP2016 View Post
SSL never released service documentation and/or schematics to anyone.
A service contract gives you access to their telephonic service assistance and special prices for replacement- or exchange parts.
Every console before the Duality was delivered with a service manual. The K series service manuals even had serialized pages to match the console it shipped with.
Old 2nd November 2017
  #11
Lives for gear
 
SP2016's Avatar
Service manual: O.K., depending on what you consider to be a service manual.
But most certainly no schematics.
Old 3rd November 2017
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by SP2016 View Post
Service manual: O.K., depending on what you consider to be a service manual.
But most certainly no schematics.
You are likely thinking of the Operators Manual. The Service Manual contains all the necessary information for the service and repair of a console by a qualified tech. There were separate volumes for the console and computer. In the case of SSL, the console service manual is schematics almost entirely.
Old 3rd November 2017
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinebox Studio Services View Post
You are likely thinking of the Operators Manual. The Service Manual contains all the necessary information for the service and repair of a console by a qualified tech. There were separate volumes for the console and computer. In the case of SSL, the console service manual is schematics almost entirely.
The problem is, much like a new car vs a mini or old BMW or something, new consoles have lots of computer control and so on that isn’t field serviceable in the same way.
Old 3rd November 2017
  #14
Lives for gear
 

I don't think at that price point I'm going to let Joe Schmo down the street try to repair it on his own
Old 3rd November 2017
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saxplayerz View Post
I don't think at that price point I'm going to let Joe Schmo down the street try to repair it on his own
Quite. A good local tech can tackle most things, but you always needed someone qualified to tackle things like the SSL computers for example.
Old 3rd November 2017
  #16
Solid State Logic
 
Jim@SSL's Avatar
 

Any new console comes with a warranty. In most cases this is 13 months.
We do offer extended warranty contracts, both as spares and labour or just spares. These can be purchased at the time of the console, or at any date after the warranty has finished following a health check from an SSL engineer.

Do note that there are substantial differences in a modern, surface-mount channel strip and one of our older consoles. While it was relatively simple for a skilled technician to de-solder and re-solder,say, a resistor with through-hole PCBs you require specialised equipment to do some repairs on SMT circuit boards.

Dualities have been shipping for over 10 years now, and I would imagine that any piece of analogue equipment that is worked on every day will require maintenance. Much like any other machinery needs servicing be it a domestic bolier, a car, or a tape machine.
Old 3rd November 2017
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Any new console comes with a warranty. In most cases this is 13 months.
We do offer extended warranty contracts, both as spares and labour or just spares. These can be purchased at the time of the console, or at any date after the warranty has finished following a health check from an SSL engineer.

Do note that there are substantial differences in a modern, surface-mount channel strip and one of our older consoles. While it was relatively simple for a skilled technician to de-solder and re-solder,say, a resistor with through-hole PCBs you require specialised equipment to do some repairs on SMT circuit boards.

Dualities have been shipping for over 10 years now, and I would imagine that any piece of analogue equipment that is worked on every day will require maintenance. Much like any other machinery needs servicing be it a domestic bolier, a car, or a tape machine.
Thanks Jim!
Old 5th November 2017
  #18
The SSL duality is an absolutely amazing sounding console that was ruined by the bone heads in SSL's development department.

Whichever clutz decided to stick the PSU's in the back of the meter bridge needs sacking.

The PSU's run at up to 80 degrees C and dump out a huge quantity of heat that if the back of the console is not seriously force cooled with A/C (which freezes the engineer's feet).

It is like sticking an electric heater in the back of the thing.

I'd assume that SSL were trying to "consumerise" the product, the engineering quality, from a design aspect, is awful.

What muppet sticks IEC power connectors, vertical, in the cable bay, the metal clips that hold them in snap off at the slightest knock, then after that the plugs are prone to falling out. In the process they can be intermittent, and such a thing can ruin the desk. We had to drill the frame and cable tie them in!

I mean...... Hello SSL???? There is a plug called a "POWERCON" a really great high power, low resistance, locking, rugged connector that professionals use.... How dumb can a designer get? It's like £3 a socket for Powercons to someone like SSL. Hardly a deal breaker, but it seems that SSL don't have engineers that have proper pro audio experience any more.

I can't even get into the logic of whoever put that IEC in there like that. What went through their mind? In many cases this ends up being the main grounding point for a studio if nobody straps the frame to earth. IEC cables are often of questionable manufacture and some can be very prone to contact failure over time in high current applications.

The 48 channel desk is sensitive to the order it is switched on.... (Like how hard would it be to have one side's power switch trigger a relay in the other side?)

The -18V supply DC to DC converter is highly prone to failing at intervals just over the warranty period... (SSL now changed manufacturer the problem is so common) but the thing still runs at 80 deg C.

On a console of that size and power it is STUPID to slam all the PSU's in the back. Anyone even designing a control room is faced with a puzzle of how to dissipate all that heat from a space between the speakers and the engineers ear without blowing a gale or adding fans.
What was the big problem with putting the PSUs in a separate rack like every other pro analogue console does.

Heat kills electronics, especially extreme heat cycling, Surely a competent console designer would consider the implications of racks of PSUs cooking the desk. When we left the duality on during install for only four hours without the A/C blowing at it it got so hot in the room that we struggled to work, the desk was crazy hot and we had to abandon testing until the A/C installers had done their stuff.

I'm sure much of the problems with some folks reliability is down to the terrible thermal design of the console as we have been looking after a client with a now 3 year old duality that is well cooled and other than the stupid recurring PSU failure issue the console has had zero operating failures in those three years.

SSL have probably lost all the really good industry folks that made it such a good console designer, they are probably full of college graduates and software whizzes that simply don't understand the mechanical issues in the field.

Power supply integrity is essential. A vertically hanging IEC connector is simply NOT PROFESSIONAL as a way to power a console like a duality. IEC locking clips are notorious for getting knocked off in normal use.

It wouldn't surprise me if half the software glitches people have are a result of dicky power connections and spikes and noise.

On a £180,000 console a customer does not expect to see kettle technology on the mains power input. It is ludicrous, Who QC'd the product?

I would consider that removing the PSU's to a remote rack would improve reliability no end (and fix a big "how to keep it cool in a control room" problem).

Such a terrible shame as the sound of the console (in my opinion) is the best that SSL ever did, it is so clean, the EQ is surgical, and the mix bus sounds great. DAW integration is basic but very functional.

What a shame that SSL don't have any really good mechanical designers any more. If they did the Duality would probably be one of the best consoles ever made.

Probably "sales and marketing" had too much input.

I've professionally installed, serviced, and re-built professional console now for 35 years, it is sad to see the dumbing down of build quality, and lack of mechanical engineering understanding that is creeping into products like the Duality.
It needn't be expensive to do it right, it just needs a little knowledge.

I would still recommend a Duality to a customer, but I'd suggest we re-engineer the PSU's to an external rack. We almost did it on the last one I installed, but instead we ran out of time, so just blew an arctic gale at it from the A/C system.

Last edited by Nuisance; 5th November 2017 at 03:52 PM.. Reason: spelin
Old 5th November 2017
  #19
It is worth noting, that in my experience SSL is one of the few console manufacturers that still offer a degree of professional skilled service communication to customers.

Consoles are more reliable now, I started working at a time when we fixed new ones (less than a year old) weekly and worked with manufacturers on de-bugging the things and modifying them to work correctly. We needed full service manuals, spare channels, and extender cards just to use them normally.

No old console can touch a modern one for reliability. Still some things till apply. Good lean power avoids software crashes and glitches. Constant temperature cool running extends reliability.

SSL offer a very fast turnaround service on replacement parts, it's not cheap, but when studio up-time is crucial a 24 hour turnaround on an advance replacement PSU is really welcome. Not only did SSL send us out new PSUs but we got a great pictorial "how to" in swapping them that allowed us to contract a local engineer with confidence.

At a pro level, customer service is, in my book, still at an old-school professional level.
Old 5th November 2017
  #20
Lives for gear
 
SP2016's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuisance View Post
SSL offer a very fast turnaround service on replacement parts, it's not cheap, but when studio up-time is crucial a 24 hour turnaround on an advance replacement PSU is really welcome. Not only did SSL send us out new PSUs but we got a great pictorial "how to" in swapping them that allowed us to contract a local engineer with confidence.

At a pro level, customer service is, in my book, still at an old-school professional level.
The SSL service department has an experienced and understanding staff !
They know what is going on in a studio and help you as it were their own problem.
Their exchange system is great: They immediately send you a spare part so your down time is very short and let you return the defect part afterward.
"Good old" professional service, becoming quite scarse at other companies now.
Old 6th November 2017
  #21
I must be one of the "few" who actually likes the Duality and it's design then.

As a 24ch Duality SE owner, and long-time user of SSLs, the Duality was/is a major step forward (imho).
It had to develop further as the old PSUs required an ongoing mortgage to run (along with the AC to keep em cool)

Perhaps it's different for the 48 frame, but the 24 is great.
And the reason for the 2 power cables on 48 is due to that modular route.

Yes, it has some quirks, as does any console, but imho, there's not much out there that gives as much value for money.

And whilst my console is still in warranty, the service contract wasn't pushed at all. In fact the sales staff looked a bit confused when I asked about including it.
At some stage it might be worth considering as the console gets older, but it's a dynamic application - I've been told that within 8 hours, replacement parts can be with me.
It helps that I'm only about 60 miles away from the factory too.

Nope, considering the heat-sink that was the 9k (try standing behind that for any length of time - and it's PSU tower is usually in a machine room!), the Duality is a major progression.
Old 7th November 2017
  #22
Solid State Logic
 
Jim@SSL's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuisance View Post
The SSL duality is an absolutely amazing sounding console that was ruined by the bone heads in SSL's development department.
Well Phil (or possibly Julius), I'd guess that makes your old mucker Chris a bonehead.

From my perspective, a desk that is able to run off standard power without the need for a machine room is very much what people today want. It's the same with the AWS. The PSUs are mounted at the top of the back to help pull air through the console - it's completely convection-cooled and placing the PSUs high at the rear means cool air gets pulled through the front of the console and across the channel strips. We do note in the installation guide that free air space is required behind and above the console for airflow, and also that "temperatures on the heat sink fins can reach 30 degrees Celsius above room temperature".

Ditto we note "The power dissipated by a 48 channel Duality δelta console is approximately 1,540W (2,200W for 72ch and 2,860 for 96ch). When all the studio equipment is taken into consideration, particularly if additional lighting is being installed, the combined heat output could be sufficient to cause the temperature to rise to uncomfortable levels. It is therefore likely that air conditioning will be required." This is much the same as the surface of a 4K (which then has another 2000W to dissipate from the PSU and computer racks).

Having worked on a number of 9000Ks myself I can attest to the fact that Duality is far cooler to sit in front of and work on than a K when you sit in front of it, even though the K has separate power supplies.

I'm not for a moment questioning your studio chops. Not by a country mile. However the world of separate machine rooms is commonly not an option in places where Dualities are successfully installed today. Much like not everyone is installing a Duality in a studio in, say, Ibiza where they try and mix without air con switched on. I'd also point out how little current Duality draws compared to our legacy consoles, how much energy that saves, and how efficient they are.

Glad you like the desk - CJ will at least be happy about that :-)
I'll let him know you posted.
Old 7th November 2017
  #23
Hi Jim...

Thanks..

It's Joules, not Phil, but yes I've known C.J since I was 8 years old or so.


I'm a little more "outspoken" than Philip is. (it must be my mother's fault).
I believe that bringing things to people's attention can really help build a better product if done constructively and positive suggestions are offered. I'm not one to say "oh it is all so nice Mr XYZ" when it may not be.


Agreed it does say "more A/C will be required".

The problem is where this A/C is required, and how much other gear is in the control room.

You'd really need to have an extract behind the console to avoid blowing the heat around the room. It is a huge problem for a control room designer, not necessarily for the overall kilowatts of heat, but for the intensity of the heat. and subsequently where it blows to.
With our measurements the heat sinks were running at between 60 and 75 degrees C (similar to an item in direct summer sunlight), air coming out of the meter bridge top was about 50 to 65 degrees, constantly with room temp at 22 -24 degrees.


You see, if we had a PSU in a machine room we can dump the heat out of the studio by simply ventilating the room adequately (ventilation noise is not a problem), but when it is in the control room we have to cool the room electrically with more A/C, the overall power efficiency of the desk (when considering operating costs) and consequently CO2 emissions, is vastly reduced by putting the PSU in the meter bridge as more energy is needed for cooling. - This should always be considered when calculating equipment current draw and emissions figures. (If I can cool something with an extract fan it can be more energy efficient than cooling something with A/C that seems less efficient on paper)
If the A/C is of the ducted type (far quieter than a split) we end up excessively venting the room, more cool air is lost, and efficiency falls massively.

You see you have a complex relationship going on, you have the PSU's heating the channel strips, (The bottom of the PSU is lower than the channel strip) and the channel strips heating the PSU's. You can't say cool air is drawn across the channel strips by convection to the PSU as the channel strips dissipate heat themselves, by the time the air has got to the PSU it will be hotter than the ambient temperature. The PSU's then have to dissipate their heat in a space already heated by the channel strips, thus raising the ambient temperature around the DC-DC converters. Were the PSU's in an external fan cooled box you could relatively control the internal component temperature, and the channels strips would be far more reliable if they did not have to heat cycle so severely. A vari-speed fan on a thermocouple can even hold the converter at any chosen temperature within a sensible range by controlling airflow.

I really can't see a Duality customer being massively bothered by a couple of 3U (quietly) fan cooled boxes (or so) to be put with all the other noisy gear like computers and servers. Especially if they know it improves reliability. An AWS customer, on the other hand, would be a different circumstance, but an AWS is not in the same market.

The cost of increasing the A/C to the room, and the difficulty of piping it to the middle of the room, silently, actually cost us about 5K, twice, in the case of the console I speak of, as we moved it from one place to another.

If we opened the top of the meter bridge we got the sensation of opening an oven door, a waft of rather hot air in the face.

We actually had a FLIR camera on the console..... Very interesting, but I did not photograph the results, unfortunately.

The thing is, we, as studio designers and equipment maintenance engineers, understand the problems extreme heat cycling causes and we did all we can to reduce this issue in the installation, (at any cost). Heat has been a problem in consoles for years, yet now it need not be such a problem.

As you see there are folks talking in this thread of major unreliability issues in some Duality consoles, in my opinion it is likely that long term constant heat stress, and maybe poor power connections is a potential culprit. The console we have dealt with has been 100% reliable in operation. If we forget the two -15V rail failures reliability has been astounding. We cooled it as best we could at great expense and made sure that power supply and connection was very solid.

The levels of heat coming from the top of the console are similar to that from valve equipment, and we know how valve gear fries sensitive electronics.

When parts of the console (mainly the 15V PSUs) are far too hot to touch it raises questions about the thermal design criteria (Were there any?).

Other console manufacturers we deal with who also fitted PSU's to the rear of the meter bridge, had similar problems and after similar issues they changed to external units, improving reliability.

I feel that the reliability issues raised against the duality are a little unfair if the consoles are not being adequately cooled (as you pointed out) However the design issues with sticking such high temperature heat sources (DC to DC converters running at 80 deg C at heat sink contact, measured by us in the field (right at the upper design limit) are maybe not best understood by installers used to not having to blow an arctic gale at the back of the console.

Like I said, it is a shame that once "solid" mechanical engineering has been reduced to consumer levels to "dumb down" an absolutely excellent product.

As studio designers we really started to celebrate the demise of the big hot beasts of the consoles of the 70's and 80's It always caused compromises in control room design and environment control, this and LED lighting has enabled us to create very energy efficient spaces, comfortable and quiet. Acoustics have improved too with less hardware related reflections and resonances. It is unfortunate that the consoles should now be heating up that space again, it is like the console manufacturers (or some customers) are not thinking of the bigger picture. I spend days working on BTU and KW calcs for customers often trying to fit a studio into a tight power supply and efficiency calculation, if I can fit a whole pile of heat generating gear into a ventilated (not A/C) machine room I can cut 5KW/hr or more off energy use, I can blow a gale through a machine room with a couple of hundred watts of electricity, I can't do that in the control room, it has to be A/C. In the field we work in more and more customers are becoming emissions aware, many are shocked at the calculations we show them in terms of electricity use, especially from retro gear. In some jurisdictions we work in we have to provide these things for regulatory purposes. With modern equipment and careful placement of equipment in ventilated spaces we can cut energy consumption by up to 75% in comparison with old-school gear in a single control room space. Reliability also increases and operating costs fall.
In this day and age, leaving the gear on 24/7 is just not acceptable for many energy conscious customers, they want it shutting down, that brings greater heat cycle issues than the old days of leave it all on all of the time.

It often begs a question that if a customer is not considering any form of machine space whether they will ever consider properly cooling the console either, hence the reliability issues mentioned previous.
We find that most of our studio customers don't consider a machine space until we have a chat and explain the necessity, and problems of not having one, at which point they welcome the idea openly.

The installation we had was never going to be easy, thermally, there was a lot of gear to cool, but the Duality was definitely the most problematic.



Yet another PSU failure on Youtube, I see.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTrZ6FyBdBE

I even had the replacement PSU melt its paint (which was dry when we fitted it) when installed it was so hot.
I got a picture of that I was so surprised. I had paint stripes on my hands from touching it (it hurt too it was so hot)

Like I said, an incredible sounding console, really modern, no retro stuff here, In our installations it has proven reliable and solid (except for the PSU - which I suspect is thermally related). I'd recommend it at any opportunity to any customer, service is great too.
If the engineering was a little better, it would be truly unbeatable. - At-least, Please, lose the kettle plugs...
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Ssl service add on-ssssssssssssss.jpg  
Old 8th November 2017
  #24
Solid State Logic
 
Jim@SSL's Avatar
 

Joules (forgive the spelling mistake please),

I know that all the right people at SSL already have your feedback and it is understood. I won’t for a moment contradict your detailed technical discussion and I can’t fault it. I will merely respond as such;

Man touches thing he knows to be hot and is unsurprised when it marks his hand.

Peace, love and respect to all in the Newell house from all of us at SSL.
Old 23rd December 2017
  #25
Gear Nut
XL DESK Problems

Hi Jim,
my name is James McFadden I just purchased a used XL DESK, And for what ever reason Channels 9-16 stopped Routing to any of the mix buses. The channels still go direct out, but not to the mix bus. I just wondered if you had ever heard of this problem and if you might know how hard of a fix this is. As I am new to owning a console please forgive my ignorance as to what the proper methods for handling this type of issue is. Any help on this issue would be greatly appreciated. I spent almost 15,000.00 on this board, and after I Pay repair costs, I am looking at the price of a brand new one. Oh well, we live and learn.
Old 23rd December 2017
  #26
Solid State Logic
 
Jim@SSL's Avatar
 

It might be something simple - but the inside of an XL-Desk is not immediate to look at. We will be able to do something, but our service team are off over the holiday season.

Drop an email to support at solid state logic.com and they’ll get to you once they are back behind their desks
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