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High End Maintenance
Old 6th June 2002
  #1
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

High End Maintenance

Wondering what everybody does for keeping their toys in shape.

Tube gear for example .... how often do you have it checked / re-balanced ???

or how about the tape guys ...

do you rely on local technicians or have it sent back to the distributor / factory ??


good maintenance is not cheap .... worth it or not ???


discuss ....
Old 6th June 2002
  #2
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I suppose I'm not all that great with it. I usually only call a tech when something gets funky. But when they get it I make sure the whole thing is gone over with a fine tooth comb so when I get it back in the rack or back on line it's solid. With the console I usually wait until I have a few problems so my tech can spend a day with me. I hate calling him for just one or two little things. Like right now the low mid EQ on one channel is dead but the rest of the EQ on that channel is fine. I also have a dead meter on buss 14 which I'll fix myself one of these days. That's a total pain to get to though.
Old 7th June 2002
  #3
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

wish I had your patience and selfcontrol Jay smokin

I cannot function knowing that something is wrong with my setup.

piss me off ... can't concentrate .... even if there are workarounds ... I just don't like it and takes 90% of my enthousiasm away.
Old 7th June 2002
  #4
I guess we might be the exception, but we have two full-time in-house techs to keep the 4 rooms running smoothly. It's very nice to be able to have something fixed right now instead of having down time...
Old 7th June 2002
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

OH Brad i envy so much....

Is it just me or are most techs slack?

some of the ones that we use are like ' yeah i'm in the car now on my way to the studio!'

........... 2 weeks later no answer and still there is a big hum in ch12 of the desk?

If i could find a relaible tech that is down with what i need and when i require it i would brand him like ahorse and palce a 24 hr GPS trackker on him os i could find him whenever we need **** repaireed. It so frustrating to be at their beckoning and mercy when u have importnant work to do.... We offfer extra money and everythign jus tto get eth job done and get it done right but ti still does not seem to make a difference. Perhaps i just dont underatnd thier thought processes or whatever it is still a mystery to me. I thought thye would jump att eh opprtunity to get out of their tech shop dungeons and into some real sunlight for a change?

how knows?

PEACE
Wiggy
Old 9th June 2002
  #6
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Wiggy, what you describe seems to be pretty much a universal problem with outside techs. That's why we have a full-time in-house tech...it's the only way not to go insane while keeping your customers happy in a demanding high-end environment.
Old 10th June 2002
  #7
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by C.Lambrechts
wish I had your patience and selfcontrol Jay smokin

I cannot function knowing that something is wrong with my setup.
I wish I could afford an inhouse tech. My studio is no-frills, I get between $300-500 a day depending on the project and engineer. My tech's charge either $75 or $90 an hour. If it's a minor problem like one band of EQ on one channel and I can live with it for a few weeks. Anything major like a ****ed up aux send bums me out. If there is a major problem I call a tech right away. Last year I lost the right side of the mix buss in the middle of a session. I tried to fix it myself by swapping opamps and I ended up calling my tech. Two days and $600 later I was running again, but he also fixed a dead buss and a few other odds and ends.

Anything that's really messed up gets pulled from the rack. I have an Orban 414A compressor and channel one keeps failing. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Either way, it's been pulled out now until it gets fixed. Patchbay problems bum me out and get fixed right away too.
Old 14th April 2010
  #8
Lives for gear
 
GYang's Avatar
First, I try not to use expensive tube gears on less important part of preparation works, rehearsals etc. Only when concrete works is to be done. Period.
Don't keep gears turned on constantly, but if day session is all day long I don't turn them off in pauses.
The most important point of maintenance is to create right environment, with good power supplies, ventilation and air conditioning and dust-removing measures.
Also, gear should be properly placed in racks, not close each to other in cases where strong transormers are applied, not to mention that converters, class A gears and specially tube gears produce lot of heat.
In my case I usually don't have problems with high quality gears for years, some of tube preamps, comps, EQs need calibration and one time per year is usually more than enough. For more delicate tasks I invite tech for a day and we do the whole thing together.
To ensure losses on contact points, connecting/disconnecting all cables might be done once per year or even less, if some good contact material is applied (like Stabilant).
Old analogue synths, guitar amps etc. require a bit more care.
I try to keep small stock of spare parts, too.
In general, although it looks rather demanding, there is rewarding to know your gears a bit, they are often quite predictable (much more than computers) in behavior. They ressemble live beings in some way.
I would never reduce quantity of gears on maintenance ground. It requires care, but everything what is worth requires it.
Old 15th April 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
 
vernier's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by C.Lambrechts View Post
Wondering what everybody does for keeping their toys in shape.

Tube gear for example .... how often do you have it checked / re-balanced ???

or how about the tape guys ...

do you rely on local technicians or have it sent back to the distributor / factory ??


good maintenance is not cheap .... worth it or not ???


discuss ....
As long as its working, you don't need to be concerned with tube gear. If something quits, you need access to a tech. Thats about it.
Old 15th April 2010
  #10
Lives for gear
 
TornadoTed's Avatar
I've got a book and write down any faults along with the date. I try to get any major faults fixed at earliest free downtime and non show stoppers fixed within 2 months.

What worries me is who is going to fix this gear in 20 years time, all the good techs I know are 50+ Kids who would have gone to study electronics at college go and do IT now!

I have had one producer dump a studio and come to me just because my maintenece is good and the other place wasn't so yes it is very important to take it very seriously and get a system.
Old 15th April 2010
  #11
Lives for gear
 
studjo's Avatar
yup a nice little book here too - but it's mainly empty
Old 15th April 2010
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTed View Post
What worries me is who is going to fix this gear in 20 years time, all the good techs I know are 50+ Kids who would have gone to study electronics at college go and do IT now!
It's like that old SciFi pic. "Why do you keep the old guy around?"

"Because he knows how to fix the MACHINES!"

I do preventative maintanence here. All gear is reworked and all aged caps have been replaced with modern improvments.

That way I don't have down time, everything works.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 15th April 2010
  #13
Gear Nut
 
duffy878's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTed View Post
What worries me is who is going to fix this gear in 20 years time, all the good techs I know are 50+ Kids who would have gone to study electronics at college go and do IT now!.
Being a young guy (23) and having a degree in audio electronics, I feel the need to chime in.

I'm aware that I know more, technically speaking, then most people my age working (or trying to work) in this field, but tech work is kind of a tricky line of work to jump in to. I build and repair my own gear and I'd love to be doing tech work regularly, but without learning from one of the old guys it's basically impossible to know enough to try making money doing it. The internet can only tell you so much.
Old 16th April 2010
  #14
Lives for gear
 
GYang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by duffy878 View Post
Being a young guy (23) and having a degree in audio electronics, I feel the need to chime in.

I'm aware that I know more, technically speaking, then most people my age working (or trying to work) in this field, but tech work is kind of a tricky line of work to jump in to. I build and repair my own gear and I'd love to be doing tech work regularly, but without learning from one of the old guys it's basically impossible to know enough to try making money doing it. The internet can only tell you so much.

Good luck, I think it will be always reasonable demand for good specialists, people are buying way more analogue gears nowdays than 20-30 years ago (less pros, but much more project studios and home based enthusiasts)
Old 16th April 2010
  #15
...and here I thought this was gonna be about our wives... sheeesh... mess a guy up will ya'!??
(thought maybe the Mrs had gone on a High Maintenance spendin' spree like we do, or sumpin....)


(Un)fortunately, I'm my own tech... have been for over 30 years... Still, there's a lot of things that I gotta work on that I don't wanna, or I ain't got time to work on.

So, finding a good tech in the region is gonna be critical to any real studio operation... especially when the manufacturer is half a continent away and you have sessions booked.

Thankfully, the guy's I'm hoping will come on board are all pretty good at troubleshooting, and one guy in particular is REAL sharp and will pay his own way as a tech.

In most cases, it's really access to parts supply that's a real bugger to deal with.
Old 16th April 2010
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Hi
Maintenance (the cost of) needs to be factored into your studio budget both in 'down time' and cost of a tech.
There are of course several strategies you as a studio owner could take but pretending that gear won't have a fault ever is not a choice if you are being sensible.
Buy new and replace when it gets significantly faulty.
Find a good tech who knows what they are doing and pay them properly.
Hire a tech to work full or 'part time' as part of the studio 'crew'.
Learn how to actually fix things rather than sit in a corner and complain.
When you buy a car you don't simply put petrol in it and never get anything checked over for 10 years or more do you? OK the manufacturers may get you to take it in for checkups for a year or two, but you paid for that in the purchase of the car.
For Tornado Ted's benefit I am over 50 but I don't do IT because the monitors make my head hurt.
Matt S
Old 16th April 2010
  #17
Gear Addict
 
WTMNMF's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by duffy878 View Post
Being a young guy (23) and having a degree in audio electronics, I feel the need to chime in.

I'm aware that I know more, technically speaking, then most people my age working (or trying to work) in this field, but tech work is kind of a tricky line of work to jump in to. I build and repair my own gear and I'd love to be doing tech work regularly, but without learning from one of the old guys it's basically impossible to know enough to try making money doing it. The internet can only tell you so much.
It's not as hard as you imagine. As you can see, showing up is more than half the job. Get a job as an intern or a second, then when something goes wrong you will be pressed into service. Save someones ass once, and you will have more work than you can handle. The maintenance logs that have been mentioned are essential. You should make sure that all your clients use them. You can check the logs when you are in to repair something, and see what else needs addressing, whether there are reoccurring problems, etc. Also, an engineer can look at the log before a session and know what equipment has issues. You will be pressed into service for studio upgrades and builds which will give you all the opportunities you need to encounter the standard issues and learn the ropes.

Just don't get greedy and take on every client in town and piss them all off when you don't show up on time any more heh

tip of the day: Now and then , more than
Old 16th April 2010
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Hi
Knowing how and why some things are done as they are is important and you have to have been 'around a bit' or very quick to appreciate this.
Matt S
Old 16th April 2010
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Knox's Avatar
 

To me . . a good studio is one that keeps everything "maintained" well. The best studios have techs on site (as you all know). If they (the studio) doesn't give a **** about their gear, chances are they don't give a **** about their clients. That goes for the bathroom and lounge as well. I have a tech that comes here or I take gear to him. I keep a 'repair' book of things that need help. Right now we are re-doing the bathroom and kitchen area. It all goes hand in hand. Of course I have gone through tough financial periods where things like the kitchen or one of the carpets suffered, but I try to stay on top of repairs. I have several vintage pieces going to tech now. I got off the addictive 'buying wagon' awhile back (that's an endless pit). So I don't feel the need to buy everything new or have all the trendy pieces that people are talking about 'this week' . . . so I keep the gear I have maintained.
Old 16th April 2010
  #20
Gear Nut
 
duffy878's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WTMNMF View Post
It's not as hard as you imagine. As you can see, showing up is more than half the job. Get a job as an intern or a second, then when something goes wrong you will be pressed into service. Save someones ass once, and you will have more work than you can handle. The maintenance logs that have been mentioned are essential. You should make sure that all your clients use them. You can check the logs when you are in to repair something, and see what else needs addressing, whether there are reoccurring problems, etc. Also, an engineer can look at the log before a session and know what equipment has issues. You will be pressed into service for studio upgrades and builds which will give you all the opportunities you need to encounter the standard issues and learn the ropes.

Just don't get greedy and take on every client in town and piss them all off when you don't show up on time any more heh

tip of the day: Now and then , more than
Its a shame I'm kind of stuck right now because I took on too much recently

...But hopefully I'll be finishing some projects soon enough. I'm currently building two guitar amps, working on some old scully pre-amps, recording a pop record, a folk record, and two rock band demos... oh and the 9 to 5. sigh. I need out of this job/state/country/planet. Ha.
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