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Channel Strip is FREAKING out (need help with troubleshooting)
Old 24th April 2011
Gear Nut

Channel Strip is FREAKING out (need help with troubleshooting)

Hey everyone! I posted this in another forum (high end), but I was wondering if any of you had any information concerning an issue that popped up with a new channel strip I bought.

I have a quick question. I just recently purchased a Focusrite Liquid Channel (it was a demo-unit at a local Sam Ash). I'll explain what it has been doing since I bought it yesterday.

Yesterday, I was so excited to test out my new piece of gear. I turned the unit on, and in about 5 minutes of playing with it, the input began spiking and clipping continuously (there was NO microphone or input plugged--simply the power cable). I turned the unit off, and then turned it on--it was CLIPPING still from the get-go of turning it back on. I waited, and eventually it went back down. It constantly did this sporadically whenever I would mess with the settings on the front of the device. When I plugged in my microphone, (this was seriously the weirdest thing I've ever seen), the input spiked--then, the MICROPHONE started making weird sounds. It sounded like a sine wave that would change pitch according to which knobs I turned, and then would start making other strange sounds from the MICROPHONE (the best way I can describe it is, remember when computers back in the day had "internal" speakers? My microphone sounded like there was an internal speaker on the inside, and it was making sounds). Thankfully, the mic I was using was not an expensive condenser (it was a Sennheiser Evolution E835), so if anything was damaged, it isn't a huge deal--I can't imagine what would have happened if one of my condensers was plugged in.

I troubleshooted by switching the power cable. No luck. I then plugged the power cable into a Monster Power Cleaner/Conditioner. Still no luck. I then switched outlets. Though it doesn't do it as much now, every now and then, the input will randomly start doing something funky when nothing is plugged in. (To me, it doesn't make a ton of sense that the outlet was the problem, because I've plugged in various soundcards into that outlet with no trouble--AND, it was plugged in through a Monster Power Cleaner, and still gave me trouble).

It hasn't done it a ton today, but I'm still cautious--every now and then, the input will read very high, even though no sound is going through the microphone. At least it isn't spiking every 5 minutes like it was last night.

Have you guys ever heard of this before? I'm not sure what to do, whether I should return the unit, or keep testing it out. Have any of you experienced weird things like this with a mic preamp before? Is it faulty? Could a power outlet do this (even with the $200 power conditioner?) Any help would be greatly appreciated!

~Big Izzy W.
Old 25th April 2011
Gear Nut

Old 25th April 2011
Gear Nut

Hmmm. Electronics can do all kinds of crazy things. Perhaps there is something wrong with it, but first I think maybe the input meter is just giving false readings? Assuming it's an LED (or VU?) maybe something is just wrong with the metering?

My first idea would be to arm a track with a mic hooked up and record it while it's doing nothing, while it's picking up sound of an instrument or voice, and while the input meter is doing the weird spikes. Whatever you end up hearing in the recordings would help eliminate or prove what is wrong.

Sent from my Droid using App
Old 28th April 2011
Gear Nut

Hey! Thanks for the feedback!

I called a Focusrite Tech and talked to them about it.

He said it sounds like the PCM board and the LCD display are both fried on the unit, but that it's covered under warranty. Basically, from what he said, my input is acting like an OUTPUT, and because of this, it's causing the unit to have massive problems (hence why my microphone was acting crazy).

I'm going to send it in for repair. He said that if the repair is too extensive (as in, the motherboard IS in fact fried), Focusrite has a tendency of sending new replacement units.

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