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Converting an analog channel strip to 19 inch gear

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Converting an analog channel strip to 19 inch gear

Postby Boulevardier » Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:25 am

Hi There,

At our studio we have a few extra channel strips lying around from an old Soundtracs mixer (not really sure of the type). Now i’m exploring the option of converting these strips into some cool and unique rack gear. Most preferably into 19 inch, but i’m not really shure that’s possible.

I have been looking around on the internet but i’m unable to find any real information, except for 2 fora which are talking a lot of tech talk about converting it yourself. Since i dont really have time for that at the moment i’m wondering if there are any companies that specialize in this kind of stuff. and if it’s even possible..

would love to hear some opinions or tips on this!
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Re: Converting an analog channel strip to 19 inch gear

Postby James Perrett » Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:27 am

Well anything is possible but there will be a few issues to overcome...

First, is the circuit board too large for a rack case? I know that the ones in my A&H mixing desk would be so you would have to work out whether there is a way to cut them down.

Second - you will need a power supply and a suitable case.

I'm sure that there are people who will do this (Funky Junk might be one) but it won't be cheap which is why, with channels from a low/mid price mixing desk, it is only really sensible to do this if you can do it yourself.

The reason you see similar things done with Neve channels is that each section of the desk is a self contained module which is far easier to fit into an alternative housing.
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Re: Converting an analog channel strip to 19 inch gear

Postby Mixedup » Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:49 pm

Yeah, you need a case, and for the modules to fit. You'll need a schematic that tells you which connectors on the card are for audio IO, which for busses, which for power, phantom etc. You'll need to figure out the power requirements. You'll probably need balancing chips or maybe transformers, assuming you want balanced IO... and it takes time.

If it were an SSL, Neve, API, Amek etc it might be worth it... and it might be a fun DIY project with the Soundtracs too if you're into it... but I imagine it would cost more than it's worth to pay to get these rackmounted.

FWIW, as James said, Funky Junk used to do this sort of thing. Not sure if they still do. They'd probably point you in the right direction. And you might find a decent independent electronics guy to do it (eg John at Orchid, if he's still taking on such projects).
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Re: Converting an analog channel strip to 19 inch gear

Postby Sam Inglis » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:41 am

Funnily enough I'm in the late stages of writing an SOS feature about exactly this topic!

I agree with the others that the cost of doing this with Soundtracs channels will be more than the end result is worth. You can pick up an entire Soundtracs console for a few hundred quid these days. Servicing and racking a pair of channels will likely cost more than that.
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Re: Converting an analog channel strip to 19 inch gear

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:21 pm

There is so much really excellent affordable outboard gear around these days -- especially in the 500-series format with some really interesting and 'heritage' stuff -- that a console strip would need to be something very special, unique, or highly personal to warrant the effort and expense of re-engineering into a rack format.

The cost of the case and power supply are likely to be more than a decent 500-series module, and if you have to pay someone else to do the engineering work you could probably afford an entire rack of 500-series modules -- nice Neve, Helios, and Trident ones... for example. So in comparison, a racked up Soundtracks channel strip is going to be a bit 'meh..' ;-)

I have a couple of old Calrec PQ1061 input/EQ modules -- Calrec's take on the Neve 1073, basically, but with more headroom :silent: -- along with some transformer'd output driver modules. I've been meaning to rack them up for years. Already got the power supply sorted, and tested the configuration so I know it's all doable... but the hassle of building a decent case keeps it as a back-shelf project for now... it's a lot easier to build some interesting DIY 500-series modules... :lol:

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Re: Converting an analog channel strip to 19 inch gear

Postby Mixedup » Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:12 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I have a couple of old Calrec PQ1061 input/EQ modules -- Calrec's take on the Neve 1073, basically, but with more headroom :silent: -- along with some transformer'd output driver modules. I've been meaning to rack them up for years. Already got the power supply sorted, and tested the configuration so I know it's all doable... but the hassle of building a decent case keeps it as a back-shelf project for now... it's a lot easier to build some interesting DIY 500-series modules... :lol:

I, likewise, have had four SSL EQ modules and a pair of Telefunken channels to rack for about 10 years now... and still haven't got around to it. For much the same reason :headbang:
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Re: Converting an analog channel strip to 19 inch gear

Postby Boulevardier » Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:32 pm

Thank you for the replies!

Maybe a nice DIY then, whenever I might get to it.

Thanks again!
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Re: Converting an analog channel strip to 19 inch gear

Postby Sam Inglis » Thu Nov 28, 2019 2:47 pm

Nice when they're done, though...

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