Posted by: performanceproduction | February 11, 2010


So I never did mention the significance of the title of my first post – “Wrong Timing, as Per Usual.”  I entitled it that because I wrote in on January 20 – almost three weeks had gone by without a gig, and there have only been a handful since.  So, I’ve basically been keeping banker’s hours for the last month and a half, and getting an assload of maintenance/repair/rearrangement done in the shop.

Y’know what’s weird though – that has always been my favourite thing to spend time doing.  Yeah, I like doing the gigs, but I’m a fucking control freak, so managing the logistics of it all (and I don’t mean trucking) is what gives me the biggest hardon.  The best part is that so much of it is new and different, whereas with the gig itself (especially rock and roll gigs), you very much get into a certain rhythm, and what seems extraordinary and complicated becomes like wiping your ass – you don’t even think about it anymore.

So, what exactly have I been up to?  Well, I went through every speaker I could find and painted/tested/verified that everything worked.  Then I hit every speaker cable we have here, relabelled, snugged connectors, tinned some EP pins (hence my loopy soldering posts), etc etc.  My next task at hand has been thorough cleaning and maintenance of every amp in the building.  I’ve always been of the opinion that for a company like ours, this should be done once a year.  At another company I used to work for, it was always the second week of June.  There was a biker festival we used to do the first week of June, and that was the week when all the willow trees by the river that ran through that town would bloom and shed their…willows?  So when the rig would come back, every filter and every orifice would be stuffed with big white cottony puffy shit.  Anyway, apparently the theory has not been held so strictly at my current company (apparently one guy started to do it last winter, but quit after finishing only one rack – though I don’t think there’s any kind of relationship there!), so I’m kinda starting from scratch here.

And oh my god.  These things needed it.  In the past when I’ve done this, it’s generally been “preventative maintenance” – pretty light work, but necessary.  With these though, I’m shocked that there haven’t been more catastrophic failure with these amps.  There have been a fair amount of failures in the almost year I’ve worked here – almost always either the power up relays failing or the input sensitivity switches need exercising.  Granted, these amps are a bit elderly – almost all Macrotechs (mostly 5K’s, with a few 2400’s and 1200’s mixed in), but those are also probably the most durable amps ever made in the history of audio amplifiers.  I’ve NEVER seen this high a rate of failure, and I’m very very convinced it’s simply because of dirt.  Dirt+electronics=bad bad shit.

Today, I found the mac-daddy of them though (so far – I’ve only gone through 4 of the 20+ racks in the shop….this particular rack probably goes out the most of any of them though, so I expect it to be in the worst shape).  This is the second dirtiest bunch of amp guts I have ever seen.  Here’s the pictures:

For those wondering, this is the inside of a Crown Microtech 600.  Incidentally, the dirtiest amp I’ve ever seen was also a Microtech 600.  I don’t have pictures of that at the moment, though I emailed a former co-worker who I’m pretty sure does, and I’ll post those later for comparison’s sake.  I’d also like to point out that these pictures don’t even do the filth justice, since I took them with my phone, which has a pretty dirty lens at the moment.  It was nasty, though.  You could wipe your finger a couple of times on it and still not hit metal!



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