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Condition

Classic consoles are getting to the age where many require complete refurbishment. Many studios fail because their maintenance history is insufficient. Studio maintenance is not refurbishment. Unless the equipment broker or studio maintains a fully equipped technical staff and parts department chances are you are purchasing a console with dozens or perhaps 100’s of faults. The average independent tech rate in the United States can be between $850-$1000 per day. Refurbishment in the field is expensive and often times when you fly the field technician out he will not have the necessary components required to complete the repairs. Downtime is frustrating and costly. Be extremely thorough when purchasing a console this way.

Modifications and Documentation
Many Neves, API’s and SSLs had modifications performed that were not part of the original manufacturers specifications. Some of these modifications were engineered and documented well. Others were performed poorly without practical engineering theory and may result in degradation of the performance of the equipment as well as the console’s value. Consoles without full documentation are more expensive to restore. This requires the technician to reverse engineer in order to trouble shoot. This process is infinitely more time consuming.

Shipping and Handling
Even a fully refurbished console will develop additional problems when it is moved. Automation faders, mother boards, sensitive wiring harnesses, as well as input and master section components can all be damaged in transit if the console is not packed and shipped correctly.
Many manufacturer’s requirements are different for transporting a console. Did you know that SSLs are shipped with the modules installed in the frame and Neves are not? Console splits are required when the entrance is too small for the desk. This can add 3-4 days to the engineering process (or roughly $3000). If you are designing a control room make sure you have plenty of access to get a console in the room in one piece. Also, don’t forget about wire access, HVAC, and power but more on that later.

Parts and Technical Support
Well, by now you have purchased your used console managed to get it delivered and installed in your studio and the PSU regulator dies. Your session is down and your client just walked out the door. Just call the manufacturer and have the part overnight shipped right? Easy. Wrong. Did you know that the used console you just purchased has components that are no longer supported by the manufacturer? Preventative maintenance and a proper spares collection will be the key to the longevity of your equipment.

The Sonic Circus Difference

Our 30,000 square foot Headquarters is home to the most significant collection of recording consoles and parts inventory on the planet. We also maintain a top staff of qualified technical engineers as well as a fully stocked parts division.

Benefits include
Full service, integration, console commissioning, after sale support, and spare parts.

Service Contracts Available
We recommend a quarterly service contract for your classic console. The cost benefit is excellent. As opposed to staffing a full time technician, we will come to your facility and perform preventative maintenance and diagnostics on your console. We can show you how to keep proper maintenance records and help keep your studio healthy for years to come

Parts Program
Sonic Circus has the most valuable parts inventory in the world. We have refurbished more pre-owned consoles than any company in the business. Throughout the years we have acquired the worlds most valuable “rare spares” division and cross-reference system for switches, pots, transformers, bulbs, LCD’s, knobs, PSU’s, automation computers, and frame extensions. As of September 2009 you will notice a dramatic change to our website interface; our vast parts inventory will be available to you online. Simply contact parts@soniccircus.com for your login and password.

Experience
Since 1996 Sonic Circus has serviced and refurbished 100’s of pre-owned classic consoles. Our engineering staff has decades of experience and include former AMS/Neve and Solid State Logic alumni. Also through the SCTA (Sonic Circus Technical Alliance) we can provide regional emergency service as well parts and field support for your facility. For more info contact tech@soniccircus.com.

Technology Exchange
Most studio owners, touring companies and artists are too busy to deal with marketing their current console and installing their new one. We can offer you trade equity for your existing console that can be applied to the purchase of your next one. We will pick up your trade-in upon delivery of the next console and help eliminate costly downtime.

Crating and Worldwide Logistics
Sonic Circus has a fully equipped crating facility to prepare your console onsite for delivery to your door. We will ship your console anywhere in the world correctly, safe and sound. We handle all of the details of logistics including insurance, crating, crane service, (if required) customs clearance, harmonized codes. We offer commercial rates for airfreight as well as nationwide moving services.

Consultation
If you are planning a recording console installation, and would like to schedule your free initial consultation please contact us at consoles@soniccircus.com to discuss the scope of your project. Remember our lead-time to shop process a classic console can be between 3-6 months. So it is best to plan in advance. We always stock a fine selection of the best equipment, and if you would like to schedule a tour of Sonic Circus call us at 888 SC4 GEAR to arrange an appointment.

In next months newsletter we will discuss Analog/Digital Hybrid integration stay tuned!