How to service a 24-channel mixing desk

Before Servicing

Before servicing

Recently I got asked to service a 24 channel Soundcraft mixing desk.

Servicing them isn’t so much a technical problem, but managing them is due to their sheer size. It is best if you can find an extra pair of helping hands to move and position the desk so that you can have easier access to it.

Mixing Desk Before Servicing

Before Servicing

Most of the problems are caused by general wear and tear, and the occasional ham fisted operator who like to push buttons in with the delicacy of a Neanderthal fist – on this one a bank of buttons had been completely pushed through the front fascia of the desk, stripping the threads on the supporting pillars. Access to the boards was via the removal of the back panel.

Before servicing the mixing desk

Before any of the boards could be removed, all of the control knobs, and supporting nuts had to be removed from the front. This takes a long time, especially when one or two controls do not want to leave the comfort of their mothers splined shaft.

While servicing a 24 track mixing desk

During Servicing

The environment of mixing desks varies from one location to the next, however they all seem to attract their own collection of dirt, grime and fluff, all of which manages to find its way inside.

Pots and slider controls tend to become electrically noisy, and the only real way to clean them is to remove every board and clean the contact surfaces with a suitable switch cleaner.

Servicing the mixing desk

Inside a 24 track Mixing Desk

During Servicing

When all the boards have been removed the front of the desk can be cleaned. I use a special cleaning fluid. Many people have asked what it is, especially after their keyboard repairs, where all the keys are gleaming again. All I can say is that it is like the formula for coca-cola, where the ingredients are kept secret.

Once all the boards have been serviced, repairs made, problems resolved, it is then time to put it all back together.

Fully serviced 24 track mixing desk

Fully Serviced

When the boards and connectors have all been replaced, you then have to remember which colour knob went were. It is at this point that you are glad that you took some photographs to remind yourself.

When it is all back together, time for a final test and make sure that all is working correctly, and the desk is now good to go.

I suspect that every mixing desk has a tale to tell, from some of the bands that they have recorded from – if only they could talk.

Do any bands have any interesting stories to tell………?

Get in touch with us if you are looking for someone to service your mixing desk.