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Hux Electronics : Gallery 5

Case Study Of An Amek Media 5.1 Recording Console Upgrade

An Amek Media 5.1 recording mixing console is a great sounding analogue console with digitally controlled automation. The automation includes virtual faders, virtual dynamics, virtual VCA groups and snapshot recall of the position of every pot and switch. Each input channel strip plugs into one of three motherboards which connect to one of three digitizer boards and these connect to one of six virtual dynamics boards and also to the onboard CPU. The original chips that were used on the digitizer boards were made especially for Amek and stock had run out, therefore the last bunch of Media 5.1 consoles that were built had a new "updated" digitizer board which used "off the shelf" chips. Unfortunately these new "improved" digitizer boards induce more audible noise into the console mix buss (and other) outputs than the older boards ever did. This is not a problem due to the use of the new chips, it is actually due to a circuit board track layout problem.

I was lucky enough to track down three of the old "unimproved" digitizer boards and fitted them to this console. The digitally induced audible hash in the mix buss was acceptable but not ideal before the modification, the improvement after the modification was outstanding. There is still a tiny bit of digital hash present but it is buried way down below the normal analogue mix buss noise floor.

The digitizer boards live under the channel strips, every channel strip and the master section had to be removed to get to them. The console is shown above just before disassembly.

Every channel strip and the master section (on the couch) removed and laid out in order (kind of in order anyhow).

A closer look at the input channel strips, they cram a lot of electronics on these boards (you cant really see it here).

A closer view again, now you can see some of the high density electronics, it may be busy in here but the designers have still left room to maneuver for service people like me, I like this sensible use of surface mount components.

The "improved" digitizer" cards after being removed and retired from active duty.

A view of the now naked console.

Another view of the naked console.

An internal view of the console tub, the mother boards are at the top of the picture, they connect via DIN 41612 connectors to the digitizer boards shown in the middle and these connect via ribbon cables to the virtual dynamics boards at the bottom of the picture. The digitizer boards shown here are the old original "unimproved" boards that I fitted to this console.

Another view of the gizzards of the console, there is a lot of serious stuff lurking under the bonnet here.

A bit of loom detail at the rear, all of the looms are at least a metre or more longer than they need to be to accommodate any future change in the type of console used, all of the extra cable is hidden on the lacing bar.

Tree trunk sized "loom central" under the console, nearly all cables are eight way Canare multicore

The console reassembled again, powered up and ready for active duty. Less mix buss noise = one x happy owner.

The first photo of the console again as it compliments the photo before.

A Soundtracs "Jade" Console owned by John Rix of Decibel Recording Studio, near Brisbane, this unit was the top level analogue console manufactured by Soundtracs before they dropped analogue and went all digital, it has onboard virtual dynamics for every channel and virtual fader and mute automation, serviced by Hux.

The Samford Songwriters Association, "Performers Cafe Gala Event" at Samford in June 2006. I still do the odd live sound engineering job, this was a great evening out with a very nice Martin PA (with ample horsepower) supplied by Nicholson Audio, good performers, good audience and great cakes for sale, even the hall was acoustically good to be in, the way live music should be (me thinks).

Performers Cafe Gala Event

Performers Cafe Gala Event

Performers Cafe Gala Event

The obligatory blues band at the end of the evening, they were well behaved and played well