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Author Topic: Vi6/600 users? I know there are a few  (Read 538 times)

John Sulek

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Vi6/600 users? I know there are a few
« on: February 12, 2019, 10:06:02 am »

A question for any Vi6/600 users out in the wild.
Have you had an issue with the gain reduction meters flickering on certain fader layers? Like there's a clocking issue but no fault indicators are lit on the system overview screen or the local rack and audio is unaffected.
Re seating or re locating one of the dsp cards will make the flickering go away for the rest of the day and sometimes for several days after.
The techs at the Soundcraft distributor have had a look and suspicion seems to be falling on the backplane board which can be replaced.
Just wondering if anyone else has experienced this and found the root cause?
Thanks and safe travels.
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Bryan Hargrave

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Re: Vi6/600 users? I know there are a few
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2019, 01:32:30 pm »

Where is this happening? On gigs? In the shop? With your full standard setup? Is this a new thing out of nowhere with no changes in your system? Is this a new system to you and it is happening right from the start? Disclaimer... I have not used the consoles with the x00 upgrades. Just Vi4 and Vi5000.

This is a copy of an older post I made in response to a fellow having some metering/cable issues with his Vi4.

"Soundcraft approves certain cable types for their MADI connections and for a major reason. In troubleshooting a few things in our shop I was in almost constant contact with THE guys at Soundcraft. It was said to me that MADI wasn't originally designed to work over a cat5 cable... it just happens to work over one. Or more specifically a few. Not all cat5 cables. They strongly suggest that you use the cable types they spec as they have been tested and prove to be stable. Purely based on various prices for cat5 cable, one could assume that not all is created equal and that it takes the top shelf to make this non-standard application work properly. To compare, a mic cable sometimes works as an AES cable, but not always.

Approved cable models and lengths with disclaimer from the console manual (RTFM),
-------------
NEUTRIK (CONTRIK) ETHERFLEX - 80m
EVOLUTION XPC TACTICAL Cat 5E - 100m
KLOTZ RC5SB - 120M

Soundcraft does not guarantee reliable operation with any other type of Cat 5 cables
--------------

Also, I know from experience the Belden Catsnake 1305A upjacketed works perfectly.

Another example.... it seems that they never tested the MADI connection with very short cables. I have had some frustrating experiences in my shop when connecting the stage box to the local rack with 3-6ft cables (too lazy to pull out the snake to noodle in the shop). This causes lots of random spiking on the meter bridge and some audible digital popping. Imagine my smile when I was told it wasn't my console freaking out. They just never assumed that people were going to have the local rack and stage box that close (hello... monitor world!). I put in a 15ft set of cables and poof!! perfection."

Further from that old post, I have experienced popping and INSANELY loud digital that was fixed just by swapping out the cables that linked my dsp cards to my hd card. There have also been failures on 2 lexicon cards. One of those caused bizzarro metering. We pulled it and the console behaved fine.

A question for any Vi6/600 users out in the wild.
Have you had an issue with the gain reduction meters flickering on certain fader layers? Like there's a clocking issue but no fault indicators are lit on the system overview screen or the local rack and audio is unaffected.
Re seating or re locating one of the dsp cards will make the flickering go away for the rest of the day and sometimes for several days after.
The techs at the Soundcraft distributor have had a look and suspicion seems to be falling on the backplane board which can be replaced.
Just wondering if anyone else has experienced this and found the root cause?
Thanks and safe travels.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 01:39:33 pm by Bryan Hargrave »
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John Sulek

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Re: Vi6/600 users? I know there are a few
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2019, 04:04:41 pm »

Where is this happening? On gigs? In the shop? With your full standard setup? Is this a new thing out of nowhere with no changes in your system? Is this a new system to you and it is happening right from the start? Disclaimer... I have not used the consoles with the x00 upgrades. Just Vi4 and Vi5000.

This is a copy of an older post I made in response to a fellow having some metering/cable issues with his Vi4.

"Soundcraft approves certain cable types for their MADI connections and for a major reason. In troubleshooting a few things in our shop I was in almost constant contact with THE guys at Soundcraft. It was said to me that MADI wasn't originally designed to work over a cat5 cable... it just happens to work over one. Or more specifically a few. Not all cat5 cables. They strongly suggest that you use the cable types they spec as they have been tested and prove to be stable. Purely based on various prices for cat5 cable, one could assume that not all is created equal and that it takes the top shelf to make this non-standard application work properly. To compare, a mic cable sometimes works as an AES cable, but not always.

Approved cable models and lengths with disclaimer from the console manual (RTFM),
-------------
NEUTRIK (CONTRIK) ETHERFLEX - 80m
EVOLUTION XPC TACTICAL Cat 5E - 100m
KLOTZ RC5SB - 120M

Soundcraft does not guarantee reliable operation with any other type of Cat 5 cables
--------------

Also, I know from experience the Belden Catsnake 1305A upjacketed works perfectly.

Another example.... it seems that they never tested the MADI connection with very short cables. I have had some frustrating experiences in my shop when connecting the stage box to the local rack with 3-6ft cables (too lazy to pull out the snake to noodle in the shop). This causes lots of random spiking on the meter bridge and some audible digital popping. Imagine my smile when I was told it wasn't my console freaking out. They just never assumed that people were going to have the local rack and stage box that close (hello... monitor world!). I put in a 15ft set of cables and poof!! perfection."

Further from that old post, I have experienced popping and INSANELY loud digital that was fixed just by swapping out the cables that linked my dsp cards to my hd card. There have also been failures on 2 lexicon cards. One of those caused bizzarro metering. We pulled it and the console behaved fine.

Thanks for your reply Bryan.
However I don't believe it is related to the MADI cabling.

We have had this console for 10 years. It has been upgraded to a Vi600 with 3 dsp cards.
I have had this down to parts for annual cleanings a few times so I'm pretty familiar with the inner workings and which cards do what. Only had one a problem with one AES card that developed a bad input.
I would suspect the cabling from the dsp1 to HD/bridge card if audio was not passing/popping or the console was not recognizing cards, but that is not the case.

This has happened off and on at gigs and at our warehouse for a few months, but we can never isolate it down to a definite issue. It will consume lots of spare time and then vanish for a month only to reappear.

Nothing startlingly new in the system...an extra fan panel, relocating a few of the patch panels. This had happened before any of those minor changes.
The backplane is suspected as changing dsp card positions can make everything well again.
The service techs at Soundcraft Canada are going over it but so far it hasn't happened for them even after moving some dsp cards around to disrupt things a bit.

I'm very familiar with the MADI over cat5 issues from when we had one of these at FOH and this is not that. The cat5 cables in use are the factory short ones built for Soundcraft.
There are no clocking or digital artifacts in the audio ever when this is happening.
These are not spikes where the level jumps. It is a flickering of the gain reduction meters, as if you had a high ratio comp with very short attack/release times.

Before we start ordering parts in the hope of a solution, I'm wondering if others have had a similiar issue and what they discovered.

Cheers!


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Bryan Hargrave

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Re: Vi6/600 users? I know there are a few
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2019, 09:37:36 am »

Do you happen to have another console? Maybe swap surface and locals to see if it follows anything? My guess is that troubleshooting path would be a long shot but it is easy... might be worth a go.

I'm sorry that my experiences aren't the same as yours. It sure would have been nice to help a fellow Vi user out. I would love for you to post the solution if you ever find it. Good luck!

Thanks for your reply Bryan.
However I don't believe it is related to the MADI cabling.

We have had this console for 10 years. It has been upgraded to a Vi600 with 3 dsp cards.
I have had this down to parts for annual cleanings a few times so I'm pretty familiar with the inner workings and which cards do what. Only had one a problem with one AES card that developed a bad input.
I would suspect the cabling from the dsp1 to HD/bridge card if audio was not passing/popping or the console was not recognizing cards, but that is not the case.

This has happened off and on at gigs and at our warehouse for a few months, but we can never isolate it down to a definite issue. It will consume lots of spare time and then vanish for a month only to reappear.

Nothing startlingly new in the system...an extra fan panel, relocating a few of the patch panels. This had happened before any of those minor changes.
The backplane is suspected as changing dsp card positions can make everything well again.
The service techs at Soundcraft Canada are going over it but so far it hasn't happened for them even after moving some dsp cards around to disrupt things a bit.

I'm very familiar with the MADI over cat5 issues from when we had one of these at FOH and this is not that. The cat5 cables in use are the factory short ones built for Soundcraft.
There are no clocking or digital artifacts in the audio ever when this is happening.
These are not spikes where the level jumps. It is a flickering of the gain reduction meters, as if you had a high ratio comp with very short attack/release times.

Before we start ordering parts in the hope of a solution, I'm wondering if others have had a similiar issue and what they discovered.

Cheers!
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John Sulek

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Re: Vi6/600 users? I know there are a few
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2019, 05:18:32 pm »

Do you happen to have another console? Maybe swap surface and locals to see if it follows anything? My guess is that troubleshooting path would be a long shot but it is easy... might be worth a go.

I'm sorry that my experiences aren't the same as yours. It sure would have been nice to help a fellow Vi user out. I would love for you to post the solution if you ever find it. Good luck!

No worries Bryan!
Our usual tour vendor has a few more local racks, so we will get one from them to do some swapping around. It is definitely in the local rack and not a surface issue.
After chatting with Tom Der, we think it is one of the dsp cards glitching out. If the backplane were the issue , it would be causing other problems in his experience.
The fact that audio passes fine makes me think the backplane is ok. I have had a rental system years ago with a bad backplane and audio won't input or output from certain I/o cards.
The service folks are going to try adding a fourth dsp card and/or removing the third one to see how the I/o resources re allocate. That should help us narrow it down.
When we finally get to the root cause of all this, I'll post the solution.

Cheers!
« Last Edit: February 15, 2019, 05:21:42 pm by John Sulek »
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