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Countryman B6s suffering immediate death

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Simon Eves:
I recently bought four Countryman B6 lavaliers and four Sennheiser EW172G3 wireless systems to go with four systems that I already had (with Microphone Madness PSM-L mics).

When I tested the new gear, one of the B6s appeared to blow up almost immediately. I got ten seconds of popping and farting and then nothing. It remained dead when tested with other transmitters, although the other three new ones worked fine, both on that transmitter and all the others, as did all my existing mics.

I returned it to Countryman and got the replacement by FedEx today. I tested the new one (different S/N - I checked) with what I am 99% sure is a DIFFERENT transmitter from last time (one of the new ones) and THIS ONE BLEW UP TOO IN EXACTLY THE SAME WAY! :(

I have e-mailed the reseller, and I will call Countryman tomorrow, but...?!?!?!

Has anyone else had issues like this, either with mics or transmitters? I didn't even hot-plug it, as I usually do (and have done for years).

Despite the B6s being (at least visibly) much better built than the PSM-Ls, and despite having got them for a very good price, I am sorely tempted to return the lot and just get some more PSM-Ls, which have been rock solid (I've collected eight of those over two years, and had just one broken connection - repaired - and one dead mic due to over-enthusiastic make-up application).

Sorry if this was a rant, but I'm just very disappointed, especially as I have a show opening in just over two weeks' time and I need to know I have gear I can rely on (which I hoped I was spending extra to ensure!)

Simon Eves
Stapleton Theatre Company
San Anselmo, CA

Tim McCulloch:

--- Quote from: Simon Eves on June 29, 2011, 01:05:13 AM ---I recently bought four Countryman B6 lavaliers and four Sennheiser EW172G3 wireless systems to go with four systems that I already had (with Microphone Madness PSM-L mics).

When I tested the new gear, one of the B6s appeared to blow up almost immediately. I got ten seconds of popping and farting and then nothing. It remained dead when tested with other transmitters, although the other three new ones worked fine, both on that transmitter and all the others, as did all my existing mics.

I returned it to Countryman and got the replacement by FedEx today. I tested the new one (different S/N - I checked) with what I am 99% sure is a DIFFERENT transmitter from last time (one of the new ones) and THIS ONE BLEW UP TOO IN EXACTLY THE SAME WAY! :(

I have e-mailed the reseller, and I will call Countryman tomorrow, but...?!?!?!

Has anyone else had issues like this, either with mics or transmitters? I didn't even hot-plug it, as I usually do (and have done for years).

Despite the B6s being (at least visibly) much better built than the PSM-Ls, and despite having got them for a very good price, I am sorely tempted to return the lot and just get some more PSM-Ls, which have been rock solid (I've collected eight of those over two years, and had just one broken connection - repaired - and one dead mic due to over-enthusiastic make-up application).

Sorry if this was a rant, but I'm just very disappointed, especially as I have a show opening in just over two weeks' time and I need to know I have gear I can rely on (which I hoped I was spending extra to ensure!)

Simon Eves
Stapleton Theatre Company
San Anselmo, CA

--- End quote ---

What do the folks at Countryman say?  To me, it says something isn't wired right.

Call Countryman TODAY.  They're down the coast about 500 miles, but they're in the same time zone.

Simon Eves:

--- Quote from: Tim McCulloch on June 29, 2011, 11:47:47 AM ---What do the folks at Countryman say? To me, it says something isn't wired right.

Call Countryman TODAY. They're down the coast about 500 miles, but they're in the same time zone.

--- End quote ---

I called them. I'm actually in the North Bay so it's only about 50 miles for me. I have an appointment with one of their engineers tomorrow morning. They seem rather skeptical that I managed to kill two mics with two different transmitters (99% sure of that) and asked me to bring everything down for them to test. Cheaper than shipping it all, even if they can't reach a conclusion straight away.

I took both transmitters apart this morning (after a very early trip to Home Depot for a suitably-sized Torx driver) and I can't see anything bad inside, although of course the mic socket is a sealed unit so there's no way to be sure. Surely if there was a short, it would mean that the transmitter wouldn't work with other mics (which it does, all three types). I find it hard to believe as both transmitters are fairly new (one brand new, the other only a year old) and I have always kept them safe and clean (except when attached to an actor!)

I guess what I'm looking for here is a reality check on whether it's at all possible to blow up such a mic by hot-plugging it?

Two separate people (with a combined 40 years of pro sound experience) have told me they've always done it and never had a problem or been told by anyone that you shouldn't, but I am led to believe that the B6-for-Sennheiser has some electronics inside the plug so perhaps they aren't as immune as my PSM-Ls or ME-4s. I don't know what the pin arrangements are, but what might accidentally connect to what if the plug is only halfway in?

Simon

(now distrustful of his transmitters as well as the B6s...)

Simon Eves:
To wrap this up...

I drove down to Menlo Park this morning and waited while they checked the second dead mic.

Turns out that it wasn't a completely new replacement, but they'd actually taken the first dead one apart and then reused the plug from it when assembling the second one from scratch. Unfortunately, turns out it was the plug itself that was faulty (a short between two of the connections), which they claimed was a first. This kind of implies that they didn't actually TEST the second one before sending it to me, but maybe they're just very confident in their soldering ability! :)

Anyway, I now have an all-new one, tested and working there with my transmitter and a borrowed receiver. Shame it cost me $50 in UPS and gas and I now have three hours to make up at work, but at least I'm sorted out, and definitely credit to Rosa and Martin at Countryman for helping me so promptly.

PS. For anyone who was wondering, they said it's absolutely fine to hot-plug their mics.

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