General Studio Up keep. How to take care of your gear!

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by J-3, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. J-3

    J-3 Active Member

    Jul 20, 2004
    Hi all, been wanting to make this post for a while and after reading the "cleaning the diaphram on a condensor mic" thread I decided to go ahead with it.

    Would any of the more seasoned engineers out there care to start a list of daily, monthly etc, things to do to keep gear in good shape. For instance, what is the rule for hooking up a condensor to phantom power? Plug in then turn on phantom? Turn on phantom then plug in? etc.

    Smoking in the studio? Insence, candles, tobacco, pot smoke?

    Wrapping cables?

    Keeping Mics in cases or on stands.

    on and on and on.... if anyone would like to organize this better go for it!

    Here's my 2 cents.
    --on wrapping cables I roll them like John Wayne rolls up a lasso. Keep both ends free and let the cable go back into a nice loop on its own. Tie with a velcro strap and that cable will last for years and years. Also, try making your own cables too.

    --mics in cases or stands. I'm trying to get better at putting them all away. I just don't like the idea of someone knocking a $1200 mic to the ground. Or the occasional jackass that might try to "sing/scream" into a mic just because he's half drunk and it's on the stand. If someone did that to my R-121 I'd absolutly have to stick my size 11 cowboy boot up his ass sideways......I'm not kidding either! That plus I burn a lot of incense and candles depending on the session and I don't know if the candle/insence smoke will alter a condensor or ribbbon mic.

    --cats and cables. Apparently I have a gato that loves to chew on mic cables, not good. If you have a chompin' critter either put up the cat or put up the cables, your choice. (true story)

    Anyone else???????
  2. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    I'm a smoker, but never in front of my mics -I don't want them picking up any bad habits! That tar will stick, but the odd cigarette when you don't want to put your mics away probably won't do any harm once the smoke isn't going directly into the mic. Incense isn't such a good idea either, especially something like raw frankincense.

    If you have a home studio, or occasionally set up your mics in a domestic room, BEWARE OF THE GREAT EVIL KNOWN AS HAIRSPRAY! That myst of Satan will get everywhere.

    John Stafford
  3. J-3

    J-3 Active Member

    Jul 20, 2004
    Good stuff John, never thought of hairspray. I do burn lots of incense during sessions, bummer.

    Here is another, I've noticed some guys put their tube guitar amps on standby ALL DAY and some guys NEVER use standby. My rule of thumb (correct me if I'm wrong) is to put the amp on standby if it's going to be used in an hour or so. It'll be nice and warm, ready to go but it's not cooking all day either. For those who don't use standby I belive this is bad news for the tubes.

  4. Skeetch

    Skeetch Guest

    After each session, or when not in use:

    - All mics put back in cases/bags (regardless of make or worth)

    - Dust cover on console

    - Everything electrical/electronic powered off.

    - No smoking (of anything) allowed in my room so that's not a factor. I also don't burn incense but I do burn scented candles - or rather, melt them. The candle sits in a glass jar which in turn sits on a small hot plate designed specifically for burning/melting scented candles. Very cool and avoids any smoke coming off the wick of the candle. Cost Plus and Pier One have some great scented candles that have some very nice aromatic qualities.

    - Using fine horse hair paintbrush, dust off console and outboard once per week.

    - Once per month, outboard gets unracked, the lid popped off, and carefully blown out with LP air. Whilst the lid is off, check for any obvious signs of damaged components, wiring or loose grounds.

    Before a session -

    - Turn on all tube gear/mics at least one hour before it gets used. Everything that can be in standby is.
  5. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2004
    when blowing out DO NOT USE a super high pressure air compessor, also if you use a compressor make sure there is a air/oil filter inline it sould go like this

    compressor -> line -> filter -> line -> chuck

    comdensation can build in the lines and oil can leack out of the compessor. the filter can be purchased at most art suply storrs they are used primaraly for airbrushing.

    an HVAC sytem is a good investment or just a good ozone air purifier to keep things fresh.
  6. Skeetch

    Skeetch Guest

    Quite right. Hence my statement "carefully blown out with LP air" - the emphasis being on "carefully" and "LP" (low pressure for the layfolk). ;)
  7. 187

    187 Guest

    air in a can? at office depot will that do?I use it in my pc case every couple months works like a charm is it good for all electronics?Man my set up gets hella dirty I should be dusting evry second day but im lazy I suppose but Im disgusted when it comes time to clean my keyboards (PC and MIDI) and my lcd is not looking very good right now Ive had it for less than 6 months and it looks like Ive had it for years...almost scratched in places but im not sure how nothing ever touches my monitor...I gotta quit smoking too ashes suck!
  8. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2004
    187 that would work but i hate waiting for the cans to warm back up. also remeber the appearance of your studio will gett you more clients, it shouldnt be like a docters office but also should not be like aback water club either. a good abiance is the key, like a good antiqu librarie only louder. plush elegant , but not clutterd.
  9. Skeetch

    Skeetch Guest

    Air in a can works fine, but Frob is right, the can should be warm before use (room temp is fine). I also use the same basic setup Frob mentioned earlier with the inline filter on the air compressor.

    Usually, a 4:1 ratio on the tank works great with a medium attack and release. :? :D
  10. o2x

    o2x Active Member

    Mar 17, 2005
    Build yourself a nice little box or cabinet for your mics. If they are all in one place then it's less of a chore looking for the box, bag for which it belongs.

    Cables in general. Use big loops and don't 'hard wrap' around your hand and elbow. A little brasso on the end of jack plugs gets rid of static build up. Dont leave cables all over the live room floor so they get stomped on or amps/drums set up over them.

    Dust is a pest. If there is ventilation on a piece of kit, there's sure to be dust inside!. Use LP air to move dust from PCB's, vents, fans, or anywhere it dwells. Don't bother with a can of comp air. Use a car footpump modified with a longer bit of rubber tubing and a selection of valves from the sports shop. (Footpump doesn't run out).

    If you still use tape. Clean the heads with PURE ethanol 10 mins before use, wipe any residue with a lint free swab. Don't clean the pinch roller or any other rubber parts with IPA, it'll harden the rubber. There is a special solution available for this.

    Smoking/Incense/Candles/Pot/Crack whatever.

    Smoke contains nasty particles of OIL and TAR. Not good for any equipment, especially Pots and Faders. If you must smoke (I do) nip outside the control room. Your equipment will thank you for it.

    Dont leave hard drives lying around even in their caddies. Buy yourself a RAID/SAN case compatible with your caddy and store them in there.

    Label ALL the cables at the back of your rack(s). This makes tracking faults easier.

    Keep a maintenence kit containing all the necessary gubbins needed for the job. Set yourself a maintenence shedule and stick by it.

    Don't forget, your kit cost you a lot of money - so look after it well.

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