Author Topic: BBC Maida Vale studio 3 4040E  (Read 3840 times)

StarF666

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 80
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • Berlin, Germany
BBC Maida Vale studio 3 4040E
« on: March 13, 2015, 06:26:45 AM »
Hello Everybody,

this is kind of an official introducionary post. The reason is, our desk is finally with us. My name is Martin, I'm 34 years old, got a MA in computer science and my guitar skills got me somehow in the music business. The studio and hence the SSL I'm talking about belong to a very close friend of mine. The SSL is kind of a lifetime dream of him and we finally make it come true.

As we are (like probably anybody else) on a budget, we could not affor to get a fully serviced console and decided to do most of the work ourselfes. We did that with his last two desks as well (a vintage ACE and a 72-channel D&R Triton, which will be for sale soon) and also some MCI multitracks.

After I mailed most of the known dealers in Europe no one had something to offer. I was after the desks on ebay in Frankfurt and Toulouse. The Michael Stockdale of AES pro audio London came up with an offer: 1985 40 channel E-series ex Maida Vale studio 3 w/ plasma meters. The price was good enough to buy it without further inspection and we liked the history of the desk. We went to London on monday in a 30 hour trip and got it now in a seperate room in the studio to fix it up. It was allegedly serviced until about a year ago and sat unused since then. It was pretty dusty but otherwise in a pretty good condition.

With it came:
  • two power supplies (one faulty), changeover unit, power cables
  • computer with G+ drives and psu
  • spare channel
  • service manuals for console and computer, computer manual, console specification sheet

It has quite a few BBC mods:
  • EDAC varicon connectors instead of DL
  • TB control, status buttons and some more control stuff paralleled to producers desk
  • custom BBC main VU panel
  • custom BBC 682 with 3x 2-track remote and varispeed
  • custom BBC 682 headphone amp with source selector
  • no video screen in center section

and some more. It will need some time to get through all the mods. Some have already been removed like a 28 channel submixer, which was in there at some point.

As I said, the desk is in a seperate room now, all channels, bargraphs and center section removed. We started blowing the dust out, cleaning the frame and removing some of the annoying BBC stuff.

I am writing all this in the hope for some help from this great community. I've read through a lot of topics already and I hope I can help others with some of the things I discover on the journey. I'll enjoy every question and all the support of you.

I just realized, I've got not photo of the desk complete so I'll attach one of the frame and one of the channels.



Artur D'Assumpção

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 638
  • Karma: +21/-0
  • Sintra, Portugal
Re: BBC Maida Vale studio 3 4040E
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2015, 10:31:42 AM »
Hi Martin,

Welcome to the family! You must be thrilled with the new project! Give it a lot of love, pay attention to details, and I am sure in the end you'll get a console for years to come by. It won't be an easy road, but we're a family and if you need anything I am sure any one of us will jump right in to help.

You should check you console, I know of some ex-BBC consoles which were custom ordered with transformers on the channel input cards. Those rock for tracking! ;)

Good luck and have fun! \o/

PS: does this console comes with TR? :D

Cheers,

Artur
« Last Edit: March 13, 2015, 10:36:38 AM by Artur D'Assumpção »

sintech

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 818
  • Karma: +59/-0
    • Bristol, UK
Re: BBC Maida Vale studio 3 4040E
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2015, 10:49:14 AM »
Hi Martin, looks like a great project. More pics please :-)

StarF666

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 80
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • Berlin, Germany
Re: BBC Maida Vale studio 3 4040E
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2015, 11:12:41 AM »
Thank you. Yes it has the Jensen transformers in the inputs, brown EQ and TR. More pictures will follow as we make progress (and I find time to spend with the desk).

The SSL is in quite  good condition. It seems the console has really been serviced till a year ago. It has at some point been recapped (at least partly). The circuit boards and ribbon cables are also in good condition. Only the patchbay looks a little abused.

One thing we want to change before putting it in the control room is to add 8 additional channels. We have a spare bucket and want to put the bus cards from that into the producer desk. As we have only a 40 channel patch bay, we will wire patch points to an extra patch row. Do we have to think about anything else? Does anybody see a problem with that?

Another thing, that puzzles me, is the wiring of the 120 pin EDAC connectors. I don't know what connections are on which connector and how the pins on the connector are wired. Maybe someone has a clue? Any best practice how to find out (besides using a DMM)?

We also ordered an Atomic S1 power supply. Does anybody use one of these? We won't turn it on with the old supplies. The original PSUs/changeover might be up for sale (one has the power transistors missing)

Artur D'Assumpção

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 638
  • Karma: +21/-0
  • Sintra, Portugal
Re: BBC Maida Vale studio 3 4040E
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2015, 01:21:32 PM »
Hi Martin,

man that's super awesome! You will love those channel inputs, special for tracking! I know of some G+ consoles which were factory for customized for BBC like your E and they rock! :)

If you have any doubts regarding recapping you better off by recapping it all. What you can do is get a channel which you know isn't in good conditions and recap it bottom up and re-calibrate it. After this, run a frequency response measurement and compare with others. If results are that better, you got yourself a reason to recap the channels! ;)

Remember that bad chap caps, although the might seem to be performing correctly (sound wise), can be in many situations for weird and sporadic malfunctions, such as logic mistriggering.

Cheers,

Artur

waltzingbear

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 230
  • Karma: +9/-0
    • Portland, Oregon
    • Waltzing Bear Audio
Re: BBC Maida Vale studio 3 4040E
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2015, 04:23:15 PM »
the other suggestion would be to get the desk up and running before you do any additions or modifications to it. Can save a world of time running in circles.

looking at the "inside" of the EDAC connectors should give you a clue on layout as they will have individual cables landing, and you will know the pinning layout that was used. (+/-/S) Then its "just" a matter of finding where one of them goes and the rest will start to fall into place.

Cheers
Alan
Alan Garren
Waltzing Bear Audio

Artur D'Assumpção

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 638
  • Karma: +21/-0
  • Sintra, Portugal
Re: BBC Maida Vale studio 3 4040E
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2015, 05:57:20 PM »
Do you have the manuals dossiers of the console correct?

You should have a system manual, that goes through all the wiring (patching) and customization for your specific console. This is not the console service manual nor the computer service manual. It's a 3rd thinner dossier that SSL provided and had all the specifics of your console (purchase order, parts list, etc.). This is because of the customer requests which could be specific from console to console.

Cheers,

Artur

StarF666

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 80
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • Berlin, Germany
Re: BBC Maida Vale studio 3 4040E
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2015, 10:29:41 AM »
I've got a quite thin document titled "System specification". I attached a photo (been on tour the last days, hotel bar lecture). It contains all the mods and the custom patchbay rows. I'll guess I'll be able to figure things out.

And here is a little status update:
The frame has been cleaned now and we've got a plan for the new studio wiring. We added the bus cards for another 8 channels to the producer desk and are prepairing their wiring. Will make photos tomorrow. Can't wait to get the new power supply and power up the center section and a test channel.
5 channels are missing their 82E13 (knew that when buying). I'll have to find them used or might go with some from CML (thanks for the offer). One of the edge connectors on the lower bus card in the producer desk (from a spare bucket) is broken. Still trying to find that one. Apart from that I'm trying to find an ultrasonic cleaner for the switch cards. Has anybody experience with the cheaper models? Or should I try to rent a professional one?

Cheers,
Martin


sintech

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 818
  • Karma: +59/-0
    • Bristol, UK
Re: BBC Maida Vale studio 3 4040E
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2015, 12:49:57 PM »
Hi, I've got a spare Lower bus card for an E series.

StarF666

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 80
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • Berlin, Germany
Re: BBC Maida Vale studio 3 4040E
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2015, 08:00:24 AM »
Just want to give you a little status update. We have prepared the producers desk bucket for the additional 8 channels. We had to relocate the plasma motherboard a bit and will install a frame to make room under the bus cards for the connector panel. The panel will hold computer ribbons and the power supply cable. All audio connections will be on the other side under the patchbay. Speaking of, we removed all patchbays and are currently trying to get through the snake nest to configure it to our needs. We have to rearrange some of the EDAC connectors (no DLs for the BBC) and have just received the tools to do so. Still waiting for the Atomic to power it up. Meanwhile we started removing the switches from the channels to give them some ultrasonic cleaning. It seems to help especially with the routing switches. The knobs and switch caps will get a bath though we are still arguing, should we put them into the washing maschine or the dish wascher.

There are also a few questions that came up through the last days.
First, there are different type of capacitors throughout the console. I know, that some have been replaced at some point. There are a lot of the orange ones, some kinda dark blueish and some in "british racing green". Among the photos I attached you'll find one of a channel with all kinds on different boards (preamp, dynamics, vca). Can anyone shine a light, which ones are most probably factory original and which one might be changed? It's mostly out of curiosity , I know I better recap but I will start with the center section.
Then we have removed an eurorack under the producer desk which had, besides some custom switching electronics, fitted several "dual switching/buffer card 82E148". As far as I can tell, these were used to disrtibute certain signals throughout the (BBC) studio. Am I right that these were used to balance signals and bring them to the right level/impedance? What else do these cards do? Any idea what I can do with them?
As I mentioned earlier in this thread, the desk had two custom BBC 682 panels fitted. On one, there are two switches labeled "A-H solo inhibit" and "25-32 solo inhibit" (see attached picture). Do they provide some kind of "solo isolate" for those buckets? I wasn't yet able to figure out, where the cables go. Any ideas? As I have lots of switches to spare, I thought I could install this for every bucket or at least reassign one of the switches to another bucket.

As always, any help is appreciated. Thank you.

Cheers,
Martin

sintech

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 818
  • Karma: +59/-0
    • Bristol, UK
Re: BBC Maida Vale studio 3 4040E
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2015, 08:36:48 AM »
"A-H solo inhibit" and "25-32 solo inhibit"  Make either side of the centre 24 channels of the 4040 configuration solo safe for FX returns. They'll just have cut traces on the motherboards that are linked via the switch in question.

The Orange cap's are original, these tended to weep a grey residue just around the legs, and contaminate the solder joint, through to the other side of the board. If you flip.. look for a slight ring around the solder joint.

The Green caps are "Muse" caps.. maybe the best cap, these are not original.

Blue caps took over from the 'Orange cap' period.. and most likely original.


StarF666

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 80
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • Berlin, Germany
Re: BBC Maida Vale studio 3 4040E
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2015, 08:42:51 AM »
Thank you. Great info on the caps. The solo inhibit seems to work like I expected. Is this the same mechanism as the "solo isolate" on the Gs (though not "per channel")? I will have a deeper look at how they really did it and see, if I'll rearrange or expand it.

Artur D'Assumpção

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 638
  • Karma: +21/-0
  • Sintra, Portugal
Re: BBC Maida Vale studio 3 4040E
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2015, 09:03:25 AM »
If you're going through that minute detail, and stating that you have original caps on an 80s console I would just go through and recap the entire console. That would not only improve overall sound, but spare you to future headaches.

StarF666

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 80
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • Berlin, Germany
Re: BBC Maida Vale studio 3 4040E
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2015, 09:14:52 AM »
It is planned to recap it completely but I will have to do it step by step. The plan is to get all the wiring sorted out, then, when the power supply is ready, start with the center section, add one channel per bucket and up until it's running. Then recap center seciont and after that gradually recap the channels one by one. I hope the Atomic has enough range to dial in the right voltages for every stage.

Does anyone have some info on the 82E148? It's also listed in the G service manual that's available in this forum's manual section.

Artur D'Assumpção

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 638
  • Karma: +21/-0
  • Sintra, Portugal
Re: BBC Maida Vale studio 3 4040E
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2015, 11:14:44 AM »
Just be aware that many logic problems come from bad-behaving capacitors. Capacitors not-totally-faulty, but working out of spec can mess with logic boot and you experience several random weird problems. Capacitors from the 80s will be for certain out of spec, since these would only last 8-10 years.

Cheers,

Artur