Transplant Surgery

Transplant Surgery

A few weeks ago I noticed a bit of a problem the the church sound system. Though all the mics and inputs etc. were working, no sound was getting to any of the speakers in the church.

I turned out that our Peavey X-Frame DSP (digital signal processor) had died. This is the box of tricks that takes the sound from the main desk and feeds it to the 2 main, 2 sub, and 6 auxiliary speakers in the church (as well as the subset of speakers over the choir). It’s a very carefully and cleverly tuned set up which took them days to get right when the system was installed 15 years ago- the feed to each speaker is tuned and tweaked and sometimes delayed so that no matter where you are sitting in the church it sounds the same and as if the sound is coming from the front when it may actually be coming mostly from a speaker off to the side of you. But without this box the speakers make no sound at all.

After a little research I found out that, of course, they no longer make this particular unit. I managed to find someone at the company who designed our sound system who was super helpful, and who managed to find me a similar unit that should match most of the wiring (there are a lot of wires coming out of the back of this thing!)-

However, even though we were lucky enough to find a CD I had saved of the configuration file that tells it what to do, obviously that file would not work with a different unit, so we would probably have to have a tech come in and do the rewiring and then tune everything (if we could even find a tech to come out with everything that’s going on).

Luckily, because of the current situation, we had a little time to play with as right now we don’t have a congregation in the church so we don’t need the speakers at the moment, so we did a little rethinking and after a quick search I managed to find two of these units for sale on eBay- so I gambled and grabbed both of them in the hopes that I could program one of them with our config file and make it work. One was coming from China and will probably be here sometime before Christmas, but the other was just coming from Long Island, and it arrived last week. Broken.

They had packed it very carefully with lots of foam above and below but almost none around the edge and had rolled up the power cord and put it down the side right in front of the LCD screen, and obviously somewhere along the way it got bashed. It appears to power up but without the screen it is very difficult to know if the rest of it is working, and when I hooked my laptop to it to see if I could load the config file into it it was not recognized. Crap!

But Crisp got me thinking when he said that I should try and see if I could put the LCD screen from our old one into this one if it worked. So after consulting with my friend at the AV company we cooked up the idea of trying to take the power supply (which seems to work) out of this one and transplanting it into our old one in case it is the power supply that’s gone bad.

So today that is what I did… I very carefully made notes of all the wiring connections, disconnected them all, took our one out of the rack and opened both up. then I switched out the power supply, buttoned it back up, put it back in the rack, and reconnected all the wires…

Then with much trepidation I flipped the switch- and it works 🙂

Sound comes loud and clear from all the speakers in the church (and no reprogramming necessary).

It may not last for ever, it’s a part from another used unit after all, but hopefully it will last us a while- and I have the other one coming soon from China, so when that arrives I will try and load the config file into it so it’s ready if/when we need it (and failing that it’ll be another source of spare parts).

So when people can come back to church they will be able to hear clearly!

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