08:40:25 am on
Wednesday 16 Oct 2019

Audio Production Woes
Matt Seinberg


Mackie 12 Input Mixer

Has anyone had not one, but two pieces of equipment malfunction at the same time? I knew I wasn't the only one. What a pain.


A hum appears.

A few months ago, while recording the final hours of WPLJ-FM, I heard a hum coming into my Behringer mixing board. I didn't know at that point if it was the headphone jack output, the RCA cable or the board. I didn't really want to stop recording to find out, so I let it run and hoped for the best.

It turned out the hum was coming from the headphone jack, but the mixing board was also acting up. I managed to get the WPLJ-FM air checks from another friend. With the help of WPLJ Assistant Program Director and Night dj, Mike Allan, I was able to put all the hours together, split them up into one-hour segments and uploaded to bigappleairchecks.com to share with the world.

I decided to buy a mixing board. I found one on eBay for a reasonable price. I made an offer and it was accepted.

I eagerly anticipated the arrival of this board. Imagine my disappointment when I hooked it up and it didn't work. I returned it and got a full refund; I decided to buy a new one: a brand new Mackie 12 input mixer, with effects, would be perfect for my purposes.

I have a great deal of analog audio equipment, including three cassette decks, a DVD and CD player, turntable, 10" reel-to-reel, 7" reel-to-reel and an MD deck. I don’t use them all, but they're nice to have. I use my Denon dual cassette almost every day for converting old cassettes to digital format.

Right now, I'm working on a project for Jimi Roberts, the afternoon DJ at WLIF-FM, Today's 101.9 in Baltimore, MD. He shipped me a big box of tapes containing his radio life, but the audio problems didn't allow me to do anything for almost two months. Now that everything is working again, I can start converting those old tapes. Jimi really gets a kick from those old airchecks.


A bulletproof JCV receiver.

The hum, as it turns out, was in the old board and in my Sherwood Stereo receiver. Since high school, I have had a JVC receiver, which is bulletproof. I installed it, there was no hum from the headphone jack and now it’s where I get the audio to put into the mixing board. The Sherwood currently resides in the garage, attached to two outdoor speakers.

I forgot to mention that my old Radio Shack four-channel mixing board also died. The 7" reel, TV, VCR and one cassette deck were plugged into it, along with the receiver. Right now, I just have the audio cable plugged into JVC headphone jack so I can record out of that.

I wanted to put the television audio into the receiver, but all I got was a terrible humming again. I tried different audio cables and had the same result. Now, I'm thinking of buying a new Behringer 8 channel mixing board for everything to go into and then run the audio cable from that to the Mackie board.

I'm even considering another Radio Shack board; what's the point? I can spend anywhere from $25-to-$50 on it with no guarantee it will last. The smart thing to do is invest in the new mixer.

I had another piece of equipment, which I haven't used, even though it connected to the old Behringer board. It's a Lexicon processor, which I'm selling on eBay. With my re-sale money, I will buy the new Behringer 8 channel mixing board. Why not buy another Mackie, well it $25 more and doesn't have the effects feature that the Behringer does.

The only other piece of equipment I had to buy was a pre-amp for the turntable to work. That goes between the turntable and board and amplifies that sound into the board. Now I can easily convert old vinyl records, as well.

The only format I don't have is a DAT deck. One day I'll find a DAT deck for a reasonable price and add it to the defunct audio collection. Then I will be complete.


Murphy's Law strikes.

Remember, Murphy's Law says anything that can go wrong will. Well, Murphy hit me three times in one day. That's enough punishment for anyone, at one time.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

More by Matt Seinberg:
Tell a Friend

Click above to tell a friend about this article.