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cory

Early MAXX recorders need power modification

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So I'm wondering if anyone has had a similar experience. Someone I work with here in NYC took the Maxx (his favorite machine) out yesterday and:

 

========================================================

Showed up to set with shiny, decked out Maxx, feeling awesome.

Client is a little antsy (has nothing to with sound).

Shoot the first half of the day-- no problems, no sweat.

DIT asks to dump first half of footage at lunch-- no problem!

Lunch-- power down, take out card, DIT dumps to harddrive, returns card.

Put card back in, power on. Backlight goes on for one second and then... goes black.

Power goes off.

Cannot turn Maxx on, no light, no nothing.

Switch out NP-1s. Nothing.

Try internal AAs. Nothing.

Client asks what's going on (now super antsy). Can I have 15 minutes to figure this out? "NO!"

 

Super quick rerouting where wireless is now going directly into camera. No more mixer. 

Really stressful, client is angry, but sound (thankfully) is successfully recorded to camera with no more hiccups.

 

End of day, try to power Maxx on. Nothing. Feeling very sad and a lot bit frustrated. Maxx, I thought we were friends!

==========================================================

 

Anyone have any reliability issues with Maxx??? This was obviously extremely unsettling.

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Many of us carry backup gear, even when using equipment that has proven its dependability over time.

As a side note, electronics are most likely to fail at the beginning of their lifespan, or near the end.

Yes. Definitely a must. (My friend had a zoom recorder with him as a backup, but the camera had nicer pre-amps). 

 

but also as a side note: as rates are being pushed further and further down, it gets harder and harder to justify bringing the kitchen sink to every job (especially if someone hasn't been in the game long enough to yet own the kitchen sink)

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Sounds like the MAXX did not have the recommended power modification that was sent to the dealers 3 months ago. 

 

The owner should call us tomorrow so we can sort this out.

 

Glenn

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...

but also as a side note: as rates are being pushed further and further down, it gets harder and harder to justify bringing the kitchen sink to every job (especially if someone hasn't been in the game long enough to yet own the kitchen sink)

 

Makes a strong case for not undercutting rates, doesn't it.

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Yes but I do not know it until I get back to work tomorrow. I think we caught the problem around Serial 10070. The problem was that a resistor needed to be replaced with a wire jumper. If this was not done the result can be exactly what happened  here. It is easy and quick to fix on effected units by our dealers who have all been notified.

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Sounds like the MAXX did not have the recommended power modification that was sent to the dealers 3 months ago. 

 

The owner should call us tomorrow so we can sort this out.

 

Glenn

Thanks for the heads up Glenn! Good folks at ProSoundNYC shipped it out to you today, hopefully it will get there soon.

 

Yes but I do not know it until I get back to work tomorrow. I think we caught the problem around Serial 10070. The problem was that a resistor needed to be replaced with a wire jumper. If this was not done the result can be exactly what happened  here. It is easy and quick to fix on effected units by our dealers who have all been notified.

Thanks for the info! I believe the serial number is 10074. Can the mod be made at local dealers? It would be super helpful if local dealers were authorized to make the change, because some folks are hard pressed to send their recorders/mixers away because of time concerns.

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but also as a side note: as rates are being pushed further and further down, it gets harder and harder to justify bringing the kitchen sink to every job (especially if someone hasn't been in the game long enough to yet own the kitchen sink)

I feel your pain Cory. Ask any mixer with 5 plus years in the game and they will understand equipment failure and the heart attack associated with it. Suxs... That's why we all have a layer of back up.   As to your side note quoted above, JB is right. Only you can prevent working for low/unreasonable rates. Say no once and awhile. Feel good about it. It can liberate one. 

CrewC

 

ps  The topic title is misleading. Obviously this is not true.

CrewC

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As much as you like your gear it is not your "friend".  If it malfunctions it will fail, and while statistically gear fails at the same frequency during prep, wrap, in the shop or working on jobs it is the latter you will remember.  Have a plan, it's what they are paying you for.

 

philp

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Thanks for the heads up Glenn! Good folks at ProSoundNYC shipped it out to you today, hopefully it will get there soon.

 

Thanks for the info! I believe the serial number is 10074. Can the mod be made at local dealers? It would be super helpful if local dealers were authorized to make the change, because some folks are hard pressed to send their recorders/mixers away because of time concerns.

 

Yes the Mod can be done at the dealer. Once the problem happens it must come to us. We will get it back out the same day if it comes in the morning.

 

Glenn

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Yes. Definitely a must. (My friend had a zoom recorder with him as a backup, but the camera had nicer pre-amps). 

 

but also as a side note: as rates are being pushed further and further down, it gets harder and harder to justify bringing the kitchen sink to every job (especially if someone hasn't been in the game long enough to yet own the kitchen sink)

cory,

 First get the kitchen sink....

 

  You bring the kitchen sink for no other reason than to provide yourself with the gear necessary to run your department as it should be run, gear failure or not... I'm not saying use gear that they are not paying for ... I am saying you need a lot of other back-up gear just in case your situation changes. That can mean a lot of things...

   You as a recordist must guard your reputation as one who can show up and perform the job function.. 

   Having a van full of gear that THAT client may or may not be paying for, is thinking about this in the wrong way. That gear is there for YOU, not them. It benefits YOU during a gear failure situation. The  client as well... but in the end, it's your ass that sink is saving. Don't show up without it...

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Yes the Mod can be done at the dealer. Once the problem happens it must come to us. We will get it back out the same day if it comes in the morning.

 

Glenn

Glenn, that is awesome-- thanks for the heads up! (it is service like this, in addition to Zax's amazing feature set, that keeps me an avid Zaxcom fan)

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Having a van full of gear....

I understand the sentiment for sure. But FWIW there are plenty of folks here in NYC who don't have a car, let alone a van. Many productions expect you to be able to carry everything on your person... (or at best a cab)

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The topic title is misleading. Obviously this is not true.

CrewC

Yes, I fully agree. It sounds like the Maxx in general is now a brick, but even your one that had the problem is not a brick

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Once again this makes me think of the many times cameras failed on shoots I did. That's generally accepted with a shrug, then they call the rental company and ask for a replacement as quickly as possible. They usually don't give you two cameras when you rent one, so why should we always bring two recorders? It's our job to maintain our gear, much like a rental company, which includes informing ourselves about recommended updates and mods before every production. If something still fails then a backup needs to be arranged, which takes time. I see it as a problem when some mixers always carry two recorders while others don't, but are still kind of expected to because some do.

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I know a few mixers who don't have their own gear. They provide production a list with what they need and the production company will rent it. In such a case, if the recorder breaks production will call the rental company which will provide a backup recorder, hopefully, if they have one. If you bring your own gear and production pays for it, you are the rental company. If something breaks: of course they will look at you for providing a backup and that's a pretty reasonable expectation, I think.

So you better have a backup plan in place.

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I had always planned to have A Maxx as my back up :(

This issue has been resolved several months back. 

All new units are fine - and anyone who has this simple mod done should have no problems.

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I actually have to give a thumbs up to Glenn for the support here.

Now I believe that we crossed the line about having the need for a backup on set when the equipment we use became basically little computers. We can't hold the mfg responsible for giving us everything we ask and then having occasional failures on set. It is the nature of where we are at now. I for one have been playing with fire for a while with only having a single mixer on set. I am thinking more and more about having a second tiny analog mixer with the proper cables and power at the ready.

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Heads up Nomad folks:

 

I got a little antsy after Maxx incident and decided to check out if anything could be wrong with our Nomad. Called in, and yes-- there are indeed hardware updates that need to be made in our Nomad (which was originally a 6, but then was upgraded to a full 10).

 

Kind folks at Zaxcom said they'd turn it around quickly once we got it to them-- but I was extremely not aware that this needed to happen in our Nomad, and had the Maxx not taken a dive, I fear that Nomad might have been next. So I advise strongly to double check your system and make sure there aren't any upgrades due.

 

Also, unfortunately, dealers are not equipped to handle these changes and the Nomad must go back to the mothership. So if timing is important, heads up!

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" So I'm wondering if anyone has had a similar experience. "

well, maybe, but probably a little bit different...

I suspect you aren't really wondering as you said...

but I suspect all of us have experienced: "CRAP happens"...

" "

Anyone have any reliability issues with Maxx??? This was obviously extremely unsettling.

One of the Dean's at one of the schools I teach at has a plug-in electric car, and she had the same thing (equivalent) happen to her when the car locked up, and had to be towed to the dealer...

that was extremely unsettling...

I've had to restart computers (Windows and Mac) when they got a bit verklempt.

I've had to perform the double secret, ultra master reset sequence many times, and some of thosde were extremely unsettling.

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