Buying vintage digital gear :what to check /ask ?

Discussion in 'The Rack Space' started by blueprint, Dec 26, 2019.

  1. blueprint

    blueprint Member

    Feb 14, 2005
    France, Europe
    I'm pretty new in this domain, and planning to build a rack. So, every advice is welcome ! :)
  2. Coalface1971

    Coalface1971 Member

    May 30, 2012
    NSW, Australia
    Hi Mate.

    Some of the things that spring to mind are age related. You must keep in mind that the production of rack gear has slowed to a trickle in the last 20 years or so. Many of the sought after pieces have serviceability issues, say for example, Lexicon PCM80/81/90/91 has displays in them that Futaba don't make anymore. I bought an 80 with a failing display (buyer beware), it cost as much as to find a specially modded replacement as the unit price I paid.

    Stuff like encoders, say the Korg DL8000r delay has ones that are hard to find.

    Get the seller to post a video with the functions being tested - this day and age that isn't too hard to do on a Smart Phone, if you can't check the stuff out in person.

    Read manuals too, make sure the capabilities of the equipment are there as you want them - rack gear is very niche and hard to sell.

    Others will chime in I'm sure.

    blueprint likes this.
  3. bonerhed

    bonerhed Member

    Oct 17, 2004
    Studio City, CA
    In my experience batteries are very common and probably the easiest to deal with. That happened to my TC 2290. The tech changed the battery with holder where you can change the battery without soldering. That was like a $100. Then my H3000SE stop working and had a bunch of caps and stuff changed which cost around $400. And I still have a display that dims a bit when the signal hits.

    Like Chris said go through as many functions as you can before dropping any cash. Try saving presets. Unable to save presets by my experience are usually battery related.

    blueprint and Coalface1971 like this.
  4. jordanyte

    jordanyte Member

    Feb 8, 2019
    Avoid anything with Vacuum Fluorescent Displays if at all possible (though, those are half the allure of the older equipment I must admit!)

    Ask to listen to the device after it's been powered on and used for half an hour - a lot of the analog parts, particularly discrete transistors and caps, get very noisy once they are warm.

    I have also had experience where "clicks" were getting into the audio from less-than-pristine DRAM chips in delays. And those older DRAMS (like 4464 and 4164 as found in SDE3000) are getting very hard to find as new old stock parts.
    blueprint likes this.

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