Question about SE Electronics SE2200A Professional Microphone

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SE2200a rapid signal drop off

The mic is connected to a Focusritte Saffire and into a Mac. I use Logic to record. The last time I tried to use the mic the signal was almost non existent and after plugging and unplugging the "normal" level would drop down to almost nothing within a few seconds. The mic has benn conected to the Saffire for a couple of weeks and has worked well up until now with the exact same set up. Not sure how to fix it. The XLR cable is brand new.

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  • DJ Brian May 04, 2008

    Thanks Steven,


    Here is what I've done since posting this problem. I connected the same mic through my Ozone keyboard which has XLR input with phantom power and then a line out to the Saffire. Mic and cable both worked fine with a good strong signal on the Saffire LED.
    I read somewhere that the Mac firewire connection has had some issues with the phantom power on the Saffire. I can try to borrow another mic but I think the problem may be the phantom power is shot. Would what I'm describing fit that scenario? The problem is the same on both XLR inputs.

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I had the same problem with my Saffire: the phantom power voltage quickly drops when switched on, causing the mic to cut out. This problem is common in older Saffires, and is well known to Focusrite support (a modification in newer-production units solves the problem).

The problem is that a tiny 100 ohm surface-mount "chip" resistor in the phantom power circuit fails due to insufficient power-handling capability. (This is "R196" in the phantom circuit.)

The fix is to replace the "chip" resistor with a "normal" 1/2 watt metal-film resistor (with wire leads), mounted upright on the circuit board.

I replaced the resistor myself, following directions (and photos) sent to me by Focusrite Tech Support.

The procedure is somewhat fiddly (a Swiss watchmaker could probably do OK). If you've never soldered before, DON'T EVEN TRY THIS, and if you've never worked with surface-mount components, I would ask your electronics-hobbyist buddy to do it for you.

Here is the procedure sent to me by Focusrite:


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Dismantling the Unit

Remove the 7 screws on the rear panel.
Remove the 4 screws on the underside of the unit.
Lift away the metal cover.
Remove the 4 small black screws securing the MIDI In/Out sockets.
Remove the single screw securing the S/PDIF In/Out sockets.
Remove the two screws securing this PCB to the chassis.
Gently pull the PCB away from the rear panel and move it through 90 degrees towards the front panel.
Place the unit on its front and support the PCB with some suitable non-conductive item.

Modification Procedure

All the components mentioned are located in the same area on the same PCB (see photo).
It is best to remove the coil and capacitor (as shown in the second photo), as this gives easier access to the components.
Remove R196 and measure its resistance. If it does not measure 100 ohms, replace it.
Use a conventional type (100 ohms metal film, .5 or .6 watt) mounted upright as shown in the photo. Before fitting this resistor, check that the three zener diodes DZ11, DZ12 (22v) and DZ9 (3.3v) are OK and have not shorted out. (Diodes are 500mW, 5% tolerance)

Testing units for Phantom Power problems

Connect a condenser Mic or suitable dummy load* to Channel 1.
Engage +48 switch.
Measure the DC voltage between XLR pins 2 & 1 on Channel 2 Mic Input XLR.
Faulty units usually read around +28Vdc and the voltage gradually drops.
Good unts will measure +48Vdc +/- 0.7Vdc.

* Dummy Load for testing: Solder a 20,000 ohm resistor between pin 2 and pin 1 of a male XLR plug and another 20,000 ohm resistor between pin 3 and pin 1 of the same XLR plug.




Here are the photos:


SE2200a rapid signal drop off - 9091702.jpg


2a48ecf.jpg






My Saffire has worked perfectly since I replaced the bad resistor.

Good Luck!

Ken

Posted on Apr 17, 2009

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Troubleshooting steps to isolate the problem:
1) The Saffire has two mic inputs - try the other one
2) Find another condensor mic to try in order to verify that the Saffire's phantom power/mic pre is not at fault.
2b) find ANY mic to verify that the pre amp on Saffire works
Got a small mixer perhaps? A friend with a mixer or pre amp?
3) Plug the SE2200a into another mic pre to see if it is the culprit.
4) Find another mic cable - no matter yours is new. I've seen this before with new cables.
5) Make sure the Saffire's built-in compressor isn't set really hard and is squishing your audio.
6) Look at the LED's on the Saffire as indication of the signal, not Logic. If it's not showing on the Saffire, Logic isn't going to see it, either.

HTH,

Steven

Posted on May 04, 2008

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