Mackie DL32R Mixer Channel Repair Fail

Ok, repair may be too strong a word. Maybe exploration and experimentation would be more accurate. At a recent rehearsal, channel 2 on our Mackie DL32R mixer cut out. Hey, that’s my mic! Some signal seemed to be getting through, but very quietly. So, I temporarily switched to a different channel (using copy and paste for the first time, to duplicate my channel settings). Meanwhile, I was left with a nagging worry that our mixer is starting to show signs of early onset arthritis (it’s only two years old!)

We transport this mixer in our SKB Rolling Rack. I usually carry the rack, to avoid rough-riding on those little wheels. But the thing weighs a ton, so I do occasionally use the wheels if I’m on a smooth surface. Perhaps some vibration caused a loose connection?

I figured it was worth taking a quick look inside.

Mackie Dl32r Front Mackie Dl32r Top

There are ten screws on the top, and six per side. (Note, not all of the side screws need to be removed to release the top- see the picture for which six to remove).

Mackie Dl32r Side Mackie Dl32r Side Screws

Then the top just lifts out easily, exposing the guts. You can see that the front panel jacks are connected to the main board with ribbon cables. Each ribbon has twelve wires, and handles four of the channel jacks. The ribbon channel sets are laid out vertically from the front panel perspective, so the first ribbon handles channels 1, 9, 17, 25 and the second ribbon handles 2, 10, 18, 26, and so on.

Mackie Dl32r Exposed Mackie Dl32r Ribbon Cables Top.

Mackie Dl32r Ribbon Cables

Since I was having trouble with channel 2, I focussed on the second ribbon (which connects from the panel just above channel 2, and runs to the back of the main board, plugged into the connector labeled C.

I gave the cable connectors a wiggle and a tug, and they seemed to be firmly seated. No obvious signs of a loose connection. Just to make sure, I fully removed the ribbon cable from connector C, and plugged it back in.

I powered it up and lo and behold, channel 2 was working again.

I’ve since used it at another rehearsal and a gig without issues. Have I really fixed it, or am I just getting lucky?

We’ll see! Fingers crossed.

Update 10/24/2017: No love! It’s been a few weeks, and channel 2 is still working fine, but we had a similar issue with channel 1 at a Drop Daddies gig on Saturday. We sound checked and played our first set without incident. But then, as we were about to start our second set, we found that channel 1 had no signal! We got through the set by copy/pasting from channel 1 to an unused channel. Since channel 1 is on a totally different ribbon cable from channel 2 (which was giving us problems last time), I guess my wiggle-the-cable theory is no good. Yesterday, I tried the mixer again and channel 1 was still dead. I tried plugging my mic into several other channels, including those in the same vertical row (9,17,25), and they all worked fine. Then when I got back around to trying to channel 1 again, lo and behold it was working again. WTF? I guess it’s time to contact Mackie tech support. Changing the subject of this post to “Fail”!