Soundtracs CM4400 rat nest, long story, what would you do?

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

Moderators: drumsound, tomb

Post Reply
audio school graduate
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:40 pm
Location: los angeles

Soundtracs CM4400 rat nest, long story, what would you do?

Post by johnblue » Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:07 am

A friend and I, are conglomerating our home studios, renting some space and trying to step up our game... track drums, build a place where people are happy to come record. We are in Los Angeles.

I am a project producer with an affinity for vintage things and he is the singer of a famous band that is almost perpetually on tour. On hand we have alot of gear, but we don't have a console.

He made a phone call, and somebody had a Soundtracs cm4400 that had been stored in a garage after being decommisioned from use by Linda Perry. The engineer who had it stored told me that she had used this to record alot of the 4 Non Blondes hits, as well as kept it around in a B studio, and was used years after etc... for other things.

This engineer was working at Enterprise and i think it was there also, in a far off room, and i think that's where it saw its last use.

Anyhow, it was offered to us for FREE, and after research, after seeing decent cosmetic pictures and after hearing that story, i figured it a no- brainer... yes, we want it.

Weeks went by and i picked it up today... "no power supply?" ... NOPE nothing... well i have the cable, i guess i should have asked... and i was hesitant to take it at that point.... knowing the value of the board, vs. how much a new supply would cost... i already knew that this alone would mean that i could probably get something that worked for the price i could power this beast.... but this engineer seemed to want it gone, and he had moved it out of the back of his storage and he didn't want to put it back... i didn't even ask... it was leaving with us...

i figure... o.k., if everything looks good inside... i am still super stoked... keep hope alive...

along for the ride is a giant patchbay, not only the internal patchbay, but another dual 96 channel switchcraft, wired with 96 25' long leads... that alone is a monster tangle that i hardly want to dive into... but its done really nice and labeled with 24 racks of outboard gear that i probably never in my life will be able to afford, and its kinda mounted onto the board itself...

its home...

o.k. remove channel 1... drat... a family of mice must have nested itself in here... mainly on channels 9-17... and in the master section,

the damage looks repairable... he seemed to only like to eat the fader wires, and the mic input wires... the 24 pin connectors and the 6 pin connectors to the internal patch look 99% o.k. the pcb's look fine, and actually look like they have been well taken care of, the buss section has 8 transformers underneath, which, i didn't even know were going to be there, and the massivly wired internal patch looks 99.9% fine...

there are 12 transformers, inline with the buss', looks custom?8 on the buss' and 4 to the output ?

I am really grateful... but kinda overwhelmed... about 1/2 of the fader wires, and 1/2 of the input wires would need replaced...the main thing is... what if i do get it fixed, get a power supply and there is something wrong with that computer routing thing... anyone who has worked on these, chime in, i am going to clean her, and put her back together, and give it a few days to think about it...

i have fixed and built a few small things... but all this is way over my head tech wise...


i do want a vintage console.

I am a nostalgiac history lover... parting it out at auction is a consideration, but judging from my intact 1955 nasa tektronix 565 oscilloscope that had 30+ amperex 6dj8's inside,taking up 12 rack spaces... i have a hard time dissassembling and moving on in situations like this...

i really am going to listen to your advice...

there is a neigborhood guy that i trust to do the wiring and/or mentor me through it...then i have to aqquire what looks to be a odd power supply... if i am lucky i can test it $1000 later...

What would you do?given the history... somebody around here has to know about this specific board...

somebody probably has a line on a power supply too, its an odd one,



i want it to work so bad.

anyone have a manual/schematic/spec sheet/old pictures/slight rememberances/made up story/anything?
I am John Blue.

buyin' a studio
Posts: 839
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2003 4:42 pm
Location: minneapolis

Post by norton » Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:55 am

It's not free. It's going to have a final cost to you of X thousands of dollars. Whatever X turns out to be will start with...
1. Power supply. And
2. Console repair/refurb

A suitable power supply should be the easy part. Used ? A couple hundred ?

Repair/refurb. This desk sounds like it's been customized with transformers etc. Sooooo that means someone is going to have to dig in and probably go through the entire desk to get it up and running. That's going to be spendy.

I'd say you could easily spend $3K (probably more) getting this desk up and running. And at the end of the's still a soundtracs..... It's a fancy looking desk. Tons of meters etc... If you are digging into it yourself, I say go for it. If not I'd say part it out.

I guess you have to ask yourself "what's a customized soundtracs with Linda Perry mojo all over it worth to you?"

The Scum
Posts: 2483
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2003 11:26 pm
Location: Denver, CO

Post by The Scum » Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:49 pm

Can you find the service docs? Without them, it's gonna be a rough road. That'd be my first criteria in considering this.

You'd be well advised that the power supply probably has both +17 V and -17 V.

Sometimes a desk will work without all of the supply rails present. And sometimes, you'll cook things if they aren't all there.

Is the bussing and routing handled entirely through the digital stuff in the center strip? If so, you 'll need that functional to use the console effectively. That'll be really dated, and probably big and tough to work on. Depending on how it was designed, you might be able to replace it with a more modern microprocessor.

It seems like a lot of work to wind up with a board that's in the Soundcraft 600/Trident 65/TAC Scorpion sorta range, when those desks are available in working condition for less than you'll spend getting this guy going...and without the risk of hantavirus!
"What fer?"
"Cat fur, to make kitten britches."

Jim Williams
Posts: 1135
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 8:19 am
Location: beautiful Carlsbad, CA

Post by Jim Williams » Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:02 am

A guy emailed me about his new console purchase, a Soundcraft 600 with patch bay, very clean condition. He paid $500 for it.
Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades

User avatar
casey campbell
buyin' a studio
Posts: 927
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:21 am
Location: hammond, louisiana

Post by casey campbell » Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:53 am

work slowly and methodically.

get a game plan as to what you will tackle first.

treat it as: break/fix. don't go replacing stuff because you can. this will keep it affordable (i know its a relative term).

once you replace something (like the wiring harnesses), test from there and see what's left to do.

the first place to start of course is acquiring a power supply. if you are patient, you can find one cheaply. it is hard to test your console without one (although if you are smart enough, you can acquire a good electronic technician's power supply to power up certain parts of the board and test each seciton by itself.)

if you cannot acquire an official soundtracs power supply, make one for cheap. i think (check for yourself) that your board needs the following:

48, 24, 17, -17, and 5 volts.

now this may be a crazy idea, but i think it'll work:

here's a 24v: ... 4d1e931c40

That one is only 25 bucks. Get 3 of those, and that'll handle your 24, 17, -17, and 5 volt needs. Then get a different one at 48 volts.

maybe this one: ... 1c42f54526

get the pin out, and away she goes...

now, before you actually buy those, get with someone like Jim Williams or NY Dave first to make sure these particular ones will work with your console..but im just giving you the basic idea to get up and rolling for about 100 bucks on the power supply.

mount those on a rack shelf and make it look nice and cover the outputs so no one will get fried, and you should be good to go.

User avatar
re-cappin' neve
Posts: 664
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:01 pm
Location: Uranus

Post by Drone » Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:50 pm

I think whoever said that Soundtracs was akin to a Soundcraft or TAC was seriously insulting Soundcraft and TAC, as someone who almost worked for Soundtracs in Glenrothes (a near miss, I took a job closer to home) I put them in the Mackie / Behringer class. At least the early / mid 90's ones.

Remember this is all a purely personal viewpoint here.

You don't say how many tracks you have to record with, or playback with and mix, just how big a mixer are you needing?

My Soundcraft 500 was a $500 investment, and some switch cleaner and connector reseating, etc. but I'm not a professional, and use a Peavey RQ someone gave to me for fixing his PA, for doing 'remote' recordings.

I would shop around for something else, put that on a back burner for a plaything sometime.

Another thought is 48/24/17/5 is not that weird in mixer land, maybe look for a cheaper brand console supply, it might be fixable to do the job.
The previous statement is from a guy who records his own, and other projects for fun. No money is made.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 79 guests