Reworking My Large System

steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Staff member
Sep 26, 2011
33,160
Prospect, CT
... Maybe if I ever buy one. The thing is, I could probably get by with just one EVOX 8. Music will be playing at moderately low volume. Problem is... I have this THING about symmetry!
Use a wireless mic and bodypack (if you have one) in reverse. Put the wireless receiver at the speaker and the bodypack off the mixer.

I tend to go with asymmetrical symmetry ...
 

DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,098
Oklahoma City
...In any case, I need to fix the gouge in the table top today if it's going to get fixed before Saturday.
WOW... Table is fixed. EASY. Took the belt sander to it, then some light sand paper to rough up the veneer. Then repainted with this...

VHT ESP652000 Satin Black Epoxy All Weather Paint Can - 11 oz.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000CPIN34/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_c_api_BU-kBbZN20Q21

... Looks almost like new. I might give it one more coat, just for added durability.




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DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,098
Oklahoma City
OK... just an update on this table repair. I put several coats of the Epoxy spray paint on the table top, but it still looked a little splotchy... mostly FLAT (instead of Satin), but with splotches of Satin here-and-there. I found that if I held the spray can further away (about 18 inches), it covered more evenly. Now it looks better, but still looks more like FLAT and feels a little gritty. I think I might try spraying a coat of the Plasti-Dip Rubberized Coating on it to smooth it out, but it worked great at my gig last night. One good thing about it being a little grittier than it was, is that my table cloth does NOT slide at all when I put it on. The top used to be SO slick, I had to put gaffer tape on the corners to hold in place until I set my rack on top of it.

I DID end up using my Small System again last night. I'm still not comfortable enough with the new Large System to risk using it yet, and didn't really need it. BUT... I think I have another project. More about that soon.
 

steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Staff member
Sep 26, 2011
33,160
Prospect, CT
BUT... I think I have another project.
You're going to split your large system into two small systems ... ? And then combine one of the new small systems with the older small system to make a new large system ?
 

DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,098
Oklahoma City
You're going to split your large system into two small systems ... ? And then combine one of the new small systems with the older small system to make a new large system ?
LOL... NOPE!... My Large System is ALREADY split in two, silly!... YOU sold me the two racks; remember? That was one of the main objectives of this project, and it looks like it worked out. You'll never guess what the next project is, but we're heading (to go out) for brunch, so I'll have to post about it later.


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DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,098
Oklahoma City
Still testing and practicing with my new Large System. I'm kinda getting used to the Trackball mouse. I have NO problem at all when I'm NOT thinking about it. As soon as I think about it, I screw up. Everything continues to work well, but I still have playlists and stuff to setup on the DJ machine, and I still haven't loaded all the applications I used to have on my old video/light control machine. So there's still plenty to do before this thing is ready for service. I don't know why I'm still uneasy about the Nano computers. They exceed the minimum requirements for running Traktor, but replacing my i5 based systems with these Celeron's still makes me nervous. I keep waiting for a glitch, but so far... nothin'.
 
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DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,098
Oklahoma City
I think this new Large System is ready to use. I've tested it about as thoroughly as I know how, and everything works flawlessly. I've practiced my contingencies, and I'm ready to use it at my next event. Right now I have nothing booked until October, but if something comes up, it's ready. Now I can feel comfortable disassembling my Small System to rework it again.


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DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,098
Oklahoma City
I guess I'm gonna wrap up this thread soon. I've had this Large Rack System in my office for several weeks now, and there's nothing else to do to it at this point. It's fun practicing on it, but it's taking up too much room... room I could use to work on my Small System. Both of them are sitting side-by-side, so there's not a lot of room to move around. So tomorrow, I plan to pack it up and put it in the minivan. I'll bring it back in after my Small System is completed and tested. One downside to having your computer(s) built into your rack system is that you need to set them up in order to do updates to your software and music library. I guess I could get around the library updates if I used one of the portable hard drives I keep copies of my music library on, but I like having the music library loaded on the internal hard drives.

Oh... I WILL post the project cost data as soon as I can, and that will wrap it up.
 
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steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Staff member
Sep 26, 2011
33,160
Prospect, CT
I guess I'm gonna wrap up this thread soon. I've had this Large Rack System in my office for several weeks now, and there's nothing else to do to it at this point. It's fun practicing on it, but it's taking up too much room... room I could use to work on my Small System. Both of them are sitting side-by-side, so there's not a lot of room to move around. So tomorrow, I plan to pack it up and put it in the minivan. I'll bring it back in after my Small System is completed and tested. One downside to having your computer(s) built into your rack system is that you need to set them up in order to do updates to your software and music library. I guess I could get around the library updates if I used one of the portable hard drives I keep copies of my music library on, but I like having the music library loaded on the internal hard drives.

Oh... I WILL post the project cost data as soon as I can, and that will wrap it up.
So once it goes in the mini-van, is it considered a candidate for re-work?
 

DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,098
Oklahoma City
So once it goes in the mini-van, is it considered a candidate for re-work?
Yes... That's what it means. But like I said before, the next re-work of the Large System is going to be a RADICAL departure. It won't be a traditional vertical rack. Not sure exactly when/if I'm gonna build it??? In the meantime, this is gonna be my PRIMARY system, and it's gonna be fun to use it. I'm proud of it.


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DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,098
Oklahoma City
BUT... There is this ONE more thing I've been thinking about adding to this Large System. The one thing I'm missing with this rack system (that I had with the previous large rack) is table space. My old rack rolled under my 30"x30" table, with my controller case sitting on top. There was table space on either side of the controller case... not much, but enough for a note pad and bottles of water. Can't roll my new rack under a table with the controller mounted in the top of the rack. I was thinking about some kind of folding table I could set up beside the rack, but that kinda works against my whole portable system (Floating Facade and entire system on wheels). But now, on my Small System, I added a robotic arm for a backup laptop... I have another one of those robotic arms... What if I mounted a small table top on it? I could make another pole mount and attach it to the back of the rack like I did on my Small System. Wouldn't be a big project.


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steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Staff member
Sep 26, 2011
33,160
Prospect, CT
Could try to make it like one of these available cases:

 
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steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Staff member
Sep 26, 2011
33,160
Prospect, CT
Yes... and I like those, but I'd need to make a bigger (wider) Floating Facade.


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Just make the facade oscillate and slide left and right .. maybe to the music.
 

DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,098
Oklahoma City
I’ll update this thread with the final project costs as I posted previously, but first I’ll include a final review the project. Most importantly, the project is DONE and this is my resultant Large DJ Rack System...

1532365753099.png

I now have a two-piece rack. All of the critical audio components are mounted in the top rack. Only an Eliminator light controller and 3U drawer are in the bottom rack. The top can be used alone if desired, and it's very similar to my Small System in many ways, but the Large System has more built-in redundancy, and a nice additional mixer, through which all audio is funneled, including a separate channel for each of the four wireless microphones.
Here's what's NOW in my reworked Large System:
Upper Rack (SKB R-104):

Topside...
1. Denon MC6000MK2 Controller
2. Sennheiser Microphone on Gooseneck Stand
3. Gooseneck LED Lamp
4. Dual 22" Acer Monitors
5. Logitech Wireless Keyboard and Trackball Mouse

Frontside...
6. GTD Audio B-33 Wireless Microphone System
7. Denon DN-410X 10 Channel Mixer
8. DJ (Music) Nano Computer
9. Video/Light Nano Computer
10. D-Link 5 Port Ethernet Switch

Backside...
11. ART T8 8-channel Hum Eliminator/Isolation Rack
12. Rack mounted Power Strip

Inside...
13. MyDMX 2.0 DMX Dongle
14. IMP Line Level Combine

Lower Rack (SKB R-1406):

Frontside...
15. Eliminator ETPro-8 Light Controller
16. 3U Aluminum Rack Drawer

Backside...
17. Rack mounted Power Strip

Most of the components are the same as they were in my previous Large System, but the major change was going from a one piece (14U) rack to a split rack system consisting of two SKB molded plastic racks. Many of the internal components were also in the previous Large System rack. Here’s a list of what didn’t change…
1. Sennheiser Microphone on Gooseneck Stand
2. Gooseneck LED Lamp
3. Dual 22" Acer Monitors
4. GTD Audio B-33 Wireless Microphone System
5. Denon DN-410X 10 Channel Mixer
6. D-Link 5 Port Ethernet Switch
7. ART T8 8-channel Hum Eliminator/Isolation Rack
8. MyDMX 2.0 DMX Dongle
9. IMP Line Level Combine
10. Eliminator ETPro-8 Light Controller

And here’s a list of the new components…

1. Denon MC6000MK2 Controller
2. DJ (Music) Nano Computer
3. Video/Light Nano Computer
4. Logitech Wireless Keyboard and Trackball Mouse
5. 3U Aluminum Rack Drawer
6. Two Rack mounted Power Strips

Obviously the next biggest change was going to a rack-mounted Denon MC6000MK2 from my original American Audio VMS 4.1, which sat in its case atop a small table with the 14U rack rolled underneath. The new system does not require a table. Another pretty significant change was replacing the two rack-mounted computers with two smaller and lighter Nano computers. I saved a lot of weight and space (and noise) with these new computers, but gave up some performance

So the BIG question would be: did it meet the original objectives? Here's what I was trying to achieve...

1. Downsize if possible (smaller and lighter). I need to be able to lift it in and out of the minivan.
2. It needs to be quicker to setup. Must take less than an hour to set up, and tear down needs to be reduced.
3. It needs to be durable.
4. Needs to retain as much contingency/backup capability as possible.

My budget was $2,000.

I think I achieved ALL of the goals (at least to some degree), but the budget???... OK, I busted the budget. The final cost of the project was $3,385.70 (not including tax or shipping). The Controller, Computers, Power Strips, and Racks cost a total of $1,590.60. Where did the remaining $1,800 go???... Well except for a few other components, it went to paint and building materials, cables and connectors. This project kinda nickel-and-dimed me to death. There were items purchased that didn’t work out; cables and connectors that did not get used (this time).

My goals were pretty simple, but there was a lot of scope creep. The height requirement was not originally factored in. It wasn't until I stood at my controller after mounting it in the slant-top rack that I realized I would never be comfortable working with it at that height. Making the height extension module (I named it the High Heels) was a necessity, and it afforded the opportunity to include the facade.

1532366528566.png

Adding the Facade was a BIG addition... in more ways than one. The (necessary) elimination of my 30x30" adjustable height table meant the table cloth/runner I used to hide the rear of my rack (and the exposed cables) was no longer viable. Something different was needed to hide the cables. I'd been thinking about making a facade for some time, but didn't want one like all the four panel folding facades you see all the time. I built a folding facade with three 15"x36" panels that unfold into a 36" wide by 45" tall panel that attaches to the back of my rack, allowing it to move as the rack is moved... I call it a Floating Facade. It was not something I was planning to do in the beginning, but it's now one of the features I like best…

1532365807086.png

Final cost to build the Floating Façade… $573.95.

There was some pretty clever engineering that went into the making of this system in terms of the modularity of the internal systems, the structural supports, and the brackets and mounts… most of which had to be hand crafted due to the sculpted and asymmetrical nature of the SKB racks. The sliding antenna /Floating Façade attachment drawer, though a bit kludgy, actually works quite well, and the bottom slider built into the High Heels works great. The durability of this system is as-of-yet an unknown. Time will tell.

1532365904697.png

1532365922565.png

Ultimately, I’m pretty satisfied with this version of my Large System. There are a few things I could have done better, but the final result will serve me well… until I decide to do something else. I’m pretty sure this will be my LAST traditional rack system… not because I think racks are passé, but because I think I can design and build something that will work better for me than a rack. We’ll see.

Thanks to all who contributed with suggestions and comments. Your input was always given thoughtful consideration, and many of your recommendations were incorporated into the final system. This is my last post in this thread unless there are questions or comments.:)
 
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steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Staff member
Sep 26, 2011
33,160
Prospect, CT
OK .. now that it's done, time to start the re-work process in earnest.
 

DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,098
Oklahoma City
Wasn’t planning to post in this thread again, but this is funny.... While I was waiting for stuff to come for my Small System, I decided to troubleshoot a minor problem I was having with my Large System. The display for the Video/Light Control/Backup Computer was staticky. It wasn’t unbearable, but not as crisp and clear as the main computer. The way both computers are wired is the same... Display Port to DVI adapter... DVI over CAT5 to RJ45 jack on the patch panel... CAT5 cable from the patch panel to DVI connector on the monitor. The backup computer also has a second display with VGA over CAT5, to which a projector can be connected (from the patch panel). I’ve been running DVI over CAT5 for years, and it works great, but not with the backup computer. I switched out the external CAT5 cable and it helped SOME, but still had some static. So I tried a REAL DVI cable and it was crystal clear, so the problem was definitely somewhere in the chain from the Display Port to the DVI connector on the monitor. When I went to change the internal CAT5 cable, I suddenly discovered... The CAT5 cable going from the patch panel to the DVI port on the monitor was plugged into the WRONG RJ45 port.... It was plugged into the one coming from the VGA port on the computer. I’m surprised it worked at at all, rather than just having a little static. I switched the CAT5 cable to the correct RJ45 jack, and the display was perfectly clear. FIXED!!!

Having RJ45 jacks for monitors and other connections is VERY convenient when setting up, and saves a lot of time, but ya gotta get the correct cable into the correct jack!
 
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