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warranty claim from aliens?! #3003319 08/15/19 05:45 AM
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matthew mcglynn Offline OP
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We've had very few warranty claims on Roswell mics, which I attribute to the fact that we design, build, and test the $#!+ out of our products before we ship them. But, people being people, we do get occasional requests for repairs, and they tend to be extraordinary.

The most recent one has us all scratching our heads. The mic was less than 10 months old. The customer complained of noise in the audio signal. When the mic came in, we were all appalled. The mic looked like it had been through a sandstorm... like, on Venus. The mic's grille was completely corroded, dark gray and pitted. The plated finish was destroyed. The logo badge (which is made of plated, embossed brass) showed mechanical scars.

This photo of the grille doesn't really do it justice. This thing was so gross I didn't really want to touch it. It feels fuzzy! (The grille on the right is new.)

[Linked Image from recordinghacks.com]

The badge photo is more telling. Check out the green spots! (The badge on the right is new.)

[Linked Image from recordinghacks.com]

Would clouds of sulfuric acid still be considered "low humidity"?

The chrome trim on the mic's case, and the mic's interior chassis pieces, were rusting too.

I thought this would be a minor repair, but we ended up replacing the entire microphone, and the case too. Fingers crossed the replacement mic stays here on Earth. Maybe I should put that in the warranty?


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Re: warranty claim from aliens?! [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3003325 08/15/19 07:55 AM
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What specifically are the materials of construction? I deal in my day to day job with industrial materials compatibility and our company has a couple full time metallurgists. You would be surprised what seemingly mundane substances can have such an effect.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: warranty claim from aliens?! [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3003346 08/15/19 01:13 PM
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Wow, I wonder what happened to it. Hopefully you won't have to deal with that again.


The great thing about music is that there's always something to learn. The frustrating thing about music is that there's always something to learn!
Re: warranty claim from aliens?! [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3003437 08/16/19 03:59 AM
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Dr Mike Metlay Offline
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I am morbidly fascinated by this. Is there any way you can get the owner to 'fess up to what the actual fuck he did to that mic?


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, whoop de doo)
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Re: warranty claim from aliens?! [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3003448 08/16/19 06:02 AM
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Still curious about materials of construction. For instance, aluminum near a pool will be quickly eaten by chlorine gas. There are things that might not seem like an issue but certain materials are just incompatible.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: warranty claim from aliens?! [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3003588 08/16/19 10:56 PM
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matthew mcglynn Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Dr(!)Mike Metlay
I am morbidly fascinated by this. Is there any way you can get the owner to 'fess up to what the actual fuck he did to that mic?


When I emailed the customer to tell him we'd replaced the mic, I asked about what damaged the original one, e.g. "Did you clean it with lye?" I didn't get a reply.

Wait, that's not true. The guy did email me a couple days later to ask if he could buy another mic at a huge discount. (Umm, no.)

Originally Posted by J. Dan
Still curious about materials of construction.


The logo badge is made of brass. It's embossed, antiqued, and plated.

The mic body is brass, too, but painted with a 4-stage automotive finish (primer, sealer, color coat, clear coat). It survived the chemical and/or tool attack just fine -- no visible damage at all.


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Re: warranty claim from aliens?! [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3003629 08/17/19 04:27 AM
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So what was actually the cause of the noise?

Re: warranty claim from aliens?! [Re: dboomer] #3003781 08/18/19 04:17 AM
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matthew mcglynn Offline OP
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Originally Posted by dboomer
So what was actually the cause of the noise?


The first thing we did was tighten the set screw on the XLR insert. It had worked its way loose during a session, or acid bath, or whatever. Because that screw helps establish the electrical ground connection from the chassis and grille, it can cause noise when it is loose. (Every condenser mic's grille and body are grounded, in order to shield the capsule and circuit from EMI/RFI.) Once we'd tightened that, the noise seemed to go away.

But we left the mic on the burn-in rack for a weekend and QC'd it again, and found some other audio gremlins. At that point we made a judgment call to build a fresh circuit. We'd seen what looked like liquid damage on the PCB, which suggested that there could be widespread component damage. Building a new circuit is often faster than troubleshooting a broken one. This mic would be leaving the country, so we wanted to be absolutely sure it was working to spec.


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Re: warranty claim from aliens?! [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3003804 08/18/19 11:29 AM
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Mike Rivers Offline
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Some kinds of packing foam, after a few years, get gooey and start spewing out what I think it acetic acid. Could be that he stored the mic in a box lined with that kind of foam - or maybe wrapped with that foam and stuffed it behind the tailpiece of his bass fiddle and left it there for months. It could do the sort of damage that you describe.

I rescued a couple of my AKG C-451s that were boxed that way, before there was any internal damage, but it left a little corrosion on the case of one.

Re: warranty claim from aliens?! [Re: Mike Rivers] #3003934 08/19/19 03:17 AM
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matthew mcglynn Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Some kinds of packing foam, after a few years, get gooey and start spewing out what I think it acetic acid.


That's a good idea. But this mic was only 10 months old, and several hundred other mics (many of which were older) haven't had this problem.

And, maybe more to the point, we got the case back and its foam was fine. Which is sort of weird -- the plated brass and steel parts on the mic (which came from 2 different factories on 2 different continents) were significantly affected, but more-fragile materials such as the capsule diaphragm and the case foam were not.

Last edited by matthew mcglynn; 08/19/19 03:23 AM.

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Re: warranty claim from aliens?! [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3003952 08/19/19 10:40 AM
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Mike Rivers Offline
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A vocalist with an extreme case of acid reflux? wink

Re: warranty claim from aliens?! [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3003962 08/19/19 12:14 PM
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Acidic sweat from handling and not cleaning? Some people have abnormal acidity. I know a guitar player who goes through strings at a much faster rate than other people because of this. He has to be religious about wiping down his strings really well in every break and even during sets.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: warranty claim from aliens?! [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3003998 08/19/19 04:11 PM
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Yeah acid is harsh on stuff.
Just need to drink much more water to thin out those acids.

Re: warranty claim from aliens?! [Re: J. Dead] #3004018 08/19/19 05:48 PM
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matthew mcglynn Offline OP
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Originally Posted by J. Dan
Acidic sweat from handling and not cleaning?


That's a great thought.

A drummer friend of mine in college had the same problem. His cymbals had green handprints on them.


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Re: warranty claim from aliens?! [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3006975 09/07/19 01:32 AM
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I've been teaching myself microphone repair over the past couple of years and have probably over 100 mikes on eBay and restored most of them to working order. This type of corrosion is not rare. Is it salt air? Microphones stored in a damp basement? I'm not sure, but it seems that a lot of people don't even take basic care of their microphones. My latest find was a CAD Equitek 200 with a corroded head basket and outer case. It looks like it spent a significant amount of time in a puddle of water. Fortunately, it was in good working order and the inside was immaculate.


Mark Karney

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Re: warranty claim from aliens?! [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3006998 09/07/19 05:48 AM
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matthew mcglynn Offline OP
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Hi Mark, keep me posted if you learn anything else about how this corrosion happens.

Maybe I should leave some grilles and badges out in the rain for a month. Or in the shower.

Anyone want to volunteer to wear a brass logo badge in an armpit for a couple weeks? ;-)


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Re: warranty claim from aliens?! [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3010470 10/01/19 03:40 AM
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OK, so here's another. I found this RØDE NT1000 on eBay for about $90. It was sold as "untested". When I got it, I found out why. I was like someone took a hammer to the bottom of the XLR connector. With a little bit of bending and Dremmel Tool work, I made it possible to again insert a cable into the microphone. It sounded fine during a test recording, and inspection of the interior showed the capsule to be in very good condition and the inside of the mike perfectly clean.

But the exterior of the housing!?! The only explanation that seems to fit is that someone was trying to record the sound of arc welding, and they positioned the mike near the arc where it was splashed with sparks and molten metal. I can't attribute this kind of damage to corrosion. It's beyond that.

Attached Files NT1000.jpg
Last edited by StudioMicZone; 10/01/19 03:41 AM.

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Re: warranty claim from aliens?! [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3010482 10/01/19 06:06 AM
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I do guitar repair and back in the day I had two friends who gigged 3 nights a week every week.
Both of them had to change their strings after every gig, in the morning they would be crusty and foul beyond description.

One of them had a brand new white Stratocaster and within 3 months the area where right arm rested on the body had turned an indescribable snot green.
He asked me if I could polish it back to white. I tried, got it to sort of rotting cheese color and gave up before I reached the wood underneath.

Great players, good friends but I was glad when I moved away and did not have to touch their nasty guitars anymore.

Maybe one of them bought your mic? :- D


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