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toronado455

Is static electricity killing my mixers?

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I really don't know much about recording equipment so please help a dummy! Two problems... 1. The headphone circuits on my mixer have failed. Twice. 2. I get static electricity shocks in my headphones if I walk around while wearing them. I'm beginning to think there is a connection between the two... About a year and a half ago, I lost one of the channels in the headphone output on my Behringer XENYX 502 mixer. It was under warranty, so I got a free replacement. Now the same thing has happened again with the new mixer. I've been noticing that I get static electric shocks from my Sony MDR-V6 headphones if I walk around at all on the carpet or even just roll my chair over the carpet. So I normally take the headphones off before I move. But sometimes I forget. So yesterday, I got one of those shocks, a rather strong one on the left side actually, and right afterward the left channel on the headphone circuit on my mixer failed. So I'm starting to put the two together. So before I get my third XENYX 502, is there any problem with these types of mixers (like perhaps that they are not grounded in a way to avoid this problem), or would this have happened with any mixer?

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From your post I'm guessing you're in a cold dry climate. I used to deal with static repairing copiers in the north east. Static used to get so bad the machines would start up and make copies when people walked by the machines. They thought they were haunted.

 

Its possible static caused your problem, but electronic designs and components arent like they were in the earley days. Headphones are usually driven off a pair of transistors which are pretty durable in comparison to say a computer CPU or memorey chip which are more prone to static. I would guess you tried the headphones on something else to verify they are good, The cable and connectors are most veurnable. next would be the headphone jack on the unit being secure. Some are PC mount jacks can get cracked solder joints. Next would be to check the Headphone impediance of the mixer and the headphones and see if they are within range. Headphones have all kinds of impediances and its possible something blew because the mixer was driving at an extreme and the shock blew it over the edge. Check the manufacturers specs on the net and look up they're impediance. If none of these are issues theres still some things that can be done.

 

Go to your local food store and in the detergents isle they have anti static spray for cloths like the cling free stuff that prevents static. Maybe even some liquid stuff you can mix with water and put in a spray bottel. Spray the carpet lightly and let it dry. Its non staining and will reduce most static generated by the carpet. (Using Bounce in the dryer will also remove static from cloths)

 

Next wear different shoes that dont generate electricity. Leather soles are usually the culpret, but some types of rubber will also generate static.

 

Lastly the third common conductor for headphones can usually be safely grounded and will provide a safe path to ground vs discharging through the mixer. I would use this as a last, Build a small metal box with headphone jacks on both sides and use a capacitor to connect the common to earth ground. The box would also put less wear and tear on the mixer headphone jack.

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