When it comes to live sound production, there are a great number of technological tools that can help make or break a show. 608 Sound and Light has worked hard to carefully audition, select, test, and implement the best equipment available to ensure a flawless performance each and every time.
We have long been fans of the dbx DriveRack product, and couldn’t imagine running shows without their loudspeaker management processing system. When the VENU360 was introduced, it promised great things – 3×6 input/output matrix, excellent sound quality, wireless management, a bunch of wizards (auto EQ, auto level, AFS, etc), and room for 99 custom presets.
After a while, we started to notice a few odd problems with our dbx VENU360. It would occasionally drop all sound output, while otherwise appearing to function normally. The input and output meters would flash, the main menu and display would work properly, but there wouldn’t be any sound output. It was if the unit was muted, without actually being muted.
We scoured the internet, contacted dbx, and did some experimentation on our own. We eventually discovered that the issue was related to a bad connection between the main board and the power supply (PSU). Apparently, the 2-conductor connector that supplies power to the mainboard would lose contact, which in turn caused all sorts of performance issues. The most notable and common issue was muted sound or muted output during otherwise normal operation. The issue became most noticeable when the unit was subjected to heat (sunlight, HVAC, etc).
Our unit went back to Harman International for repair (it was under warranty). While it was out for service, we purchased a second unit to serve as a back-up. When it arrived to us, we noticed that it had not been updated/repaired so as to prevent the muting issue. So, we decided to repair it in house, and took a few pictures along the way. We hope that you’ll find this information helpful, should you ever encounter a similar issue.
Disclaimer: perform this work at your own risk. Make sure the unit is completely unplugged from any electrical source prior to beginning work. If you are not comfortable and adept with electrical component repair, soldering, or general repair work, please contact Harman International. Note that performing this work on your own may void any manufacturer’s warranty. For any issues or concerns, please contact dbx and/or Harman International first. This blog entry is for entertainment purposes only. 608 Sound and Light assumes no responsibility for any work you may choose to perform.
Unit: dbx DriveRack VENU360
Symptom: Unit drops all output; no sound
Resolution: Solder main board power feed from PSU
Tools needed: #2 Philips screwdriver, 7/64″ Hex driver, wire cutter, wire stripper, soldering iron, solder
Level of difficulty: easy to moderate
Length of time to repair: 15 minutes
Here’s a picture of our dbx DriveRack VENU360, and all of the tools you’ll need to complete the job.
Starting on the left side of the unit, locate two (2) Philips #2 screws and remove them.
Spin the unit around, and you’ll find another Philips #2 screw on the back side of the unit. Remove this screw.
Spin it again, and on the right side (with fan), you’ll find two more Philips #2 screws. Remove them both. Note, you do not need to remove the screws holding the fan guard. Leave them in place.
Spin it once again, and on the front, you’ll find a 7/64″ hex head screw, just above the rotary knob. Using a hex driver, remove this screw.
The lid will now lift off from the unit.
Locate the power supply and main board connector. They can be found near the right front corner of the unit. The connector will likely be loose and will freely wiggle/move around.
Carefully disconnect the connector by gently pulling out on the connector latch while lifting on the connector. The latch portion is connected to the main board, and will move ever so slightly “outward” toward the outside of the case.
With the connector disconnected, use a sharp wire cutters to cut the connector. Cut the wires as close to the connector as possible, so as to preserve as much of the original wiring as possible. Then strip the wires so that approximately 1/2″ of wire is exposed.
Be certain to maintain the proper orientation of the wires. The black wire will be positioned on the terminal closest to the front of the unit (control side). The red wire will be positioned on the terminal closest to the back of the unit.
Carefully wrap each wire around its respective terminal. Pay close attention so that any wire strands don’t “jump” terminals. You do not want any wires from either wire touching the opposite terminal. We used a small flat blade screwdriver to help “shape” the wires and press any strands closer to their proper terminal.
Prepare your soldering iron, following proper soldering techniques. We utilized a Hakko FX-888D unit, with the temperature set to 700F. We used a pencil soldering tip and high quality solder. We carefully soldered each wire to its respective terminal. Do not use any more solder or heat than necessary, and do not touch the soldering iron to any part of the unit, other than the terminals.
When you’re finished soldering the connections, things should look similar to this.
Reassemble the unit, making sure to replace all of the screws into their proper location.
Power the unit up, and test for proper function. You might want to run some “burn in/test” music for an hour or two to make sure everything is working as expected.
And there you have it.
The issue with the mainboard/PSU connector is well known and documented across various forums and user groups. If your dbx DriveRack VENU360 is out of warranty and is exhibiting similar symptoms, you may want to try to fix the unit on your own. Please note that in doing so, you assume any and all risk. If you have any doubts or concerns about performing any type of diagnostics or repairs on your dbx unit, please contact dbx and/or Harman International directly.