What should I do with my broken Tascam FW1082?
September 18, 2008 12:20 PM   Subscribe

I have a Tascam FW1082 midi/audio interface board. Over the last few months, there's been a more consistent and very loud high-pitched whine in the audio output, making it fairly useless for what I need. What should I do to get this fixed?

The whine appears to be some sort of artifact of power, because when I connect it to my UPS instead of my wall jack (so it's a noise-free power supply) the whine gets louder and higher pitched. It also seems to change based on features I turn off or on. So, it seems that somehow the power is bleeding through to the D/A converter or something. I'm not an expert on complicated audio hardware.

It's out of warranty and it's $600 new, so it's in the weird zone where I don't know if I should try to send it in for repair (where do you send complicated audio equipment for repair?), buy a new one, or try and fix it myself somehow.
posted by JZig to Technology (5 answers total)
Strange noises from audio gear are almost always related in some way to the power source or equipment grounding.

From Tascams web site, it looks like the FW 1082 has an external 12V DC power supply. I'd start by replacing that and see if it clears up your problem. 12V power supplies like that are very common, and you may have another one like it in use on some other piece of gear. Try swapping them. If you dont have a spare, head to Radio Shack and pick one up.

If swapping the power supply doesnt help, you might try making sure that all of your gear is properly grounded. Ground problems can be very difficult to isolate. Make sure you arent using power strips with the ground pin removed, or using "ground lift" adapters to plug things into an older power outlet without the ground pin. Try unplugging any equipment you have connected one piece at a time.

If all of that fails, you may have a problem with the unit itself. Tascam probably has a flat-rate repair policy for out of warranty repairs. Give them a call.
posted by taubman at 1:26 PM on September 18, 2008

Almost forgot- Assuming you are in the US, use a multimeter to check that you actually have something close to 120V AC coming out of the power socket in your wall. Low supply voltage can cause trouble like this as well. If you're in some other country, find out what the correct mains voltage is and make sure that is what you have.
posted by taubman at 1:29 PM on September 18, 2008

These problems are often caused as mentioned above by your buildings power supply. I had the same thing and a ground loop isolator killed the noise dead.

Does the noise actually get recorded? i.e. when you listen to one of your creations on a separate cd player or ipod do you hear the bad noise?
posted by merocet at 2:53 PM on September 18, 2008

Okay, I'll go try to swap out the 12v power supply, that could definitely be it, and that would be a nice and cheap repair.

My first thought was a mains problem too, and that's why I tried plugging it into my (expensive and voltage regulating) UPS unit, which just made the sound louder.
posted by JZig at 3:17 PM on September 18, 2008

Are ypu plugging both the computer and the audio device into the UPS? My sound problem came from the computer and along the cable into the interface.
posted by merocet at 4:28 PM on September 18, 2008

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