Q: What are IRQs and Port Addresses?
A: IRQs are acronyms for Interrupt Requests. Your computer has several expansion slots connected to a buss. The computer "talks" to this buss whenever the software intructs it to. Every card on the bus can "hear" the computer talking. If all the cards answered in tandem, we would get mass confusion (or in our case, a computer lock up). In order to avoid this problem, the software accesses a card driver and sends a buss Interrupt Request. The card (and there should only be one) that matches this IRQ will "answer" the software, telling it that it is ready to transfer any needed data.
Besides IRQs, your card may need an Input/Output port address set. The computer may need to talk to the outside world via an I/O port (eg. MIDI, modem, joystick). The same principle needs to be followed: each card that needs an address port has to have its own identity. If two or more cards have the same port address setting, you can run the gamut from software glitching to full computer crashes.
Whenever you install a new card into your computer for use with Windows, there should be a driver that will need to be installed into the Control Panels/Drivers section in Windows. Some software will automatically install this for you. On occassion, the factory defaults will work, but more than likely you will have to change your IRQ/Address settings. There are usually two ways to change the IRQ/Address settings. One is via the driver alone. These will automatically adjust the settings on the respective card. The other way is to make the settings on the card by configuring jumpers and/or dip switches and adjusting the driver in Windows to match these exact settings. Your manual should be clear on how to make these changes. There are a few manufacturers that combine these 2 methods.
Q: I have an old mixer with really dirty sliders. I've tried de-oxidizing cleaner on some of them, but now they feel much worse, yet seem to work okay. Any ideas?
A: The first thing is to try some compressed air to remove all the dirt from the faders. If you don't clean the fader out before you use the de-oxidizing cleaner, the dirt particles will simply stay inside the fader and never leave no matter how much rent you charge. Unfortunately, de-oxidizing cleaner may remove some of the lubricant along with the dirt, making the fader sound better, but feeling very stiff or gritty. Do not use any type of alcohol or other harsh solvent on a fader it will remove all the conductive material inside and make it completely useless! Of course, the best thing is to replace the fader, which, depending on availability of older parts, may require some time to complete, so contact the service department at Sweetwater to schedule a convenient time to do this. If parts are not available for your unit and cleaning the faders doesn't do the job, this may be a good time to check out some of the newest mixers they sound terrific!