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Ultimate Gold Sixty-Eight Mixer for the DMC World Finals 2011

AGold Sixty-Eight Mixer is very special among the special. The Rane team was given the challenge to craft the “UltimateGold Sixty-Eight Mixer” for the DMC World Finals 2011 competition. It was not a simple or quick task.

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For 30 years musicians, DJs, contractors and integrators have chosen Rane Corporation as a creator of problem-solving pro audio tools that are affordably priced with unequalled reliability and customer service. Rane’s primary marketplaces are DJ (performance, club, mobile and recording) and Commercial (room-combining, paging and associated systems). Each segment features innovative analog and digital audio products. Based in Mukilteo, Washington, all products are designed and manufactured exclusively in the United States with worldwide product distribution.

Rane is not a large company. Rane is a small American Company that is a “craft” company as opposed to a “mass production” assembly line company like its many competitors in China and Japan. All aspects of Rane’s designs are done in-house by an elite engineering team. All of Rane’s manufacturing is done on-site, and because of that each and every mixer can be individually and carefully crafted and tested just like all fine musical instruments. Of course our commitment to our products extends beyond the design and building. Support has always been important to Rane and today Rane enjoys an unequaled reputation for after sales service with direct telephone help and the legendary 24 hour turn-around on repaired units.

Rane realizes that mixers are essential musical instruments for their users. Like all fine musical instruments, Rane mixers are not cheap, and you can’t buy them everywhere. Just like their DJ artist maestros, they are unique in a world of mass look-alike products.

A Gold Sixty-Eight Mixer is very special among the special. The Rane team was given the challenge to craft the “Ultimate Gold Sixty-Eight Mixer” for the DMC World Finals 2011 competition. It was not a simple or quick task.

The Sixty-Eight Mixer has many metal parts, and five that needed gold plating. Parts were selected from our inventory and verified to be perfect in every aspect. Fortunately these parts were relatively easy to select as all Rane components, electrical and mechanical, undergo rigorous inspection before they are ever inventoried.

All Rane metal parts used in its DJ mixers are fabricated from special steel coated with an alloy of zinc and aluminum. This metal is specified because it will not rust and complies with all existing environmental regulations throughout the world. For the Sixty-Eight mixer these parts are also painted. The painting process is a powder coat process ensuring all surfaces are painted evenly and baked on. This produces the most durable finish available today. However, the gold plating cannot be applied on painted parts so this paint has to be removed. Using potent chemicals the paint was stripped and the parts made ready for plating. Rane’s President and CEO did the paint stripping (“I don’t want anyone else handling these chemicals,” he said). Rane is small, and even the CEO has to occasionally work.

Once the paint was removed, the parts were carefully inspected for imperfections. First by the CEO, and then by others who knew how to “properly” examine the parts.

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Gold plating is expensive. To reduce the likelihood of unforeseen problems, the mixer was fully assembled in the metal. All parts were again verified to fit perfectly. The mixer was then disassembled and the metal prepared for plating.

Rane has a very complete manufacturing facility but cannot do gold plating. Gold plating companies are specialized and unique. We made arrangements with an East Coast company specializing in finishes for jewelry, high-end automotive and aircraft manufactures to apply a PVD finish to the Sixty-Eight metal.

Prior to the plating process, the parts were carefully prepared by inserting all the various fasteners into threaded holes to keep the plating process from clogging the threads, and documenting the surfaces to be polished and plated. Then they were packaged with loving care and sent to the plating company.

The gold Sixty-Eight is crafted as a special single unit. The first step is to collect the necessary parts. This is done in the Rane storeroom and these parts are brought to the manufacturing floor where they are staged along with other parts already loaded onto various pieces of automated equipment that does much of the assembly.

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All the pieces come together in final assembly. The assembly is a lengthy process, typically taking one and three quarters hours to complete. Not only do all the nuts, bolts, wires, circuit board assemblies, and controls have to be in place but the fit needs to be perfect. Assemblers have to ensure that the knobs are free but tight on the shafts, the nuts torqued to the proper specification, and electrical ground paths and shielding are intact and working. The process instructions for the Sixty-Eight mixer are over 20 pages of details. This is hand crafting a musical instrument equivalent to any guitar or violin made today.

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Testing of the Sixty-Eight Mixer is a thorough and lengthy process. The electrical test is accomplished by a custom computer-controlled test fixture. All parameters are verified to be within original design specifications. Fader tracking must be perfect tone controls must be precise. On these two controls alone more than 200 separate tests are performed. Rane does not sample test and then rely on statistics to infer that the mixer is performing to specifications. EVERYTHING is tested.

It will be hand carried to London by Rane’s Director of Sales. It's the world’s best mixer for the world’s best DJ. Will he or she use the mixer? Or will it grace the winning DJ’s awards shelf as a symbol of the years of dedication to his or her musical artistry?