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Ultra Vest Noise

vest noise maintenance repairs audio

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#1 David Montroni

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 10:50 PM

I use an Ultra 2 Vest, and it is new (purchased from Tiffen in early 2014).  I've been using it almost 5 days a week now for the past 6 months.  Recently, it has been making a little more noise than normal when under load.  I've looked through the Vest portion of the forum as well as a few search variations.


Usually, the noise is along the lines of a squeak, vibrating plastic on metal or metal on metal.  I hear it most often when the rig is away from my body or when booming.  I have tried to pin point the noise to no avail.  It sounds like it is coming from the socket block or center spar.


I usually clean the vest once a month by completely dissasembling it and going in all the nooks and cranies with a tooth brush or cotton swab to remove and dust or debry that might settle in there.  I also spray a little Bar Keeper's Friend on a paper towel and rub down any spots that are hard to remove.  Before reassembly it gets a little bit of grease in the parts that move the most.


Alas, this most recent go had very little affect.  I also went through and completely tighten it down.  Every screw I could find was twisted into place.  I do find this vest to have screws come loose more than other vests that I have used. 


Any thoughts on the noise?  Or a way to keep the screws from undoing themselves (a little thread lock or clear nail polish)?

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#2 Shawn Wang

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Posted 16 November 2014 - 02:47 AM

Could it be the arm socket block srping ? . when you boom up/down push the rig away it creates the noise. 


i rubbed with some white lithium grease the noise goes away. 

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#3 Lars Erik

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 06:10 AM

Hi David,


when I owned a U2 vest, it made noise from time to time. I found that spraying sparingly some ACF-50 on the moving parts of the vest helped. Remember to wipe off the vest at once. It did the trick for me. Hope it helps.

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#4 David Montroni

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Posted 22 November 2014 - 10:12 PM

I went through and cleaned it very thoroughly.  I used a different lubricant too.  That fixed the issue... for now.  I'm going to keep looking into other lubricants and cleaning options.

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#5 Janice Arthur

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 12:07 PM


Cleaning the vest once a month is a lot, in my experience. Here is my input; you are taking away all the body oils, dirty and junk that builds up and makes the vest noisier than if you cleaned it maybe twice or even once a year.

Yes you should tighten the screws maybe monthly but even that seems like a lot. The vest needs to breath and flex with you and when the screws loosen up its telling you where that flex needs to happen. I would do an eyeball check on screws every time I take it out of the bag and tighten any that are really loose but not much beyond that.

Yes I would once a year wash the pads in some cold water and rinse out and let air dry but even that is kind of as needed thing.
Spraying the vest occasionally is great when you find a squeaky spot and a drop of oil on the various screws once in six months is good to keep the threads from stripping is a good idea too. Just a drop around the head or at the back of the screw is usually all you need.

A knarly, used, worn vest says you work a lot, was always a sign of an experienced op who couldn't be bothered with something as trivial as a dirty vest. ("I'm so cool (and I make so much money) that I just buy a new one when I wear this one out.") Besides that a new looking vest said you were a rookie, so again in the past new was bad message. That said a vest should not smell. Smelling is bad and wash the pads if that does, you do want people to be drawn to you not repulsed.

I have seen some terrible vests that got no attention and were nasty so some maintenance would help. I thought the vest looked bad and sent the wrong message, so so basic maintenance is really good and will make the vest last longer and fit better over time.

Good luck and use that monthly vest time for something else that's more fun.

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#6 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 08:44 PM

Do you use a vest that rotates through different shapes and sizes of operators regularly? I imagine you do..

I've found this accelerates the process of developing a squeak on Tiffen vests. The pads definitely develop a memory, but the flexible delrin parts seem to as well. Changing shapes every day wares it faster. Besides the swivel joint on the latches, a lot of it seems to come from the vertical spar that the socket block rides on. Sometimes sliding the block up or down an inch postpones the sound for a bit, but some dry lubricant like Teflon oil for bicycle chains helps a ton. Of course switching operators every day accelerates the process.

Honestly this is one of the reasons I switched to PRO. Much fewer moving parts to service, squeak, and ultimately break. Especially in a quiet studio environment, you can't risk the creaking and popping sounds at the most inconvenient times. Imagine you're shooting talent delivering an obit, all slow and delicate, and then "POP! CREAKKKK!" It's embarrassing to have the director ask audio what that noise is and then you have to own up after they just delivered a story about a dead guy.

And my PRO is just way more comfortable, less cumbersome.
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#7 PeterAbraham


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Posted 16 January 2015 - 11:27 AM

Anodized aluminum is extremely dry. This is something that people have experienced over the years with this adjustable vest. It is likely that it is the outer center spar grinding against the inner center spar. Chafing slightly. The pressure of one spar against another is accentuated when you push the rig away from your body. The two spars want to flex slightly. Remove the two spars, put some Chapstick on your finger and rub it in the dovetail grooves on both sides. And put it back together. That should stop the sound. Unlike oil, Chapstik is a dry wax and will not stain your clothing. It also takes a very long time to dry out. Strange as it may sound, this technique has been successful with this problem in the past. ;)
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