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agedhorse

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    Davis, CA U.S.A.

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  1. You are most welcome. I think there may in fact be a segment of the market that does conform to this consumer electronics mentality model. From what I have seen, these are generally companies where price is the biggest feature but I'm sure there are exceptions as well. I personally do not care for this model, it goes against 40+ years of engineering training.
  2. There are (understandably) a lot of misconceptions about this topic, so let me clarify a few things based on actual facts and data rather than internet folklore and perceptions. I looked at the statistics for last 100 class D amp repairs that came through the factory service program (this is for the Genz Benz brand) and found that there were only 6 that needed a replacement module. For the 600 watt class D module, the cost to the customer was $150 USD and the labor for the entire repair (everything else that might have been wrong plus any updated installed) was $75 (USD) flat. So worst case, the cost of the repair INCLUDING a new module was only $225 (USD). For the remaining 94 repairs, 92 cost only $75 (USD) and there were 2 basket cases where either a shop or end user got into the amp and did more damage than covered under the repair program pricing. Even the worst case scenario is generally less expensive than replacing an output transformer, a set of tubes, etc. Turnaround time on all but the 2 basket case repairs was 48 hours also. That said, there certainly are products that are built with no thought towards repairing them. This is much more often seen at the lower end of the market, not an area that I have a lot of experience with. Perhaps this discussion is more like "you get what you pay for" rather than the technology itself, as the same is true for solid state linear output amps (class AB/G/H). What percentage of failures in these amps involve the output section (certainly higher than 6%) and how many of these could be repaired for $75 flat (or even $225)? Of course I can only provide information for the North American market, and only for factory level service where there is no issue with knowledge, skill, professionalism and parts availability, but I can't see how it would be much different for other manufacturers either. Now one disturbing trend I have been seeing over the past 5 or so years is that non-factory service centers have become more and more of a challenge, the quality of techs has declined significantly, the turnaround times have become excessive (IMO, there's no excuse for an amp repair to take 6-8 weeks) and even more worrisome is the new trend of taking an amp in and taking a cash deposit, then doing an estimate (without ever troubleshooting or testing or performing any diagnostics) for an excessive amount of money knowing full well the customer isn't going approve the repair, then keeping the estimate fee. There was a shop I dealt with for a customer that appeared to survive off of estimate fees only and never did any repairs. IMO, this is wrong and borderlines on fraud. So, it's not the technology itself, but how the technology is implemented and the philosophy of the company supporting their products that really dictates the ability to economically repair an amp. I hope this helps explain more completely and accurately this topic.
  3. How is this ANY different than replacing the power amp module in a class D amp?
  4. Sorry, I missed this, even though the "notify" box is ticked. Noise like this can almost always be traced back to noise entering the system. It may be EMC, becoming more commonly encountered with all the new bootlegged (uncertified) LEDs and consumer electronics from China (mostly). The amount some of them can emit is staggering. Sometimes, this can be caused by a cell phone very close to the pickup or the amp but this is probably less common now. One thing that can help is to be sure that the amplifier is powered by an earthed circuit. The earthing conductor aids in EMC control to a large degree.
  5. I suspect that a big portion of the cost is in shipping the driver to the UK. I just looked up the cost of shipping and even if it fits in a Priority Mail large flat rate box (the least expensive way to ship to to be UK), the shipping cost is ~$100 USD (77 GBP). There are still import duties, paperwork and such. Deduct this from the price you were quoted and the cost of the driver isn't quite so bad. Priority Mail International® Large Flat Rate Box USPS-Produced Box: 23-11/16" x 11-3/4" x 3" or 12" x 12" x 5-1/2" Maximum weight 20 pounds. Select a Delivery Option Expected Delivery Day Retail Click-N-Ship® Normal Delivery Time 6 - 10 business days to many major markets $94.25 $94.25 There are 4 different drivers that were used in the PH series, if you are looking for the 8 ohm version, the only one still available is the latest revision and it's a cast frame driver so that may be part of the cost. You can always calculate out for new drivers, but they won't sound the same as the originals so there's a bit of a gamble there. If you do install different drivers, it's common courtesy to disclose this to the buyer when you sell the cabinet.
  6. Due to safety certifications and regulations, IcePower modules are not allowed to be repaired. Since the primary circuitry and all of the associated safety components are part of the integrated module, once the module is worked on the manufacturer's safety certification is no longer valid. As part of the manufacturing and testing process, an extensive number of automated tests (including safety certification tests) are performed on the module and the test result data is logged to the serial number of the module. I don't know of any service centers that have the equipment or knowledge to perform and certify these tests with a Nationally Recognized Agency. It turns out that because of the level of complexity and the specialized nature of the equipment and experience required to CORRECTLY diagnose and repair these modules, it's almost always less expensive to replace them than it would be to repair them. Even IcePower themselves doesn't repair defective parts returned to the factory under OEM warranty, it's less expensive to replace even though they have the necessary test equipment, knowledge and ability. The labor cost (including re-certification) is more than it costs to build. I don't like the concept anymore than you guys do, but when it costs more to repair than replace, it's hard to argue with reality so recycling the defective part is really the best solution.
  7. Give Westside another call, they will help you out. If you still can't get hold of them, let me know and I will follow up. They may be backed up a bit preparing for the new regulations that are taking place due to Brexit as this is "uncharted territory".
  8. Hissing, especially when it's present on both channels, is unlikely to be the tube (valve). The recommended valve for this amp is a 12AX7A (the AC5 is a selected/graded version, selected for lower noise and lower microphonics). In this circuit, its life expectancy is over 20 years (I designed this amp, so I have a pretty good point of reference here) and I have diagnosed only one defective tube in the last 5 years of the factory service/support program. These amps have a low noise floor, and have been a very reliable with no known issues over the past 10+ years. Before getting too deep into this whole tube thing, the very first thing I would recommend is systematic troubleshooting. Specific things to eliminate as possible causes external to the amp are: 1. Is the amp quiet without using any pedals? The most common cause of noise is from pedals, especially compressor pedals. All of the noise generated internally by pedals gets amplified by the amplifier, so a pedal that generates noise ultimately defines the noise floor because this noise is amplified by the total gain of the amplifier. Compressor pedals are especially suspect because the gain reduction circuit (called the gain cell) in the pedal works by starting out with a higher gain under low signal conditions and then reducing the gain as the signal level increases. For every dB of gain cell reduction, this adds a minimum of 1dB of noise to t he noise floor. It's intrusive because the worst noise floor is when there is no signal. This is why high quality pro audio compressors invest so much cost into lower noise circuitry and VCA's, the results are clearly audible. 2. If you are using a lot of treble boost, or if you have the tweeter attenuator all the way up on a cabinet that has an inefficient woofer section, this can make the noise of all preceding electronics appear noisier than they really are. If you are after a bright, in your face tone than this might be something you have to live with, or invest in a line level noise gate inserted into the effects loop. When using a gate, choosing the least amount of gate attenuation as possible to achieve the necessary noise floor improvement will help it sound and feel more natural. A 6dB gate attenuation will cut the noise power by 75%, so generally there is no need to use very deep cuts. 3. If you are using an active bass, be sure that your battery is good. Some active electronics packages can get very noise as the battery voltage falls. 4. If your active bass has eq built in, excessive treble boost can exaggerate noise within the on-board electronics which is then amplified by the amplifier. 5. Is the amp quieter with the tone shaping switches disengaged? Each filter can add a little bit of noise, especially the attack filter when a high amount of attack used. 6.With nothing plugged into your amp except the speaker, is the amp quiet with the channel gain, channel volume, master volume and eq all set to the 12:00 position? When switching between the tube channel and the FET channel, it's normal for there to be a just couple dB more noise in the tube channel. Where do you typically operate the controls? Hope this helps.
  9. I've been in this business for 40 years now. I remember when EVERYBODY (manufacturers, distributors, retailers, service centers) added tremendous value to the products they represented, sold and serviced. Call me "old school", but I still believe that all of these are important for good customer experiences. Of course, it's expensive for all of these businesses to stay current on the products and the technology and when the customer demands an ever-cheaper price, something has to give. The manufacturer gives up quality and has a shorter warranty, the distributor gives up training, knowledge and how many models they can stock/import, the retailer gives up how much they can stock, the level of customer service and what they are able to do to make the customer happy, and the service center finds themselves in the position of not being able to hire top notch techs with the necessary skills because the job pays less and less, which attracts poor quality techs who are simply in over their heads and take much longer to repair an amp than a skilled tech. As an example, there's no Subway amp that I can't fix in 1 hour, period. Same goes for any Genz Benz Shuttle or Streamliner amp. This means that the labor charge to fix it right is often less than what a hack tech charges for an estimate. In your case (UK), Westside puts forth a lot of effort in representing the brands they distribute. They know their stuff, have an excellent service department (as you discovered) and spend a lot of time following through when something isn't right. This doesn't come for free, nor should it IMO.
  10. There is nothing in that amp that can't be repaired by a qualified service technician. The problem is that many techs have not continued their education or refined their skills necessary to properly troubleshoot and diagnose a problem, and therefore without these critical skills, they can't repair what they don't understand. IMO, there is no justifiable reason (beyond catastrophic physical damage) to replace circuit boards in this amp. My suggestion is that you contact Ampeg and find out who handles their factory warranty service and support in your region and contact them to get it repaired properly. Yes, I think your amp is well worth getting repaired (properly).
  11. There's nothing to prevent it technically, but in the event of a problem you would be on your own as the in-country service agent will not be obligated to repair it (under warranty or not). By the time you pay all the import fees and taxes, shipping and such, I doubt it would be worth the risk. Besides, it undermines your local importer, dealer and service agent's effort to do business in your own country.
  12. This is likely to be the most likely scenario, but I don't know much about the laws of commerce in the UK, nor the costs involved in importing, taxes, fees, agency inspections, distributing, stocking, selling and supporting/servicing the product. I do know that Westside operates a substantial and well qualified service center with some outstanding service engineers, that costs something. From what I have seen, they go out of their way to be helpful to those of you in the UK when service is needed. This is not my area of expertise, I'm "just" an engineer/designer. Please forgive me for this
  13. Seriously, I doubt two retailers could even agree on where to eat lunch.
  14. You asked if I was suggesting a conspiracy, that's EXACTLY the question I answered. Was there a different question I missed???
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