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Joeytempero

Ampeg SVT4pro - worth fixing?

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Hi all

I have an Ampeg SVT4pro that has been playing up randomly for quite some time.

Owned it for many years, American made and sounds fantastic. 

It's suffered with a random drop in output occasionally. A click sound and drop on signal but the amp always has power. Sometimes it goes for weeks and months without an issue but since December it's been completely dead. 

As per guidance from various techs and electricians I've cleaned the contacts and try various setups including bypassing outputs/power amps, switching between mono bridge and stereo incl different cable types and using different cabs etc. 

Doing some manual research I can to the conclusion it's either a relay issue, soldering issue or something mote sinister like a power amp issue. 

It's been looked at previously twice by John Gee at Gee electronics based in Warrington and I cannot find anyone else in the NW willing to look at it. On previous viewings there were no issues found: playing the game of not showing symptoms when with the doctor. However upon its 3rd visit to John I've been advised it's not worth the work to fix it as the panel needs replacing which would likely cost more than buying a new one. 

 

Does anyone have a similar experience that may provide a cheaper alternative/better news?

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Sorry this is a £1100 amp? Well that' the price from Thomann. Even used it's got to be worth half that.

I'm sure you could buy a set of circuit boards for way less than that. It doesn't sound like your current guy is giving you very good advice. Take it somewhere else.

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If it was an SVT I'd say find a good man with valves to fix it. The point to point wiring makes it very easy to fix if you know your way around them. But the SVT4 Pro only has a valve pre-amp, the power amp is SS, and it's not point to point wired, but is built on circuit boards. That makes them easier and less expensive to build, but much more difficult and expensive to repair. Based on that I'm inclined to agree with John Gee's assessment.

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I'd be very reluctant to be so categoric from a distance and with so little information Bill. It's a question of bottom line really, how much is a working amp worth? If it is worth nothing as a broken amp and £500 working then it's worth spending hundreds on to repair. That allows for a lot of hours work or the replacement of all the electronics in most cases. Reputable manufacturers IME who move to using modern circuit board techniques usually provide a supply of circuit boards and a repair often boils down to unplugging the old board and plugging in a new one. Irritating if the failed component is only a few cents but you save on labour. The amp is still in production so spares should be available, it would at least be worth contacting Ampeg who probably have authorised repair services in the UK.

Repair men/women vary in their skill sets. Most faults boil down to very simple blown fuses or broken wires or a bit of owner misuse. Any competent electrician can usually spot these and repair them but it takes a greater level of skill to read a circuit diagram and diagnose a fault and the OP needs to go to someone who is more skilled IMO. No amp is unrepairable if the parts are available and it really shouldn't cost more than £200. I'm afraid it's a common thing over here for people out of their depth to say something is unrepairable or uneconomic to fix if they are out of their depth. Nobody likes to admit shortcomings.

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12 hours ago, paul_5 said:

Contact Roland Lumby at The Amp Clinic in Salford - valve amp genius.

0161 7878082

or email him at [email protected]

He’s also on Facebook at The Amp Clinic.

Sadly I had already spoke with Roland who flat refused to work on the amp and recommended Dan Whitelock-Jones who also refused to work on it. 

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I spoke with Barry at Gee electronics after posting who gave more insight. 

He said the panel had blown. Channel A (and therefore Mono bridge) had shorted out and blown the panel which had that caused further issues. He had sourced a replacement at http://www.loudtechnologies.eu/shop/index.php?action=home&lang=en&device=mob which is around 350 euro plus delivery from Belgium. Furthermore he advised there is only one available and that component is no longer in production. 

 

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I had one of these amps. I'm certainly no expert when it comes to electronics but I can remember how 'old school' it looked inside. Nothing like modern amps. I'd find it really hard to believe that it couldn't be repaired. The OP says he can't find anybody in the north west to look at it. I know a guy down in Telford who used to service and fix my amps. I've not seen him for a good while now bit I'm pretty sure he'd be able to sort it. 

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6 hours ago, BassBunny said:

Have you tried Dave Lunt in Stockport? 

I'm not aware of the guys. You got any contact details?

 

8 hours ago, bigthumb said:

I had one of these amps. I'm certainly no expert when it comes to electronics but I can remember how 'old school' it looked inside. Nothing like modern amps. I'd find it really hard to believe that it couldn't be repaired. The OP says he can't find anybody in the north west to look at it. I know a guy down in Telford who used to service and fix my amps. I've not seen him for a good while now bit I'm pretty sure he'd be able to sort it. 

Any idea on a name?

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8 hours ago, bigthumb said:

I had one of these amps. I'm certainly no expert when it comes to electronics but I can remember how 'old school' it looked inside.

Not that old of a school, I'm afraid. Real old school is when you don't have to remove a single board to replace any parts, let alone having to replace a board. It's not as bad as current amps, but it's still bad enough that the labor charges alone may exceed the value of the amp. I wouldn't toss it, it has value to someone, but probably as parts.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Bill Fitzmaurice said:

If it was an SVT I'd say find a good man with valves to fix it. The point to point wiring makes it very easy to fix if you know your way around them. But the SVT4 Pro only has a valve pre-amp, the power amp is SS, and it's not point to point wired, but is built on circuit boards. That makes them easier and less expensive to build, but much more difficult and expensive to repair. Based on that I'm inclined to agree with John Gee's assessment.

 

As far as I'm aware, the SVT was built on multiple PCBs right from its introduction in 1969, not point-to-point.

Edited by Beer of the Bass
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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).

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17 minutes ago, agedhorse said:

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).

I'll quote you here and refer to the other thread where everyone seemed to be giving you a hard time as the Mesa distributer seems to add such a mark up... I guess this is an example of the benefit of having a local distributer....  when my Walkabout transformer burned the distributer had a trained expert tech 10 miles away that could fix it, and work with the distributer and manufacturer to get the parts needed. 

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On 13/04/2019 at 13:53, LukeFRC said:

I'll quote you here and refer to the other thread where everyone seemed to be giving you a hard time as the Mesa distributer seems to add such a mark up... I guess this is an example of the benefit of having a local distributer....  when my Walkabout transformer burned the distributer had a trained expert tech 10 miles away that could fix it, and work with the distributer and manufacturer to get the parts needed. 

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.

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19 hours ago, agedhorse said:

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.

Did you try the distributor for this repair?   Curious as to what they said if you have.  I try not to buy anything that can't be repaired as I'm trying to reduce my footprint on the planet.  So I have a lot of old stuff.....

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Hey mate, contact Thornybank on here. Chris has a friend who is a top amp technician, probably the best in Scotland by a country mile. It would mean sending the amp to Edinburgh though. 

 

all the best,

andy

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Fix it mate. These modern amps look like toys comparing to classic stuff. I have a Warwick Tubepath 5.1 that I intend to fix also (kind of the same configuration, tube pre & mosfet amp)

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You've probably moved on with this but this recent post made me idly look to see if there is a circuit diagram available. There is, from these people https://thecodemachine.co.uk/Schematics/Search.php?manuf=ampeg&model=svt4pro £1.50 to buy. If you can get hold of it and share it we might be able to give you more advice and any future repairs might be helped along the way. Of course an email to Ampeg might get one for free.

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