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Amps with repairability in mind => UK edition


chyc

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I thought of appending this as a question on the Markbass combo amp repair thread, but didn't want to derail it: what amp companies are good at customer care post warranty? For my part I've owned Acoustic Image who have been excellent, but getting the amp across the pond and back can be expensive, which is why I'm selfishly tacking on "UK edition" to this thread. The driver for this is that I may be looking for a more bass guitar centric amp, and repairability is one criterion that very much interests me, yet I don't know much about it. Even if the manufacturer is on the other side of the world, are they fixable in independent repair shops at a reasonable cost?

 

From the aforementioned thread I take it Markbass are not great, but what about other manufacturers? Ashdown, Orange, TE, Phil Jones et al? Sure this is inviting unscrutinized anecdotes, but I trust you all! :)

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Ashdown are the best in the business. 5yr warranty on their amps and they will repair anything they've ever made at really great prices.

They now repair old Trace gear as well, which is a logical move.

I was a long time Mark Bass user until a repair estimate north of £200 prompted me to look elsewhere.

Edited by BassBunny
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Generally any old Mosfet or valve amp can be repaired by a qualified tech provided that they can source the correct parts. However a lot of those amps are now 20+ years old and parts can be scarce and in many cases the cost of repair will be greater than the actual market value of the amp. Class D amps are so high tech in comparison they are not capable or any kind repair if the power module fails so if they go wrong it is usually more economical to buy a new amp if it is out of warranty.

Buying new, I would say Ashdown or Orange would be a good bet as they are large companies with probably a big lot of capacity for parts. I mean, you could also buy a Matamp and I am pretty sure they would repair the amp if it went wrong. 

 

Generally I find EBS good in terms of sourcing parts, but I think I have sourced about 4 lightbulbs from them over a 13 year period on the Fafner.

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I damaged my Ashdown, totally my fault, sent it down to them and they repaired it free of charge and sent it back via TNT. You cant beat that for customer service. 

 

Also if you have a problem you can talk to Dave or similar who know their stuff as they design the gear and know it inside out.

Edited by jezzaboy
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1 hour ago, jezzaboy said:

I damaged my Ashdown, totally my fault, sent it down to them and they repaired it free of charge and sent it back via TNT. You cant beat that for customer service. 

 

Also if you have a problem you can talk to Dave or similar who know their stuff as they design the gear and know it inside out.

 

 

I've spoken to Dave a couple of times and he's been amazing. On one occasion it was because he just sent me an email by mistake and I called him to let him know and we ended up chatting for an hour!

 

I may have mentioned that when the ABM 5 comes out with silent fans I'll have one straight away [/stuck record]

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3 hours ago, fretmeister said:

What amps and / models are actually built in the UK now?

 

Ashdown of course for the pro level stuff, but what about Orange?

 

Are there any others anymore?

 

As far as I know, Laney are.

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2 hours ago, thodrik said:

Generally any old Mosfet or valve amp can be repaired by a qualified tech provided that they can source the correct parts. However a lot of those amps are now 20+ years old and parts can be scarce and in many cases the cost of repair will be greater than the actual market value of the amp.

 

Depends on the part. Many components won't be unique to a particular manufacturer - they buy them in - so a faulty resistor, for example, can be replaced by another of the same type/value.

 

2 hours ago, thodrik said:

Class D amps are so high tech in comparison they are not capable or any kind repair if the power module fails so if they go wrong it is usually more economical to buy a new amp if it is out of warranty.

 

You're right about this. Class D modules are machine built and components are small/tightly packed and even sealed, making repair all but impossible and replacement modules are not cheap.

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51 minutes ago, fretmeister said:

 

I may have mentioned that when the ABM 5 comes out with silent fans I'll have one straight away [/stuck record]

Haha I saw your same comment on that picture of the new Little Bastard 2N on Facebook 😆

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52 minutes ago, fretmeister said:

 

 

I've spoken to Dave a couple of times and he's been amazing. On one occasion it was because he just sent me an email by mistake and I called him to let him know and we ended up chatting for an hour!

 

I may have mentioned that when the ABM 5 comes out with silent fans I'll have one straight away [/stuck record]

 

Did he say anything about the Evo V? I've been thinking about emailing them about that. 

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40 minutes ago, Jonse said:

 

Did he say anything about the Evo V? I've been thinking about emailing them about that. 

No, just my wishful thinking.

 

But if lots of us do it (and mention silent cooling of course) maybe it would happen.

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7 hours ago, Dan Dare said:

 

Depends on the part. Many components won't be unique to a particular manufacturer - they buy them in - so a faulty resistor, for example, can be replaced by another of the same type/value.

 

 

You're right about this. Class D modules are machine built and components are small/tightly packed and even sealed, making repair all but impossible and replacement modules are not cheap.

There are many parts that are no longer available as the manufacturers of such parts discontinue them and there are no other sources. The most common parts are pots, jacks, switches, relays, and some opto-electronics, plus many lateral and vertical MOSFETs (though for some applications there are still some reasonable substitutes but they don;t work in all applications). Beware of counterfeits however, especially semiconductors. The world is awash with counterfeit MOSFETs, most aren't even the type that they are labeled (lateral in particular). 

 

From a company that supports their products, replacement class D modules are often reasonably priced. Not are they generally impractical to repair, the act of repairing them invalidates their safety certifications because they are a specially certified part (reinforced insulation between the primary and everything else) and must be tested for compliance after the repair. The European manufacturers of these modules are quite clear about this and won't even repair them at the factory. It's a bit like rewinding a transformer, if you can't certify it (properly), it can't legally be used in a repair for the same reason. It's treated as an integrated component. The EU is more strict about this than most regions.

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22 hours ago, Beer of the Bass said:

As much as people complain about so many amps using the same few power amp modules now, at least there's a much better chance of a tech being able to source the right ICEpower module a few years down the line compared to proprietary ones unique to one model.

Yes, All of ICEPower’s modules going back almost 20 years by now are still in current production and available to authorized manufacturer’s service centers.

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On 15/10/2021 at 01:17, chris_b said:

Thunderfunk. No customer service because Dave Funk just retired, but these amps were designed to be repairable "in the field" if they ever went wrong.

 

I had a minor repair done to my Thunderfunk 550 a few years ago and the (local) technician told me that the only part he couldn't easily source and replace was the transformer.  It's still my favourite amp and is first choice for gigs.  I've no intention of selling it.

 

Frank.

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