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More Markbass problems…after repair!


Jakester

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So I have a Markbass CMD121P that I had to send away to Real Electronics just over a year ago. It’d starting dropping in volume, then coming back, and some farty popping and banging every now and then. 
 

Sent it off to Real, they said there was nothing wrong with it but they replaced all the pots anyway and charged me £180 for the privilege. But miffed but assumed they knew what they were talking about. 
 

Anyway, the gremlins are back. Some problems as before - sudden drops in volume, farts and pops and stuttering.  I will drop RE a line but not expecting much as they have a 30-day warranty on repairs. 
 

Before I take an axe to the head, can anyone suggest a) a potential cause of the problems and b) any alternative repairer?

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There is another post about MB and their U.K. repairers Real Electronics ( as MB’s U.K. repair ‘centre’) and a place in Essex was mentioned as an alternative repairer. Repairing pots for that price seems excessive unless we know if all the pots were replaced and if they are hardwired to an internal board. (Did they return all the old pots?)

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9 minutes ago, mybass said:

There is another post about MB and their U.K. repairers Real Electronics ( as MB’s U.K. repair ‘centre’) and a place in Essex was mentioned as an alternative repairer. Repairing pots for that price seems excessive unless we know if all the pots were replaced and if they are hardwired to an internal board. (Did they return all the old pots?)

They didn’t, but I’d be very surprised if they didn’t actually change them out! I’ll see if I can find that company. TBH just feel like chucking the head and using the cab with another amp…

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Being reasonable it is really hard to fix intermittent faults. The problem often disappears and you can't diagnose a fault that isn't there and so often you can leave the amp on a test bench for an hour or so and it maddeningly decides to behave only to repeat the fault when it gets back to the customer. Having said that if it worked for a year before playing up again then you could say it was fixed and that what you have is a new fault and something else is just giving similar symptoms, or of course it could be an inherent fault with this amp and the responsibility is MB's not Real's

 

 

However £180 is an extraordinary cost for replacing the pots and why would you replace anything if you can find no fault?  Did they contact you before going ahead with this repair? I was quoted around £200 for fitting a replacement board, effectively replacing all the works inside the amp so effectively fitting a complete new amp inside my case. If there were only a few tens of pounds between a complete new amp and a bodged repair why wouldn't they advise you to have a new board?

 

At the moment MarkBass take no responsibility for their products outside of warranty and do not provide parts or circuit diagrams to third party repairers preferring to keep (probably sell) a monopoly to Real. Real have a monopoly so they don't need to respond to customer pressure and their attitude is take it or leave it. Mark Bass gear is effectively just a disposable item with no after sales support in the UK

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I recently had a similar problem with a DV Mark guitar head, after taking the top off it didn’t take long to sort out the problem, a loose ribbon cable connector from the output board to the main board just needed pushing fully home, I believe connectors working loose or not being fully home in the first place is a common MB fault, good luck, Mike.

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2 hours ago, Phil Starr said:

Being reasonable it is really hard to fix intermittent faults. The problem often disappears and you can't diagnose a fault that isn't there and so often you can leave the amp on a test bench for an hour or so and it maddeningly decides to behave only to repeat the fault when it gets back to the customer. 

 

However £180 is an extraordinary cost for replacing the pots and why would you replace anything if you can find no fault?  Did they contact you before going ahead with this repair? I was quoted around £200 for fitting a replacement board, effectively replacing all the works inside the amp so effectively fitting a complete new amp inside my case. If there were only a few tens of pounds between a complete new amp and a bodged repair why wouldn't they advise you to have a new board?


Well, they said they power soaked it through a number of cycles and it didn’t show any problems. I had said the power stage seemed fine as I’d played via the effects loop in with no problems so I don’t know exactly what tests they carried out. I presume they don’t have someone playing constantly in the workshop!

 

In fairness to them, I have dug the invoice out and I had actually overstated the cost of repair - it was £124, rather than £180 (I think in my irritation I overinflated the cost!) but I did have to pay for tracked insured courier to them so that was another £20.

 

They did contact me and discuss what they proposed to do might s well have been speaking Swahili so I just said “carry on!”  TBH had they suggested a full replacement I probably would have said yes.

 

Frustrating as when it works, it’s a great amp which does everything I need. However, if it can’t be relied upon, then it’s going to have to go. 

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1 hour ago, wrinkleygit said:

I recently had a similar problem with a DV Mark guitar head, after taking the top off it didn’t take long to sort out the problem, a loose ribbon cable connector from the output board to the main board just needed pushing fully home, I believe connectors working loose or not being fully home in the first place is a common MB fault, good luck, Mike.

Thanks, I’ll take a look. Hopefully it’s something so simple but I doubt it!

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4 hours ago, Jakester said:


Well, they said they power soaked it through a number of cycles and it didn’t show any problems. I had said the power stage seemed fine as I’d played via the effects loop in with no problems so I don’t know exactly what tests they carried out. I presume they don’t have someone playing constantly in the workshop!

 

In fairness to them, I have dug the invoice out and I had actually overstated the cost of repair - it was £124, rather than £180 (I think in my irritation I overinflated the cost!) but I did have to pay for tracked insured courier to them so that was another £20.

 

They did contact me and discuss what they proposed to do might s well have been speaking Swahili so I just said “carry on!”  TBH had they suggested a full replacement I probably would have said yes.

 

Frustrating as when it works, it’s a great amp which does everything I need. However, if it can’t be relied upon, then it’s going to have to go. 

Yes these costs are more bearable to read about…check your invoice next time 😃 . However your problem has me remembering a Walter Woods USA I bought many years ago at huge cost and it had a problem. Finding a repair shop here was difficult and I had to get Walter to send me a schematic for the amp. It was repaired okay. I do wonder about repairs ever being needed for Bergantino or Aguilar and who does those at what cost. 

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Replacing parts it the “hope” that it will fix the problem is akin to hosing down the amp with “miracle cure-all spray” and “hoping”  it to be fixed.

 

Without correctly identifying the actual fault, faith in a proper, effective repair is essentially “blind faith”.

 

Follow up with them to get your amp properly fixed. 

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12 hours ago, Jakester said:


Well, they said they power soaked it through a number of cycles and it didn’t show any problems. I had said the power stage seemed fine as I’d played via the effects loop in with no problems so I don’t know exactly what tests they carried out. I presume they don’t have someone playing constantly in the workshop!

 

In fairness to them, I have dug the invoice out and I had actually overstated the cost of repair - it was £124, rather than £180 (I think in my irritation I overinflated the cost!) but I did have to pay for tracked insured courier to them so that was another £20.

 

They did contact me and discuss what they proposed to do might s well have been speaking Swahili so I just said “carry on!”  TBH had they suggested a full replacement I probably would have said yes.

 

Frustrating as when it works, it’s a great amp which does everything I need. However, if it can’t be relied upon, then it’s going to have to go. 

Thanks, that sounds more reasonable then especially if they did contact you before going ahead.

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Maybe it's because the CMD121P combo might be Markbass biggest seller but the majority of these tales relate to that particular product. In fact the only Markbass product that broke down on me was the combo 2 head in my CMD121P. I have a suspicion that vibration of the head in its vertical orientation may subject certain components (or solder joints) to  unforeseen stresses. Mine suffered a cracked solder joint on the speaker output connector and latterly a failed pre amp board.

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Right, I've said feck it and just bought a replacement (very) used MB LMIII head. Immediately it seems louder and cleaner for the given input so hopefully that will cure the issues. 

 

It was at the cheaper end of cheap so if that goes too, it won't be devastating but I think it will signal the end of my involvement with MB amps! I'll probably keep the combo cab though, just rip the head out and use something else. 

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2 hours ago, Jakester said:

Right, I've said feck it and just bought a replacement (very) used MB LMIII head. Immediately it seems louder and cleaner for the given input so hopefully that will cure the issues. 

 

It was at the cheaper end of cheap so if that goes too, it won't be devastating but I think it will signal the end of my involvement with MB amps! I'll probably keep the combo cab though, just rip the head out and use something else. 

How old is the LM3? I'd be interested to know if your broken and 'new' ones are class AB or D?

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They're both class D. Looked identical with the covers off and side to side.

 

I *think* all the LMIIIs (and therefore the Combo Head II's which is basically a LMIII) were class D (though happy to be corrected), the only differences between early and later ones being they started off being built in Italy but production then went to Indonesia. 

 

LMII's were class A/B and if I see one going cheap I may pick it up. 

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1 hour ago, Jakester said:

They're both class D. Looked identical with the covers off and side to side.

 

I *think* all the LMIIIs (and therefore the Combo Head II's which is basically a LMIII) were class D (though happy to be corrected), the only differences between early and later ones being they started off being built in Italy but production then went to Indonesia. 

 

LMII's were class A/B and if I see one going cheap I may pick it up. 

When the LM3 replaced the LM2 they were class AB. My 2009 LM3 is class AB. Class AB LM3 and Combo 2 heads continued until 2012 when the class D power section was introduced without publicity.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Sparky Mark said:

When the LM3 replaced the LM2 they were class AB. My 2009 LM3 is class AB. Class AB LM3 and Combo 2 heads continued until 2012 when the class D power section was introduced without publicity.

 

 Ah, interesting! Good job I said happy to be corrected!

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