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Class D - diabolical


rhysyjob

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48 minutes ago, Sparky Mark said:

The LM2 was last made in 2008. The LM2 and LM3 have been amongst the biggest selling heads for many years now, so the fact that we are seeing failures shouldn't be a surprise and doesn't indicate a latent fault. There will be many thousands of LM2 and LM3 out there and all will give up the ghost eventually.

Perhaps only lasting 12 years is a real fault in itself 🤔................

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14 minutes ago, Lowend soldier said:

Perhaps only lasting 12 years is a real fault in itself 🤔................

I think possibly the issue with MB stuff is that when it does break, getting it fixed is neither easy ( Only 1 repairer) nor cheap ( usually need to replace the power supply module). That said I've had MB stuff since it came to this country in the noughties(?) and only needed one *repair when I dropped  a LM2 in its case. Luckily under warranty so FOC. Since the LMII, I've had an LMIII, an 802 combo, a 801 combo, a TTE 500  and cab, a NInja 102P 250 combo and currently a 101 MM Combo and a CMD101P and NYC 121.

* Just remembered on the Ninja 250 the fan was noisy but out of warranty so I bought one from Real Electronics for  £30 and fixed it myself.

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57 minutes ago, Lowend soldier said:

Perhaps only lasting 12 years is a real fault in itself 🤔................

Erm... 2008 was 14 years ago and most LM2 are older than that. ( I know you were only joking though).

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41 minutes ago, yorks5stringer said:

I think possibly the issue with MB stuff is that when it does break, getting it fixed is neither easy ( Only 1 repairer) nor cheap ( usually need to replace the power supply module). That said I've had MB stuff since it came to this country in the noughties(?) and only needed one *repair when I dropped  a LM2 in its case. Luckily under warranty so FOC. Since the LMII, I've had an LMIII, an 802 combo, a 801 combo, a TTE 500  and cab, a NInja 102P 250 combo and currently a 101 MM Combo and a CMD101P and NYC 121.

* Just remembered on the Ninja 250 the fan was noisy but out of warranty so I bought one from Real Electronics for  £30 and fixed it myself.

Most electronics over 10 years old will have component obsolescence issues even if you can find someone capable of properly diagnosing and performing a repair. Buying a second unit of the type you like second-hand can be cheaper than a repair.

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2 hours ago, Sparky Mark said:

The LM2 was last made in 2008. The LM2 and LM3 have been amongst the biggest selling heads for many years now, so the fact that we are seeing failures shouldn't be a surprise and doesn't indicate a latent fault. There will be many thousands of LM2 and LM3 out there and all will give up the ghost eventually.

Used a LM 2, Markbass F500 and Markbass F1 for many years full on every week and they never missed a beat. 

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6 hours ago, leroydiamond said:

Used a LM 2, Markbass F500 and Markbass F1 for many years full on every week and they never missed a beat. 

The point I was trying to make was that, in my experience, if a Markbass, unit goes faulty you are in for a hefty repair bill. Only one authorised service centre. This does not always mean there is a problem. Music Tribe (Behringer et all) also have a policy, like Markbass (one that I believe is illegal), to withhold all service information form anyone but the Authorised Service Agents but at least the Beringer Service agent is as helpful as can be, subject to the constraints that Music Tribe hold them to.

 

Its not about whether it does go wrong, rather that if it does, it is uneconomical to repair.

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2 hours ago, Chienmortbb said:

one that I believe is illegal

There's some new legislation afoot here that 'compels stuff to be fixable'. Don't ask me how they are going to do that but I would think making schematics available would be a good 1st step.

 

People are getting fed up with appliances that fail after a couple of years of household use and ''can't be repaired''. The Greenies saw an opportunity to score and 'dial back time' to when stuff was made to last, so to speak, instead of landfill. A bit of a pipedream but my Mum had the same vaccum cleaner for 25 years, overhauled when required, and I must have gone through 4 in that amount of time, so all power to them.

 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Chienmortbb said:

The point I was trying to make was that, in my experience, if a Markbass, unit goes faulty you are in for a hefty repair bill. Only one authorised service centre. This does not always mean there is a problem. Music Tribe (Behringer et all) also have a policy, like Markbass (one that I believe is illegal), to withhold all service information form anyone but the Authorised Service Agents but at least the Beringer Service agent is as helpful as can be, subject to the constraints that Music Tribe hold them to.

 

Its not about whether it does go wrong, rather that if it does, it is uneconomical to repair.

As are the vast majority of micro heads, where component replacement is incredibly challenging, due to the multi layered pcb. Board replacement is often the only option and this comes at a cost, that may well persuade the end user to bin the unit and replace it. This is true for many consumer electronic items. Markbass' decision to not make schematics available to end users, however unpopular it might be, is no doubt an effort to protect their IP ,as it has become more and more common for electronic items to be copied by manufacturers located in countries with low labour costs and questionable regulation. It allows such manufacturers to bring a cheap product to market as they can skip the significant cost of R&D.

Despite their best efforts, a quick Google and I found this.

https://elektrotanya.com/mark_bass_parsek_little_mark-ii_manual.pdf/download.html

 

Edited by leroydiamond
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, leroydiamond said:

As are the vast majority of micro heads, where component replacement is incredibly challenging, due to the multi layered pcb. Board replacement is often the only option and this comes at a cost, that may well persuade the end user to bin the unit and replace it. This is true for many consumer electronic items. Markbass' decision to not make schematics available to end users, however unpopular it might be, is no doubt an effort to protect their IP ,as it has become more and more common for electronic items to be copied by manufacturers located in countries with low labour costs and questionable regulation. It allows such manufacturers to bring a cheap product to market as they can skip the significant cost of R&D.

 

This is spot on. There's not many manufacturers of anything that publish full design schematics that would allow others to copy their products or elements thereof. 

Electronic components and printed circuit boards are relatively low cost but the labour time/cost of properly diagnosing faults and then swapping out the correct part(s) is the expensive bit. We shouldn't forget that the repair tech needs to make a living too, so there is profit to include also. I would estimate to open up, diagnose, dis-assemble, replace failed part/assembly then test, re-assemble, pack and return even the simplest job would take between one and two hours labour. Add modest material costs and profit and it's not hard to see where £200 comes from for an out of warranty repair. No one is making a killing fixing old amplifiers.

Edited by Sparky Mark
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4 hours ago, leroydiamond said:

As are the vast majority of micro heads, where component replacement is incredibly challenging, due to the multi layered pcb. Board replacement is often the only option and this comes at a cost, that may well persuade the end user to bin the unit and replace it. This is true for many consumer electronic items. Markbass' decision to not make schematics available to end users, however unpopular it might be, is no doubt an effort to protect their IP ,as it has become more and more common for electronic items to be copied by manufacturers located in countries with low labour costs and questionable regulation. It allows such manufacturers to bring a cheap product to market as they can skip the significant cost of R&D.

Despite their best efforts, a quick Google and I found this.

https://elektrotanya.com/mark_bass_parsek_little_mark-ii_manual.pdf/download.html

 

That is the only Markbass manual in the public domain. 

 

I worked for a large consumer electronics company before retiring (2009) and anyone could order a Service Manual or parts. Admittedly the use of integrated SMPS and Class D modules mean that the failure of one part requires a PCB replacement. That is expensive but that is no excuse for the lack of service information. This type of protectionism was outlawed some years ago in the motor trade so why should the electronics industry be different. Ashdown, GK, Marshalll, Alesis have all been very helpful to me in repairing amps effects units Behringer, Markbass and Soundcraft have all refused to supply Circuit Diagrams of Service Manuals. I have had one Markbass unit that has had to remain unrepaired because Markbass do not help the independent repairer. 

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17 minutes ago, Chienmortbb said:

That is the only Markbass manual in the public domain. 

 

I worked for a large consumer electronics company before retiring (2009) and anyone could order a Service Manual or parts. Admittedly the use of integrated SMPS and Class D modules mean that the failure of one part requires a PCB replacement. That is expensive but that is no excuse for the lack of service information. This type of protectionism was outlawed some years ago in the motor trade so why should the electronics industry be different. Ashdown, GK, Marshalll, Alesis have all been very helpful to me in repairing amps effects units Behringer, Markbass and Soundcraft have all refused to supply Circuit Diagrams of Service Manuals. I have had one Markbass unit that has had to remain unrepaired because Markbass do not help the independent repairer. 

Very frustrating for you as a technician and the owner of the unrepaired amp. I have no objection to Markbass, or any other manufacturer making there schematics available to the end user, just attempting to put some context as to possibly why they have decided not to. If I owned a Markbass head that had developed a fault, no doubt I would share in that frustration. However I and many others have found them stellar in terms of reliability, but obviously every amp will develop a fault at some stage.

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I've still got my first LM2 from early 2007, an F1 from late 2010, and an LM800 that I want to say is maybe somewhere between the two but it's not here to check. I'm yet to experience an issue with any of them, but if/when I do then I'm resigned to giving them a WEEE responsible send-off and remembering the good times. If I get 10 to 15 years out of a lightweight £500 amp with no more servicing than blowing the dust out of it, then I'm genuinely alright with that. Of course you don't have to be alright with it (that's completely your call) but for all the other benefits they offer me, I am.

 

In that moment at a gig where your amp won't turn on, though, I don't think it really matters what class it is and whether it's repairable or a total loss - it matters to me that it fails safely (I don't think anyone has suggested thus far that one class of amp is any more likely than another to fail in such a way as to present a hazard) and that I have the space and weight capacity in my gear bag to pack another one that's able to take over with minimal fuss. Also, it's very nice to know that your amp can be fixed after the fact and that the manufacturer is ready and willing to help, but everyone singing the praises of great service departments are also tacitly admitting that their gear developed a problem or failed in order to require that service. My personal experience to date means I can't reconcile the idea that amps which have failed but proven to be repairable are better than amps which haven't failed but repairs of which are widely accepted to be uneconomical.

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Ed, I am not inferring in any way that Markbass products are unreliable, rather that Markbass, Music Tribe (Behringer) and Harman (Soundcraft) have all refused to supply  the information that I need to repair their goods. You have to also accept that there is no IP on an electronic design made using commercially available components. The only way to get around this is to POT your commercially sensitive circuits (as HH did with their Valvesound Modules in the 1970s). 

 

I should also add that the Markbass product was a LM tube that had fallen off a cabinet so could not be considered a reliability issue unless you think that a professional amp should be able to withstand life on the road. 

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18 minutes ago, Chienmortbb said:

Ed, I am not inferring in any way that Markbass products are unreliable, rather that Markbass, Music Tribe (Behringer) and Harman (Soundcraft) have all refused to supply  the information that I need to repair their goods. You have to also accept that there is no IP on an electronic design made using commercially available components. The only way to get around this is to POT your commercially sensitive circuits (as HH did with their Valvesound Modules in the 1970s). 

 

I should also add that the Markbass product was a LM tube that had fallen off a cabinet so could not be considered a reliability issue unless you think that a professional amp should be able to withstand life on the road. 

 

Nah, I get that totally - and I'm not a lawyer or an electrical engineer so I freely admit I have no idea what you can or can't protect, but I have no reason at all to doubt what you're saying. I would guess, though, (and that's all it is - a guess) that being an authorised service centre for anything carries some weight in law, such that any subsequent liability is handled. I always assumed that the board-swapping which goes on in the name of repairing things these days is partly down to cost/benefit analysis and the complexity of the boards involved, but partly because they're tested and certified as-is, and they wouldn't be certified any more if somebody, irrespective of their level of skill and experience, had taken a soldering iron to them and returned them to service without the correct re-testing?

 

As for the road-worthiness question, it's really difficult isn't it - if they were more sturdy then they wouldn't be as lightweight, but if they were heavier then they wouldn't be as easy to pull/vibrate off a cab, but then if a heavy amp still managed to fall off a cab would it be any better off?! If I were actually 'on the road' in a touring sense I'd rack things up.

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If I used only the guidance on Basschat to inform my buying decisions, I would be playing a 4-string Precision with flatwounds through some valve monstrosity (no effects) into an Ampeg fridge. I'm rather glad I'm independently minded.

 

As regards listening comparisons, I recommend looking for reviews of hi-fi speaker cables and experiments in double-blind listening tests. Even more revealing, look for reviews of digital interconnect cables (USB and HDMI), for example https://www.whathifi.com/vertere/pulse-d-fi/review

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8 minutes ago, Lozz196 said:

And if you listened to Talkbass as well said Precision would have tort (it’s the law round there)

 

Funnily enough, all three of my basses are burst, tort and rosewood. Not by intention, it was a happy accident, but one I'm thinking of continuing.

 

I think us burst and tort players are in the minority these days!

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33 minutes ago, Lozz196 said:

Yep, my name is Lozz and I have a ‘burst/rosewood/tort Precision.

And if you are putting 'Highway Star' into your setlist, I want to be in that band!!. I am coming to get ye😄

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, Lozz196 said:

Yep, my name is Lozz and I have a ‘burst/rosewood/tort Precision.

Ok if we are doing this …

 

I’m Andy, I have a black, black & maple US precision and I need an SVT classic plus fridge! 

Edited by andy67
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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, tauzero said:

My name is Mike and I have been tort and burst Precision free for 34 years and two months, ever since I discovered Warwick.

Token coming your way 👍
 

I’ve just discovered Spector, Bugera and Hartke.

Edited by andy67
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7 hours ago, tauzero said:

 

As regards listening comparisons, I recommend looking for reviews of hi-fi speaker cables and experiments in double-blind listening tests. Even more revealing, look for reviews of digital interconnect cables (USB and HDMI), for example https://www.whathifi.com/vertere/pulse-d-fi/review

Most claims made in the HI-Fi cable world are preposterous at best and many border on fraudulent IME)

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19 hours ago, Ed_S said:

My personal experience to date means I can't reconcile the idea that amps which have failed but proven to be repairable are better than amps which haven't failed but repairs of which are widely accepted to be uneconomical.

 

19 hours ago, Chienmortbb said:

Ed, I am not inferring in any way that Markbass products are unreliable, rather that Markbass, Music Tribe (Behringer) and Harman (Soundcraft) have all refused to supply  the information that I need to repair their goods. You have to also accept that there is no IP on an electronic design made using commercially available components. The only way to get around this is to POT your commercially sensitive circuits (as HH did with their Valvesound Modules in the 1970s). 

 

I should also add that the Markbass product was a LM tube that had fallen off a cabinet so could not be considered a reliability issue unless you think that a professional amp should be able to withstand life on the road. 

I might as well confess it is my amp that broke, I've never said that Markbass make unreliable gear. I dropped the amp off a stack (well someone else knocked the stack over) and I was unlucky.

 

What I question is the business practices involved and the attitude to consumers along with the environmental implications. I'd make a comparison with car manufacturers. They've been trying to create a situation where you have to go to a main dealer for everything. New models come out with special tools needed for even basic maintenance and the diagnostic software is only made available to licenced outlets who have to pay huge fees to get properly updated. Parts only come in major assemblies and aren't repairable at component level. Certain models now are only 'sold' through lease schemes. Within this there is an attempt to create a monopoly situation where the manufacturer has total control of their product and the consumer no rights. Their policies also mean they control end of life. If they control the cost of parts and repairs then they control the point where the cost of repair is greater than the used value of a car makes it uneconomic to repair. The same thing is happening with mobile phones, security updates for most Android phones are generally only for two years according to a recent 'Which' survey, coincident with the end of the contract periods for most people. Apple do a little better. We all know the printer ink scam, buy a printer for £50 but get locked into a model where the profit comes entirely from the sale of inks with extensive measures to make the provision and use of third party inks difficult.

 

The environmental costs of a throwaway model for consumer goods are extraordinary. Just the manufacture of a mobile phone creates over 80kg of CO2 according to 'New Scientist' plus the cost of mining for the various rare earth and other metals used in their manufacture. I can't believe much less is involved in an amp (class D or otherwise) The EU is currently legislating to make repairability a duty for manufacturers but in the end it is our attitude to this which will make a difference.

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