Walter Woods Amp repair

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by ironcloudz, Sep 22, 2012.


  1. ironcloudz

    ironcloudz

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2011
    Greetings:

    My c. 1982 MI 100-8 has very bad distortion. Tried cleaning the volume pots to no avail.

    Also tried calling Walter himself at 760-772-7952 and got no response, not even a voice message.

    Anyone have a clue if Walter is around and available for repairs and/or anyone else on the planet can do repairs on this venerable ultra-reliable beast?

    Thanks.

    -stu
  2. Oldtimer

    Oldtimer Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2002
    Location:
    Colorado
    Latest number I have is 760-219-4122
  3. Treaks

    Treaks

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    Maplewood NJ
    760-772-7952 is Walter's land line. There is no machine, but he sometimes picks up. 760-219-4122 is his mobile. It seems to go straight to voicemail, and I don't think he returns a lot of calls. I got him on his land line.

    My Woods died on an outdoor gig a couple of weeks ago. Most likely the switching power supply fried due to the fact that the the event was being powered by generators. Apparently, switching power supplies don't react well to dips in power from generators...

    I spoke with Walter, and he took down my info, saying that he was really busy and would call me when he had time to receive the amp. If your amp has a minor problem, maybe he'll have you send it right away.

    I spoke with a couple of amp guys near me about diagnosing the problem with my amp, but they said "No way." Walter has no schematics, and allegedly files off the info on the components inside the amp. Only Walter can fix it. I'm not too thrilled about that....
  4. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    Olivette, Missouri
    Thanks for providing this info. as one day I will need to contact Walter. I'm glad to hear he is on his feet again, since his wife passed last year. I've found that when he ramps up to build a batch of Electroacoustic Ultras, he's just to busy to repair MI series amps. Now that he's building them by himself again will obviously take longer

    Yeah, I'm afraid that's very true. I had that happen once, but fortunately, the power was so low that the Woods wouldn't even come on and I had a B-15N(C) tube head in the car because I was using the cabinet with the Woods. I think that the newer designed heads, including Walter's are less prone to that kind of damage. Ouch! I feel your pain.

    Well, hopefully that will be sooner than later. Fortunately, I have both a MI-400-8 and a Electroacoustic Ultra. I almost bought another as a dual backup. But, I passed on a good deal from Ken Jung. Ironcloudz, sometimes, if you have a dirty volume pot on those older models it can sound like distortion. Cleaning the pot with DeOxit, may solve your problem. It's worth a shot.

    Actually, if you have an older MI-100-8 there is a paper schematic inserted inside the amp. It has all the component types and values, with the exception of the power supply, if that goes down, which is apparently has it has to go to Walter.

    Ric
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  6. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    It sounds to me more like you may have a bad capacitor. A good amp tech should be able to go through the circuit without a schematic but it is a lot easier (and cheaper for you) with one.

    I know Mr. Wood's amps are highly thought of but if he won't service them he should make schematics available so others can.
  7. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    Olivette, Missouri
    Well, that's something we all wish for. I don't think you'll ever see one for one of the newer Electroacoustic amps. I'd just be happy if he would send schematics, for the models he no longer builds, to owners, with valid serial numbers and bills of sale. However, even if you had a schematic, obtaining the some of the integral parts to repair an amp would be difficult, if not impossible. As I understand it, Walter has a cache of repair parts that he's kept since he started building the amps in the late 1970's.

    Ric
  8. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2008
    Location:
    Studio City, CA
    Walter is a great guy. He helped me with a pre-amp install on a Dean EUB that was a project of mine, and by extension, his. My first soldering and shielding job in years, he patiently walked me through each step, via email. The people are what make TB great!
  9. Treaks

    Treaks

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    Maplewood NJ
    I got a call from Walter the other day. He said that one of his parts suppliers is backlogged a bit, but he would give me a shout with any updates about availability. I thanked him for the update.
  10. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    Olivette, Missouri
    Treaks,
    Keep us in the loop.
  11. Treaks

    Treaks

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    Maplewood NJ
    Will do!
  12. Rockmore

    Rockmore

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    I want to rebuild or at least recap a MI-100-8, and surely someone besides old Walter himself has done so. Don't know why Walter himself has to do it. There are so many improvements in capacitors, especially in temp and audio grade available now, not just what Walter is used to for old technology and parts.
  13. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    Olivette, Missouri
    Rock More,

    If you have one of the older MI-100-8's, and you are the original owner, there should be a schematic, , right inside the amplifier, folded down into quarters, next to the power power supply. There were a set of 5 Silver (computer grade) filter capacitors mounted to the underside of the board, that are accessed by removing the bottom plate of the amp. Even if you could successfully replace them, why would you want to, provided that the amp is in good working order.

    I own both a Walter Woods MI-400-8 (the bigger brother of your amp) and a Woods Electro Acoustic Ultra. Although, there have been many developments in amplifier technology since they were built, I prefer the sonic spectrum, reliability, and EQ sections of Walter's Amplifiers. With my bass, Evah Parazzi Weichs, the Ehrlund
    EAP and a Audiokinesis TC 112 it's the best sound imaginable.

    Walter stopped, messing with pattens long ago, because they can be broken. He may be eccentric, but all my dealings with him personally have been great. It would be greatly appreciated by everyone it you would fill out your user profile, there's nothing there to indicate the kind of gear you have.

    Ric
  14. robgrow

    robgrow

    Joined:
    May 1, 2004
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Why do you want to recap your amp? Is it humming? Walter tends to be against recapping his older amps unless it is absolutely necessary.

    Unless there is a problem with your amp, recapping may not buy you much if any improvement in sound quality.

    Finally the old MI 100 amps are not like other amps with conventional linear power supplies where you can usually get away with slapping in larger value filter capacitors.
  15. Rockmore

    Rockmore

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    I'd like to chime in here. That's the problem with WW. ANY electrostatic capacitor, especially those made in the 1960-1995, only have a shelf life of about 10-15 years, and use life of about 10, especially in those years. The 'old' MI series HAS TO BE RECAPPED, as those ltyics were not that good to begin with and all started acting like resistors about 1991.

    You can hardly ever get a hold of WW himself and he refuses to publish his engineering, use life, tech life, and mistakes on these amps via the web or to the general public. Why do you think he says he does not want his amps recapped? Because it would reveal too much of the old parts and engineering he is stuck with, and he himself refuses to acknowledge that almost all of his old amps would benefit from the new designer or other audio or high temp lytics now available. Fellas- every old WW amp needs to be recapped. Its' not just for sound and reliability, its also for saftey.
  16. Rockmore

    Rockmore

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    +999
  17. Rockmore

    Rockmore

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    Sheesh... think you mean it USED to have the 'best sound imaginable". Again, the use life of the electrolytic capacitors WW used all expired at 10-15 years- now they are just big resistors causing bad sound and high reliability and safety issues.

    Doesn't have anything to do with the included schematic in most WW amps, -or- having access to them (one). Has to do with any secrets, bad as well as good, WW refuses to reveal about his amps, especially when it involves a simple recapping with 2012 versions of hi temp, high reliability, audio grade replacements. Usually when guys like him refuse to publish or reveal simple things as upgrades or maintenance, it isn't because they are eccentric; it is because there is something to hide.


    So, again, simply- anyone recap, upgrade, or tweak any of the MI series? Anyone? Any high end techs, or mere home hobbyists? Any hands-on musicians/bass players that have done so?
  18. KUNGfuSHERIFF

    KUNGfuSHERIFF

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2002
    Yes. He's hiding his money from the lawyers he'd otherwise have to sic on Behringer any other copycats who'd stomp on his intellectual property rights.

    In the last ten years I've owned three of Walter's amps. The oldest was an "Ice Cream Sandwich" built in the early '70s, the newest a 1998 transitional model with Electracoustic preamp and MI-series power section. I beat the **** out of all of them. The only one that required service, by Walter and before I bought it, was the latest one.

    No failures. No electrocutions. No problems of any kind, even though I frequently ran them hot enough to fry bacon on the heat sink.

    I don't know you and don't have anything against you, but you come across as exactly the type of self-annointed expert capable of royally pissing off Mr. Woods. If you don't mind, I'll stick with the proven life's work of the guy who built the best amp I ever had over the opinions of some random dude on talkbass.com.

    Oh, and Walter called me back immediately any time I ever called with a question, and I never once bought one of his amps new from him.
  19. Rockmore

    Rockmore

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    Apples and oranges. Guys like you completely missed the point and fact of this thread. Doesn't have anything to do with anyone or anything who'd stomp on his intellectual property rights, nor the original quality and engineering of his amps.

    Has solely to do with the average quality electrolytic capacitors that now have all expired, are acting like resistors, and need to be replaced. Again it is also a safety issue. Applies to any and all of his amps in the 80's version of his MI amps.

    So please guys, only those that have recapped one of his old amps need reply or positively add to this thread. Again, simply- anyone recap, upgrade, or tweak any of the MI series? Anyone? Any high end techs, or mere home hobbyists? Any hands-on musicians/bass players that have done so?

    Also like to add, several people not only myself find it too odd that he has no old school answering machine, or modern day voicemail for his 'landline', and only a generic OGM for his cell number with a very short receiving recording time. No one that I know has heard from him, thru him, or about him in a while now. Hard to believe he's in business with no help other than himself...
  20. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    Olivette, Missouri
    Safety Issues aside, as that's a different matter, you are certainly very technically versed, I cannot argue with your concerns with the electrolytic caps in his MI Series, nor do I wish to. But, from you statement above, I get the distinct impression that you no longer care for Walter's Amplifiers anymore. So I can't imagine why you would even want to repair one. As you mentioned, there are a lot of other new amps that sound great.

    It may very well be that you are correct, but it's a mote point since Walter isn't going to release the schematics. Eccentricity aside, whether or not we like it, or not, if you want an amp built by Walter repaired, you have to go through him. I'm perfectly willing to accept that situation because I love his amps. As frustrating as that might be, it's the reality of the situation. Based on my personal experience with three Woods amplifiers there aren't issues with either of my amps sonically, or reliability. Maybe I'm in the minority, but Walter has always returned my calls, and even replaced an AC power cord on my amp once.

    I know of only two individuals who have repaired Woods amps other than Walter. One of them is Hubert Liegos in France. The other person is in California, you might want to contact Glen More of the band Oregon, as I know both he and Ralph Towner had their MI Series amps rebuilt by someone in California
  21. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    Olivette, Missouri
    Rockmore,
    If I recall correctly, correct me if I'm wrong, Ironcloduz started this thread asking people for help with getting his amp repaired. Perhaps, you should start a new one of your own, that deals only with your concerns, as most of the posts to this thread were focused on helping Ironcloud. Just a suggestion.

    Ric

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