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EA: Small Companies Really Do a Better Job

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Scooperman, Nov 17, 2004.

  1. Scooperman


    May 28, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    There's really something to said about buying from individuals instead of from big stores, and from small companies instead of the big ones. Here's my latest story:

    I had already had the privilege of directly buying my Acme LowB2 from Andy Lewis and my Schroeder 1210 from Jorg and my experiences with these guys only confirmed my belief that dealing with small shops and the actual builders themselves beats the pants off of the impersonal "big box store" experience. Now I can add the fine people at Euphonic Audio to the list of people who have taken fantastic care of me.

    I bought an iamp800 via Bob G. just under a year ago (there's another example of how much better the service is from a "mom and pop" operation!). It immediately became a regular part of my rig as I liked just about everything about it.

    Recently it started cutting out on me - intermittently not making a sound.

    I called EA and described my problem. They told me that I should talk to Gary Gibilisco, the guy who designed the amp. They transferred me to his voicemail and I thought to myself; "Great, this guy will probably be so busy that I'll never hear from him".

    In fact, he called me back within the hour.

    I described my problem to him.

    He asked, "Is your amp one of the ones with the built in tuner?"

    "Why, yes it is", I replied.

    He went on to explain to me that a few amps from the first series of production runs (the ones with the built-in tuner) had a few instances where the jack manufacturer (Neutrik) had given them some bad jacks that failed after a few months. He told me of a work-around: connect the send/receive jacks with a short length of cable (this indeed did the trick). He also said that he would replace the jack for free whenever I could spare the amp long enough to send it to him. He said he would ship it back for free, as well.

    Right now I'm using the work-around but I'll probably send the amp in simply because I'd rather have it be perfect than not, and also I'd rather not bother with carrying an extra loop of cable with me.

    This is the way service should be, but rarely is. Unfortunately a lot of big companies spend their money on advertising and on coming out with a gazillion different product lines instead of building a few things really well. And let's not talk about service. If you call up one the big guys, obviously they couldn't get you in touch with the product's designer like the little companies can, but the big guys often fail to even connect you with somebody who truly understands their own products.

    I've seen the prices on the top of the line models from the big companies and they aren't any cheaper than Andy, Jorg, or Gary's stuff. From where I'm standing it seems like I'm actually getting more for my money by buying from the little guys.

    I'm guessing that a majority of people who have purchased craftsmen-built products, made in small batches, have been glad of their choice, particularly because of the service.

    Am I right?
  2. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    You are correct, sir!
  3. Scooperman


    May 28, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    It's true, I expected superb service from what I had heard about EA, and I wasn't disappointed. Gary told me that the repair was simple and any good local repairman could change the part. I told him that since I lived in Manhattan, there ought to be a few decent guys around ;) .

    His response was that since I lived that close to EA's headquarters, why not send it to them and he would do the repair himself, for free. I hadn't asked but he offered.

    I guess I'm kinda biased because I've seen support from the other end and I know that frequently the person who answers the phone may be not much more than just that - the person who answers the phone.

    It might be paranoid of me but I feel slightly more secure if I know that I can deal with the repair person directly.

    It might be completely psychological, but it makes me feel better.
  4. babaseen

    babaseen The New M'Taboo Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2001
    Boston, MA
    I'm another EA convert...the designs of the amps and cabs are the best (to my ears and useage) and the most flexible in regards to tone of any i have used in my 30 years of producing the groove...and the service these guys offer (if you need it) is top notch.
  5. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    My experience with EA service, from both John Dong and Gary Gibilisco, has been exemplary, as well. I bought one of the early iAMP 800 units (used, no less), and I sent Gary an e-mail asking about the problem that some early units had with the tuner chip (or circuit board, not sure which) coming loose. He said that if I shipped it to him, he would fix that problem (if my unit had it) and perform all "updates" to the current model (which included double checking the jack issue that you experienced, I believe), all at no charge. Then he shipped it to me for free. I had mentioned in my e-mails that I liked the look of the black knob units better (mine had the red knobs), and when I got it back from Gary, he had installed the black knobs for free! And all this to a guy who bought his amp used! Really awesome service. They treat you, the user, with great respect, whether you are a big name musician, or a hack playing predominantly used gear, like me. Very impressive, in my book.

    John Dong has been equally helpful on the cab side. He is a very friendly person, and more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

    I have not bought anything from Bob G. (as I came across some used gear), but way back when, he answered a lot of questions for me, and was super helpful. Quite a great resource for all of bassdom, IMHO. Gard, at Bass Central, is another very helpful fellow.

    The other small name bass manufacturers I have experienced who provide top notch, friendly service and support (along with some kicking gear) include:

    Mark Wright, Accugroove
    Andy Lewis, ACME
    Jim Bergantino, Bergantino
    All the staff at Epifani (call, don't e-mail)
    Don Oatman, Low Down Sound
    Marc Serio, Dr. Bass
    Rob De Vos, Hevos
  6. Scooperman


    May 28, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    Speaking of cabs, Gary told me that they have a VL-208 sitting around that's available.

    I know how you like those! :D
  7. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Thanks for the heads' up!
  8. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Be sure to add these guys to the list of "above and beyond":

    Dave Boonshoft at Aguilar

    Bob Lee at QSC
  9. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU

    Just look at my thread about what Jörg has done for me to get the cab shipped here...
    And it's arrived to my aunt, and she is bringing it down on Saturday morning :hyper: :hyper: :hyper:
  10. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    I bought my Mesa 400 because I like the attention a small company puts into their product (Mesa was small in '86). I have had good correspondence with Mark of Accugroove, and look forward to getting and El Whappo Jr. soon; the one I tried was very nice!
  11. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    I recently had a problem with my used Ampeg SVT3 Pro. It required that I get Ampeg involved because of a paperwork issue.

    They were timely, helpful, courteous, and I'm happy with the outcome.

    Thanks Jim.