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Great News from HEADWAY re: Noisy Gain Pots on EDB-2

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by rickwolff, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ Emeritus (Certified Gear Junkie) Retired??? Supporting Member

    About 2 1/2 years ago I arranged for a 'traveling demo' of the NEW EDB-2 PREAMP FROM HEADWAY. I can't believe it was that long ago. Here is a link to the original thread: New EDB-2 and EDM-1 from Headway For Trial

    More recently some TB members, myself included, have experienced some noise or 'scratchiness' in the gain pots. As a result of having setup the demo mentioned above I got to know both John Littler, the 'Head' of Headway, as well as Gordon Roberts, their US distributor with Nova Strings.

    I recently sent an email to both these gentlemen and just got back an amazing response from John Littler. I include both my original (edited) email plus John's complete response.

    Ever since getting this pre-amp it has been an indispensable part of my gear and my appreciation for it only grows with the wonderful response from John regarding his commitment to ongoing service.

    My initial email to John and Gordon:

    Dear John and Gordon,

    I write you both today with some concern that has cropped up several times on Talkbass regarding the gain pots' on the EDB-2. In case you would like to see a sample, here is a recent thread: EDB-2 Going bad?
    I am not in marketing, but I was in sales for 30 some years and humbly offer a couple thoughts/suggestions that could possibly be helpful to you and your customers alike.

    1. Could a US based 'certified repair' agent be found and identified to owners. I know I shared several other bassists fear of the cost and hassle of having to send a unit back 'across the pond' for repair. Another alternative to this might be some type of identified expedited means of returning the unit to Headway to be repaired should this be necessary.

    2. The 'pots', especially the gain pots seem to be problematic. Could this be a quality issue from the supplier? Is there a doable way to use a different pot that might be more durable? I have found, and shared on Talkbass, that using DeOxit can at least sometimes minimize or eliminate the noisy pot issue, but not always.

    3. Is there a possiblity of 'trading in' a malfunctioning out-of-warranty unit for a somewhat discounted new unit? This would be especially helpful if future units could be built to minimize or eliminate the issues with the pots.
    All the best,

    Rick Wolff

    Following is John Littlers response which I received just today:

    Dear Rick,

    Thanks‎ very much for your valued support. I also like to work with everyone on a friendly basis. It's a public holiday over here, but back to work very soon.

    Yes, there have been some returns re gain pots, but we changed them 12 months ago to the same ones used‎ by British Brand Orange Amps after finding that they had a good long term life and no problems

    On the XLR In Catch we have changed that a few times and concluded that we had to drop the catch for reliability, which we did at the same time as the above.

    The switches and jacks we used have almost never failed and the printed circuit board is conformal coated. Manufacture is in Korea with a superior outfit ‎to any of the Chinese ones I am aware of.

    This year the returns number has fallen extremely low, so as to ‎provide little for our part time repair man and the returns have all been old ones, including EDB-1's well used, such as ex hire. Nonetheless, sometimes nothing has been returned for several months at a time and some of the returns have been due to cider or cola tipped into them, which eat metal amazingly.

    We do offer trade ins and have never turned anyone away without a reasonable solution.‎ Just ask anyone to try us.

    We will be finding a USA based repair person by the time we get back into amps probably sometime later this year, but at present the numbers are very small and people can return domestically via our USA distributors‎ Nova Strings Inc MD., who will send it on to us. They are listed on the website.

    I am working on getting my most ambitious products out yet. There will be SAM-1. Sheer Acoustic Magnetic - Active Soundhole Pickup for Ac Guitar, shortly. The difference is that it sounds like a guitar.

    A little after there will be two ground breaking compact acoustic amps, although we will not manage a 250w bass version‎ until 2018. There will also be a high spec valve pre-amp that defeats the piezo quack response.
    Please feel free to post bits of this if you think it relevant.
    Best wishes for a better 2017‎. I am not a Brexiter!

    John Littler
    Headway Music Audio Ltd
    Headway House
    Walnut Tree Wks
    St. Thomas St
    OX15 0SY.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  2. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ Emeritus (Certified Gear Junkie) Retired??? Supporting Member

    And, yes, I told John I'd like to buy his new Acoustic Bass Amp as soon as it's available.
    ColdEye, Ric Vice and Don Kasper like this.
  3. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Thanks to Rick for taking the initaive to help resolve these issues.

    rickwolff likes this.
  4. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ Emeritus (Certified Gear Junkie) Retired??? Supporting Member

    It's my pleasure, Ric. It was largely through you singing the praises of the Headway Pre that I learned of it in the first place. Thank you for that. It really is the gear 'I won't Leave Home Without'.
  5. That valve pre sounds great. I've been thinking of upgrading my aging EDB-1 but might hold out.
  6. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Headway EDB-2 Manual Control Illustration.
    Interestingly enough, other than having a hotter output the EDB-1 was issue free, as I recall. Now that they have worked "out the kinks" with the EDB-2 it has a host of new features that make it more flexible.

    It has channel assign switch for the EQ section, very useful if you are doubling. There's also a channel assign switch for the notch filter, so it you don't have to apply it across both channels. Theirare separate input impedance switches for each channel. The Phase Reverse is now assignable to either Channel 1 or Channel 2 via a switch and the power switch has a Standby position to eliminate the pop you got if you turned the EDB-1 on after your amp. The one other thing that some have had issue with was the lack of a separate volume control on the 1/4" line out. I was able to use one of the Taylor Guitar cables with a built in volume control, as a work around for this issue. Not as ideal as a volume control on the actually box itself, but it works.

    vin*tone and rickwolff like this.
  7. ^^ Yeah - being able to EQ/notch the channels seperately looks useful.
    If I'm running a mic into one channel and need to notch a frequency I'd like for the piezo to fill that EQ hole.

    For 90% of my gigs I am perfectly happy with the Rev Solo into the EDB-1. But hey ... toys! :)
    Ric Vice likes this.

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