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Longevity of micro heads.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by creis2, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. creis2


    Nov 11, 2011
    Cambridge, MA
    After inspecting the guts of my Genz Streamliner, I noticed that the inside of this thing looks very complex. Little tiny resistors are a pain to work with, I used to assemble boards for a medical manufacture years ago.

    The thing I like about my SVT is that I know it will always be with me, almost every tech can fix it no matter what goes on it.

    Are these little heads going to be a throw away product like most consumer goods today?
  2. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    Seems to be the way of the world these days. Wouldn't expect any of the micro stuff to be the collectable classics of tomorrow.
  3. Pretty much, yes. When my Carvin BX500 quit, they just handed me a new one. Upside, no waiting for repairs.
  4. 5port


    Oct 14, 2009
    LI,new yawk
  5. creis2


    Nov 11, 2011
    Cambridge, MA
    What a shame. I get attached to my gear.
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't know about throwaway, but you'll see more board swaps with them, and you'll throw them out if the cost of repair is more than it's worth. SMT's, however, are reparable at component level...they're just a bigger PITA apparently.
  7. creis2


    Nov 11, 2011
    Cambridge, MA
    I've worked with SMT's, and they're a huge pain. I think labor costs would go beyond the cost of buying a preowned head.
  8. David A. Davis

    David A. Davis Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2008
    Summerville, SC
    Thats one of the reasons a Reeves is so appealing to me. No printed circuit board, big components that are easily replaceable. Yes, they are expensive and heavy, but should last a life time or three.:D
  9. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Most of these micro amps are relatively inexpensive and better products are often available a few years down the road. It they go boobies up after the warranty has expired, it can be more cost effecting to chuck them and buy something new.
  10. mystic38


    Dec 4, 2012
    Mystic CT
    Having dropped $800 on a streamliner I think you and I clearly have a different view on inexpensive...

  11. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    What can be done with printed circuit boards today was almost unimaginable 30 years ago. I see no reason why they would be any less reliable than amps of any other era (which is littered with dogs and failures) Cheaper to replace than repair? Probably so, but what's wrong with that? It's cheaper, which is money saved.
  12. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    You have to realize that even 10 years ago, a 900w amp would cost 2 to 3 times this price.
    When I started playing, 800 got you a decent gigable combo.
    Amps these days are indeed inexpensive.
  13. Indiana Mike

    Indiana Mike

    Nov 18, 2005
    IMO they have a usable life and will be throw away ,,,,can you see someone selling a 2012 micro amp 30 years from now ,,,,and replacement boards still being available?
  14. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Speaking just anecdotally, I think we're seeing that with the early G-K heads that are finally starting to wear out (since a lot of people still seem to use old G-Ks as compared to any other older SS amps). I know that people are finding it more economical to just toss their old G-Ks when they fail and pick up a new one.

    Of course, it helps that the G-K sound and mystique has remained pretty much unchanged since the beginning, so there's little incentive to drop a bunch of coin on repairing one of their old amps to retain that G-K "mojo" the same way there may be an incentive to restore/repair something like a Sunn 2000s.
  15. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    $800 or $900 ain't chicken feed, that's for sure. But I remember having to throw out $2000 computers after a couple of years because they were obsolete and nobody would give you 10c for them. Nowadays you get 6 or 7 years out of one if you're lucky. Yet nobody complains. But we're used to bass amps that are easily repaired and not thrown out unless they've been damaged beyond all hope, so I guess I understand the trepidation.

    Well the only thing I can tell you is use it till it croaks, and then decide accordingly when it croaks. That's about all you can do.
  16. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Quality designs just last longer these days. Automated assembly makes it right the first time.
    Design engineers use computer and all the design history to account for more variables than ever before.
  17. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Whoa here, I think folks are making some pretty bold assumptions that are off base in many cases.

    First of all, every single one of our "micro" amps is repairable. On the main preamp PCB, every component is through hole and for a "real" tech pretty trivial to work on. There isn't really anything I can not repair down to the component level on a Shuttle or Streamliner in 1 hour or less. In fact, I rarely spend more than 15-30 minutes servicing one. IMO, it's MORE easily serviced than the older, larger more mechanically difficult amps on the market.

    Second, surface mount is used on the SMPS/Class D power amp module, it too could be serviced but generally it's less expensive to replace once labor is factored in. It takes me say 30 minutes from start to finish (including final testing) to change out a power amp module. The component level repair on pretty much any 900 watt class AB/G/H power amp is going to take between 2 and 3 hours (to do it properly), that's about the same as the cost of just replacing the module in an SMPS/class D amplifier so why not just replace it and know the repair is the same as brand new? This is a part that is well stocked and not going to be a problem for a very long time. A lot of very large companies are using them and factory support is one reason why.

    How long should an amplifier be serviceable? I tend to look towards the pro audio world where 10-20 years is typical. By that time, I think there may be enough improvements and developments made that it may be better to replace than repair but that's a judgement that needs to be made on a case by case basis. I just finished restoring a very early Walter Woods amp for a long time pro touring client, it probably wasn't a great financial decision but it was in good basic cosmetic shape so for this guy it was well worth it. The amps looks brand new and functions like it just came out of the factory. I remember way back when... folks saying that they were not going to last and were not going to be repairable. Funny how some things work ;)
  18. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Absolutely true. The good 'ol days weren't quite as good as some folks remember.

    Anybody remember Germanium transistors? Vintage? yes, God-Awful? yes as well ;)
  19. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Never liked germanium transistors. I'd play that Fuzz Face that everyone used to rave about, and it sounded horrible to me. Ever since then, that's all I can think about when I hear the word germanium...that mushy blah fuzz.
  20. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    I was an authorized tech for Line 6, which is representative of modern manufacturing. Repairs were basically board swaps, but for discontinued stuff, the parts available didn't last long for some amps. Flextone II's parts went pretty early. Then repairs were on a component level and some things were difficult to repair. After the warranty ran out, the customer would have to decide how much labor to pay for. Some repairs would quickly add up to more than a replacement amp off Ebay would cost.

    Loud, who owns Ampeg, went to "replace only" when they bought out SLM and cut off all warranty repair stations. They did change their tune after the obvious problems from their new policy became apparent.

    The current Class D heads will likely go the way of the VCR or CD player over time.

    I still have Peavey SS amps from around 78-85 that are going strong, and never needed repairs.

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