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My terrible Mike Arnopol experience

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by monsterthompson, Feb 13, 2014.

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  1. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    So, as some of you have seen in the Fearful/less thread, and on the greenboy forums, I’ve had a bad experience dealing with Mike Arnopol and a cabinet he built for me. It is the nightmare of nightmares for someone requesting a custom build of a $1,000+ cab from across the country from someone you’ve never met.

    I know this is a sensitive subject that could erupt into a flaming mess, so I hope to keep this primarily factual and minimally emotional. My intent is to vent a little, but mostly to tell my story about a bad experience with a builder.

    Here is the timeline of events:

    March of 2012 - Initial build requested for a fEARful 15/6 composite cab. Mike is pleasant to deal with and quickly replies to my PM’s.

    April 2012 – The cab arrives. It has an odd buzzing noise around the E-string 5th fret A notes. I contacted Mike, and he was bummed. We brainstormed, thinking it might be a mechanical rubbing. The reality is that the noise was only audible at low volumes and did not get louder as the volume was cranked, so I opted to live with the nuisance rather than ship the cab back for repairs. It sounded fine otherwise.

    End of May of 2013 – I started considering selling the cab for a variety of reasons; mainly because I found myself gigging less and playing more in my living room, where the buzzing was still present and noticeable. I contacted Mike and we agreed he’d take a look at it. I shipped the cab to Mike, expecting under a month of shipping and repair time (going back and forth from LA to Chicago eats up almost a week).

    June/July of 2013 – Mike tells me a few stories about why he thinks the buzz is there. He admits it exists and ultimately tells me that it is a crossover issue that was hard to sort out.

    End of July of 2013 – Mike ships the cab back. FedEx damages the box. We begin dealing with the insurance claim process.

    End of August 2013 – Mike gives me the green-light to return the cab, saying FedEx just approved the reimbursement. For giggles, I had plugged in the cab, and it buzzed worse than before; I assumed it was the FedEx damage.

    Sept 10th, 2013 – FedEx has shown the cab as delivered to Mike. I email him for confirmation. Sept 19th, he replies he’s been busy but that he did get it.

    October 10th, 2013 – Mike has told me my cab would be ready to go soon, so I email him for an update. October 30th, he replies that it boxed and ready and waiting on a label. He has informed me that he took some time to do some upgrades to make up for the whole pain of the ordeal to-date. In mid-October, I had started a thread in greenboy’s forum about having communication issues with Mike not returning my emails. This seemed to motivate Mike to reply quicker; he admitted he was not attentive to emails.

    Early November of 2013 – The cab arrives, and it looks good. I plug it in and it buzzes and distorts all over the fretboard. I swap the cable to my Mesa PH 115 and the exact same signal path is clean and clear. My girlfriend is in the room and confirms the sound problem exists and is audible to her untrained ears.

    End of November of 2013 – Mike is apologetic and we speak about where to go next. He offers to build me a Fearless F115 from the ground up, asking only that I send him the woofer from my cab. I agree to this very nice offer. Mike swears a three-week turnaround and is emphatic that he will make this right.

    At this point, I’m done with this cab and expect that my $1,000 is flushed. Time to chalk it up to experience and move on. I’ve been frustrated but polite this whole time. I’ve avoided pointing fingers and name calling or swearing; completely mature and adult behavior and conversations.

    February 1st of 2014 – The F115 arrives. I’ve been given several stories about the delay, ranging from personal issues to waiting on parts. I plug in and it buzzes just as every other version of the 15/6 with the same woofer had. I email Mike about it, saying I’m done dealing with him. I said that I didn’t know what the problem was between it leaving his hands and arriving in mine, but I was out of energy for dealing with it.

    I had been in contact with greenboy about this. I noticed that Mike fell off the Authorized Builder list not long after speaking with him. Greenboy put me in touch with a local who is helping me out. He’s not an authorized builder, but he spotted the issue with the woofer in under five minutes, and was shocked Mike never figured that out as the issue, and that he would send me cab that sounded that bad.

    I now have a to-do list for cleaning up the F115 and getting it running again. It had a variety of issues, ranging from gunk in the tweeter to missing damping material and a questionable crossover build. Morbid curiosity, and the kind hands and heads of the Fearful/less community has me hanging on with a little faith that I might just get this cab running after all.

    Based on my experience, I’d never recommend dealing with Mike. His communication was bad. His problem solving is faulty. His build quality was poor. I can’t begin to fathom why he’d put the time and energy into building me a new cab and sending it to me sounding bad. I can only guess that it worked when he played it. However, the new eyes looking at it think this should have been obvious and the problem existed when it was still in his control. I know he gets lots of respect, and this is just my story. Every product has a failure rate, and I may have just gotten stuck with the bad deal. Maybe Big E just got to be a bigger priority than my cab. Whatever the reasons, this is how it is now.

    EDIT - I stated this in a subsequent post, but feel it is valuble to have in this first post, and not lost in the mix:

    . . . also, i will say that my posting in the greenboy forums had a direct impact on Mike's communications. he even thanked me for opening his eyes to this issue. i do honestly hope this thread could be a similar tool to help him improve down the road. after all, if we don't know our weaknesses, how can we improve?

    i'm aware this thread will get some traffic. i'm also aware that Mike probably won't post in it. i can understand and respect why he wouldn't. this isn't meant for us to have a public back-and-forth airing of dirty laundry. as i said, i posted it to be an honest account of what happened to me. YMMV. i certainly hope all his future customers have better experiences, and not that i damage his business.

    Edit 2 - In the interest of being specific, here is the list of issues as it was presented to me by the person currently helping me (this is not my wheelhouse, so I'm relying on their statements and experience):

    Faulty 3015LF - voice coil or coil former is rubbing on something and there may be something loose inside
    Loose connection in crossover.
    Poor crossover construction quality.
    Insufficient damping in main cabinet.
    Insufficient damping in midrange chamber.
    Considerable amount of debris inside the tweeter, including magnetic metal particles.
    Metal filings on tweeter magnet (cosmetic).

    This cab should be fine once the problems are fixed. The basic design is sound.
  2. philvanv

    philvanv Gerbil Turds, Kitsap County Turd Core

    Jul 2, 2012
    and at the bottom it says thank you, and now you can shag off
    That sucks, thats a huge amount of cash as far as I'm concerned..Just my personal view on money..
  3. ggoat!!!

    ggoat!!! Banned

    Apr 6, 2008
    I'd be very fearful of ordering a fEARful. And, if I DID order a fEARful and it arrived in such a sad state that it made me tearful, I'd pay a visit to fEARful and give him an earful!
  4. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Its a terrible situation, but at least on the bright side, you now have an extra box that just needs a woofer
  5. nshuman


    Sep 4, 2012
    Montreal, Qc, Canada
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    This one is for you two:


    We might be into the same kind of humour.
  6. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    yup. and i just sold it and shipped it today.
  7. adivin


    Jul 9, 2009
    New Orleans, LA

    I digress, I went with LDS.
  8. So, what did you find wrong with the cab?
  9. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    makes me nervous about buying anything i can't hold in my hands first. i'm thinking about a Baer or a Barefaced, but a little hesitant.
  10. ggoat!!!

    ggoat!!! Banned

    Apr 6, 2008
    It buzzed. How'd you miss that????
  11. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    damaged woofer was the main issue. same bad woofer through four generations of cab.
  12. ggoat!!!

    ggoat!!! Banned

    Apr 6, 2008


  13. BillisCool


    Apr 16, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    This is really sad to read. We've all dealt with difficult situations before with regard to hard to diagnose issues. Ultimately, I find it totally unacceptable to leave you hanging with a non functioning cabinet.

    Is this the same guy who posts tons of messages on this board? That would very troubling.
  14. No joke! What caused the buzz. Was there a fish stuck in the voice coil?
  15. Primakurtz

    Primakurtz Registered Nihilist Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    Denver, Colorado
    Did he use the same woofer for the second buzzy cab?
  16. ggoat!!!

    ggoat!!! Banned

    Apr 6, 2008
    Fish don't buzz. Bees buzz. Sheesh...
  17. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
    Woofer should be covered under warranty. Yes?
  18. ggoat!!!

    ggoat!!! Banned

    Apr 6, 2008
    I think he made that abundantly clear. (I always wondered where my mandibula was...bonus points if you know where this came from!)
  19. Foz


    Jul 26, 2008
    Jax FL USA

    Bad drivers happen - sometimes right from the factory, which seems to be the case here [?] - but its very hard to understand how that problem was missed repeatedly.

    Its a shame your attempt to get yourself a Dave Green designed bass cab failed so utterly over such a simple problem.

    You deserve a full refund and an apology IMO.
  20. This gave me a headache

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