SWR Service Problem, San Jose, CA.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by jnprather, May 23, 2002.

  1. Hi,

    I am posting here hoping that someone can give me some advice and help, and also to warn others, sorry if it gets a bit lengthy.

    I live in Tracy, California. I have used SWR products exclusively since I began playing (about 4+ years). Prior to my recent experience, I had only needed one service for an SWR amp (A Burned out power switch on a Super Redhead). The only SWR Service Center within any reasonable distance of me (Musicians Service Center) is about an hour and a half away in San Jose, Ca. I took it in, and wasn't really happy with my experience, but the job got done (albeit with a wrong-colored switch and some delay), so that was that.

    About a year ago, I purchased a new SWR Goliath III. About 2 months after I bought it, I discovered that one of the speakers didn't work. At the time, I was hesitant to take my cabinet in for service because of my earlier experiences, and I didn't have a use for it, so I put it off, hoping maybe i'd find another way to get it fixed (I didn't want to ship it to the factory and pay a $50 shipping fee)... until recently, when I developed the need to get my Goliath III fixed. I then took it in to Musician's Service Center. I was told the item wouldn't be covered under warranty because it had been a year. I then told them that the Goliath III was actually covered for 2 years. They told me that they would look at it and if they had a problem with the warranty they'd call me (they also told me they had a 2 week turnaround right now, to which I said okay). A little over 2 weeks later, they called me, and told me that the item was covered under warranty and would be fixed. I assumed that it *would* be covered because I noticed the speaker early on before I had ever run my amp past 1 on it... I figured it was just a defect. Then, a few days later, they called me back and told me that it was a blown speaker that *wouldn't* be covered under warranty. At this point I was kind of bothered because I really didn't think there was any way I could have blown the speaker. It seemed odd, but I figured what the heck and told them to go ahead and fix it... They told me that it would probably take about 5 days to get fixed so I said that was fine. somewhere between 2 and 3 weeks went by with no word from them. Finally, I gave them a call. I was told that they were still waiting for the "reconing kit" to come in, and that they'd call me when it came in. Originally he told me it would take about 3 days to get the parts, so it seemed strange to me that it would take this long, but I let it go. Again, another 2+ weeks went by, with no word... Finally, on Monday of last week (May 13th), I gave them a call and left a message. They called me back, and told me that the reconing kit was in, and that it would be fixed in (3-4 days). Before this, they had always told me it would take 2 days once the parts came in, so now suddenly it's 3-4 days. Oh well, at least i'll have it by this weekend (by this time it had been close to 2 months without my 4x10 cabinet). Sure enough, 3-4 days goes by with no word from them. It's now Thursday of the FOLLOWING week and NINE of their business days since I last spoke with them.

    I'm now quite angry about this situation. If I had known I would go 2+ months without my cabinet, there's no way I would have let them go ahead with the service. The way the situation went, I now begin to question whether my amp should have been covered under warranty or not. It just really seems like there's something strange going on here. I really don't know what I can do about this situation. I really don't feel like I should have to pay full price for this service, and still question whether I should have had to in the first place.

    When this is all said and done (hopefully soon!) I will probably contact SWR about this. Their customer service has always been great and i'm sure they'd like to know about this kind of thing. I hope that some users on this list may be able to share their experiences and/or advice. Any help/opinion is appreciated. At the very least, maybe this can serve as a "heads up" to SWR users in the bay area. Thank you for reading and have a good day!

  2. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    John, I suggest that you contact SWR before you accept the cab back. By that, I mean immediately.

    Many times, in my experience, a store will use the "waiting on parts excuse" to gain time when the shop gets behind.

    Labor performed under warrantee is generally performed at a lower rate than is normally charged for walk in repairs. Not to mention that if the speaker is not covered, they make the profit from the sale.

    There is a definite incentive for a store not to provide warrantee if they can get away with it.

    Be sure that you document accurately everything that the store has told you.

    The fact that your cab is warranteed for two years would seem to indicate that this should be covered under warrantee.

    If the speakers in a cab are elimenated from the warrantee, there is practically nothing left except a little wire and some plywood.

    The way the store has dealt with the problem sounds very fishy to me.

    Good luck.

  3. Pk...

    Thanks for the reply... i'm going to contact SWR now about it...
  4. Blown speaker? On an SWR? I bi-amp my SM-900 into a Goliath III and a BigBen, sometimes I just run it mono into the Goliath III, OFTEN I go into red (i.e. clipping both preamp and power).
    After two years of hard abuse including 5 or 6 large theatre performances and a two week tour of the west coast, I have NEVER had a single problem with my amp or cabs.
    SWR's are workhorses. I doubt that it is a blown speaker, probably just a faulty one. Sounds like the shop is trying to pull a fast one on you. (That being the ONLY thing they are doing fast).

  5. Thanks for your reply... I wholeheartedly agree... I was using an SM-900 with the Goliath III... when I bought it, I thought I might have a need for it in the near future... it turned out I didn't, so I put it on ice for the time being... but I noticed early on that the speaker wasn't working... and by that point, I had never turned my amp up past 1 or played with a drummer or anything...

    Thanks again,

  6. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    i've blown 3 SWR speakers

    but that was from running them with a bass 350 with the master volume and gain on 100% to get the volume i needed. now that i've got my 1kW rig they barely flinch.
  7. I just shipped my speakers off to SWR for reconing.
  8. Is it possible that the speaker was blown before you bought the unit by someone playing a low power rated amp through it turned to 100%? The most common cause of blown speakers is severe clipping at the power output stage of the amplifier, more common with cheaper low-power amps working hard.

    If this happened, the store it was bought from should take responsibility. I agree with pkr2:
  9. Big O,

    thanks for the reply... that would have been a concern of mine except that it was purchased from American Musical Supply (americanmusical.com), and I doubt that the item was ever taken out of the box since the factory...

  10. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    hey, i just took a cab into the same guys last week. They told me they would look at it and call me monday or tuesday. wednesday comes, still hadn't heard from them, and i call them - they tell me they will look at it friday or monday. I tell them that's not acceptable, as they were supposed to already be done. So, they respond, saying, ok, we will look at it and call you tomorrow (thursday).

    So, friday comes, and I still haven't heard from them, and the guy tells me that the speaker is blown and they need to order parts (exactly what i told them when I brought it in last week).

    My impression of these guys is that they are flakey and overcommitted. Next time I need service (hopefully no time soon) I will be looking elsewhere. If you call the manufacturer (in my case, not SWR), they can list places around the bay area where you can get the work done. Hell, if you are in Tracy, I would think Sacto would be better.
  11. Thanks again for everyone's replies. SWR emailed me today and told me that they contacted the service place, and that they were told that the delay was because they had discovered that the "magnet had shifted" on my speaker. They told me that this is not normally covered under warranty, but due to everything I had gone through, they would cover it this time, and that I should have it by the end of next week! I find it interesting that I was always told it was a "blown speaker"... the shifted magnet makes more sense because it probably got jolted during shipping, much more likely than me ever blowing my speaker.

    In any event, chalk one up for SWR's support!

  12. thewanderer,

    I know exactly how you feel... hopefully you might be able to get something from my experience. Don't be afraid to contact the manufacturer like I did.

    Good Luck!


    P.S., believe it or not, the only other SWR Service Center in northern California is DB Electronics in Fresno... I guess i'll be trying them out next time!
  13. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    I hope you were wearing ear plugs. Unreal man!

    Thanks for the info, I'm running a bass 350 and the goliath III cabinet and an ampeg svt-15e. I'll watch the volume, I run it at about a quarter of a turn on the knob.

    I turned it up to 1/2 once and it killed the wife's cat. I've also knocked birds right out of the air with it. I can't imagine needing anything bigger.