Beancounters rant

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by gait, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Meister

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    The problem is not all PCB stuff is gonna die as fast as others. Sure, subjecting the board to avoidable extra heat by mounting the tubes to the board doesn't do any favors, but some stuff lasts, some not so much.

    Ptp stuff is by its nature easier to repair as well. In the current amplifier market, cheap and hand wired probably means vintage-rough or clone kit. Fender amps biggest competitors will always be older Fender amps. I know people who've ran a crate blue voodoo or a HRD since the 90s and no problem. But my dads HRD needed a part fixed that was about the width of a needle when it died a few years ago. I'm fairly certain SOMEONE SOMEWHERE is probably still running a SF champ from the 70s that's never been serviced but works ok.

    I won't argue that I'd rather get a vintage that a RI, but money is a thing.
     
  2. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Tele-Holic

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    The pricing on vintage gear here in the UK is way worse, due partly to the much smaller original market. There are a few affordable clone makers, but they probably only service a small corner of the market. A PR clone is north of $2500, and it's really only boomers with late life money surplus, or city lawyer types blowing a bonus that can afford that kind of layout. Kids generally are too busy making rent, or have given up on guitars. Even a massed produced 65 PR is like $1400, a month's salary for most folk. It's no surprise that the big suppliers have to build a product down to a price point.

    Personally I resent built in obsolescence, so I started to roll my own beginning with a Champ, then a Deluxe, and currently a PR. A kit for less than the price of an original, without all the age related issues.
     
  3. budglo

    budglo Tele-Meister

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    An age old rant. PCB amps began when newer more modern manufacturing techniques became available. Anyone who has worked in any capacity in manufacturing knows that to keep up with the times in demand and value you have to constantly modernize your process. If they dont they will get left behind very quickly.

    Each company has the "elite" line for thos who still prefer things "the old fashioned way" and arent afraid to pay for it. Fender calls this the Custom Shop. There are plenty of examples of PCB amps that are still playing decades later. I still see the much hated Fender Hotrod amps from the 90s still alive and kicking .

    Some of the frustration is from people who service these amps that either dont want to learn how to service a pcb amp or dont possess the skills neccessary to do it. Its much like being in any trade .Ive been in my trade for almost 25 years and I cant tell you how many times I had to learn new techniques and new technologies. It can be very frustrating , especially when you cut your teeth on the old stuff. But this is where we are at as a society. Cheaper , faster and constantly changing.
     
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  4. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Tele-Afflicted

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    RIP Leslie Nielsen

     
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  5. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Afflicted

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    DRRI, HRD, BJ:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    PS - folks are still confusing PCB with transistors, digital, and semiconductor construction. Again, PCB and PTP are the exact same circuitry, just copper paths on a phenolic board, versus copper paths inside polyester insulation.
     
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  6. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    I would rather have a neatly done PCB with good robust paths and a good base board than a ratty looking point to point amp.

    I do technically have one of the amps that had trouble with getting a fried board, but a combination of the seller and fed ex made sure it was completely destroyed before it got to me, so I never really had any PCB trouble with it!!
     
  7. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    Gait,

    Get a well-made hand-built amplifier made with quality components.
     
  8. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Musekatcher, there is not a DRRI PCB in those pictures. The Fender BF Reissues are a step above those examples you show. One big difference is that the BF RI amps...and the SuperSonics, ‘68 SF Custom, 6G16 Vibroverb RI, Custom Vibrolux Reverb.....have chassis mounted tube sockets.
     
  9. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    And...fwiw....Leo Fender counted ‘beans’. Have you ever seen the handwritten list of components’ price that is printed in one...or more...books on his work? Counting the beans is the only way to understand what one needs to charge in order to make a profit...no matter the build quality.
     
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  10. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Tele-Afflicted

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    To bring it back to topic... OP stated the problem is less about using PCBs, as it is cheap components and design methods that reduce reliability and serviceability. A tech can learn to work on PCBs (it is hard!), but that doesn't necessarily reduce the overall throw-away nature of modern electronic items. I'm sure we can point to planned obsolescence at one point. But I'm more inclined to think that nowadays designers, manufacturers, and consumers are increasingly desensitized to electronic products having very short lifespans. It's frustrating and sad. But it's also reality. And again, this is not just with amps, but electronic products in general.

    It seems somewhat ironic, but it's cheaper for manufactures to produce non-serviceable items. If anything, amps are still bucking the trend more than anything else electronic. Prices for, say, a 90s tube amp is still competitive with new amps. Try selling a 2 year old toaster for $30. You can't pay someone to take your piano or CRT TV. One could argue the 90s tube amp is "vintage", but most players looking to buy used amps know better. New players do what they always do - buy cheap new gear.
     
  11. beninma

    beninma Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Try taking apart an HDTV...

    I took apart one of our Samsung computer monitors, a lot of the parts were not even connected together. The whole thing stays together by the plastic shell clicking together and holding stuff in place. There was an electronic ribbon cable that didn't even have a socket.. it was just held in place by friction from the plastic clamshell assembly.. a bump had knocked it loose.

    I was amazed I ever got the whole thing back together again.
     
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  12. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    No, the surviving garbage is now thought of as “vintage” and is assigned stupid money.

    Once the good stuff got a little to expensive for some all the junk became magical.
     
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  13. GGardner

    GGardner Tele-Holic

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    I'm just curious because I know less than nothing about the insides of amps. Where does the current Princeton Reverb 65 fall on the quality-spectrum in terms of its components, construction, and workmanship?
     
  14. chemobrain

    chemobrain Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Thank you for sharing you experience and perspectives. Well put!
     
  15. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    That amp...all Reissues and the amps based on them...are built to a higher quality point than are the Blues/Hot Rod Fenders, Traynors, Crates, Peavey Classics, and yes....the modern Marshall’s.
    The Fender Reissues...and the amps I mentioned above....have chassis mounted tube sockets, all tube processing....even the Reverb is in the tube domain, no ribbon connectors, and higher quality PCB’s than do the .blues/Hot Rods.
     
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  16. GGardner

    GGardner Tele-Holic

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    That comes as a relief (after I dropped a chunk of change down on a '65 reissue)! Thanks.
     
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  17. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    Exactly the point of my long-time maker friend. He's nostaligic for some things, but not others.
     
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  18. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Beyond the same old same old PCB-v.-handwired fight, we can move right on, passing some obvious truths:

    1. Most consumers shop price
    2. Most businesses can't stay open and lose money
    3. The minority of buyers who value quality will shop price less than most consumers, and small businesses will try to satisfy these buyers

    Pretty obvious, right? But I see a couple interesting ideas on the side streets here:

    Smart consumers who want quality may also fall prey to varying amounts of snob appeal and the fallacy that cost=quality in a 1:1 relationship. This is now called 'iPhone syndrome' (I love mine, thanks) but has been known in the past as 'Nakamichi-v.-Denon', 'only Sony TVs for me', or 'Cadillac is better than Buick'. I'm sure dukes and earls liked to eat off gold plates more than silver.

    Humans are sentimental, feeling creatures, not logic machines. "Older is better?" "Newer is better?" Both true in various ways. You may have loved the car you had in college, but *on average* the new one in your driveway is going to run a lot longer with a whole lot less service. Of course if it ever does need service, good luck doing it yourself, and take your wallet...

    That, and then my signature, below... :)
     
  19. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Afflicted

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    I pulled those from Dr Google. Two of them have chassis mount tubes though? I looked again, can't find a definitive recent chassis shot of a Deluxe Reverb.
     
  20. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

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    exactly! but leo is sacred and the guys doing it now (who leo would LOVE) are evil and cheap.

    Leo= Thrifty
    New Bean Counters= Cheap

    net difference=deeply held feelings.
     
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