3 Main Issues in Servicing Solid State, Digital, and Tube Based Amps

Modern gear, including solid state, digital and tube based designs, can be nearly impossible to service. The top 3 issues:

1. Manufacturer unwillingness to share schematics or service manuals. If I don’t have a schematic, I cannot follow signal flow or make accurate voltage measurements in a circuit. Pretty much all modern amplifiers and ALL other electronic gear uses circuit board construction. These boards can be single, double, triple or more layered construction, meaning it can be virtually impossible to trace signal flow visually. A schematic is a requirement here and some manufacturers won’t supply these to anyone outside their warranty centers.

2. The piece of equipment was not made to be easily serviced. There are two levels to this which go hand in hand with the first issue. They are 1). Disposable: cheap, “no-name” gear is often manufactured never to be meant for service; not even the manufacturer will fix it, they just replace it. As such, there are also no schematics available for this type of gear.
2.) Surface mount components and proprietary microchips: More complex gear (modern keyboards/synths, modeling gear, digital effects, etc…) can use multiple, multi-layered circuit boards that each contain hundreds of tiny “Surface Mount” components and proprietary microchips. When a component or chip fails on these boards, the only repair option would be a “board replacement”, replacing the entire circuit board, rather than a single component. Again, these types of repairs are usually only done by warranty centers or the manufacturer themselves.

3. Obsolete components. This can happen with old solid state equipment. A common example would be a solid state amplifier designed around a specific power transistor or “chip amp”. The original component may no longer be manufactured and there are no “drop in” substitutes available.

Do you have an amp that’s not what it used to be? Give us a call or bring it in, see our services page for more details.