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  • Stuff Breaks

    Why do people in this business have such a hard time accepting that something is broken? And when they realize that it's broken, that they think it's something simple that they can fix themselves? Or that if they had a service manual or schematic, they could fix it (when they can't even be sure where the problem lies)?

    Folks, drug stores don't have tube testers any more, and you can't pull out an IC and replace it like you can a tube. Fuses don't blow unless there's something that makes them blow. A good whack still sometimes works temporarily but if you don't fix what's wrong, it's still broken.

    People seem to get awfully touchy about the fact that the ten year old $50 (or even $500) mixer that they bought off eBay was sick on arrival or died three years later. Things don't work forever. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of resources for getting them fixed (which I suppose is why people would like to be able to make repairs themselves) since repair usually involves shipping it somewhere, which is pain and an expense, and probably a waste when you find that the repair will cost $150 or that there are no longer parts available.

    I know it's hard to accept that your favorite fuzz box may never fuzz again, or your trusty mixer now hums or has a bad channel, even if it's only been used by a little old lady to mix church the church service on Sunday. But sometimes you just have to either give these things up or pay the cost of ownership.

    But, please, don't shoot the messenger. I really get tired of people saying "yeah, thanks for being so helpful" (sarcastically) when I tell them that it's broken, they can't fix it even if someone e-mails them a schematic, and it's probably cheaper to replace it than have it repaired.

    Power supplies are easy to troubleshoot, controls and connectors can be cleaned (though this is usually only a temporary measure) and occasionally a fuse will blow from a line voltage surge or just die of natural causes. But even something like replacing a failed rectifier diode, filter capacitor, or voltage in a power supply these days requires more than Grandad's Weller soldering gun. What used to be $25 worth of labor can easily be $150 today. And if there's a bad switch or pot, often a replacement part that fits and has the correct characteristics is no longer available.

    Buying more expensive gear doesn't necessarily mean that it will last longer before needing repair, but sometimes it's better supported by the manufacturer (parts available for a longer time, for instance). Sometimes they contain better quality parts that take longer to fail from heat (one of the most common causes of failure) or mechanical wear. Sometimes they're assembled better (fewer bad solder joints, better quality inspection and test). But not always. You can't always depend on the formerly reliable brands to give less trouble any more.

    It's a jungle out there. Nothing costs as much as its equivalent 25 years ago, but the cost of ownership over its life cycle is still about the same. Hard to accept, but that's life.
    --
    "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
    Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

  • #2
    Thank you for putting this so well.

    Comment


    • #3
      They come to you hoping to see the tech field effect in action.
      "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."- George Orwell

      My music: http://www.oranjproductions.com

      The first website dedicated to the the baritone guitar: http://www.thebaritoneguitar.com

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      • #4
        IE 7 broke my website. Can you fix it?

        I've got the parts.
        .

        music and social links | recent listening

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        • #5
          I thought this thread was going to be about taking time off work when you have diarrhea.

          "Where you going, Bill?"

          "Gotta take another **************** break, Al. See you at the meeting later on."
          Music, thoughts, stuff, and... I guess that's all

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          • #6
            Why do people in this business have such a hard time accepting that something is broken? And when they realize that it's broken, that they think it's something simple that they can fix themselves? Or that if they had a service manual or schematic, they could fix it (when they can't even be sure where the problem lies)?

            Folks, drug stores don't have tube testers any more, and you can't pull out an IC and replace it like you can a tube. Fuses don't blow unless there's something that makes them blow. A good whack still sometimes works temporarily but if you don't fix what's wrong, it's still broken.

            People seem to get awfully touchy about the fact that the ten year old $50 (or even $500) mixer that they bought off eBay was sick on arrival or died three years later. Things don't work forever. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of resources for getting them fixed (which I suppose is why people would like to be able to make repairs themselves) since repair usually involves shipping it somewhere, which is pain and an expense, and probably a waste when you find that the repair will cost $150 or that there are no longer parts available.

            I know it's hard to accept that your favorite fuzz box may never fuzz again, or your trusty mixer now hums or has a bad channel, even if it's only been used by a little old lady to mix church the church service on Sunday. But sometimes you just have to either give these things up or pay the cost of ownership.

            But, please, don't shoot the messenger. I really get tired of people saying "yeah, thanks for being so helpful" (sarcastically) when I tell them that it's broken, they can't fix it even if someone e-mails them a schematic, and it's probably cheaper to replace it than have it repaired.

            Power supplies are easy to troubleshoot, controls and connectors can be cleaned (though this is usually only a temporary measure) and occasionally a fuse will blow from a line voltage surge or just die of natural causes. But even something like replacing a failed rectifier diode, filter capacitor, or voltage in a power supply these days requires more than Grandad's Weller soldering gun. What used to be $25 worth of labor can easily be $150 today. And if there's a bad switch or pot, often a replacement part that fits and has the correct characteristics is no longer available.

            Buying more expensive gear doesn't necessarily mean that it will last longer before needing repair, but sometimes it's better supported by the manufacturer (parts available for a longer time, for instance). Sometimes they contain better quality parts that take longer to fail from heat (one of the most common causes of failure) or mechanical wear. Sometimes they're assembled better (fewer bad solder joints, better quality inspection and test). But not always. You can't always depend on the formerly reliable brands to give less trouble any more.

            It's a jungle out there. Nothing costs as much as its equivalent 25 years ago, but the cost of ownership over its life cycle is still about the same. Hard to accept, but that's life.


            All very good points. But, on occasion, there is something special enough that it is worth finding someone to fix it. Fer instance, a Gates Leveling Amp from the '50's. Or a '63 Vibrolux Reverb.

            But in general, with the cost of surface mount components being an extremely tiny fraction of what the equivalent parts cost just 10 years ago, it is a lot more economical to recycle dead electronics and buy new stuff than to hire the talent and tools to get a repair done.

            Comment


            • #7
              Behringer: The Bic Lighter of Recording Equipment.

              Why anybody would expect a $50 mixer to keep working is beyond me. And at that price, it's just not worth fixing.
              Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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              • #8
                Man it seems all my **************** is breaking lately. My mini-disc player, cassette deck, Tascam 38. Got the cassette fix by a professional, put in a new belt in the 38 that seems good to go. Don't think I'm going to be able to salvage the mini-disc.
                Something...

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                • #9
                  I can't tell you how many DVD players I've gone through. So many in fact, that I decided to buy my last at Sears and buy the replacement coverage. I taped the receipt to the bottom of the player and if that sucker doesn't go out before the expiration, I'll make sure it does go out.... know what I mean?
                  __________
                  Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
                  Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
                  Jesus

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                  • #10
                    Yeah today's design philosophy gives new meaning to the phrase "designed for re-cycling".

                    Then there is the case of something on my car breaking - UNTIL it arrives at the shop whereupon it works just fine.
                    Psst... Wanna check out some free tunes?
                    http://www.broadjam.com/artists/home.php?artistID=3448

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                    • #11
                      I accept that things break and can't be used any more. What I have a much harder time accepting is that something that works perfectly well can't be used because of something else changing...like not being able to use particular pieces of hardware under a new operating system. Or my wife's notebook, which is an Apple G3 iBook with OS 9.x and it does all the basic stuff she needs - word processing, spreadsheets, etc. But when she wants to go online, she gets "browser check" messages that say she can't access the site unless she upgrades her browser, which means she has to go to OS X (which she already has on her desktop, she's not anti-progress!), and get more memory, and get a new version of Word, etc. etc. Now, I realize that the world changes, and things become obsolete...but these days, you can buy something and have it turn into a doorstop a year later. That's an awful fast product cycle.
                      Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                      Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                      • #12
                        Why do people in this business have such a hard time accepting that something is broken?


                        Good post Mike. It reminds me of a sarcastic post I made at r.a.p. a while back about all the "broke" posts we see, partly repeated below.

                        --Ethan

                        Q: My tweeter burned out, what should I do?
                        A: Either get it fixed or buy a replacement.

                        Q: My receiver just started making a strange whining sound.
                        A: Either get it fixed or buy a replacement.

                        Q: One of my patch cords recently became intermittent.
                        A: Either get it fixed or buy a replacement.
                        The acoustic treatment experts
                        Buy my DVD

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                        • #13
                          ...and get more memory, and get a new version of Word, etc. etc. Now, I realize that the world changes, and things become obsolete...but these days, you can buy something and have it turn into a doorstop a year later. That's an awful fast product cycle.


                          Software is the worst offender. I upgrade to Pro Tools 7 and... ah ****************! Lot's of upgrades to think about.
                          __________
                          Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
                          Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
                          Jesus

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I accept that things break and can't be used any more. What I have a much harder time accepting is that something that works perfectly well can't be used because of something else changing...like not being able to use particular pieces of hardware under a new operating system. Or my wife's notebook, which is an Apple G3 iBook with OS 9.x and it does all the basic stuff she needs - word processing, spreadsheets, etc. But when she wants to go online, she gets "browser check" messages that say she can't access the site unless she upgrades her browser, which means she has to go to OS X (which she already has on her desktop, she's not anti-progress!), and get more memory, and get a new version of Word, etc. etc. Now, I realize that the world changes, and things become obsolete...but these days, you can buy something and have it turn into a doorstop a year later. That's an awful fast product cycle.


                            Hear hear! I'm in full agreement. Often, if you upgrade one thing, you have to upgrade a lot more than you intended.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              .but these days, you can buy something and have it turn into a doorstop a year later. That's an awful fast product cycle.[/QUOTE]

                              Whew! I work in IT , been there since 1979, you think its bad working with sofware that keeps changing? Try major adjusting one's career, [every year] based upon software upgrades/changes and hardware upgrades/changes.

                              Oh No ! look out ! the Door is gonna slam,...wait ! let me see if I can put my big foot under it to stop that sucker !

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