We come across a lot of misconceptions about audio gear.
Here's some important information you should know as an owner
of a tube amp, keyboard, or any audio gear under warranty.
Guitar Tube Amp Myths:
Tubes don't wear out.
Oh yes, they do! Tubes change slowly over time so the reduction
in quality is not dramatic; most users notice a gradual decrease
in output level and in tone quality, leading to "flat"-sounding
and unresponsive amp. Changing tubes when they start to wear
out is crucial not just for good tone, but to increase amp reliability.
Old tubes often short out completely, which can damage the output
transformer or power supply - resulting in a very expensive
I can change the tubes on my amp myself.
Partly true. On some amps, you can change tubes yourself (in
particular Mesa Boogie amps, which have fixed bias and are designed
to have Mesa Boogie tubes installed), but others require rebiasing
when tubes are changed. A tube replacement is much like an oil-change
for a car. It is good preventative maintenance and it gives
a tech the opportunity to have look "under the hood".
At Backline we charge a very reasonable fee for doing a basic
retube and bias.
It's perfectly safe to open up my to
amp to install a fuse-holder/replace the caps/modify my amp/etc.
Not if you're not an experienced electronic technician! Amps
are serious power devices, some with voltages in excess of 600Volts!
Shocks from faulty or badly-grounded music equipment have almost
killed Rolling Stone Keith Richards and Uriah Heep's Gary Thain,
near-electrocuted KISS's Ace Frehley (who made the best of it
with the song "Shock Me"), and killed musicans Leslie
Harvey and Keith
Relf. If this can happen just from touching your gear, imagine
how easily it can happen when you poke around inside it. Please
don't do it!
Tubes were invented for guitar tube amps.
Wrong! The technology behind vacuum tubes is over 100 years
old. Tubes have been used in everything from radios and televisions
to radar systems, and are still in use in many types of non-guitar
amplifiers. (For some tube history, check out this Wikipedia
on tubes.) The downside of using technology this old is
that tubes cannot be 100% reliable: new tubes do occasionally
fail, usually within the first 2 hours of use. However, it's
a small price to pay for the unmistakable warm tone and classic
rock'n'roll sound of a tube amp.
I can replace broken keys on my keyboard
On some keyboards it's possible to replace keys yourself, but
it's generally better to bring your keyboard in to a professional
repair shop for several reasons:
1) Whatever caused the keys to break might also have affected
other components like the key contacts, so it's wise to have
the rest of keyboard checked out for damage.
2) If one or more keys have broken from wear, it might be time
to change other keys too. A technician can assess the state
of all the keys on the keyboard.
3) Disassembly of some keyboards is a lengthy procedure; many
electronic assemblies need special handling to avoid damage
from static discharge. Also, reassembling it incorrectly could
ruin your keyboard!
4) Many keyboard manufacturers change their key shapes slightly
when models are revised, so it's easy to buy the wrong type
of key by mistake.
Warranty Repair Myths:
It's OK to take apart my amp/keyboard/mixer
etc. to take a look even if it's still under warranty.
Big wrong! Almost all manufacturers have a policy stating that
their warranty is void if their gear is opened up by anyone
other than an authorized service centre. Don't lose your warranty
eligibilty - if your gear is under warranty, find out who the
authorized service centre is for that brand, and take your gear
there. Why do it yourself when you can have a professional
do it for free?