Sunday, February 7, 2010

Rugged Construction, Kinda

So, I have this Carvin SX-100 amplifier that I got cheap from the local Music-Go-Round after doing a listening test with several different amps. It sounded the best with my Ovations.

I used it for exactly one gig -- our Halloween/birthday event -- and then Joshua grabbed a my guitar cable that was plugged in the jack, and gave a sideways yank. The jack shattered. Upon taking it apart, I found that it had been broken before, and airplane-glued back together. This picture shows the little board the jack was mounted to.

"No problem," I reasoned. "I'll just contact Carvin and find another one of those little jack boards. They made them replaceable for just that reason."

Not so much. Carvin doesn't sell that little board. It doesn't appear they ever did sell it separately. But -- they do sell replacement jacks (that's a dance music group -- "Replacement Jaxx!") They had two types. I couldn't figure out exactly which part would fit, but they were only a couple dollars each, so I bought one of each. Note the history of a part. "A lot of these are breaking -- can we get some kind of reinforcement on this part?" "Yeah, OK, we'll put a metal sleeve in it." A couple years go by. "A lot of these are breaking -- can you beef up that part?" The result is the part on the right with the steel barrel. Unfortunately the part that screws onto it to mount it into the front panel of the amplifier (far left) is still plastic. They don't seem to sell a more rugged version of that.

I'm not that great with a soldering iron, but fortunately I have a co-worker who is. So, problem solved. Assuming Joshua doesn't break anything else. Note to manufacturers: "rugged construction" has to apply to every single part of your product, or it is a pretty meaningless term! And make high-wear parts replaceable by end users without a soldering iron!


Anonymous said...

Oh no, you can't possibly make any parts replaceable. When your toddler rips the cables out sideways, you're supposed to buy a new amp.

Are you a super-rich rockstar or not?

Paul R. Potts said...

Not quite super-rich yet! Especially not after buying all those guitars.

I can't get too upset about it since it is a 20-year-old amp, but still -- I'm not cool with the "disposable electronics" concept. Bad enough that computers are like that, do we need music gear that is that way too?