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Bryston 3B repair.. What should I do?
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beautyfish
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#1
6th October 2012
Old 6th October 2012
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Bryston 3B repair.. What should I do?

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My OLD Bryston 3B needs servicing, and Bryston tech support is very cranky about how they handle out of warranty amps. They require that I have the original packaging, which of course, I don't. So, they will sell me a 3B carton for 50 bucks. Then, I'm supposed to ship the amp back to them (probably for another 40-50 bucks) and wait for the estimate, which is free.

Once they decide what's wrong with it, I'll get an estimate. If I don't go ahead, I'll have to pay to get the amp back, which would put me $150 in the hole with my original busted amp

If I could find a qualified amp tech in my area and drive over with the amp, am I better off? What do people like that charge for estimates? My guitar amp guy is really reasonable, typically fixing my stuff for $100-150 max with no estimate involved. I just leave the amp and he fixes it. Other stuff is much smaller and without this whole "original packing" fiasco. Are amps that hard to fix? Shouldn't there be someone in my area (Philly, South Jersey) who can fix this amp?

I know that Bryston will do a great job. I just don't want to spend 100-150 bucks to send it up to them to find out that it's going to cost more than the amp is worth to fix it.

Any ideas?
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6th October 2012
Old 6th October 2012
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Bryston requires the original box with blue foam so the amp is not damaged in shipping. Their warranty policy is excellent (20 yrs + free return shipping). I know that doesn't help you but I would still send the amp back to Bryston USA (Vermont). I believe their out-of-warranty bench rate is reasonable ($100/hr?). Just ask them. If you use a third-party tech make sure they can get Bryston parts. Even the little switches Bryston uses are robust and expensive.
#3
6th October 2012
Old 6th October 2012
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3b

A similar thing happened to me about 10 years ago. My out of warranty 20+ year old 3b died, having been used pretty much 24/7 as my main cue amp. I contacted Bryston and had to buy the dumb box. I wasn't too happy. Anyway, I received the box, sent them the amp, and received the rebuilt amp back from them within a week. No charge. Simply awesome. Still in constant use today. About 5 years ago, my 4b was acting up. Same deal. So, I'm a fan of their service practices.
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#4
6th October 2012
Old 6th October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beautyfish View Post
All -

If I could find a qualified amp tech in my area and drive over with the amp, am I better off? What do people like that charge for estimates? My guitar amp guy is really reasonable, typically fixing my stuff for $100-150 max with no estimate involved. I just leave the amp and he fixes it. Other stuff is much smaller and without this whole "original packing" fiasco. Are amps that hard to fix? Shouldn't there be someone in my area (Philly, South Jersey) who can fix this amp?

Any ideas?
Your guitar amp guy can fix it. Take it to him. An amp is an amp.
#5
7th October 2012
Old 7th October 2012
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Northamusi is offline
+1 for the "send it to Bryston" group. I had a similar experienc with the shipping carton BS, and Bryston repaired my 3B at no charge. Get it done right.
peace

Steve La Cerra
#6
9th October 2012
Old 9th October 2012
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+1. I won't even look at a Bryston amp, for all of the reasons noted above. They care a great deal about keeping their amps working up to spec and know them better than anyone.
Best,
Ike
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beautyfish
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#7
9th October 2012
Old 9th October 2012
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I just got off the phone with Bryston service. I ordered the packing materials for 47.00. After hearing what was wrong with the amp and that the amp was 25 years old, the tech quoted me a flat $350.00 for service, plus shipping both ways, which will be another $70. So now, the question is, do I spend another $420 to end up with a functionally brand new Bryston 3B?

Right now, I'm making do with a Hafler TransNova, which I paid $350 for. It's an OK amp too. I would hate to throw the Bryston away, but in its present condition I can't sell it. If I fix it, I can sell it, but probably not for more than $500. It's a funny situation, isn't it?

I think I'm going to bite the bullet and just fix it, and get rid of the Hafler. I love that Bryston.

Last edited by beautyfish; 9th October 2012 at 05:26 PM.. Reason: Forgot to add the last sentence.
#8
9th October 2012
Old 9th October 2012
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radardoug View Post
Your guitar amp guy can fix it. Take it to him. An amp is an amp.
Exactly.
If your tech can't fix it, use it for a boat anchor.
Despite the love some posters have for those amps,
there are plenty of detractors.
Have someone with some experience take a look at their output stage Zobel network. Kinda makes you wonder what the designer was thinking.
beautyfish
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#9
15th October 2012
Old 15th October 2012
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Well, I got the $50 box from Bryston, packed up the amp, and took it to UPS. Get this: they told me that they wouldn't insure it for more than the $100 that every package gets BECAUSE THE PACKAGING WAS INSUFFICIENT!! Remember, this was the carton that Bryston, the manufacturer, made me pay fifty bucks for because THEY wouldn't insure it without the original packaging! So UPS wanted me to pay another $40 for another carton so that I could insure it for $400. I said "screw it," and sent it without insurance. It wasn't working anyway. Unreal.
#10
15th October 2012
Old 15th October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radardoug View Post
Your guitar amp guy can fix it. Take it to him. An amp is an amp.
Exactly, And plus, further reading that it would cost around 450 to fix it if you send it to Bryston, I would say send it to a tech, maybe its something as dumb as a voltage regulator. If you are not sure, at least have a tech look at it, may be simple. Actually amps are a bit disapointing on the inside if you compare them to say a computer motherboard, aside from the BIG ASS power transformer and heatsinks.
beautyfish
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#11
15th October 2012
Old 15th October 2012
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Well, it's too late now. At least for the money, it's coming back functionally new, which a local tech would not come close to doing. I'll get a recap with OEM parts, a tweak to spec, etc. So we'll see........
beautyfish
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#12
15th October 2012
Old 15th October 2012
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Assuming I get it back in one piece, that is. It's probably coming back UPS, after all.
beautyfish
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#13
18th October 2012
Old 18th October 2012
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Well, I heard back from Bryston. The repair was $80 in labor, $20 in parts, and $28 to ship it back to me. That's pretty hard to beat. So I should have it back in a few days. Including the original packaging and shipping to Vermont, the whole thing cost me $208. I'm just fine with that, assuming the repair sticks for a few years.
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