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Black Lion Audio Is Disappointing Me
Old 17th June 2006
  #31
Here for the gear
 
Damn it, Debbie's Avatar
 

emails

I emailed Matt 3 times one day and got 3 responses - the same day. After reading this thread, I'm wondering if that was just a fluke. I'm thinking about having my motu 896hd modded, but I certainly can't be without it for more than one or two weeks.

QUESTION - I'm trying to get a response from someone who's had their 896hd modded. Was it worth it????? Big difference/ small difference, etc, etc....
Old 18th June 2006
  #32
Gear Addict
 

A fluke in a way, but in my case I think I was put on the back burner because it wasn't a priority and/or because he wasn't going to make much using my VLA as the guinea pig for the new mods, coupled with the fact that his business seems to be growing like wild kudzu - all of which I can understand. I just couldn't afford to wait anymore.

Since this thread popped back up I will reiterate: Matt took care of the problem and I am quite satisfied with the outcome.

M
Old 18th June 2006
  #33
Lives for gear
 
nukmusic's Avatar
 

Times have changed.......that main part of business is good customer service. All customers should complain about anything they don't like. It only improves overall business for everyone(most of the time) 6 months seems too long...they must be building you a studio to use it in too. heh LOL.
Did they say how long the mod would take? I hope they are updating you as to what is going on If not...they suck. Hope that's not the case.

But I emailed them a while back. Got a speedy reply the very next day. I then emailed them again right after reading the reply........never got a response. So I left it alone.
Old 18th June 2006
  #34
Lives for gear
 

My opinion is that a good business move by BLA would be to do your unit right now and send you a fully refund and an apology with it. Thats is business 101. Look up the 80/20 rule.
Old 18th June 2006
  #35
Gear Addict
 

Matt's a great guy and the mod is insane!

The business is just growing very, very fast so you need a little patience. It's probably sorted itself out by now anyway, as he's hired more people.

I sent mine all the way from Australia. Worth every penny.

Do it. And to anyone complaining - that's one of the tradeoffs with a lot of hand made, custom gear. It's not a mass production line. I'm not discounting the fact that it's frustrating when things get delayed, but I'd rather have a great, custom product than another run-of-the-mill, factory unit - focused more on advertising and brand management than audio.

At the end of the day, Matt's a passionate gearslut - not a customer service department. Having said that, he's also a very friendly, helpful and genuine guy!

Rez
Old 18th June 2006
  #36
Gear Addict
 

Unfortunately the mods never happened - Matt refunded the money I sent for transformers, and bought my VLA from me since it was never finished. Like I said, I am satisfied with the outcome, but would love to have gotten the mods completed. I am considering sending another VLA to Jim Williams at Audio Upgrades for his mods, but he does not do output transformers on the VLA, and that was one big reason I wanted the mods in the first place. I had, and still have, a very specific vision for what I want a VLA to sound like.

C'est la vinegar

M
Old 18th June 2006
  #37
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reza
Matt's a great guy and the mod is insane!

The business is just growing very, very fast so you need a little patience. It's probably sorted itself out by now anyway, as he's hired more people.

I sent mine all the way from Australia. Worth every penny.

Do it. And to anyone complaining - that's one of the tradeoffs with a lot of hand made, custom gear. It's not a mass production line. I'm not discounting the fact that it's frustrating when things get delayed, but I'd rather have a great, custom product than another run-of-the-mill, factory unit - focused more on advertising and brand management than audio.

At the end of the day, Matt's a passionate gearslut - not a customer service department. Having said that, he's also a very friendly, helpful and genuine guy!

Rez
Yep......I agree...!.......thumbsup
Old 18th June 2006
  #38
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterTrax
Unfortunately the mods never happened - Matt refunded the money I sent for transformers, and bought my VLA from me since it was never finished. Like I said, I am satisfied with the outcome, but would love to have gotten the mods completed. I am considering sending another VLA to Jim Williams at Audio Upgrades for his mods, but he does not do output transformers on the VLA, and that was one big reason I wanted the mods in the first place. I had, and still have, a very specific vision for what I want a VLA to sound like.

C'est la vinegar

M
Well....if you are satisfied with the outcome of the deal Matt gave you, and there's no " bad blood" between you and Matt, why not just give him another shot a modding another VLA for you. I'm sure things are better situated at BLA since they 've hired additional help! Especially, if you know what you want added to a VLA that will make it work better for you! Shoot....I've had gear repaired by other manufacturers that I had to send back more than once to get it right. And they were large vendors! I v'e had dealing with Matt and I don't think he would have a problem doing this, since he's so passionate about modding gear...!..
Old 19th June 2006
  #39
Gear Addict
 

I may do that one of these days, Snatchman. Right now I can't because I am in the middle of a pretty good size mixdown where I am using lots of channels of ouitboard compression:

2X ART VLA
1X FMR RNC
2X UA 1176LN
1X UA LA2A
4X Drawmer DL241

I might buy a used spare VLA off ebay and send it to him one of these days. We'll see. I'm not mad at him but I'm still not quite ready to kiss him in the shower just yet.

M
Old 21st June 2006
  #40
Here for the gear
 

I too have been having trouble with BLA the last week or so..

I have several alesis 3630 that I want to mod.. I have been in electronics most of my life and a simple mod like this is only a few hours work for me...

After reading several writeups on the BLA 3630 Mod I ordered 1 kit a couple of weeks ago... about 10 days ago I started modding my first unit.. All went well unit I got to the VCA mod section.. Immediately I found an error in the manual that said to remove a resistor from the circuit.. the resistor mentioned was referenced wrong between the 2 channels.. Later in the same section of the manual is at least 2 other errors that now have stopped me from completing the mod due to conflicting part numbers versus numbers on the partial schematic.. If there was a complete schematic of what the mod was to acomplish I believe I could finish the mod with no issues... But there is no complete schematic with this kit.. Only bits and pieces...

I have sent at least 3 emails to BLA over the last 10 days or so and no reply at all.. I have my own mail server so I know the email is making to their InBox.. Of course there is no way for me to know if they actually read the email..

In my email I have asked for clarification of the items that arnt right in the manual or possilbe an updated manual that I may not have gotten...

At least from my point of view I can not recommend BLA.. this is no way to run a business... Bad manual and no responce to the only way I know to contact them... anybody have a Phone or fax for them???? I would like to get this unit modded correctly.. I mostly do live sound and I like these units in that scene... But would like to do the improvements that others have had with this mod.. Its apparent to me that the inside techs at BLA are NOT using the same mod manual I am or the BLA modded units would not work in the field... IF you followed the Mod Kit Manual that I have to the letter the unit would not work...

So, anyway.. enough of that.. anybody done one of these 3630 mods themself.. maybe I got an early version of the manual... Or does anyone have a Phone or fax for them... I just want to get on with this and get er done...

thanks... Jim
Old 21st June 2006
  #41
GCL
Lives for gear
 

Glad I read this thread. I was going to have a Black Lion mod done to an 828, but instead will pickup an Apogee to interface to it.
Old 21st June 2006
  #42
I was sort of sparklerized by the promo write up on BLA's MOTU 828mkII mod... but I did some more reading around the web and stumbled onto some threads in Dan Lavry's forum at ProSoundWeb that really made me question the efficacy of the BLA mods (not to mention the value of external clocking).
Old 26th June 2006
  #43
Here for the gear
 

Just an update to my earlier post... Matt from Black Lion must read these threads for not less than 3 hours after posting my origional post I get an email from him telling me that I am wrong and the his 3630 manual is correct in what components to remove; etc...

Well; I replied and said look something not right here... I must have a different revision of the board than what you have seen.. Parts BLA mentions are not even on my board and Parts that are on my board are not mentioned in his manual.. I replied to his email within 30 minutes of his email... I offererd to send him my unit so he can take a look at it.. That was on the 21st of Jun.... So far NO REPLY at all...

I dont know about you guys but I have had this unit down for 2 weeks now for a simple 3 hour mod... If it takes 2 weeks for an email turnaround then well I wish I had some spare units... I am in the Customer Service business myself and if I kept my customers out on a limb for days at a time, well I wouldnt have many customers...

I am going to give him 24 hours to give me some positive guidance.. If none is offered then I will put the 3630 back to origional condition and request a refund thru PayPal... I do want to get this done and operational but I am down to only a week or so before I need to unit up and running again...

This 3630 aint the hottest unit in the field, but I have read good reviews of the BLA modded units.. So I ordered the Mod in good faith (I've got 3 more units I WAS going to mod)... But my faith is slipping every time I check my email and get no reply...
Old 28th June 2006
  #44
Here for the gear
 

Hopefully my final update on my situation.. A few days ago I visited a Lead Singer I know that also has the 3630.. He let me open his and he has Rev C of the unit.. I have Rev D of the unit.. After comparing the units and looking at channel 2 it was obvious that the rev D fixed several things that were wrong with the earlier versions of the unit.. My rev D channel 2 does not match the schematic or the manual provided by BLA... After several emails to BLA, I still got no responce from them.. I offered to send my unit in so BLA could look at and see what was different.. I got no reply from BLA on my issue..

I was down to the last few days I could handle having this unit down (been down for 2 weeks in what should have been a 3 hour mod) so I restored the unit back to origional condition and started a dispute process with PayPal.. I honestly didnt know what else to do and the Time was running out for any hope of a PayPal resolution.. Funny how as soon as PayPal emailed BLA; Matt responded immediately.. He tried to say he was tied up and whatever.. I really dont know what his issues are.. I only know whats happening on my end... Anyway Matt just refunded my money and I will be sending the mod kit back to BLA...

This is NOT the way I wanted this to work out.. I have heard a lot of good things about BLA and its mods.. If the 3630 mod had run right this would have never happend and neither of us would have had this... I honestly wanted BLA to maybe look at my unit and see what is different and correct his Mod Kit.. But in the long run if a simlple email round trip takes 2 weeks then sending the unit to them would really be out of the question...

I honeslty wish BLA the best and for others I hope they get the communications channels working better....

thanks Jim
Old 29th June 2006
  #45
Lives for gear
 
Chucho's Avatar
 

I want to add that I sent him my 3630 and it came back and sounds fantastic.
I actually use it now. All the time in fact.
Old 29th June 2006
  #46
Gear Maniac
 

I sent in a nady pra8(same as the sm pro) to be modded in april. I also ordered a couch the same week. The couch was $1300 up front. The nady mod sounds great. Still waiting on the couch. Matt takes time, but so do a lot of other things.
Old 29th June 2006
  #47
Lives for gear
 
orange's Avatar
 

I bought the two 3630 kits a couple of years ago - when they first came out. There were errors in the documentation AND one of the mods was very dodgy (the knee mod). It basically didn't work and made the 3630 useless. Matt (eventually) admitted the mistake and redesigned this part of the circuit and all is well but I did wonder how much testing he actually did and how many other mistakes he 'designed' in ?

I'm not sure I'd buy another mod kit from him.


si
Old 30th June 2006
  #48
Gear Maniac
 
exit2studios's Avatar
 

weigh in

I feel almost guilty chiming in here as I have no personal experience with Matt or BLA, although I've heard good things about his mods.

However, being closely related to the customer service field, I feel inclined to pass this link on:

http://messageboard.tapeop.com/viewt...818&highlight=

Appers this may not be such an isolated incident.
Old 30th June 2006
  #49
Lives for gear
 

Well, Matt received my 002R just about 2 weeks ago, and though the turnaround was a tad longer than expected, my unit is apprently on its way back. Certainly room for improvemnet in the communication department it seems, but then again, customer service isn't everyone's bag, even if they're really trying.

Has anyone ever hired a contractor to do home improvement? That's almost always a nightmare with blown deadlines (and usually budgets). Sometimes guys are just doing things they like in their free time and it somehow turns into a business (how many recording studios started this way?)... not everyone is a business person... just trying to make a living doing something they enjoy. When things get real busy, it only seems to make things worse... it's always tough to say no or turn down more business.

Unfortunately, that lack of business prowess can also turn people off or make them feel burned. Everyone seems to expect everything instantly in this digital age... including attention. Not everyone operates that way though. I felt a little neglected too when I didn't hear anything from BLA after sending a couple mails, but tried to remain patient and finally heard back.

I don't think Matt is a bad guy... I hope he can get things ironed out and wish him the best. I know he said he was working on hiring a couple more people. I think he's probably just swamped for the most part. I can't wait to hear the results of what he's done and I don't think I'd hesitate to send him stuff in the future if the need arises... I'll just have a better idea of what to expect as far as time and communication... both of which are things that can be corrected.
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c
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