review of repair work - Three Wave Music

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
User avatar
Sir Ruff
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 3519
Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 11:55 pm
Gear: Two persimmon modulators and a frequency adjudicator.
Band: Ruff in the jungle
Location: Philadelphia

Re: review of repair work - Three Wave Music

Post by Sir Ruff » Fri Aug 15, 2014 5:38 pm

Bitexion wrote:It's a shame that the synth tech business seems to be completely in shambles.
I would disagree--there's still PLENTY of places to get work done at a good rate (in the US at least). You just have to be shrewd about who you send what, kind of like car repair. +1 for Greg M., who does great work, but has a limited range of gear he works on, but what he does work on, he KNOWS. I haven't used him, but Chris Hewitt @ Thisoldsynth seems to do good work on most stuff. Steve (and his new partner) @ Midwest Musich Repair (now part of A Sound Education) in Chicago also does great work, but he won't work on most older Yamahas, and other more esoteric gear. Chicago synth service, on the other hand, is also relatively new and somewhat pricey, but great for ancient Yamahas, and more full-on restoration/mod type stuff. Analogics in NE Ohio has been around for a long time and is very knowledgeable, although can be prone to long delays. Tim @ RetroLinear is also a great option for more Philly-local and straight-forward work, but he is still relatively new, so you might not want to bring him the wacky modular your uncle made in the '70s. Lastly, JL up in Canada is also a major tech, but then you're dealing with primo shipping. I'm sure there's a million more local area guys that people know and trust, but the above are all well-represented on the web.

The things that "taint" the repair scene are old repair services like Wine Country/Three Wave that have become part of the repair lexicon based on being THE place to go in the past, but these days don't really offer either reasonable rates, or very decent service anymore. They have been long surpassed by other independent techs.

Then lastly, there is the mom and pop amp repair/home stereo repair guys, which should almost always be avoided. These guys can probably read a schematic and replace a battery and a cap or two, but any technical, detailed work is not worth wasting the time (and it will be long) and money on. And it probably won't be done well.

Buying into vintage gear doesn't require "accepting analog flaws", or pricey repair bills. You just have to be willing to go the extra mile to make sure your beast is taken care of by a pro, and that's almost always going to involve shipping somewhere else. Shipping/packing, you can control, unrelaible techs you can't.

p.s. this should really be put in the tech repair/service thread!
Last edited by Sir Ruff on Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
Do you even post on vse bro?

User avatar
snsr
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:45 pm

Re: review of repair work - Three Wave Music

Post by snsr » Fri Aug 15, 2014 6:46 pm

I'll contribute a vote of support for Sam @Three Wave. He diagnosed and repaired a Jupiter 6 for me, and installed a Europa mod (that I supplied), for about $480. Three week turn-around and he picked it up and delivered it (this was a couple of years ago).

He also has an insane collection of gear for sale in the shop.

User avatar
ppg_wavecomputer
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1012
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:37 pm
Gear: more keys than hands (and feet)
Band: ['ramp]
Location: teutoburg forest, eastern westphalia, germany
Contact:

Re: review of repair work - Three Wave Music

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Fri Aug 15, 2014 6:51 pm

Bitexion wrote:And there was recently the other thread about Synth Spa who keep synths for over a year and don't answer emails or phone calls. It's a shame that the synth tech business seems to be completely in shambles.

I'm sure they are swell old guys with lots of synth knowledge, but it doesn't seem like they know anything about business management.
Some years ago, I had a similar thing going on with a reputable synth repair shop in Germany. They had my PPG for a year and a half, I kept calling them every once in a while, and they told me they would look after it next week etc. etc. After 18 months I spoke to the head of the shop, he was evasive and told me they wouldn't touch it because any attempt at repairing it would possibly be doomed to fail, and how would they charge me for a repair that hadn't taken place...

I ended up collecting the instrument from the shop (a 500km drive), took it to my regular tech -- who fixed it within six weeks, at a very reasonably price.

Stephen
"Like the light from distant stars, Stephen Parsick's music has existed for some time, but is only now reaching us on Earth." Chuck van Zyl

https://doombientmusic.bandcamp.com/

https://ramp1.bandcamp.com/

https://stephenparsick.bandcamp.com/

User avatar
Algorithm
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 85
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:10 pm
Location: Kentucky

Re: review of repair work - Three Wave Music

Post by Algorithm » Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:35 pm

I must mention this being into the repair side of things, while this is no excuse though.
Someone mentioned earlier ( i think?) that despite their extensive know-how on 1 particular piece, that after so many, even they can get stumped. From everything I have learned recently, so many things can be a factor with electronics.
It can even be due to things like chemistry. Some of the spectrums of certain aspects involve theories that could be gotten into for whoknowshowlong.

I am familiar with a highly experienced engineer/tech who has worked on countless projects, even military, and I have seen him stumped for days straight, and ultimately, he gave up on the particular repair. & This guy knows about everything, including the theories involved.

all I am saying is that regardless of experience a tech might have, there can be chinese puzzle like instances that are not your everyday stroll through synthpark.



Again, that is no excuse... I would at least expect a good tech to take responsibility for those instances. They cant expect the customer to be responsible for the techs bewilderment when it is their business...

This is good practice. Repair shops will be more likely to treat customers better when their future business depends on it.
Is it trash or treasure?

plikestechno
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 757
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:36 pm
Gear: Lots. See sig.
Location: Edmonton, Canada

Re: review of repair work - Three Wave Music

Post by plikestechno » Fri Aug 15, 2014 11:37 pm

I hear ya 8bit, your story happens to a lot of people once. Happened to me about 8 years ago. I bought a "perfectly working" Octave Cat SRM off Ebay for $500. When it got here the 2nd osc wouldnt sound although it would still FM. Some sliders were scratchy and some pots were irritating.

First, I took it to someone a friend recommended. They had it for three months before admitting they had no idea how to fix it.

Then I took it to a local guy that can fix anything but he takes forever and he charges a lot. He quoted me at $500 to get everything fixed. Six months later I finally hear that it's fixed. But he wants $1100 now. And he says thats a deal because he actually should have charged me $1700 but he was giving me 6 hours free labor.

He went way over and beyond just fixing the oscillator. The oscillator just needed a new pair of matched transistors. Rather than replace switches or sliders. He fixed a bunch of the original ones. But it was way more than I quoted or expected. At least $1600 total for a 100% working and service CAT isnt the worst price in the world. And I love it. It was my first true analog synth.

Nowadays, for small things like jacks not working or batteries or power supplies I have a friend at work who'll fix things like that for me for a sushi dinner or a case of beer.

Other than that, I deal with JL in Canada as he's only a few hours away down the road from me. Reasonable rates, profound knowledge and love of the instruments. But when he's busy he's busy and if your problem is a big one it will get pushed to the back if he has lots of quick and easy jobs he can get turned around for people which is understandable. He is also very popular and busy now.

Or anyone recommended on synth boards. I have an old Serge panel with Kevin Braheny Fortune now and might send my other Serge to him at some point. He charges a minimum of $450 to look at your system whether 6 panels or 1 but rarely charges more than that initial payment unless its a lot of work.

But lots of people get burned like you did 8bit, usually only once.

Thats pretty disppointing of Switched On, they should have just taken it back or offered to pay for some of the servicing. But Id rather buy off Ebay and their buyer protection these days as opposed to Switched On or any of those places.
Last edited by plikestechno on Mon Aug 18, 2014 5:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
Serge/Modcan A/MOTM/Frac/Phenol/Andromeda/Jupiter6Europa/OctaveCatSRM/ARPSolina/ARPPro Soloist/Pro2/Korg770/Juno60/Lambda/Anamono/Little Deformer/Integra7/Microwave1&2/Syncussion/FS1R/Microkorg/Xoxio/VL1M/JD990/MKS50/TX816/DSS1/KARP/TG33/OCoast/SC40

8bit9bot
No Longer Registered

Re: review of repair work - Three Wave Music

Post by 8bit9bot » Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:05 am

synthparts wrote: You probably should have had the place you bought it from pay for at least part of the repairs too...
I asked them to... and they said they would only help w/ repairs if i sent it back to them.
V301H wrote: If you live in the Philadelphia area you should try RetroLinear in North Wales..
I used to live in North Wales... I never heard of that place... sounds like it's worth a shot!

I still don't really think I was "burned" or whatever... I was looking at P5 prices for 3 years leading up to buying one... and I looked for a decent deal for half a year before I bought it... I didn't just buy the first thing I found. Maybe the price seems high compared to a few years ago but I think the deal was fair enough... my main complaint still is just the amount of time it took to repair.

The price of the repair was higher than I expected... but consider that EVERYTHING in this area where I live is more expensive than most of the country... and prices of everything go up as you get closer to NYC. At the end of the day I paid just about the same amount as an already fixed up P5 from Wine Country. The part that sucks was the wasted down time.

User avatar
Dr. Phibes
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 525
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:12 am
Location: UK

Re: review of repair work - Three Wave Music

Post by Dr. Phibes » Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:11 am

For a second there I thought you were talking about a different North Wales, which would have been convenient - Blaenau Ffestiniog is renowned for its Prophet-5 repairmen.

User avatar
sequentialsoftshock
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2413
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:57 am
Real name: Zayne
Gear: Pro~One, MS20, MPC60, Aalto, Volca Beats, Volca Keys, Beatstep, Casio MT18, BitOne (sorta), Circle, Orbit 3, K5, Stylos, Univox Hi Flier, iPad
Band: Echo & Liora
Location: Paris / Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: review of repair work - Three Wave Music

Post by sequentialsoftshock » Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:43 am

Damn... Can't believe you guys have needed to wait that long. Almost every time I've needed stuff done I've sat there and watched while my guy did the repairs. But he's pretty great.
bonne chance

8bit9bot
No Longer Registered

Re: review of repair work - Three Wave Music

Post by 8bit9bot » Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:28 pm

i looked over the invoice again - the list of work does seem long enough to justify the price IMO - check it out - i added the itemized list to the original post - but of course nothing really justifies 9 months of waiting

User avatar
synthparts
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 779
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:05 pm
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Contact:

Re: review of repair work - Three Wave Music

Post by synthparts » Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:00 pm

Glancing over that invoice I see a lot of what seems to be unnecessary work like replacing all 61 j-wires when only 2 keys were double-triggering and I would question the charging for work that didn't actually fix anything and even with all that billing you for 14 hours to do it seems excessive...
Vintage Synth Parts - http://www.synthparts.com

User avatar
ppg_wavecomputer
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1012
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:37 pm
Gear: more keys than hands (and feet)
Band: ['ramp]
Location: teutoburg forest, eastern westphalia, germany
Contact:

Re: review of repair work - Three Wave Music

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:13 pm

synthparts wrote: [...] replacing all 61 j-wires [...]
... just seems utterly clueless to me -- "no idea how to solve the issue so I'll have a go at these". It would have made much more sense to replace 61 key bushings in order to improve the keyboard's overall response.

Stephen
"Like the light from distant stars, Stephen Parsick's music has existed for some time, but is only now reaching us on Earth." Chuck van Zyl

https://doombientmusic.bandcamp.com/

https://ramp1.bandcamp.com/

https://stephenparsick.bandcamp.com/

User avatar
silikon
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 1247
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 1:21 am
Real name: Ms. Jackson
Gear: Random bullshit with knobs and buttons.
Band: Year with no summer
Location: East.
Contact:

Re: review of repair work - Three Wave Music

Post by silikon » Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:43 pm

This whole thing stinks of rubbish. So he kept your stuff for months on end, and then did work that you didn't authorize?

This is all a load of c**p you were fed. I would seriously be questioning him directly about this, enquiring about a partial refund for work you didn't authorise, as well as an extraordinarily long wait. So essentially, you waited 9 months to get overcharged for work; and he didn't even bother giving you a decent break on the price as a result of that extraordinarily long wait. Wholly unprofessional.

"I know this took forever to complete, and I apologise for the delay. As an attempt to rectify the situation, I went ahead and replaced all your j-wires and re-capped everything for you free of charge, and only charged you for two hours of labour."

It's unfortunate you weren't afforded something like this. It speaks volumes of their attitude towards keeping you as a customer, however.

Also, I don't believe anyone in this thread is saying disparaging things about you, rather empathizing with your situation and agreeing that you kind of got buggered.
echo 1 > /dev/awesome

recordbot
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:01 pm
Location: MA

Re: review of repair work - Three Wave Music

Post by recordbot » Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:44 pm

there should be a sticky about this type of thing, I suppose the shop sticky could do,

anyway 1 man tech operations are typically like this unless the tech specializes as in Greg Montalbano whom we would love to compare all techs to but that guy is far above the rest of his field in my experience, has your synth in, fixed, and back to you inside a week or 2, who else does that?

anyway I thought people knew to bring Sam Oberheim stuff? he can get those in and out, other stuff yeah maybe he can fix it but unless you know the tech can get it done in and out why pay someone to learn how to work on your machine?

certain synths are a notorious pita for your general experience synth tech to work on Prophet 5 being one of them. if it was my purchase I would have billed the seller for sending the board to Greg, or at least recover some of that from them, explaining it would be much more worth their time to do it that way instead of taking time from their schedule to do it themselves, most of the time you save a lot of time and money hiring an expert to handle your equipment.

pelican
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:02 pm
Location: US

Re: review of repair work - Three Wave Music

Post by pelican » Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:20 am

$1300 above and beyond what you paid for a serviced and working p5. screw that.

I paid about the same as you for my p5 last december. It had been serviced by wine country 5 or 6 years before. Only difference is everything worked and it came with some extra pots and chips.

I bought a jupiter 4 from a guy who bought from soa. Everything worked, they replaced some caps, and put in a modern removable battery so i guess they do some ok work to stay in business.

I would have just told them i'd send it back. Make it right or give me a refund

8bit9bot
No Longer Registered

Re: review of repair work - Three Wave Music

Post by 8bit9bot » Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:00 pm

silikon wrote:This whole thing stinks of rubbish. So he kept your stuff for months on end, and then did work that you didn't authorize?
Hmm... maybe I should have mentioned... I told him what the problems were that it had... then I mentioned to him if he found anything else questionable about it I'd like to future proof it so like a re-capping would be good if it had old caps in it.

He did ask me before doing each step... I was calling him every week since he had it... I did tell him that it seemed like it was taking too long. That's the only real problem I had with the service... the misquoted time estimate... oh and my screws still didn't come in the mail... I guess I gotta call him again.

BTW this article popped up on my Facebook feed: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/1 ... mg00000063

Everything is more expensive in NJ! ;)

Post Reply