Please Help- Spectral DMA-180

clelow

New Member
Sep 10, 2018
1
0
0
#1
I just stumbled across this forum and would appreciate any help anyone is able to offer. I am the proud owner of a Spectral DMA-180 amp and a DMC-20 preamp. I have owned both pieces for about 5 years. I use the preamp on a regular basis and like it a great deal. The problem I am having is with the amp. My tech has it at his shop. The problem he is having is with the bias in one of the channels. I have contacted the manufacturer and am unable to get a schematic and I am not sure they would be willing to work on an older product like my amplifier. I would greatly appreciate a schematic, or in the alternative, if there is someone who knows these amps well that could provide counsel and instruction to my tech, I would be willing to compensate you for your time. My tech is top notch so it would not amount to a drawn out trouble shooting session. Please feel free to contact me through the forum of by PM. Thanks in advance.
 
Jun 5, 2010
832
4
18
#2
All Spectral repairs must be done by the Spectral factory. If your tech has done anything to the amp, the warranty is void.

However if your tech has not done anything yet, you can call up the Spectral factory to arrange for your DMA 180 to be repaired.
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,209
20
38
Boston, MA
#3
Right, the factory won't repair anything that someone else touched, so it'd better not be touched
 

marty

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
1,144
26
48
Far Hills, NJ
#4
Right, the factory won't repair anything that someone else touched, so it'd better not be touched
Yeah, that sounds about right! I once had a knock down drag out argument with Rick Fryer 20 years ago when he berated me for adjusting the DC offset in the phono stage of my DMC-10. Apparently, they are the only people on earth who know how to use a voltmeter and turn a variable resistor so the voltage reads 0 DC volts. He didn't care if you worked for NASA and went to MIT or Cal Tech. He's just funny that way. Total prima donna. But I still admire him despite his eccentricities.
 

Elliot G.

Industry Expert
Jul 22, 2010
691
12
18
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
#5
Yeah, that sounds about right! I once had a knock down drag out argument with Rick Fryer 20 years ago when he berated me for adjusting the DC offset in the phono stage of my DMC-10. Apparently, they are the only people on earth who know how to use a voltmeter and turn a variable resistor so the voltage reads 0 DC volts. He didn't care if you worked for NASA and went to MIT or Cal Tech. He's just funny that way. Total prima donna. But I still admire him despite his eccentricities.
I will make no comment but I was a dealer back when and all of this makes me laugh.
The absolute definition of customer service NOT
NO SOUP FOR YOU!
 

mountainjoe

Industry Expert
Mar 25, 2015
86
0
6
Bay Area, California
eigenaudio.com
#6
The absolute definition of customer service NOT
NO SOUP FOR YOU!
Lol :D

VTL is the same way - they wouldn't touch my amps unless I paid for a new set of their KT88 tubes as I had installed some Psvane KT-88s. They also wouldn't work with the SR fuses I installed in the amps and replaced them with their OEM fuses - a real pita.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Ypsilon where not only are they ok with tube rolling and aftermarket fuses, but they will advise as to what they think will work best. They will also customize any aspect of their products (within reason) and are generally very flexible in this regard.

I love VTL gear but their service costs and stipulations makes them really difficult to work with - I'm a much happier Ypsilon customer.

Cheers, Joe
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,209
20
38
Boston, MA
#7
I cannot disagree with either Marty or Elliot. But I will say whatever caustic comments and grievances I have or had, have been sent directly to them.
 
May 30, 2010
14,163
96
48
Portugal
#8
Lol :D

VTL is the same way - they wouldn't touch my amps unless I paid for a new set of their KT88 tubes as I had installed some Psvane KT-88s. They also wouldn't work with the SR fuses I installed in the amps and replaced them with their OEM fuses - a real pita.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Ypsilon where not only are they ok with tube rolling and aftermarket fuses, but they will advise as to what they think will work best. They will also customize any aspect of their products (within reason) and are generally very flexible in this regard.

I love VTL gear but their service costs and stipulations makes them really difficult to work with - I'm a much happier Ypsilon customer.

Cheers, Joe
IMHO different topologies justify different after sales behavior from manufacturers. The VTL's have a large number of output tubes with high energy power supply, the Ypsilon are hybrids and the tubes section is separated from the power SS output section with a coupling transformer, there is no danger that faulty tubes can damage the amplifier.

Considering fuses, no responsible manufacturer will endorse audiophile fuses that have no specification sheet. I can accept they sound good, but the only technical test I have read - in a german magazine - showed they were a complete safety disaster and most were out of specification. Sometimes, in case of malfunction of equipment, damages can be very high just because we are not using the proper protection fuse.

Sometimes tube manufacturers ask for tube replacement when servicing equipment if they are not familiar with tube type - what would be the point of servicing to have an almost immediate problem due to the condition of tubes? Unfortunately we do not have reliable ways of knowing tube life time.
 

mountainjoe

Industry Expert
Mar 25, 2015
86
0
6
Bay Area, California
eigenaudio.com
#9
IMHO different topologies justify different after sales behavior from manufacturers. The VTL's have a large number of output tubes with high energy power supply, the Ypsilon are hybrids and the tubes section is separated from the power SS output section with a coupling transformer, there is no danger that faulty tubes can damage the amplifier.

Considering fuses, no responsible manufacturer will endorse audiophile fuses that have no specification sheet. I can accept they sound good, but the only technical test I have read - in a german magazine - showed they were a complete safety disaster and most were out of specification. Sometimes, in case of malfunction of equipment, damages can be very high just because we are not using the proper protection fuse.

Sometimes tube manufacturers ask for tube replacement when servicing equipment if they are not familiar with tube type - what would be the point of servicing to have an almost immediate problem due to the condition of tubes? Unfortunately we do not have reliable ways of knowing tube life time.
I think you make good points but in the case of the tubes, they could certainly use a set of tubes they keep on hand for testing of returned equipment without requiring the customer to purchase a set. I would even be willing to pay a small amount for the loan of the tubes. VTL does in fact offer a tube "rental" option but the cost is so high that you might as well purchase new tubes.

My point is more about the attitude of the vendor in regards to support (and modifications) - and also servicing costs. Spending a couple thousand bucks on a basic checkup for a pair of mono-blocks where nothing wrong is found is kind of hard to swallow...

Cheers, Joe
 
Jun 5, 2010
832
4
18
#10
Rick Fryer considers his products his babies and gets irritated when people modify them. It would seem that feels that everything Spectral belongs to him and he just sold us the opportunity to hear his product. One can always modify them and void the warranty. It’s part of the deal when one purchases his products. As far as I know, he has not black listed any customers. One can still buy another unit in case one destroys the unit doing modifications.
 
May 30, 2010
14,163
96
48
Portugal
#11
Rick Fryer considers his products his babies and gets irritated when people modify them. It would seem that feels that everything Spectral belongs to him and he just sold us the opportunity to hear his product. One can always modify them and void the warranty. It’s part of the deal when one purchases his products. As far as I know, he has not black listed any customers. One can still buy another unit in case one destroys the unit doing modifications.
As long as the rules are stated clearly and are well known, it is perfectly acceptable. However many times we only learn about these specific aspects after buying, as they are not written anywhere.

Things can become more complicated for international buyers if they have no distributors able to service equipment in their countries. Finding they have to send heavy equipment to the factory just to replace a 10 cent resistor is not a good thing!
 
Jun 5, 2010
832
4
18
#12
Perhaps Spectral will swap out the board instead of changing the resistor.

I have only experienced Spectral repair service once for a dac. At that time, it seemed like I only had to ship the board back. Spectral refused to repair it as they claim my tech has touched it.

All my other Spectrals are still working. Some are 30 years old already.
 

Elliot G.

Industry Expert
Jul 22, 2010
691
12
18
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
#13
As long as the rules are stated clearly and are well known, it is perfectly acceptable. However many times we only learn about these specific aspects after buying, as they are not written anywhere.

Things can become more complicated for international buyers if they have no distributors able to service equipment in their countries. Finding they have to send heavy equipment to the factory just to replace a 10 cent resistor is not a good thing!
I have no problem with a manufacturer or a distributor not wanting to get involved after someone has aftermarket changed or modified the product. To me that makes sense that they would not want to assume responsibility for someone else's actions. They make excellent products but they are condescending, arrogant and non cooperative. When I was involved they had one tech and he worked part time. That made things even worse.
 

About us

  • Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing