$100 upgrade

Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 37: Great News?

From: david@dave.st
Subject: Re: Superfly- Basically done. Just have to put it back in the shipping box
Date: 19 August 2008 10:04:42 BST
To: info@zinky.com

That's great news. Can I just recap on what I needed / wanted to be done?

- Fix the intermittent reverb;
- Replace the power tubes at $60 cost to me;
- Fit the $100 upgrades which will obviate the need for the retrofit reverb level box as well as other improvements;
- Supply a head-only cabinet with black grille cloth at $290 cost to me (as per your email of 16 April you were not sure if you'd have to recover in black one you had already covered in silver);
- Ship back to me at my cost.

I hope I haven't forgotten anything there. I'm sure looking forward to having the amp back.

Regards,

David

So here's a short but complete list of what I'm expecting - again.

Bruce has had the amp for three and a half months, so none of this should be a surprise, right?

We should really be on the homeward straight, yes? Sadly not - Bruce did not reply to this email at all so a month later I was in a less optimistic mood - see part 38.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 23: More Confirmations

From: david@dave.st
Subject: Re: Shipping Superfly chassis
Date: 16 April 2008 19:23:48 BST
To: zinky@zinky.com

I was going to send one of my reverb pans with the amp (you may recall I bought a replacement to see if it helped my problem - it didn't) so I wouldn't need a third one from you unless the actual spec of the pan has to be different after the upgrade? The original one in my combo is a type 4FB3B1B.

Tube-wise, I'm curious why the new Sovtek tubes that I bought caused a loud hum on the output after an hour of use, but I'll go for a new set from you anyway. Strangely the tubes that were in the amp when I bought it look to be a mismatched set of different makes. I'd welcome a suggested procedure for checking the bias as my knowledge is sketchy.

That's the first quote I've had for the head-only cabinet, AKA shell. It's got to be black really (and black grille cloth please), so I'm hoping you do still have a black one in stock. Overall I believe I'm looking at $100 (upgrade) + $290 (shell) + $60 (four power tubes). Plus cost of return shipping I guess.

Regards,

David

We finally seemed to be getting somewhere after 7 days of exchanging emails.

I pointed out I shouldn't need a new reverb pan and tried to summarise the known costs.

Bruce's reply was still on track, fortunately - see part 24.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 22: Full Costs At Last?

From: zinky@zinky.com
Subject: Re: Shipping Superfly chassis
Date: 16 April 2008 18:53:21 BST
To: david@dave.st

Hello David;

It's going to be $100 for the reverb fix, plus power supply and other updates. No tubes necessary there, but
if in doubt, you should have a spare set of output tubes. That way, if there's ever a question, you just replace the
tubes, give it a listen, and if the sound improves, buy a new set of spares.

What I was wondering was the price quoted on the cabinet. I may still have one new one in black, but what I might have to do would be to uncover a silver cabinet and re-cover it in black...That's a whole lot of work to clean off the old glue. You have to rid yourself of the old glue if you want the vinyl to sit flat on the cabinet, without lumps. That would run $250 for the raw cabinet, and $290 assembled (with new reverb pan, logo, your choice of Black or Cream grille cloth), as the transformers get braced against the pan and the cabinet to reduce chassis damage in shipping.

Tubes- We sell burned in, tested, graded and matched sets for $60. No biasing necessary, just plug them in and go. We found that carefully selecting the tubes yields much better reliability and consistency. Another benefit is that you can just plug in the new tubes without worrying about bias.

Truthfully, bias refers to the idle current of a tube, no signal. You can do it yourself with a voltmeter and your EARS more accurately than anyone using a 'scope (Testing the response of a sine wave on a guitar amplifier is meaningless) or other paraphernalia.

BZ

Finally some costs for the amp shell...

However there's a little doubt there as to whether there is one available quite as easily as I'd expected, considering that the Superfly was/is still advertised as being in production.

Also, I shouldn't need another reverb pan - I've already got two which work as well as each other!

Finally some thoughts on biasing that rather went over my head. $60 for a new set of power tubes should sort things out though. I hastened to respond - see part 23.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 9: How Much To Ship?

From: dave@dave.st
Subject: Re: March 14 email about frustrating Superfly Combo reverb problem
Date: 15 March 2007 23:12:49 GMT
To: zinky@zinky.com

Thanks for getting back to me.

The reverb works from switch-on, and then at some point when I'm concentrating on playing, it simply drops way down in volume and stays like that for an unpredictable period of time. There's no crackling or popping sounds like you might get from a loose connection.

I'm wondering if its heat-related as next time I use the amp the reverb initially works?

I'd certainly like to get the $100 amp upgrade. Do you use a particular shipping service? What would the typical cost be to send an amp chassis back to you? It would also be very useful to get an idea of turn-around time as I'm currently using the amp most days (despite lack of reverb) so I'd have to sort out an alternative while my amp is being fixed.

As I explained in earlier emails, I could not find a serial number anywhere on the outside of the amp. Maybe if I take the chassis out I'll finally see one.

Regards,

Dave

I tried to restate the problem - no complete failure, just intermittent lack of reverb.

Aside from the shipping cost, I noted that I'd have to buy a backup amp to use while the Superfly was away. It seems a reasonable question to ask how long that would be.

...and I still couldn't find a serial number anywhere.

At least this time I got a quick response - see part 10.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 8: No UK Repairer?

From: zinky@zinky.com
Subject: Re: Trying again with my 22 Feb reply re: Frustrating Superfly Combo reverb problem
Date: 14 March 2007 21:32:01 GMT
To: dave@dave.st

Dave;

Upgrades include everything we know that will improve the Superfly.

UK- I don't know anyone in the UK with the ability who has the time. Adrian from Orange had done one upgrade fix for us (after some famous and clueless amp tech couldn't figure it out). As far as shipping goes, I may be able to get the amp consigned with another cargo to substantially reduce the shipping cost. However, there would be a wait.

If the reverb is not working at all, and all of the tubes are correct and the reverb pan checks out, I will do the upgrade at no charge.

What is the serial number on your Superfly?

BZ

So it seemed like the upgrade could be quite involved... but no-one in the UK was able to do it?

Shipping costs could be minimised subject to a possible wait? At this point I didn't know what waiting was!

Strange question at the end though: I'd mentioned in my first email that I could not find the serial number.

Still, I went back to the amp to have another good look. See part 9 for my response.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 7: Checking The Options

From: dave@dave.st
Subject: Re: Trying again re: Frustrating Superfly Combo reverb problem
Date: 22 February 2007 21:24:06 GMT
To: zinky@zinky.com

Thanks for your reply.

Are the changes referred to in your last paragraph the equivalent of the upgrade work in your second paragraph? Can the upgrade be done by someone here in the UK as otherwise I guess I'd have to ship the chassis back to the US?

Would the upgrade include the capacitor mod to the reverb?

I'm just trying to understand what my options are!

Regards,

Dave

From: dave@dave.st
Subject: Trying again with my 22 Feb reply re: Frustrating Superfly Combo reverb problem
Date: 12 March 2007 21:56:17 GMT
To: zinky@zinky.com

My last email may have got lost so here it is again...

Regards,

Dave

My email on 22 February (right) asked for more information from which to make a decision. It wasn't clear whether Bruce reckoned he could instruct me to do the upgrade myself (gulp!) or just to try and sort out the reverb problem. If the upgrade required expertise, was it available in the UK?

At that point I had not even seen inside the amp chassis - a daunting array of circuitry (see picture of the area around the reverb driver transformer) to handle the MIDI switching as well as the audio shaping.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 6: First Upgrade Offer

From: zinky@zinky.com
Subject: Re: Trying again re: Frustrating Superfly Combo reverb problem
Date: 21 February 2007 01:14:43 GMT
To: dave@dave.st

I would try capacitor values between 500pF and about .01 mF across the Output of the Reverb Pan (From the back of the amp, the RIGHT side of the pan).

Now, there are a number of updates to the design since the first amps were produced. We will update any Superfly to current design standards for $100 (you'll have to send us the chassis).

Now, if you wish to take the chassis out of the cabinet, I can give you some guidance on how to make a few changes. This I can do in real time, via email.

BZ

Next day I received a reply (opposite). I didn't really want to start adding components into the circuitry or making changes as per paragraphs one and three, my knowledge of electronics being sparse.

However I was interested in the second paragraph which mentioned an upgrade service. $100 seemed affordable... except that I was in the UK so shipping it overseas would be expensive.

I sent another email to try and understand what my options were - see part 7.

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