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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 50: Call 7

Telephone call on 31 March 2009

Bruce:

  • Apologised that no further progress had been made
  • Stated that he needed to remove one (or both?) of the transformers
  • Explained that this was causing a delay as they were firmly glued to... something
  • Needed a tool to address this
  • Couldn't find it as his workshop needed putting in order
  • Was proposing to do that before spending any more time on my amp
  • Wanted to get the amp fixed and out of his workshop so I would no longer be calling him up and "bitching" at him (his word)
  • Admitted that the Superfly was such a complex design that it ended up costing so much to manufacture than he couldn't make a profit on it at the advertised price
  • Denied that the Superfly was still offered for sale
  • Was surprised to be told that it was prominently featured on his web site
  • Made some more grudging apologies
  • Hung up on me

So this call didn't go particularly well, both of us lost our cool and nothing was achieved except that some of my suspicions concerning the commercial viability of the Superfly were confirmed.

As of October 2009, there are several retailers in the US and UK advertising "new" Superflys in stock or to order. If you've read this far, you would be expected not to want to buy one at any (low) price.

I decided that calling Bruce was no longer effective, so sent him a terse email with a few reminders - see part 51.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 41: Free Update?

From: info@zinky.com
Subject: Re: Resending: Superfly progress in October
Date: 27 October 2008 15:58:09 GMT
To: david@dave.st

Hello David;

This has taken so long, I can't charge for the update any more.

I have the amp on my bench. I have not had the opportunity to finish the amp yet. The problem was that the reverb control wasn't working properly, and I had to take the main circuit board out to get at the circuitry. We haven't made Superfly amps for years, so I had to reset the test systems for testing Superfly amps. I'm going to do my best to get it finished this week, as the sooner it gets done, the sooner I can have that bench back.

Sorry for the delays,

BZ

Suddenly the whole task appears more laborious than the early "nearly fixed it" emails implied.

But Bruce is going to try to get it done within a week and there'll be no charge for the update - that's got to be good?

I still haven't got confirmation on the other requirements though, so I had to send yet another email asking the same thing - see part 42.

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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 18: Shipping Suggestions

From: david@dave.st
Subject: Re: Superfly problems revisited
Date: 10 April 2008 16:05:14 BST
To: zinky@zinky.com

Thanks for this latest email.

Looking in the chassis today reminded me how much wiring there is in there. That's a hell of a design. As I really want to get the upgrade done by yourselves it might make sense for you to look at the reverb wiring while you have it rather than me spending more time tinkering with it.

I was certainly planning on very substantial wrapping to ship the chassis to you and I wasn't going to send the cabinet, partly because I'm hoping you can supply a head-only cabinet when it's returned (see my original email). I was proposing to send all the tubes (including the new set of power tubes that overheated) and the reverb pan, all suitably wrapped so they can all be used in testing the amp.

One idea I just had is that before I wrap the chassis I could fix a piece of plywood on to the top (control side) of the chassis using the existing mounting bolts thereby reducing the flex in the chassis perhaps. I'd have to make a cut-out to clear the knobs and ensure that the ply is thick enough to protect the Save button which protrudes about an inch. If I leave a two-inch overhang around the edge that would give some protection to the sides.

Thanks and regards,

Dave

Having removed the chassis from the combo case a while ago I had a clearer idea of what would need protecting if shipped, hence my suggestion of a protective board across the top, surrounding the controls.

At this point I thought it worth reminding Bruce about my request for a head-only case.

All the indications from the Zinky web site and international dealers were that the Superfly was still in production, at least as an amp head. Hence I expected a wooden case to be available (Note: The Superfly is still advertised as of October 2009.

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