ZinkyUser's blog

Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 28: Arrived Safely

From: zinky@zinky.com
Subject: Re: Superfly chassis shipped
Date: 29 April 2008 00:26:01 BST
To: david@dave.st

It's Here!

I remember this one. The reverb went out, and Adrian from Orange did the fix. We're going through the wiring and updating everything first. Then, we'll have a listen to it.

BZ

Within a week - some good news. My amp had arrived safely and Bruce "recognised" it - at least by reputation.

The date was 29 April 2008 and Bruce could finally get his hands on it and do the work that we'd been discussing - in effect - for a year and three months.

I had one or two questions that I thought Bruce could answer now the amp was with him so I fired them off - see part 29.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 27: On Its Way

From: david@dave.st
Subject: Superfly chassis shipped
Date: 23 April 2008 16:26:46 BST
To: zinky@zinky.com

Having already wrapped it over the weekend using most of my stock of packing materials, I think I'll go with plan A. I'd hate to take components out unless there was absolutely no alternative.

I've send it today by UK ParcelForce Global Priority service (not so expensive) and it takes about 5 working days. I have a tracking number which I'll check periodically. I've marked it as you suggested re: customs so... here's hoping it arrives OK.

Regards,

David

There did not seem to be any point in re-thinking the costs some more so I got the amp sent off and let Bruce know.

I earnestly hoped that once it was at his shop its mere presence would command attention and I could get it back within a matter of weeks.

Early indications supported this (see part 28) but in the long term, how wrong I was.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 26: Last Thoughts?

From: zinky@zinky.com
Subject: Re: Superfly chassis ready to ship
Date: 21 April 2008 18:27:07 BST
To: david@dave.st

Hello David;

I wonder how much someone would charge to remove the transformers. That would save about 11 Kilos of weight.
Taking some digital pictures of the wiring inside the chassis to indicate where the wires were connected might be enough, or the wires could be cut and later spliced. We have transformers here and can use them to verify the work done, then your transformers would be re-installed over there. 200 Pounds is a lot of money.

Yes, you would mark that the product is Made in USA and being returned for repair. I would mark that duties were paid when it was shipped initially, and that it was only being returned from repair, not being sold.

BZ

The start of Bruce's reply was frankly bewildering - I'd told him the amp was all packed ready to ship and he's now suggesting I pay someone to hack out the transformers?!?

The email did however conclude with an address for shipping the amp to. So I did just that - see part 27.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 25: Preparing To Ship

From: david@dave.st
Subject: Superfly chassis ready to ship
Date: 21 April 2008 16:01:50 BST
To: zinky@zinky.com

I've packaged it up as discussed. The dimensions are 80cm long x 36cm wide x 38cm high, weight about 21Kg.

Checking out the FedEx website they didn't offer me Economy, the best was International Priority which costed out to about 200 GBP. Is it more effective for you to order collection and shipping from your end?

Royal Mail Parcelforce and UPS both costed out to about 155 GBP. Delivery time looked to be a week for either.

I guess I need to send a customs form with it to advise that it's being returned for repair?

Regards,

David

Not hearing from Bruce with a shipping estimate from his end, I figured I couldn't establish a shipping cost myself until the amp was fully packed, so I proceeded with that.

Several layers of heavy cardboard, foam packing and parcel wrap later, it was fit to send (see picture). The cost was tolerable for an amp of that value, as long as it got there OK.

Figuring I didn't want to get stuck with import duty when the amp was shipped back to me, I checked with Bruce. His reply was initially of some concern - see part 26.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 24: Any More Information

From: zinky@zinky.com
Subject: Re: Shipping Superfly chassis
Date: 16 April 2008 19:56:12 BST
To: david@dave.st

David, Yes, it's the same pan. That'll save you $20, and it will verify performance before the amp is re-assembled.

Tubes- We used to buy tubes in bulk, then sort them ourselves. The problem we found was a lot of tubes that biased really hot, which wouldn't last. (those are the ones that often hum, too). There were also the very cold tubes which didn't make power, as if they were pre-aged.

Only the 5881WGC tubes work properly. The others are merely 6L6 copies, and not nearly as good. The WGC is a military tube with SIMILAR specs, but they are not optimized for performance in 6L6 circuits. The Superfly wants to se the WGC tube.

I'll find the shipping cost for you, your cost = my cost. We typically use Fed X economy delivery, which takes about a week.

BZ

Bruce confirmed that I should send one of the reverb pans and some gave useful information about likely shipping time.

I still wasn't sure about the power tube explanation, but if Zinky could supply some tested tubes (especially having my amp to test them with), that should be fine?

I never did get the shipping cost, so after a few days I made my own enquiries and let Bruce know - see part 25.

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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 21: More Dialogue

From: david@dave.st
Subject: Re: Shipping Superfly chassis
Date: 16 April 2008 18:32:45 BST
To: zinky@zinky.com

Hi,

I will certainly add a lot of cardboard, bubblewrap and other padding. I have some surplus material for lining flightcases (the dense type, not the soft foam) so a layer or two of that won't hurt also. I take your point about packing it transformers-down.

We haven't actually discussed costs other than my general recollection that when discussed last year, the upgrade work was charged at $100. It would be useful to know what differences result from that by the way - I'm assuming I wouldn't need the attenuator box inline with the reverb any more.

So in addition there's the price for a head shell (black tolex please, yes) and perhaps a labour charge for checking the biasing on my new set of power tubes (which I'll send too)?

Also we haven't thought about how much time you'd need once it reaches you.

I haven't priced out the shipping yet, but as I said in my original email my overriding wish is to get the amp delivering 100% of it's awesome potential and I'll take the cost on the chin as we say over here.

In your experience is there a particular carrier who give a better service for sending something like this to the USA?

Kind regards,

Dave

An unprecendented number of emails were exchanged on 16 April 2008, this one being far from the last.

I requested costs for the unknown areas and mentioned my willingness to pay for the most straightforward shipping. Back, finally, came some of those costs - see part 22.

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 20: Suggestions Of Progress

From: zinky@zinky.com
Subject: Re: Shipping Superfly chassis
Date: 16 April 2008 17:20:58 BST
To: david@dave.st

Hello David;

That's a good design.

The original Superfly chassis design isn't, as the metal is too thin and it needs some bracing (Perhaps angles bolted to the flats) in order to keep it from bending when it gets thrown around in shipping.

Your method should work, but the most important thing would be to use at least 2" of padding (preferably solid styrofoam sheet) on all sides, and I would ship the amp transformers down, as that's where all the weight/inertia is.

Head shell- Black Tolex, yes? Did I quote you a price on that?

OK,

BZ

Finally a specific response about the head case / shell...

Also some good advice about shipping it with the transformers at the bottom. I could believe that their weight would bend the chassis down if it were dropped with them above.

By this point of course I was resigned to paying whatever it took to ship the amp out to Flagstaff AZ but I didn't know what some of the other costs would be - see part 21

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Zinky Superfly Blog - Part 19: Ready To Ship

From: david@dave.st
Subject: Shipping Superfly chassis
Date: 14 April 2008 14:39:26 BST
To: zinky@zinky.com

I have put together a plywood "base" to bolt over the knobs and switches, as per the attached picture. It should reduce flex in the chassis as well, which can't be a bad thing. I will then of course wrap that all in several layers of protection as you suggested in your last email, not forgetting the reverb chassis, tubes and I may as well send the retro-mod box which was put in line with the reverb output.

Would you just confirm please that it will be possible to do the upgrade, check the biasing and when returning the amp, supply a head-only cabinet?

Kind regards,

Dave Jackson

I sent Bruce a picture of the chassis (left) with the protector bolted on using the screws that normally hold it into the case.

Once again I tried to clarify exactly what I would like in addition to the reverb repair - do the upgrade, figure out why the new output valves were not working well in the amp and supply a head-only case.

Back came a sort-of positive reply a couple of days later - see part 20.

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