Sebatron VMP4000, to repair or not repair? Nov 20, 2023 14:21:49 GMT -6
Post by Tbone81 on Nov 20, 2023 14:21:49 GMT -6
I need a little advice here. I have a first generation Sebatron VMP-4000, 4 channel tube preamp. I love it. It sounds great. BUT, it's in need of servicing. Here are the problems
1) Two channels have a pretty consistence crackling sound, accompanied by a volume drop out of about 2-3 db. I've done the normal trouble shooting, its not the tubes, cables, instruments connected to it etc.
2) Channels 3 & 4 exhibit a crazy distortion/crackling when running audio (line level or mic level) through the xlr inputs. Those channels (3 & 4) sound perfect when using the DI's. I was told by sebaton that there were some faulty DI sockets on the first generation preamps.
3) There is very poor stereo matching between channels. I consistently use this for stereo sources so that always creates an issue. Not looking for mastering grade matching between channels, but its a little rediculous when the channel gain is set to "2" on one side and "8" on the other.
So here's the dilemma: I've been directed by Sebatron to send the unit in to Fuchs Audio in NJ for servicing. Their prices are little high but probably reasonable ($145 for the first hour, $100/hr after that). But between the bench fee and shipping I'm looking at an easy $500 repair bill. And that's IF it even makes sense to have it serviced after they diagnose it. I could probably sell it as is for $500 and just buy a brand new VMP-4000 Plus for around $1500. I only paid $1000 for the unit years ago.
I'm also worried, however, that a new one is also going to have reliability issues. An engineer friend was just over my studio, and the first thing he said was, "I love those Sebatrons, but I had to sell mine because it was too noisey". I also spoke with Bowie recently, when buying new tubes, and he told me also that the Sebatrons are very sensitive and known for noise issues.
So is it worth it? Should I have it repaired? Does Fuchs Audio have a good reputation? Is there another place I should send it? Is someone that is comfortable modifying/upgrading some of the components on the preamp for better reliability and better stereo matching? Should I just sell it and buy something new/different?