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  1. #1

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    Default How long before an amp dies?

    Hey guys,

    So I got my hands on some great amps and a matching preamp. It's a mark levinson no26 pre and a pair of no23 dual mono amps. I am the second owner and the stuff works perfectly. My concern is about the longevity of the equipment. The stuff was built in 1985 or so, and I was curious if I should be worried about the capacitors starting to fail/leak. Does anyone know if the parts in these older amps is just as easy to get a hold of if necessary? Or is the ML stuff weird with the parts needed? My thought is to perhaps sell this gear and similar, but newer stuff.

    TIA,
    Alex

  2. #2

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    Everything has a shelf life bro. Personally, ML stuff isn't my cup of tea but they are well regarded. If you picked them up for a song,like how they sound,hold on to them.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by swegyptian View Post
    . . . the stuff was built in 1985 or so, and I was curious if I should be worried about the capacitors starting to fail/leak . .
    Yes, the caps are past their prime and may go pfssssszzt at any time. The gear you mention is certainly worth upgrading and new power supply components and caps available today should make it sound even better than the day it was finally broken in 26 years ago.
    Last edited by inspiredsports; 04-17-2011 at 12:09 AM.
    VTL ST50 w/mods/RCA6L6GC/TlfnknECC801S
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by inspiredsports View Post
    Yes, the caps are past their prime and may go pfssssszzt at any time.
    Yep, but can be replaced, not like they are some alien technology or anything.

  5. #5

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    Nice classic ML pieces but as mentioned they are likey due for a cap refreshing.

  6. #6

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    ANYONE REcommend a good shop that does refreshening?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Yep, but can be replaced, not like they are some alien technology or anything.

    Inspired,
    After re-reading my own response, my appologies to you sir, didn't mean it to sound so smart ass-ish.

  8. #8

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    Still using an EICO HF-81 that was probably built (from a kit) about the year I was born (1958). I have a spare power transformer and most other parts are readily available - it should outlast me (and it is a very good sounding amplifier).

    The 2A3s I am using in the big hifi in the living room were bought used by me and probably made in the early 1950s. They still have plenty of life.

    The "real" Mark Levinson stuff should have decades of good life left in it.

    Yes, capacitors and some other passives (e.g., old carbon comp resistors) do wear out and will need periodic rehabilitation. Modern caps are extremely good; one of the few cases where modern components are actually improvements to the vintage ones.

    Transformers and chokes should last essentially forever as long as operated within their tolerances (voltage, current, temperature).

    Active devices can deteriorate and fail, sometimes without warning, but can also last for decades. Small signal vacuum tubes, for example, are essentially immortal. Some of the best power output tubes are designed for long life. I believe that Western Electric designed the near-legendary 300B direct-heated power triode for a 30,000 hour MBTF (mean time between failure) lifespan.

    The only real obsolescence problem in electronic components is the use of proprietary devices. This has been a pretty prevalent problem since the rise of LSI uses in audio in the early 1980s. Paradoxically it can be far harder to find parts for a 10 year old Sony than for a 60 year old Heathkit.

    all the best,
    mrh

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Inspired,
    After re-reading my own response, my appologies to you sir, didn't mean it to sound so smart ass-ish.
    No problem.

    I've sent out crossovers for 2 pairs of Polks and 6 vintage pieces of electronics gear over the past 3 years and am just a big believer that old gear with new pieces/parts both sound better and are a better investment than buying new today.
    VTL ST50 w/mods/RCA6L6GC/TlfnknECC801S
    CJPV-5 w/mods
    TT CJ Sonographe SG3 Oak/Sumiko LMT/Grado Wood Plat/Sumiko PIB2/The Clamp
    Musical Fidelity A1 CDPro
    Tuners w/mods Kenwood KT5020/Fisher KM60
    MF x-DAC V8, HAInfo NG27
    Herbies Ti-9/Vibrapods/MIT Shtgn AC1 IEC's/MIT Shotgun 2 IC's/MIT Shtgn 2 Speaker
    PSAudio Cryo PwrPrt Prem/ExctPwrEP15A
    Wlnt SDA 2B TL/Oak SDA SRS II TL-Sonicaps/Mills/Cardas/Cust SDA ICs/Mortite/Dynamat Extreme/TFLF Rings/FSB-2 Spikes
    NAD SS rigs w/mods
    GIK panels

  10. #10

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    How long before an amp dies? If you have my luck and bought it new about 5 sec after the warranty runs out. That's why I never buy anything new.

  11. #11

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    Thank you mhardy6647!

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