Friday, September 5, 2014

The Panther Tank And The Engl 530

From the fine folks that brought you the Panther tank-a great gun and frontal armor but cursed with a bad transmission, a gas guzzling engine that had the life span of a mayfly, and final drives that would puke if you looked at them crosseyed-where was I?

Oh. I remember. A friend of mine brought in an inoperative Engl 530 tube preamp-a nice piece of gear, but one in which the product support borders somewhere between weak and nonexistent.

The power transformer looks like a brick, but without all the endearing qualities of the said brick. The 6.3v filament circuit that runs the two 12AX7s is defunct. No voltage is forthcoming.

Over the last few weeks I have emailed Engl, the Weiss transformer people in Germany, and the alleged distributor of Engl parts in the US and what's uniform about all of these is that they do not respond to their email or phone calls. In fact they've treated the owner the same way.

A week or so later I managed to reach someone  at Weiss and they said no, they didn't have one in stock and they were having a hard time getting anyone over at Engl to respond to them. A (former) Engl repair center in California informed me that they'd stopped dealing with Engl because of similar parts hassles and the owner had two Engl amps deadlined for parts. Thanks for the good words, Jens. Velvet Distribution has not returned calls or emails at this date.

Maybe Engl could build a nicely designed product like the Panther, but it's no wonder why they couldn't move the ball across the goal line.

Donald Douglas said it best. When one of his design engineers came up with some super spiffy design for something, Douglas would impatiently say "Yes, yes, that's all very well. But how will it do in Peoria?"

That's something the Engl people ought to consider if they want to sell more than the odd amp or two here in the colonies.

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