About me

About 20 years ago I had a Marshall that needed new output tubes.  I knew very little about tube amps, but I knew there was something wrong with the amp.  It was thin sounding, weaker than it had been before, and the tubes were glowing red when the volume was turned up.  So, like most musicians, I brought it to a repair shop.

6 weeks–yes, WEEKS–later I got my amp back, along with a $395 bill plus the cost of the tubes.

Now, for me–like most young musicians–$395 was a lot of money. I paid it, of course, because I needed my amp back.  I wasn’t happy about it.

The guy who worked on my amp commented out things like 5 hours to bias the amp, which shouldn’t take more than a half hour. Three separate–and it turns out make believe–mods for the output tubes to extend tube life.  “Specially selecting” a matched set of output tubes, which were not even remotely matched. Replacing electrolytic capacitors was a big one, which is funny since he didn’t replace any.

It wasn’t until a few years later, after I’d started learning electrical engineering and repairing and building amps that I realized just how badly I had been ripped off. Doing some napkin math, to do what that guy actually did would take me about an hour.  So it would cost someone $35 plus tubes.  A far cry from $395 plus tubes. Plus I’d have it back to the person the same day if they brought their own tubes, or a few days if I had to order them.

That’s why I started Second Order Audio. Quality equipment and service at prices regular musicians can afford.

Back to top