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When your equipment breaks down, should you be able to get it repaired?

So your wonderful shiny piece of audio gear has just stopped working, and it's out of the guarantee period. You'd better get it repaired. But will you be able to?

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Repairing electronic equipment is an art. A mystical art, I would say. I spent some years designing and constructing audio equipment for special purposes, but I never really got the hang of repairing things. Somehow you just have to 'know' where the fault lies.

So I have considerable respect for people who service, repair and restore audio equipment.

And also, it's a comforting thought that equipment can be repaired if necessary. A certain piece of equipment might be a significant component of your own original sound. You wouldn't want to have to junk it just because of a tiny problem.

But I was talking recently to a service engineer. He had a shocking story to tell...

Some equipment that is sold today is impossible to repair. And if not impossible, far more expensive than the equipment itself is worth.

He named a name...

Behringer.

As you will know, Behringer makes remarkably low-cost equipment that is generally very good quality for its price. There are other issues surrounding the Behringer brand, which you can read an example of here if you really want. But the bottom line is that Behringer equipment is generally good value for money.

But it can't be repaired apparently. The surface-mount technology that is part of the reason for Behringer's low prices also prohibits economic repair.

So if you buy Behringer equipment and it fails during the guarantee period, you can get a replacement. But after that, you're on a wing and a prayer.

Even so, there is no reason why your equipment shouldn't last ten years or more. But if it does fail, then you will have to scrap it. Or keep it as a doorstop.

By the way, I'm sure this doesn't apply to all Behringer gear. And I'm sure it applies to some other brands too. But this is what I heard from the guy who actually does the work.

But maybe this is progress. Maybe we shouldn't expect equipment to last forever. What do you think?

By David Mellor Thursday November 30, 2006
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