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Fahey Amplifiers

Started by J M Fahey, January 07, 2011, 12:21:28 PM

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J M Fahey

Note: split from another thread

Hi joecool, thanks.
That's not surprising.
For long times I had a small factory running, with 3 to 6 guys working for me, with Christmas and New Year peaks of up to 8.
Now I'm working with just one guy who does the carpentry, transformers, mounts speakers, etc.
I make boards, panels, speakers, plus actual wiring.
My amps are very simple, I can wire 4 100W heads a day.
In Argentina it was *impossible* to buy US made and British amps, so people were happy to buy whatever I could provide, as long as I had the same quality sound.
When economy "opened" we were flooded with cheap imports and a big part of Argentine economy died, specially the Industry.
I survived because I strayed away from "expensive/boutique" amps (nice but I might sell 8 a year) and got into good sounding but very competitively priced "battle proven workhorses".
I do not make "student" amps, I can't compete with chinese cheapies, 95% are 100W "stage/live" amps.
As an example: my 100W head (Guitar or Bass) costs U$140 ; my 2x12" cabinet the same
binet

New, with 1 year guarantee, parts and service assured for the next 10 or 20 years (that's a big selling point).
That's why I sell around 20 a month, with lows of  8 and highs of 36.
I've had many 6 amp Saturdays , with clients arriving with 1 to 2 hour intervals so they can test freely.
There have been bands born, with musicians meeting here, jamming together and liking what came out.
Just for some old photos and scans: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmfahey/
It's in Portuguese, this was hastily thrown together for some Brazilian customers.
The magazines are the local equivalent of Guitar Player.

joecool85

Juan, I don't think you had ever shared this with us here.  I know you had said you make amps "professionally" but I thought you meant maybe 3 or 4 a year on a boutique type of deal.  Very cool!  And your amps look very professional and well built.  Are your 100w heads chipamp style power amps or discrete using all transistors etc?
Life is what you make it.
Still rockin' the Dean Markley K-20X
thatraymond.com

Enzo

JM, I don't recall where you posted it, but I liked the photo of a sheet of bare boards, ready to stuff with parts.   If I recall you had something like 20 circuit boards on one large board, which I assumed you could snap apart to make 20 amps.

J M Fahey

Maybe you refer to this:

They were already cut and drilled , the solder flux was air drying, then the "L" aluminum heat sinks will be riveted in.
I have been making amplifiers since 1969, so they were discrete, no chipamps available way back then.
I still go discrete, because of universal availability and possibility of repair; besides the obvious fact that only lately chipamps are barely reaching the 100W mark.
I started with 2N3055, then TIP142/147 because of heavy counterfeiting, now IRFP640 or very robust IRFP250.
I'm testing TDA7294 but don't trust them for 100W, and for 60/70W I can do nicely with IRFP640.
I can't maintain a net of authorized service, I'm too small, so I usually exchange powerboards by mail.
For free under warranty and for a low price after that.
I don't care to earn by servicing my own product; the profit is indirect:
guys constantly write me: "I went to play in ------- (any remote place in Argentina) and they had your amps, working perfectly after 20 years ... ".
Although actual schematics vary, boards always have the same connections and are mounted the same way, so any trusty 5/10/20/30 years old amp can receive a "heart transplant" in 15 minutes and continue playing as good as new.

clamup1

@Fahey-$140, whats the shipping from Arg? i can build a cab. ill use the speakers i bought for the Crate.

joecool85

Quote from: clamup1 on January 07, 2011, 09:42:31 PM
@Fahey-$140, whats the shipping from Arg? i can build a cab. ill use the speakers i bought for the Crate.

I was wondering the same thing.  I still think I'll build my own, but it is tempting.
Life is what you make it.
Still rockin' the Dean Markley K-20X
thatraymond.com

J M Fahey

Well, thanks, I'll check.
Only one I know, so far, is our US Mail equivalent, which only sends via air mail and charges too much.
The head weighs almost 6Kg (13 pounds) and postage to USA from 5 to 10 Kg is a disproportionate U$125.
If I can make a lighter cabinet and be under 5Kg, it becomes a slightly more reasonable U$65.
I'm sure that there must be other options; after all, all those guys who sell through EBay and ship from Hong Kong, Malaysia, etc. are paying much less than that for an equivalent trip.
I am selling a lot in neighbouring Brazil, but I have had to get an Exporter/Importer licence (*lots* of red tape), get Brazilian residence to be able to set a (unipersonal) Company there, all to be able to ship by ship (duh !!) and pay by the cubic meter and not by weight.
I rent a little space in somebody else's container; I'm sure those Asian sellers must do something similar, *somebody* must pack a zillion products into a container, which has a fixed shipping cost (U$3000 to 7000)  which spread between individual products amounts to cents each.
Oh well.

clamup1

an extra 125 kills it for me too. if im ever in arg ill stop by.

joecool85

Yeah, a total of $265 just for a 100w head is a bit much for me right now.  Although it's actually not a bad deal when you think about comparing it to Marshall, Vox etc. 

What does this head feature?  Looks like on the top one it is a 4 band EQ with 2 channels...one is overdrive - maybe foot switched?
Life is what you make it.
Still rockin' the Dean Markley K-20X
thatraymond.com

rowdy_riemer

How about a populated board? We could maybe build our own head chassis.

rowdy_riemer

Or even maybe ship with a complete head minus the transformer. Omitting the transformer would lighten things up a bit.

rowdy_riemer

Does anyone else think this thread is cool enough to be pinned?

J M Fahey

Thanks for your kindness.
Yes, regular airmail *is* a deal killer for *any* reasonably heavy product; works only for a couple transistors, a CD, guitar pickups, etc.
If you dare to build it, maybe the boards plus finished (drilled and screen printed) front and back panels (the difficult part to home-make) can be turned into a light kit.
Cabinet, parts and power transformer can be gotten locally.
Let me re-design some featherweight package.
I'm checking and an international "Small Package" (the ones with the large green stamp) costs very reasonable U$22 for 1Kg/2.2 pounds and U$36 for 2Kg/4.4 pounds.
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmhhhh, the little wheels in my head are turning.
What can I fit within those limits?
I'm also thinking about a preamp (+ front panel) package, which can drive any chip amp, from 15 to 100W ... might even furnish an unpopulated board for am LM3886 or TDA7294.  ::)
Wheels are turning and clicking.
Thanks again.

will316

 :tu:  I'm wondering what the tone's like. Is it a really high gain set up? They look very, very nice! Right on par with the big dogs-Marshall, Peavey, Fender, etc. There's a real straight forward no b.s. look to them that I dig. I'll bet here in the states with good promotion you'd sell 'em by the truckload. You also mentioned the fact that equipment you built decades ago could be retrofitted with a new board and be running in minutes-astonishing! How many of the big dogs have been that wise? My hat's off to you. Given the right cicumstance, Fahey would be right next to other big names!
I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue...

joecool85

Quote from: will316 on January 09, 2011, 12:59:31 AM
:tu:  I'm wondering what the tone's like. Is it a really high gain set up? They look very, very nice! Right on par with the big dogs-Marshall, Peavey, Fender, etc. There's a real straight forward no b.s. look to them that I dig. I'll bet here in the states with good promotion you'd sell 'em by the truckload. You also mentioned the fact that equipment you built decades ago could be retrofitted with a new board and be running in minutes-astonishing! How many of the big dogs have been that wise? My hat's off to you. Given the right cicumstance, Fahey would be right next to other big names!

I was thinking the same thing. 

Juan, if you're ever interested in bringing your amps to the US, let me know.  Maybe I could be a rep or something.
Life is what you make it.
Still rockin' the Dean Markley K-20X
thatraymond.com