Reply To: AB168 + QU-16 Failure

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tonmeister
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I sure wish this problem had been found and fixed much sooner. Had the same issue. Showed up at a major job, made all connections, fired up the system: no phantom, no preamp control. No problems with board or Cat5e cable, board recognizes snake, snake shows as ready. Only solution was to hold up the proceedings while I ran home, grabbed three smaller analog snakes, swap those in, re-check the system and finish the job. No fun at all.

Arranged for warranty repair. Sadly, I was told it would have to be shipped (at my expense) to distributor in CA. While waiting for return of the unit (which the CA organization handled with quite respectable dispatch, thank you very much), the repair center at the distributor called me to let me know that A-H was aware of the problem, that the unit was reverting to a factory firmware state, and that the fix was to connect it to any GLD series mixer, which would appropriately reset the firmware. Again, a huge thank you to the repair folks for letting me know that. Why didn’t A-H proactively communicate with me about the issue, though, I have to wonder?

When it first happened, I talked to the dealer I’d bought the unit from, and they said since I’d had the unit more than 90 days (barely) there was nothing they could do to help me. Apparently the AR2412 never suffered from this issue, and I thought maybe I could talk them into letting me pay a re-stocking fee and trade up my mint unit for the AR2412. They wouldn’t. They suggested I sell it and get the AR2412. Horrifying discovery #1: big price drop on the AR2412 — now less than what I paid for the less capable, less reliable AB168. Now who in their right mind is ever going to want to buy my AB168 when they can get an AR2412 for a few dollars more? I start looking into that because I just can’t be saddled with gear that isn’t reliable, or sit around waiting for new firmware to arrive (which, based on the track record of many companies, could be a very, very long wait). But wait, what is my next horrifying discovery?? A-H has dropped the price on the AB168 by almost 30%!!! Now the unit I own is so significantly devalued that I probably can’t even recover 50% of what I paid for it, even though it is nearly new, and I’ve kept it in pristine condition. Thanks a million! 🙁

Meantime, I have gigs to do, and have had to fork over a significant amount of cash on renting snakes as a stop-gap. Thanks again! (And, oh, by the way, I was also told that A-H, while promising a future fix, did not have a good handle yet on what was causing the problem, and that, despite the “repair”/reset, it could happen again anytime — and we have no idea what is causing it — so good luck.)

Oh well, I got it back, and it was working, so maybe I should just shut up and be happy, right? On my second gig after getting it home from repair, the same thing happened. I was even at the same venue, and I can tell you it was no picnic having egg on my face twice in a row with them. The “good” news is that I planned ahead “just in case,” and had rented (again) a backup snake. The bad news is I had to spend that money at all, and that I wound up having to take a good chunk of time from the session swapping out the AB168 for the analog.

Brought the unit to a local A-H dealer for reset (one that is also an authorized servicer, which begs the question, why did they have me send the unit to CA when they could have done the reset via GLD right here in town?? Would have been really nice to save that shipping cost the first time). Unit reset without incident.

Today we have the new firmware, which is supposed to solve this issue. I certainly hope it does, because I am not at all satisfied with my AB168 experience, so far. This thing had better be bulletproof, now. $1400 is a hell of a lot of money for a boat anchor. When I spend this kind of money, I expect it to work, period. If this happens again, I’m going to start screaming bloody murder to everyone from the dealer I got it from to A-H until they offer some sort of satisfaction (and it had damned-well better be more significant than some stupid t-shirt or other “swag,” or I will lose all confidence in both the dealer, and A-H).

If this is a real, long-term solution, I guess I’ll get over it at some point, but I would have been much better off financially (and professional reputation-wise) if I had just kept my old analog snake, and, at least right now, I am really regretting I ever talked myself into going the DS route. I feel like I was unknowingly a beta tester who had to pay, and pay very, very, very dearly for the priviledge.

A-H, want to give me back the $400 premium I paid for being an early adopter? Want to reimburse my replacement gear rental fees? (I know, I’m dreaming.) How about an apology? (Maybe even a crazier dream?)

One other question (and probably rhetorical, again, but here goes): If this firmare update is supposed to really fix this problem, then why is there no reference to it in the 1.71 firmware release documents that a) acknowledges the existence of the problem, and b) states that it has been resolved?

Signed,

Disappointed and Discouraged