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The Synth Spa and My Juno... Advice?
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Author The Synth Spa and My Juno... Advice?
LeFreq
Hey all,
Has anyone had anything successfully serviced and returned by The Synth Spa this year? My Juno has been gone since January and, while I feel like I'm at the point of no return, maybe I should just ask for it back.

I can do enough DIY to replace the voice chips, but I wouldn't go for the whole restoration myself. Fortunately, it's a clean one already so the voice chip replacement may be enough. I'm not complaining or anything, because he's supposed to be the best and does it really cheap (I can't afford any other tech I contacted about it)... but "2 weeks" every 2 weeks isn't the best ETA I've ever heard from someone. It also seems to be a common theme in the Synth world to report to customers that you're going through tough times when things aren't getting done. I believe him because I have no reason not to, but it's really been a long time.

Thoughts? Advice? Do it myself? Hang in there?
LeFreq
I just wanted to reiterate that I'm just asking if anyone has gotten their synth back yet this year and for advice, because I know many wigglers have been through similar issues. I am very excited about Allen's work, because he's the best, AFAIK. I'm just wondering if it's a better choice for me to move on or not... I'll have to give him some more time anyways, but if I have a plan to do it myself, I can hopefully encourage him to get it done quicker.

So maybe I should ask if anyone has any tips or references on doing the job myself? I'm decent at DIY, have soldered cables, built contact mics, module kits, I'm designing and building my own guitar pedals and doing mods n stuff on some gear now. So, I don't think I would foul it up too bad. hihi
jessem
I didn't wait nearly 6 months, but when I received it back MY ASS IS BLEEDING
dougt
He still has active listings on ebay for his repair services. You'd think if he was that backed up he wouldn't be taking new jobs... Doesn't sound good...
seriously, i just don't get it

If your up for a little DIY I recommend getting a Hakko 808 and remove the voice chips and treat them with acetone yourself...
LeFreq
jessem wrote:
I didn't wait nearly 6 months, but when I received it back MY ASS IS BLEEDING


Thanks. This is encouraging. thumbs up

Quote:
He still has active listings on ebay for his repair services. You'd think if he was that backed up he wouldn't be taking new jobs... Doesn't sound good...


If your up for a little DIY I recommend getting a Hakko 808 and remove the voice chips and treat them with acetone yourself...


I agree. I had not even noticed. I find this to be a little scary.

I've received a few encouraging PMs and also always heard great things about his work, plus I'm about to move and my life is changing a bit so I wouldn't have time to DIY right now anyways. If it's not back once I'm settled in, I'll probably have to just get get a refund and do it myself. [/quote]
jessem
Just checked my email history. It took a little under two months round trip.

At a month I checked in and was told it was started on, about a month later it shipped out. So while I was completely happy with the end result, I would say his estimates are probably not to be trusted.
WildOlive
Guys ,

I'm still here. I'm still repairing synths. We've been slammed with repairs. It's probably because we are the only ones who guarantee all of our chips, or maybe it's because we do 3x the work for the same price as other expensive shops. Or maybe it's because we do custom colors and lighted benders that no one else does. I've been working 80-90 hours a week for 3 years. We have repaired or modified over 600 synths. All the stress has caused me to have several stress related illnesses. I have IBS and I've had a pain in my colon for over a year. ( It's not cancer, don't worry). I don't have the energy to repair synths as fast as I used to. I have hired an excellent tech Mitch, to help me thru the backlog. We will be all caught up in 3 months. I've even asked many in the synth community what I should do while trying to get caught up. They have all said don't shut down, people will worry. And what do I find here? "he hasn't shut down, you should worry."

My ebay listings ALL say 3 month turn around time. I'm doing the best I can to get caught up.

You also need to know that I have done everything I can to make people as happy as I can BECAUSE they have waited so long. I've offered free extras, coupons for future restorations -if that's what they want. I've offered free custom color modifications, and free lighted benders. Whatever I can do to make up for the pain of waiting. If anyone did not get that message, PLEASE call me and talk to me about it. I will do what I can, to explain the situation and make it up to you. In 3 months, this craziness will be done and we will be back to our normal 4 week turn around time on routine repairs. Customs synths do take longer, and it'd reasonable to expect them to take 3 - 6 months. Some have even taken one year for special product development.

Please stick with me on this and you will be rewarded. I have some awesome products coming out that you can receive at COST, if you'll help me get thru this time. I have a list of the people who have. Some of the people here probably will be on that list!

Let's stay positive and get some synth saved!!

ALLEN
LeFreq
Allen,
This is not what I wanted to happen. I did not want you to see this and be offended. The point here is that I'm asking others on what I should do while I'm going through a rough time myself and there are a lot of factors on my end as well.

I'm completely aware of your issues, as are all of your customers, I'm sure. I just wanted reassurance from other customers as you can imagine it's a little tough situation. I'm also only having the most basic operation that you do, no custom work. I wanted to take you up on an offer for more features, but that seems quite counter-productive at this point.

I've also been on this forum a few months and I've heard 10x that someone was sick or in tough times, so they can't finish the module someone paid for, so it's a little unsettling. It's just too common of a theme to not be a little worried. That's why I was asking and don't mean any offense. It's just like reading testimonials or something...

And, I've received a lot of encouraging PMs and, as you can see in this thread, many encouraging posts. Everyone is on your side and every single synth head that has had work done by you has given me 2 thumbs up. I have no reason not to stick behind you, just needed my nerves calmed.
WildOlive
No worries! and sorry to hear about your stuff as well! I am juggling a lot of boards right now and I'm having to perform a sort of synth triage. So, it's quite possible that you are not in the mix where you should be .

Can you give me a call or drop me an email and I'll see what I can do? I have no idea who you are (here) so please let me know that as well. We will get thru it!

And I would love to trick something out, or do something extra for you. If not now, hopefully in the future if the need/want arises.

Allen
dougt
Allen, good luck and hope you can get through the repair work backup. I think it would probably help you and calm the nerves of your customers if you didn't require full payment to be pre-paid. When someone has your synth and your money they obviously can get a little nervous. Prompt communication is key too. Anyway just some friendly business advice...
LeFreq
Allen, will do.

Quote:
Allen, good luck and hope you can get through the repair work backup. I think it would probably help you and calm the nerves of your customers if you didn't require full payment to be pre-paid. When someone has your synth and your money they obviously can get a little nervous. Prompt communication is key too. Anyway just some friendly business advice...


He's actually been decently communicative, it's just that "deadlines" aren't being met. There was a general email sent out to all customers, but other than that it has required contact in order to receive any other info. I think maybe just setting longer deadlines and keeping people informed on their synth regularly would be better... but, those are both hard things to do and keep up with, especially the latter. That's what I would say if I was in a position to be giving business advice, anyways. 8_)
ohcanada
LeFreq: I'm curious to know if you received your Juno back? I was contemplating sending mine in for repair, but ran across this forum and am understandably concerned...
LeFreq
I regret even making this forum post as it's definitely true that things can just get a bit slow. It's something I've learned first-hand recently from a small foray into this type of business. Everything has worked out now and even with some perks. It did take a long time, but I was never upset about it. If I had been, I would have just asked for it back. I more just wondered if I had been repeatedly lost in the pile.

Allen is the best there is for Junos (and probably other synths). I'm not sure if it was the time I sent it in at or it will continue to be slow, but nobody else is doing it as well or for as cheap as he is.

You can either go to your local tech and pay $1,000s or send it to Allen and he will do his best for much, much less. Local Tech will be quicker, but not really worth it... I mean, in the end, it's just a Juno. It's not like an Andromeda or some rare synth. No offense to the Juno.
acidbob
Just an advice from me, better back off a little of the incomming work, stress for longer period is not healthy and it will tear you completely down in the end. Seriously!

Hope you get your Juno fixed ofcourse, i totally understand, but sometimes it can be hard to set a deadline. And most people are more optimistic and not able to face facts.

Remember when you was a kid and time was longer?
That's what you both need to remember, good times. No stress, time wasn't that important and why should it be now, just because we grow older and realize that we might run out sooner than expected? The most important is to enjoy life and don't worry smile
limpmeat
I just fixed my Juno.

It is not a quick repair. Took me a while, including a long wait on a new Analog Renaissance chip. No surprise Synth Spa are snowed in with work for what they charge.

But I'm glad I did it, as I know now how to calibrate it, if it ever goes out of tune again. Definitely do the PSU caps as well, made mine sound a lot cleaner.
Jaytee
LeFreq wrote:
I regret even making this forum post


I don't think you have anything to worry about. As far as I can tell, the worst damage done to SynthSpa's reputation in this thread is giving other folks a realistic idea of the current wait time. Side from that, nobody's had anything negative at all to say about them, and as you've repeatedly emphasized, they're by far the most economical solution to getting one's Juno fixed up.

Personally, every time I get in a mood to buy a Juno (still haven't pulled the trigger yet), I factor the cost of a trip to the SynthSpa into the eBay prices. This thread doesn't change that in the least.
artisan
As an owner of one of Allen's 106's I can say it is the only way to own a 106, IMO. Sounds great, looks great, and I can sleep at night knowing I won't wake up to a dying voice chip!

Get well, Allen!
Filch
I myself have had a terrible experience. Allen has had my Juno since October 2013. In December, I inquired about the status of the synth, and I was told

Quote:
"Yours is basically done. I just have to get it in front of me to calibrate. I've needed to send this letter below to everyone I've been late with."


The letter details woes of spending time training new techs who just ended up quitting shortly later. He also mentioned taking on too many of these and is way behind. I said no problem to that, I understand certain circumstances and was just checking status.

Fast forward to Feb 7th. Allen reached out to me without needing to be prompted from me

Quote:
"Just wanted you to know that your board will be coming home within the next two weeks!"



I contacted Allen a month later inquiring how things were going. I got no response and I emailed him again 3 weeks later on Mar 23rd. He finally got back to me on the 26th.

Quote:
Yes, sorry things are crazy. It's helps when people keep checking in. I just wrote your name down to put on the hot list. Training my new tech has taken more time than expected. However things are going a lot quicker now. I would say within another 10 days .


I thanked him for responding and the updated. A month later on Apr 29th I asked him what the latest was. I got no response so I emailed him again almost 2 weeks later on May 11. He responded to me on the 12th:

Quote:
Hey, I'm so sorry. The email app on my phone never showed me the new emails from you , only the last one I apologize. Yeah it's been hard for me to keep up with the emails! I am getting out normal Junos at about a rate of one a day. I'm going to go ahead and put yours on a list to be out this week probably Thursday / Friday. I'll email you when we are getting closer.

And because you've emailed, I put you on a different faster track.



Up to this point I've been very patient. I was told in December it was almost done and here we are nearing the end of May. I understand things happen and situations arise, but at this point, I just want my synth back. I don't care if it doesn't get calibrated. I sent Allen the following email:

Allen,

Quote:
I just want a hard date. Since you said probably Thursday or Friday, let's commit and say you'll get this shipped out to me with fixes and calibrations completed by Monday 05/19? That's an extra 3 days from when you said it would probably be finished.

If that does not happen by then, I want the Juno returned to me in its original state with a refund. I don't want to wait on this any longer. So come next Monday I expect it to be shipped with all repairs and calibrations, or shipped in original condition with a refund. Either way, Monday is the cut-off date.

If you already know that it's not likely you're going to finish by then, by all means, return it to me now. No sense stalling any further. There will be no hard feelings. I just want my board back.


Allen responded by saying "Read you loud and clear, I'll get it done as you say"

I told him I appreciated it and I was looking forward to getting my synth back home.

Come this Monday I asked Allen if he completed the work or not, and what my tracking information was. I got no response. I contacted him again yesterday and again no response. I have heard nothing today either.

I told Allen that keeping my synth at this point is tantamount to theft. I said I would make my rounds on the forums warning people of my experience and to be very wary of doing business with Allen Coppock, and anyone associated with SynthSpa. I'll be filing a BBB complaint as well, and should there be no resolution, I'll seek small claims filing.

I hope someone finds this when looking into getting their Juno's cleaned up and avoid the problems I've had to deal with.
Kingnimrod
BBB is a worthless organization. Don't waste your time there.
Filch
Kingnimrod wrote:
BBB is a worthless organization. Don't waste your time there.


No? He has complaints on there already. One was resolved, 2 remain open. I figured better than nothing at all. More people can see more complaints is what I figured.
Kingnimrod
What I mean is that BBB is completely voluntary and has no power. It is not a government entity and cannot force any business to do anything, especially businesses that don't pay to be members. I guess it might be helpful if the business is concerned about their reputation, but otherwise no.

http://www.ivetriedthat.com/2013/11/11/is-the-better-business-bureau-r unning-a-racketeering-scam/
Filch
Right, yes. I'm aware of that. I'm more about getting the word out about poor business practices and hopefully save someone from having their Juno held hostage by this guy.
Xminus1
I wanted to jump in here.

I realize some of you have had your boards out a while, but Allen is not a thief or anything of the sort. I purchased a full board restore from him 4 months ago. He did initially tell me about 2 months, and time did drag, BUT I stayed on him. I called him multiple times, and followed up with numerous emails.

I did experience some aggravation at the delays, but the point here is I did receive my Juno 106 yesterday. Allen probably took on more than he could handle, and admitted that he was late with everyone, BUT, and I want to stress this, my Juno is perfect, and sings like a dream. Zero problems.

The lesson here is to just stay on top of him, and if your contemplating buying from him, remember that his wait times can be longer than he estimates, but the finished product is well worth the wait.
dubnspace
good to hear, cause I bought a Jupiter 4 from him back in February that was going to get a full restoration and it was promised to me in March.. I email him once every 3 weeks or so asking for an update and he at least responds to me every time..
Filch
That's well and good, and several people have received their units back (some over one year later). That's great, good for them. I don't want to wait anymore. Numerous times I've been told, "it's almost done", "You'll see it soon", "Sorry, one more delay."

I'm willing to accept there are good reasons for things like this to happen. Fine. What I'm not willing to accept is that I've asked for my property to be returned to me, worked on or not. I was told 2 months, and here we are coming on 7 months. I just want my board back at this point. I'll take it somewhere else.

So if this is not theft in my case, what do you call it when you ask to have your property returned to you, as is, and all you get stonewall silence from then on? He said he would return it to me, fixed or not, on the agreed upon date, and now nothing.

I don't see how anyone can defend this kind of practice.
Filch
Brand new account Xminus1 and this is your first and only post to MuffWiggler... ?

hrmm...
dougt
Hmm indeed... Same person has just posted his synthspa defense on other synth forums today.

Just because someone steals from your neighbor but not from you doesn't make them less of a thief and yes holding your synth for such a long time and refusing to respond or sending it back is stealing IMHO...
Xminus1
Well just because I have a new account here, and posted the same thing over at gearslutz, doesn't mean I'm in any way affiliated with Synth Spa. I'm not.

I get you guys are frustrated, just giving my opinion here.
artisan
Just curious if there has been any update on this. I'm a fan of Allen's work and just wanted to check in.
Robbie
I wish I had seen this thread before I shipped mine off. I don't mind waiting, as long as I have a realistic expectation as to how long it will be. But I hate the idea of my business factoring in to someone being so stressed out they become physically ill.

I sent an email asking about it last week and did not get a reply. I'd call, but there's that whole "dude is already stressed out" thing. seriously, i just don't get it
dubnspace
he's been posting updates over on the gearslutz thread.. I'd ask over there:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/moan-zone/836078-synthspa-public-messa ge-allen-coppock-4.html#post10430886
LeFreq
Robbie wrote:
I wish I had seen this thread before I shipped mine off. I don't mind waiting, as long as I have a realistic expectation as to how long it will be. But I hate the idea of my business factoring in to someone being so stressed out they become physically ill.

I sent an email asking about it last week and did not get a reply. I'd call, but there's that whole "dude is already stressed out" thing. seriously, i just don't get it


Well, it's been a long time. And, I think it would have been better if you had not found this thread. I actually wish this thread didn't exist. It's a bit out of hand and my fault.

Anyways, at this point, you're setting him up to fail by having these negative expectations - which is why I said the above.

I have a friend who sent in his Juno right before mine came back and his only took a few months. He did have very minor communication issues, but things were much better for him.

So, I say give it some time before you start trying to push the process along. Make contact if needed, but just let it be. I think things are possibly a lot better now.
monads
It's not asking much to inquire on turnaround time. If it takes 2mos, 4mos, etc. why not just state that in the terms & conditions??? This way the customer at least has a general idea. It works both ways, what if the customer is out-of-town on travel/work/vacation/moves?.....during that time the item randomly shows up???
LeFreq
monads wrote:
It's not asking much to inquire on turnaround time. If it takes 2mos, 4mos, etc. why not just state that in the terms & conditions??? This way the customer at least has a general idea. It works both ways, what if the customer is out-of-town on travel/work/vacation/moves?.....during that time the item randomly shows up???


I think you're missing the fact that this is a COMPLETE restoration of a vintage synthesizer for only ~$300. Every other tech in the world would charge you $1,000 to $2,000. I tried to go to many others before the Spa.

Also, money aside, it's hard to put an exact number of time on doing a full restoration. He has to keep finding Juno chips and other parts, procure them, etc. Not even mentioning the actual workload.

I was told it would be a certain time when I sent mine in. It took longer. I was told when it was almost done, then was contacted when it was done to get a free LED mod, then was told when it was shipped. So, that whole point is moot.

Just being real and offering the facts here. I still agree on some level, it sucks when your someone else has your shit and won't tell you how much longer they will have it. But, the truth is, I've been in that situation more times than I haven't been when getting gear repaired. This one was just the most extreme for me, but it's still pretty much how it goes with a lot of techs.

Looking back on it with a clearer head, I'm glad I went with the Spa. I saved ~$2000 and received an absolutely stunning like-new modified vintage instrument back. Keep it for however long you want if I don't have to pay 3x the price I paid for the actual synth to begin with!
monads
That price is definitely a steal! But the price wasn't in question, it's the courtesy of defining some turnaround time, normal/max times?

Some customers may prefer to pay another tech for similar services much $$$ if their equipment gets turned around 1-2 weeks. Maybe they have a gig/performance? Plus there's also the 'peace-of-mind' factor that comes into play. Anyone who's sent their gear off to a non-responsive tech with long lead times worries they'll be a victim, losing their precious gear to save a buck. It normally all works out, but I'm just saying some customers do go through this.
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