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Rega, Wireworld and their spare parts policies

post #1 of 2
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I have owned a Rega Apollo-R CD player for the best part of a year and am very happy with the sound of it. So much so that I really have no need for anything better for CD playback and would happily listen to it for the rest of my life were it to last that long.What I am not happy about, however, is the policy that Rega adopt of refusing to sell parts to owners of their products. For example, the laser assembly on this model is completely self-contained including servo. There is no alignment or calibration required - you merely have to pull out a few connectors, unscrew it and replace it. So long as you have basic skills and don't rush it, replacing the mechanical / optical components in this player is as simple as it gets. Yet not only can you not buy such an assembly from Rega, but even out of warranty you have to send it to their agents to fix it.

 

Another example: should you need a new lid for the player (I suppose it is possible - it is a light plastic), you have to send it back to Rega to get it fitted. Despite the fact that the lid is joined to the player chassis by no other means than two strips of double sided tape (one on each "leg"), Rega won't sell you one.

 

I would have liked to buy a spare laser for this player while I could, but thanks to Rega's policies, I can't buy any spare parts for it. No parts whatsoever. I'm not comfortable owning such a great sounding CD player for which the only way I can ever get any part for it is to wait until the machine actually fails and then send it back to Rega. They may not have the parts when it finally does break down, and then I am totally stuffed. By having the foresight to buy a spare laser / servo mechanism now, I may effectively double the life expectancy of the player with no concerns about a lack of parts in the future, but I can't.

 

Had a similar issue with an expensive Wireworld cable. They use a proprietary silicon "o" ring between the outer shell of each RCA plug and the ground connector. After a lot of insertions, one of the "o" rings cracked. I contacted the dealer I bought the cable from, thinking it would be easy to simply buy a few spare "o" rings. They are about as hard to replace as a light bulb -you simply have to push them into the cavity. But no, Wireworld won't sell you any - you have to pack the cable up, spend $40 to ship it back to the US to have your 10 cent "o" ring replaced in 10 seconds by a highly skilled Wireworld technician and then have the cable shipped back presumably for another fee. This is no different to having to ring your electricity supplier to have a light bulb changed and then charging you a call out fee on top of everything.

 

I'm not sure how many other manufacturers are like this, but these experiences have put spare parts support near the top of my list for future purchases. I certainly won't be buying any Rega or Wireworld products in the future, no matter how good they sound.  If you look how Sennheiser operate on the other hand, they are absolutely fantastic. You can buy any spare parts you like. You just order them and pay up. No questions asked - even for a spare noise cancellation circuit board for my PXC300 which I can assure anyone is far more difficult to replace than a laser servo in a Rega CD player.

post #2 of 2

Access to spare parts has also been high on my list for decades. I keep spares going back to the 70's. That included a set of lasers for the Philips CDM-2 mechanism. 

I actually sold some rare spares on eBay last year and was surprised how generous the bidders were. One reason for those high bids was basically for the same reason that you have had problems with: difficulties in getting some manufacturers to sell to owners of their equipment.

The good sources for hard to get spares from UK manufacturers are CPC in the UK, and Donberg Electronics in Ireland. They used to supply OEM spares to just the trade, but they are a lot more into direct sales these days. Donberg would even order spares directly from the manufacturers from me, including the service manual.

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