Problems with RKV Mk 2
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Rob N

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I've got this for a weeks trial,everything was fine for 3 days when last night after the unit had been on for 3 hrs the fuse at the mains input blew.The fuses on the circuit board look fine

I am using Grado rs1 phones connected to the impedencer and the unit is on a shalf with nothing above it or to the side.

Is there something wrong with the amplifier?
 
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kelly

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Call your dealer. I don't know what to tell you--I had trouble with my old RKV too. It blew the fuse but would continue blowing them as I replaced them. I finally ended up sending mine back to Audio Valve in Germany and haven't had any problems since.

It seems like the newer ones aren't having as many problems as the older ones so I imagine yours was old stock? If not and you got yours from Meier, just email Jan and I'm sure he'll know what to do.
 
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Gariver

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I got my RKV in Sept, 02 from Jan also, and I blew a pair of 4.7 Ohm resistor fuses recently. Ha! Mr Becker helped me fix the RKV via a couple of emails. It was easy!

When you have problems with your RKV, you should contact Audio Valve and Mr. Helmut Becker, AV's owner. He designed the RKV, and he knows it very, very well. So he will tell you how to solve your RKV problems.

audiovalve@aol.com

helmut@audiovalve.info

*
 
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The Quality Guru

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Why does such a great amp have to be such a lemon?
I was considering this amp in the future, but I wouldn't have the funds for it to make a few pleasure trips to the Fatherland and back!
 
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braillediver

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A friend got the RKV in September after the long wait. It was trashed inside; the transformer had sheared off the PCB during shipping and crushed the input capacitors. This part of the construction is insane! The 6 lb Toroid transformer is only connected to the PCB by 2 tiny pieces of circuit board. This is a design flaw obvious to anyone with 2 eyes.

I bet if you flipped the RKV upside down and shook it the transformer will shear right off like it did in my friends unit.

Helmut, he didn’t do squat. 3 months later still nothing. My friend only asked for new capacitors and he hasn’t heard from Helmut since. The only response from Helmut was a miss directed email to someone else who had the same problem. Design flaw = re-occurring problem?

Like the above poster said they’ll tell you to fix it yourself. Got a soldering iron? For this kind of money the support is ridiculous especially since this is a problem they created and know about.

My first experience with the RKV was me soldering in new capacitors to try to get the brand new unit working. So now he has a damaged RKV, the transformer is just sitting there not physically connected to anything. It was simply amazing to me to be soldering on a brand new $800 amplifier because of a simple design flaw.

I’m raising this issue since everyone praises these people but they don’t deserve it. I’ve talked to other people and they’ve said “Oh yeah that’s a known problem”? It’s a known problem but not acknowledged or openly talked about for some reason.

It’s simply a shame. It’s a great sounding unit but I wouldn’t touch one the way it’s laid out now.

You wouldn’t have to spend a fortune sending it back since they don’t want it back. You’ll get to fix it yourself.
 
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Tomcat

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Fatherland? Well, Guru, there's another great (little) amp coming straight from the fatherland which doesn't seem to have as much reliabilty problems as the RKV: The Earmax Pro is designed by Stefan Brocksieper.


Rob N,

Since we are talking about the EMP - how did yours compare to the RKV in three days that the RKV worked? Can you offer any opinions in reagrd to general musicality, ease, naturalness? Which amp was more enjoyable and fatigue-free?
 
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kelly

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I don't mean to jump in and defend my gear so please don't take this message that way. I'm only trying to help out because of my own experiences.

I don't know who you guys have bought your RKVs from and when. If you could, include that when you post your problems.

If you bought from Jan Meier, I suspect he'll do everything possible to help you get it taken care of. Email him directly.

As for Helmut and Audio Valve, I found them to be extremely friendly and helpful but for me there seemed to be a little bit of a language barrier. I don't blame them for that but if you don't get questions answered easily and quickly, this might be part of the problem. I also got the impression that Audio Valve is mostly just Helmut and his wife trying to run the shop so it's possible that they've gotten a little behind. Either way, I'd try contacting the dealer first, especially if the dealer deals with Audio Valve directly like Meier does.

I wouldn't blame anyone for being hesitant to consider an amp that seems to have reliability problems. I know first hand how heartbreaking it is when an expensive component suddenly stops functioning. I would try to look at all the information, though, including where the amp came from and how old the stock is. My honest suspicion is that people ordering the newer units from Meier haven't been having as many problems, though of course there will always be exceptions with something that heavy shipping from Europe.

I do hope this gets worked out. The RKV is a great amp that seems to be suffering the same fate of the TwinHead and it's really tragic.
 
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my rkv works fine. right after i got it, i moved. i put it back in the inner-box that meier shipped me and when i opened it up at my new place, it worked fine (didn't even remove the tubes).

then i brought it down to brooklyn for the head-fi meet. it got to ride shotgun next to me, but the trip wasn't very eventful accident-wise, so it was fine when it got there. it was a bit wet that day, sprinkling some when i got in so i brought it in under one arm.. worked fine the whole meet.

it was raining a tad bit more when i left the meet, but i carried it (got a few drops on the top plexiglass part) and put it in my car. brought it in and let it heat up to room temperature for a day or two then plugged it in and it worked fine.

point: i've tugged this thing all over the place in the short time i've had it and nothing has ever gone wrong. i also have an mg head, so i know what an amp with quality control problems looks like. this is not that kind of amp. i hate hearing stuff like this, but either way i hope you guys get your stuff fixed.
 
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Gariver

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When I I blew my pair of 4.7 Ohm resistor-fuses, it was mainly my fault. I had the volume turned up at an AKG K-1000 level (way, way up). This is too much initial power for the RKV! You should wait for the red light inside the RKV to go out before turning up the volume.

To avoid problems, you should follow the following steps.

Turning on the RKV...
1. Turn the RKV's volume all the way down.
2. Turn on the RKV.
3. Wait for the red light to go out after one minute.
4. Plug in your headphones.
5. Turn up the volume.

On the transformer...
The RKV's transformer should be screwed to the bottom plate. Most amp manufacturers do this to avoid damage during the amp's shipping phase. I believe Mr Becker should do the same to avoid warranty problems. This security feature makes a lot of sense to me!

EDIT: Jan Meier says that this design flaw has been corrected in recent amps. I hope this correction includes a bolt, securing the transformer to the bottom plate.

On Mr Becker...
In my experience, Mr Becker has been very helpful and very nice. With Mr Becker's e-mails and photos, I was able to repair my RKV rapidly. Sure, to do these repairs, you need a little bit of DIY electronics experience. If you don't have any experience, any repair shop can use Mr Becker's text and photos to repair your RKV in the USA. You don't have to send it to Germany for repairs. Actually, most repairs entail changing resistors. That's not hard at all!

My RKV...
With the AKG K1000 headphones, I simply love the sound I get. It is 1st class--the best! The RKV's bass is tight due to its very high damping (3400). Midrange? It is gorgeous, esp with female voices. Now, unlike some posters, my RKV is not clipped in the high frequencies. I get everything up there! Most likely, this is due to the 4 NOS Telefunken PCL805 tubes I have in the RKV. These are very high quality NOS German tubes!

Edit
I've got to add something. Peter Millett, the designer of the Wheatfield Amps, says that a tube amp must have a very low output impedance in order to drive the AKG K-1000s. If the output impedance is too high, the K-1000s lack bass and sound thin. Hmm...not good! Usually, tube amps have an output impedance of 30 to 40 Ohms. Now, the RKV is in another league: It's output impedance is below 3! What does this mean? It means that RKV produces excellent bass! You don't need a sub-woofer besides you. Ha!

Oh, the sub-woofer solution gives me the giggles. Got to go! With my happy-go-lucky attitude, I have a tendency to crack up with laughter. Bye!
 
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braillediver

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"I know first hand how heartbreaking it is when an expensive component suddenly stops functioning."

Fine and dandy but this unit arrived trashed. It took time and new parts to get up and running from day one. There wasn't any manufacturer support. Except for "got a soldering iron". Since it was recieved trashed some simple support would be greatly appreciated instead of silence? My friend only asked for new capacitors? And 3 months later nothng- like did he go away yet? It wasn't abused in shipment it's a fundamental design flaw.

The unit was bought brand new from Meier when the sale push was on over the summer. My friend has the patience of a saint and is getting boned for his understanding nature.

Hell, he can't even sell it used since it is trashed and needs major repair. He has to figure out how to contain the transformer himself. Double sidded tape or crazy glue who knows?

I hate hearing stuff like this too since the RKV is a nice unit but as it is there's No gaurantee you'll recieve one in working condition the way it's designed now.

And NO this isn't a quality control issue it's a design flaw which is why I expected more from the manufacturer.
 
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Jan Meier

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Dear Headfellows,

"The 6 lb Toroid transformer is only connected to the PCB by 2 tiny pieces of circuit board. This is a design flaw obvious to anyone with 2 eyes."

The first batch of amplifiers that I received indeed had this flaw, resulting in a couple of damaged amps.

However, since then the design has been changed and the transformers of the latest amps now are firmly attached to the bottom of the enclosure.

"Helmut, he didn’t do squat."

In my experience Helmut always has shown to be very helpful. However, lately there have been some problems with his e-mail account. Please try to contact him at info@audiovalve.info.

If you got no answer/response from Helmut, this certainly will not be on purpose. There might be a serious communication error here.

Note: two other amps had the same problem. One was repaired by the owner with instructions from Helmut. The other got a new unit send (and we also paid him for the return shipping costs of the first unit!).

What more can I say?

Cheers,

Jan
 
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Gariver

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Hi Jan:

Thanks for the timely response.

In my view, Mr Becker seems to be a very nice person. I knew he would try to fix any problems concerning the RKV or any other Audio Valve amp. It is great to know that he has rectified the mistakes and problems related to the RKV amp.

Cheers!
 
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braillediver

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Great to hear from you Jan. I’ve contact my friend, sent him this link and I hope it all works out for him.

I’m glad they fixed the problem with the RKV. Sort of, now there’s no excuse to not get one.
 
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