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I had static one channel of my RA1 amp. Yesterday, I opened the box and melted the glue that covers the circuit board with a heat gun. I then was able to determine that one of the input caps was bad. Unfortunately while removing the glue, I obliterated the markings on the caps. I did measure 5 uF on the good cap but I decided to contact Grado for confirmation.
My email was answered within 2 minutes and the 5 uF value was confirmed. They also sent me a schematic of the circuit (basically a Cmoy with gain using JR4556 opamps). I replaced both caps with 2 uF Solens which I had on hand and all is well again.
Kudos to Grado for incredibly rapid response. OTOH the circuit is about as simple as you can get and the circuit could not cost more than $15.00 plus perhaps another $30 for the pot, audio jacks and power jack. I paid about $300 T 10 years ago. So the very nice wood box cost me about $250 - a very nice profit. The RA-1 works very well with the SR-60's which is all I need for occasional headphone listening.
Here's the schematic:
Grado sells it to dealers for $150, or back then anyway. Glad all ended well.
What's the value of coming up with that circuit, laying out the board, having it cut, drilled, and traces applied, sourcing and q/a-ing components, carrying inventory, soldering/assembly, testing, sourcing the solid mahogany stock, setting up the cutting/finishing of the box, executing same, designing the packaging, packing it up, obtaining distributors and/or retailers for it, marketing, shipping, and post-sale support?
It's a tough business.
"A man need merely light the filaments of his receiving set and the world's greatest artists will perform for him." Alfred N. Goldsmith, RCA, 1922
$300 retail for a product that costs no more than $100 to manufacture is probably not out of line in today's world.
OTOH we can always buy a Cmoy "RA-1 clone", housed in a cheap Altoids tin, for 1/4 of the cost of the RA-1 on ebay. But then we would be depriving ourselves of the opportunity to support an infrastructure that allows for the making and selling of handmade in USA Grado products on a worldwide basis.
That mahogany housing sure does look classy, don't it?
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