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Lavardin amp rip cremated ----what now ?

Discussion in 'audio' started by JOHN VAN BAVEL, Mar 31, 2021.

  1. halvis

    halvis pfm Member

    I was considering buying one at one time. Whilst researching a few years ago, I read about another Lavardin amp dying. The owner called Lavardin and was told that it cannot be repaired as the designer has died!! So a doorstop. Not great customer service then, this put me off buying one.

    That said they often come up on the European websites, try a search in HifiShark.

    I would still like to hear one with appropriate speakers.
  2. SteveS1

    SteveS1 I heard that, pardon?

    I had the IS Ref here and was very impressed, I eventually ended up nabbing an IT-15. Can't think I'll ever be looking for another amp. I've not heard of a Lavardin dying but did hear from someone who sent an IS to be upgraded to IS Ref, so the idea that they can't repair seems far fetched. You don't see many second hand, people seem to hang on to them.
  3. Mongeddavid

    Mongeddavid pfm Member

    I have had the IS IS ref and two ITs in the past. I believe the later amps were slightly redesigned after the original designer died and there were also some issues with the older designs stability . The second IT i owned which was a newer version did not sound anywhere near as good as the original when placed into the same system.
  4. Werner

    Werner pfm Member

    The VAS is a cascode-like thingy, but for constant power (or temperature) as opposed to the more usual constant voltage.

    IIRC analysed/guessed it many years ago.
  5. gerlando

    gerlando Prog Rocker

    Still we don't know from the OP what's happened...
    Dan K and booja30 like this.
  6. Tarzan

    Tarzan pfm Member

    Ring the UK distributor and tried to get the repaired- has to be cheaper than buying a new amp....good luck any road.:)

    PS; They are pretty special sounding amplifiers it has to be said.
    SteveS1 likes this.
  7. gx502

    gx502 pfm Member

    Sounds like the owner rang Lavardin on a day when the French customer service person was having a bad hair day !!!!
  8. halvis

    halvis pfm Member

    I don't know, post 23 kind of backs this story up.
  9. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr Well, I can dream, can’t I?

    The story I heard was that there were some rather unique or unusual features of the Lavardin designs, based around the designer’s thoughts on memory effect in semiconductors. There was, unfortunately, little to no documentation or literature - it was all in his head - so when he died, some of the magic died with him because it was difficult to reverse-engineer, esp. given some key parts were potted up precisely to prevent that.

    It’s a bit of a lesson, I think. If you’ve got some proprietary IP, keep a safe record of it somewhere.
    gx502 likes this.
  10. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    Potting semiconductors does not make them impossible to get at or identify, just very difficult. The bonus is that the labels are generally laser-written, so are not removed by solvents. With a very few x-rays and some care, potted circuits can be de-potted .But, who wants to do it, at what cost, and why?

    Passive components are identified in various ways, seldom laser-written, but even if partially destroyed during de-potting you have every chance of identifying them.
    Dan K likes this.
  11. booja30

    booja30 pfm Member

    My post above quoted the 1999 review that said parts had their numbers filed off in addition to some being potted. I'd bet with that level of paranoia the potted parts are also obfuscated.

    Maybe x-raying and archaeology could work to reverse engineer and then repair a circuit. But that's not going to be economically viable for anyone, unless maybe the goal is to produce knock offs of an obscure french brand.

    I think these old Lavardins are essentially bricked unless some extremely motivated DIYer decides to pour time and money into a very difficult repair project.
  12. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    For sure, but also due to the probable obsolescence of components. As for ground-off ID's - again, given time, the right kit and incentive, surely that is just another minor stumbling block?
    I have not searched but I am told that a circuit diagram exists online for the lengendary John Curl head amp', which was/is heavily potted-up, but also includes unobtainium components, add in the need for matching unobtainium.................
    booja30 likes this.
  13. S-Man

    S-Man Kinkless Tetrode Admirer

    If I had a broken one of these, I would most certainly have a go at fixing it. Whether I could retain the magic sauce, I don't know. Might be able to make a nicer sauce:):


    Looks like a lateral mosfet amp (no TO220 drivers and no thermal compensation).

    JOB225 is probably similar.
  14. booja30

    booja30 pfm Member

    The PSU is riveted shut with magic anti tamper paint on all the hardware. They really didn't like anyone touching these but them! There's probably angry wasps inside the PSU in case anyone drills the rivets to have a look.
  15. S-Man

    S-Man Kinkless Tetrode Admirer

    Even more reason to get the power tools out ;)

    Judging from the older ones it's only a toroidal transformer under the wasp cover.
  16. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr Well, I can dream, can’t I?

    Ah, is that what causes some transformers to buzz?
    Tarzan, Panderos, neilm and 3 others like this.
  17. sq225917

    sq225917 Bit of this, bit of that

    If you get the semi's out a decent curve tracer should reveal a likely identity.
  18. S-Man

    S-Man Kinkless Tetrode Admirer

    Tricky if they are dead.
  19. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    True, but in a stereo device, how many semiconductors are going to be one-offs, and how often would all die at the same time?

    TBH, if there was money in finding the circuit, you'd just xray it, drill holes to get to or cut as required and do the analysis that way. No need to un-pot at all, and far simpler.

    None of this is applicable to repair though.
    S-Man likes this.
  20. gx502

    gx502 pfm Member

    Even if parts are potted and have their part numbers removed, it just sounds plain silly to me that a <<manufacturer>> is unable to service their own products once they are released into the field. Its got nothing to do with the designer at all, he could have been dead and buried decades ago.

    If what is stated in this thread is typical for Lavardin, then simply i take note, and would avoid them in the future.
    Gervais Cote and booja30 like this.

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