Lavardin Amplifier Repair

I am a Canadian expat working in Saudi Arabia. I recently bought a used Lavardin IS amplifier from U.K. When the amp arrived and I plugged it in there was no sound from one of the channels. I sent an email to Lavardin in France asking my best course of action. They were prompt in replying and mentioned that if I ship the amp to France (and arrange to get it shipped back from France) they could upgrade the amp to IS Reference for Euro 1,000. Since I did not want to spend this much money (+ 2 way shipping) I decided to take the amp to Montreal during my home leave. I took the amp to the North American Distributor of Lavardin (Codell Audio, who are located in Montreal) who kept the amp for 2 weeks and then informed me they would ask for schematics or circuit board from Lavardin. Later they informed me that the only way to get the amp fixed was to ship to France. I then gave the amp to a high end audio store in Montreal who also do repairs. They told me that they had found the problem transistor but since the part number had been scratched off by the manufacturer they would need to get the exact replacement from Lavardin. Now they are getting in touch with Lavardin to see if they can get the replacement transistor. I am afraid the answer would still be the same i.e., ship the amp to France.

I am very disappointed that a reputable company would not trust and enable it's own distributor with making repairs to an amp. This situation raises serious questions about the wisdom of buying a Lavardin. Also, I think it is unfair that a manufacturer should not provide a replacement part (I have no problem if the part has o number on it) to fix a problem and insist on a expensive (I was quoted C$ 163 one way by the Lavardin North American Distributor)process of shipping (2 ways) to France.

I was wondering if any forum memeber is able to help me here in anyway to repair the amp without spending a fortune.

The cost of shipping and customs alone from the US to Canada and back cost more than the actual work I had done on my Blue Circle amp. If you feel the Lavardin is worth it you'll have to bite the bullet and pay the shipping plus the work. If the Lavardin is not worth it to you then you won't. You're right about Lavardin though, it's very bad service they're providing. Sorry about your troubles. I have no alternative advice to give. Based on your story, I'd never consider them now. In fact, I will try to buy strictly stateside gear from now on after my own experience.
The improvement of the IS referance over the stock IS is quite a lot IME.On one hand that the price quoted by Lavardin seems rather steep ,since there will be no dealer' s markup.but on the other hand,you could have a full Lavardin IS referance ,and a Presumed full warranty by thye manufacturers....

Changing the transistor is quite simple,especially IF your technicians follow the instructions properly{especially with regards to discharging the statics and using a proper antistatic precaution when touching the board.......which unfortunately a lot of people do not do]
Thanks Fafafion and Foster 9.

Fafafion, the problem is that with the transistor marking rubbed off (by Lavardin) my technician does not know what transistor to replace it with. Is this fair business practice on the part of Lavardin?

One day, two years ago, my Naim CD5 CD player produced smoke instead of music and I had take it to "Euphonie", a naim dealer in Montreal. It turned out that the owner there was the authorised Naim repair person for North America. He fixed the CD Player. it took him nearly 3 hours to detect the problem and fix it and the bill.....$75 only. He told me that Naim charges for repairs based on the the time taken for doing the actual repair and NOT the time taken to detect the problem. I was throughly impressed by this level of service.

I know Lavardin is much smaller than Naim, but that is no reason to provide poor service particulary given the high price of the product. Also, what is the role of a distributor if he tells you all he can do is send the amp to France? I could do that very well myself.

I have now realised, like Foster 9, the importance of taking into consideration the ease and cost of repairs when buying expensive audio equipment.

You are right,Naim and Lavardin couldn't be more different.

There are certainly level of Pathological-bordering obsessions to details with Lavardin,and their philosophy,and their Amp is almost unique in its design ,philosophy and most certainly sound.I suspect they are expecting the same from the owner...

Anyway all I can tell you is that you have got a wonderful amp in Lavardin

Lastly,I suggest you contact Soundscape in Singapore about your problem,They have been dealing with Lavardin for many years and there are very few people that know Lavardin quite like them anywhere in the world.
Thanks for the lead Fafafion. I know of soundscape and I will certainly get in touch with them if my current attempt at fixing the amp fails.