Shindo Reliability

Does anyone have either good or bad experiences with reliability and servicing of Shindo gear? I'm considering an investment in some new electronics, but I'm a bit apprehensive. I've had some terrible customer service experiences with very small companies and importers in the past.

I'm a little nervous about spending so much money on electronics with limited distribution, made from vintage parts, built by a single person, in a foreign country.

Does anyone have any positive or negative experiences they would like to share regarding service and reliablity? I'm already convinced that the sound-quality is world-class.
but I'm a bit apprehensive. I've had some terrible customer service experiences with very small companies and importers in the past.

I'm a little nervous about spending so much money on electronics with limited distribution, made from vintage parts, built by a single person, in a foreign country.

If I felt like this,I would stay well away from it, but that's just me.
Live a little... 2 yrs, away from the core dealers, no issues, no worries. Go for it. You can eat McD every day, it'll taste the same, guaranteed consistency, but you might want steak medium rare....
I have had a Shindo Monbrison for 3 years. It is a steller piece of equipment. I bought mine at CSA Audio and I could not be happier with the service. More importantly, you should know that the importer, Jonathan Halpern, is absolutely first class and has been available to answer any question that I have in connection with Shindo equipment and what equipment is best paired with it. He is, at his core, a music lover. He has always been thorougly reponsive and I would not give "reliablity issues" or "poor costumer service" a second thought.
Tim1 I agree with Aronosss completely. I own Shindo equipment, purchasing through Matt at Pitch Perfect Audio on the west coast. I will state that his customer service, knowledge, and support is second to none. Shindo gear is made to last a life time. As the economy allows, I will happily move up the Shindo ladder without giving a second thought to any of the concerns you mentioned.

I understand as I was there over two years ago wondering the same. The musical enjoyment derived from Shindo gear is astounding and I'll never look back. The importer is strong and Japan is not that far away if you needed work done. The world's pretty small these days. Heck, even if a tsunami swallowed Japan tomorrow, I'll bet that a competent high-end electronics guy would find a Shindo extremely well laid out and easy to work with to solve most any issues that might arise post-tsunami.

I have several friends that own shindo gear, and there have been some reliability issues with them. That being said, the distributor is a good one, and was able to help them out without hassle.
The sound is something else - quite nice for sure (but pretty expensive too)
I'm one of the friends that Mantisory above is referring to. We all bought from Matt and agree that he's first class in responding to questions and service issues. I usually buy all my gear used, but in this case I would only buy Shindo from a dealer like Matt because lets face it, we're talking about handmade pieces that use 30 yr old NOS parts so issues may arise. For me, the glorious sound is worth taking the leap as can't look back now.
tim1..your instincts rule here.....sometimes logic gets thrown away in proportion to the money that's spent. way to many classic new and used pieces from companies who wrote the book for decades...with easy access to service too.
There's really nothing to worry about.

Shindo has been in business (as Shindo Laboratory) since 1977. Which means that only a handful of companies are older. They have been 'writing the book for decades'. I think people get an impression that Shindo is new because they only started hearing about Shindo the last few years in the US. Shindo is a small operation but is not a one man operation. One of Shindo's sons has been working at the company and probably will take over someday.

If you check out Japanese used gear sites, you'll find an occasion older Shindo gear for sale including the earliest stuff that comes in brown. (The early Shindo gear was brown). All of these units still work perfectly. I've seen and hear many older Shindo gear that have been sent back for tune-ups, repair, adjustments and have returned better than ever. One of the cool things about Shindo is that he keeps a supply of parts and tubes for all of the gear he has sold.

The second point is that Shindo tunes each piece to a specific sound. He can get the same sound using slightly different tubes and parts. I have a Vosne Romanee preamp and my friend has one too (about 5 months difference between the two units). The phono stage tubes between our two units are not the same but the two units sound the same. We are not talking about different brands of tubes but totally different type and electrical characteristics. No matter what the parts situation, Shindo will be able to get a piece of gear working again.

I built my own tube gear for 15 years. I went to an all-Shindo system because Shindo is a legend among the DIY crowd. His layouts remind me of the way Tektronix used to layout all of their oscilloscopes. Very clean, efficient, and easy to work on. In contrast, I've seen gear made by many domestic companies including some that have been around for decades and the wiring quality, layout and design could best be described as being wired by "crazed monkeys". (A term one dealer used to describe the insides of a piece brought in for repairs).

The prospects of having to send your gear back to Japan for repairs might seem daunting. But shipping to Japan is easy. I've sent things to Shindo and received things from them and the transit time is usually less than 7 days. I buy a lot of stuff from Japan especially fountain pens and shipping via EMS is fast, relatively cheap, and easy. I've had one problem with my system and that was a freak problem with my Shindo cartridge (my fault). I gave it to Matt at Pitch Perfect and he sent it off to Shindo. Matt lent my a loaner cartidge to use while mine was being repaired. It came back a few weeks later at no charge. That's about as good as service you will likely find. The temptation is often to buy used. But in the case of Shindo, the service from the dealers like Matt and Jonathan the distributor is worth the extra price.

Just because a company is based locally doesn't mean repair work will be easy. I've been in audio for about two decades and have seen enough complaints of gear sent back for repair a few states away and either come back not repaired properly, come back at the turn of the next century, or are not capable of being repaired at all. As for NOS parts, I'd would trust my life to a 50 year old capacitor made by Western Electric rather than the latest boutique capacitor in many pieces of modern gear.

When I bought my first Shindo piece about three years ago, issues of service never crossed my mind. When I would receive my preamp was probably at the top of my mind. Three years later, I have a system that is all-Shindo from cartridge to speakers (cables, power conditioner, ...everything). I paid for all of it. I don't think problems of service every cross my mind nor do they haunt my sleep.

These thoughts are based on my experience and your own experience may differ. I'm certainly not going to say every piece will always be perfect and things do happen. However, I don't think getting something repaired will be an adventure. You may have to wait a bit but things will turn out.