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Zissou
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Serious Earthquake Cinenova Issue

Have what until today was a perfectly functioning Cinenova 5.
Well I have had an issue, not a small one, and am very upset with Earthquake's response. We had the system on playing a movie as background noise when I heard a loud POP and a strange noise I'd never heard before. I glanced back at the amp and saw flames shooting from the top of the amp about a foot and a half to two feet in the air. Needless to say I ran to the amp and shut it down but it had already blown the wall plug breakers. The smell of an acrid electrical fire filled the air and I stood there stunned for a few moments. When lucidity kicked in I started wonder what else it had taken out, my speakers or pre/pro perhaps?
I also started thinking I'd better call Earthquake but first we wanted to take the top off and see what damage had been caused. Luckily it looked like most channels were intact, no fuses had blown(???) and the 20 amp circuit breaker had not shut down. The huge capacitor on the channel that had literally "fried" was scarred black and had a hole and crack blown in it. I called Earthquake and "luckily" the manager was in. After explaining my issue he immediately starting talking to me in a mocking tone of voice explaining he's never heard of this happening. I replied that I could care less if it hadn't happened before it had happened NOW! I explained that I lived in Canada and when I had purchased the amp the previous owner had phoned Earthquake and arranged for the unit to be covered. He started laughing and said that's impossible as we only cover the original owner. Now I know this to be false as I have recommended and probably sold more of these units than most dealers have and I know that warranties are transferrable as all the amps I had recommended to friends and colleagues had gone through this procedure. He then started to get rude and said well it doesn't matter as we do not cover any warranties in Canada. His voice started to raise and unfortunately instead of taking a deep breath I got angry as well and he hung up on me.
So much for good or even reasonable service. At this point being angry I decided to check deeper and see what damage had been done. This next bit attests to the superb build of these amps. I pulled the fuse from the literally "blown" channel and unhooked the two power wires running to it and damned if I didn't get 4 channels working perfectly. This after having flames shooting out of the top of the amp. At this point thinking my wife might do a better job, having a cooler head than I at this point, she called back and no they will not cover this under their ten year warranty so we're stuck for now. On one hand the sound is sublime, on the other hand since the unit is on 24/7 I do not know what would have happened had we not been home. There are curtains as room treatment fairly close to the amp and they easily could have caught on fire. To say I was alarmed and upset when I called might be an understatement but to have the manager, and he says he's been there 20 years, treat this so lightly and in such a condescending manner has shocked me and this happened 5 hours ago. I do intend to post my experiences on every board I'm a member on because clearly this could be a dangerous issue and the way I was treated by the company has me sick to my stomach. I have probably recommended and sourced a dozen of these amps for people and I always talk highly of their sound quality, that still exists, and of the integrity of the company. When I first purchased mine and it replaced a Krell I was so excited I called the company and talked for half an hour to one of the engineers about all manner of music and sound. Clearly his friendly demeanor was an anomaly at Earthquake.
I am upset, angry and a little shaken up right now. I was expecting great service and instead I was derided and made to feel like an idiot. I hardly expect any resolution from them at this point but if they do I will update this posts. Until then I would be wary of purchasing what really is an amazing product.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Serious Earthquake Cinenova Issue

Forgive me, but, I know little or nothing about this company. Can you contact their parent company, or a North American distributor? Something in writing might be given more weight. Maybe Earthquake might take things more seriously hearing from a distributor or dealer. I also wonder if a call to the Better Business Bureau or Federal Trade Commission in the States might get their attention if you're absolutely sure that Earthquake is not keeping up their end of the bargain regarding the warranty. The BBB and FTC are agencies that any company will have to take seriously.

Zissou
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Re: Serious Earthquake Cinenova Issue

We just received another report of the same issue, fire from the top and abusive service from them.

We have just received the most ignorant, rude and libellous email from the manager of the company (Abraham) and frankly we are stunned by his words. My wife is in tears and truthfully I am completely in shock right now. I cannot believe any one in a customer driven industry would write what he just did to us.

Zissou
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Re: Serious Earthquake Cinenova Issue

Thanks Jeff but they're a privately owned company. Now have 3 reports of this unit catching fire.

Ray D50
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Another fire

I own two 3-channel amplifiers and I had one channel burst into flame while we slept, our dog woke us up. I was just blown away when I walked into the room and seeing one of my units burning. Earthquake wants $350 plus shipping to replace the channel. Not sure what I will do at this point. Do I want to continue living with these potential fire hazards? 

josephsahyoun
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OUT OF WARRANTY update and TUNE UP

Dear Ray,

This is Earthquake replying here about your posting. I am sorry that you had a problem with our amplifier.  As you were informed when you have contacted Earthquake the amplifier was out of warranty. The amplifier that you have now was manufactured 16 years ago and therefore it is out of warranty.

Let me first take a moment and talk about safety first. The failure that you had was attributed to storage capacitor in the power supply section. In the 3 channel model, we used high quality capacitor that were rated some 20% over rail. Much higher than industry standard. The capacitor maker was Sunkyoung Korea. They are the same supplier for Samsung, Hyundai, even the US.Army. These capacitor hold very high current each is 10,000 mf. I believe that Zissou ( above post) had a similar failure. Capacitors are like human WE ALL DIE.

 When a capacitor die, they release harmless smoke that actually smell like burnt oil. These capacitors are used in washer, dryer, tv etc.. ALL OF WHICH ARE UL APPROVE BUT STILL WILL DIE ONEDAY.

While we did not hear of many field failures, 4 to 5 worldwide ( thousands of unit sold).  Earthquake put together a service plan ( TUNE UP) that MAKES US NO MONEY AT ALL. This service plan takes an old unit like what you have, and what zissou have, and tune it up to be a mean machine that is up to today’s Cinenova performance.

Here are the procedures

Remove all capacitors and upgrade them from 10,000 mf  80 volts to twice the capacitance at 100 Volt DC. This cost us $ wholesale price per piece $50 US per block

The tune up also include a hush circuit, ½ hour per block part cost is not significant.

Check each and every Toshiba output device current delivery, replace anyone that doesn’t pass inspection.

I estimate that our cost is well above $350 ( please note that the 350 was not for repairing the amplifier rather for updating it to today’s standard units). If you think that is unfair well this is a business. This service update the unit to today standard.

Again,

I am totally sorry for your opinion in our company. We do try hard to take care our audiophile brothers. If you are still interested in updating your unit, let me know.

Thanks

Joseph Sahyoun

800-576-7944

kdepew
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Cinenova Grande 3-Channel Amplifier Issue

I don't know that anyone will ever see it, but I wanted to comment on the issue the original poster indicated a long, long time ago. I bought two 3-Channel Cinenova Grande Amplifiers. Both were/are excellent. However, I had the same issue. I can say that it was NOT flames coming out of the amplifier. It is as Earthquake's Joseph Sahyoun indicated above where a large capacitor blew. A ton of ash (or whatever it was) spewed out of the unit and got all over the place. It was NOT a flame, though I wouldn't exactly just call it "smoke". I don't think it was a fire hazard, but it was a mess and I can see how someone may have been alarmed or thought it was fire. BOTH amplifiers had this happen to them in the last couple of years of their warranty. They failed about a year apart from each other. Luckily, they were under warranty (there was some hassle with Earthquake's service because apparently Earthquake reduced their warranty to less than 10 years at some point). I paid the money to have the amplifiers updated as Joseph Sahyoun indicated above (I think I paid less because they were under warranty). It has probably been 5 years since the last one failed, and they are both working awesome. These amplifiers have been great outside of that one, I guess it was two since both amps did this, issue. Also, Earthquake wasn't super easy to deal with (they seemed to think it was my fault at first and we briefly were misaligned on the warranty), but they did the right thing and it wasn't too difficult. I do think this was a design issue (or more specifically a part issue). I think it just turned out those capacitors were bad. Even if capacitors do always fail at some point, I don't think they should blow like these did. Despite this once is ten year per amp issue, I am glad I bought these amps and still view them very positively. I also had a very positive experience with Earthquake service when I lost a screw for the case of the amp and Earthquake sent me an envelope with several screws without charge. The ONE thing I totally disagree with Earthquake's response above from Joseph Sahyoun is the suggestion that this has only happened 4 or 5 times worldwide. BOTH of my amps had this issue. At least one had this issue before Joseph's 2013 post above, and maybe both did. I can't believe it is THAT rare given both of my amps (which have always been well taken care of) had the issue.

Thanks,

Kevin

Ray D50
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Cinenova Grande Amp

Hello Kevin,
Ray again, I currently now own two 5-channels and two 3-channels. Because of the shipping issues and the total cost to update these amps I replaced all the filter caps, switches, relays my self. In every case higher quality higher voltages parts were used in the replacement. I currently have a chirping or little whistle noise coming from a few channels as the filter caps drain. When I asked the Co what it could possibly be I was told they never heard of such a thing!! Seriously out how many thousands of amps they have sold world wide I have the only 4! Seriously! They sound fine that is why I keep them but the Co response has something to be desired.
Yes I had flames coming out of mine.

kdepew
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Cinenova Grande Amp

Hey Ray,

I happened to notice your post when looking for some information about my Earthquake Cinenova amplifiers. If what you are talking about is a whistling sound when turning off the amplifiers, mine do that. If I turn off power, about 5 or 10 seconds later, you hear a short whistling sound coming from the speakers. It is not super loud or anything, but definitely easy to hear. I have never really considered it an issue or anything. I rarely turn off my amplifiers, and it really isn't alarming or anything and it doesn't sound like it would hurt the speakers. I just tested my amplifiers 1 minute ago, and it still does it (I remembered it did). I thought it might be something that maybe went away when Earthquake did the upgrade on my amps, but it is still there. Again, I don't see this as an issue at all. If what you are talking about is a whistling noise when the amplifier is still on, then that is something different and I wouldn't be happy with that.

Thanks,

Kevin

Ray D50
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Cinenova Grande Amp

Hello Kevin,
Yes mine are the same whistling sound when turning off the amplifiers. I have two channels that have a thump and the base cone moves in and out. Well that is great information on the fact your's do the same after your tune up. I would be really upset thinking I was going to get like new back from Earthquake. I was going to send mine in but not if there is no improvement with this noise. One other note I am running 2 ohm speakers when I connected one of the amps channel to a 6 ohm speaker there was no noise. I can rewire mine to 8 ohms but I have not done that yet, still thinking.
You can contact me directly rdrail@sbcglobal.net if you like for any update from my end.
Thank you.
Ray D

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