View Full Version : Preamp Issues with Ovation Legend

03-07-2010, 01:56 PM
First off, thanks for the forum...First time user, here!

I have an Ovation Legend 2077 with OP-Pro Studio preamp. Everything has worked great since I pruchased guitar new in 2006. Recently the 'low battery' light has stayed on 24/7..even with a new battery. Otherwise, the unit works as it did from day-one. Currently my solution to the problem has been to ignore it, and remove the battery when not playing through an amp.
Questions: "Is anyone here familiar with the solution to this problem"?
I have contacted a couple of guitar repair shops in my area, and none seem to 'have the testing equipment to diagnose the problem'. I have not contacted Ovation yet, but that would be my next approach if TGP does not have some other feedback on this front.
Again, thanks for the forum...I have read tons of great stuff for the last year!

03-07-2010, 02:01 PM
Maybe it's a little dust in the circuit somewhere setting the sensor off. Not sure. But if it works I wouldn't worry about it a whole lot. Although I know it can be a hassle. Were the batteries old when you purchased them?

03-07-2010, 02:07 PM
Just checked the batteries...all have 'good dates'. YOu make a great point, though regarding the contacts... I just used some 'gentle' air inside the casing and on contacts...no change, though. I only mention this as I am 'considering' selling and I suspect that something like this could have a negative effect on the sales value.
Thank you for the QUICK response! As I mentioned, I guess I'll bite the bullet and write to Ovation, eventually.

03-08-2010, 04:27 PM
Check and make sure any battery test button is not accidentally stuck in the on position.

03-09-2010, 11:47 AM
I have the exact same problem with a Legend LX. A replacement OP Pro Studio preamp was quoted at $250. Obviously don't want to go this route if there is a simple fix. The constant red light is maddening, otherwise the preamp works fine. Will post back to this thread if I find a solution.

03-11-2010, 09:58 PM
I would call Ovation USA (Kaman Music) in Hartford CT. There customer service is very good. They may have an easy fix. Chances are good that they will send a new pre amp to a shop in your area for re placement. Their warranty lengths are not etched in stone, they are pretty flexible. It never hurts to try.

Bob V
03-12-2010, 04:34 PM
Just a thought - Kaman is now owned by Fender who can't decide how long their own warranty is. But it doesn't hurt to try.

You could also try posting the question in the acoustic instruments section.

03-13-2010, 08:34 AM
Try taking the preamp out, take the battery out for 3 minutes, then reinstall the battery. Does the red light come on when the preamp is out of the guitar?

If yes, the preamp has a fault.

If no, there is something in the guitar that is telling the preamp to go on. Chances are that it is a contact on the 1/4" jack. It is a 3 conductor jack which detects when a plug is inserted, which then turns on the preamp. If that contact is stuck, it will keep the preamp powered up even when there is no cable plugged in.

If you also have the XLR jack it is possible it is related to that. It is wired so that if the case of the XLR plug is connected to one of the pins it will turn on the preamp. There is no moving part involved, there is a little circuit board attached to the XLR jack. A fault in there could be the culprit, but since it is all passive components it would seem quite unlikely.

Note that pressing something against the xlr jack is a way to cheat the detector. Some preamps such as the VIP require a cable plugged in for the tuner to work. Other preamps will allow the tuner to power up even when no cable is plugged in. Pressing your fingers into the xlr jack will spoof the electronics into thinking an XLR cable is plugged in. If there is something pressing into the jack, maybe a rag or a strap in your case, it could be causing the preamp to stay on.

Electronics have a shorter warranty than the lifetime on the guitar. The preamp may be out of warranty at this point.

03-13-2010, 07:06 PM
Pedalsteeler...I feel your pain, it is indeed , "maddening".

GtrDr and Bob V, you have convinvced me that a phonecall is a much smarter way to go than just livin' with it, as I found the same $250 quote for a replacement. I'll contact those guys next week and let everyone know the outcome, thanks for the push!

FlySig, You seem to have some really good suggestions here, but unfortunate for me, none would apply. Soon as a battery post makes contact with the preamp...light (preamp out of guitar). No XLR on mine, and the 1/4" jack does from time-to-time get loose, but as I mentioned...preamp is sitting in my hand when battery sets the light on. Indeed, the warranty states that electronics are not covered for the full term, but it does not put a limit other than that..." the limited warranty shall be valid for a period of five (5) years of the original retail purchaser and shall not apply to the following components and properties of the product where present: strings, electronic components, amplifying devices, normal fret wear, and any parts not made by the manufacturer"...Nonetheless I salute you for the effort to diagnose.

I'll keep you all posted on the results of my phonecall.
Thanks again!

03-24-2010, 07:19 AM
Update...Ovation Support was pretty quick to point out that the preamp was out of warranty, so the only option was to purchase a new preamp, or ignore the light.
I responded back to them that their Service/Support Dept has enjoyed a good reputation in the past, but that has not been my experience [with them].
Still, if I'm being honest with myself, a warranty usually has a line in the sand, and I can't really blame them for standing their ground, it's just disappointing.
Anyway, to you all, thanks again for the responses and suggestions! Hopefully, one day I can return the service.

-"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro" - Hunter S. Thompson

03-24-2010, 09:55 AM
The next layer of possibility is get it to a tech who can go component level on it. With Fender owning them now I may be able to get schematics from them. I'll post back if they are available. That might not be exactly cheap either, but may be economical relative to $250. Will have to look at the circuit to get a better idea.

As your sig says it the going has gotten weird.

03-25-2010, 11:59 AM
Many thanks, Ronsonic.
I have written back and forth with [askus@ovat...], and it sounds like maybe that department is just some guy waiting to give out disappointing answers: (I.E., "ignore it"," buy a new one", "we are unable to support your request for w/dia., or schematic", I've gotten all those responses.
I have started looking down other paths, so in the event you find one (W.diagram), please advise where I might get a good look at one. Thanks again for the response-

Bob V
03-25-2010, 04:59 PM
when you unplug the guitar, does the light go out? then sorry for pressing the obvious but I'd ignore it and just play the thing. The battery indicator function has ceased to work properly, but if the rest of it still works I'd go with it unless that LED is killing your battery life.

03-26-2010, 05:21 PM
Hi Bob,
To speak to your question, the guitar and preamp could be miles apart, when I put a battery into the preamp, the "low battery" light comes on...and stays on until the battery is removed or drained. I'm sure the light staying on has some effect on the life of the battery, but it's not 'super-draining', that I have noticed, though it is nice and BRIGHT RED against a black body. I'm sure I could learn to ignore it, and that is what I would advise someone else to do. Problem is, it will manifest itself as a 'defect' in a conversation about resale price (I mentioned also, that I'm planning to sell this guitar, but not due to the light).
Just kind of a sore spot http://img.thegearpage.net/board/images/icons/icon8.gifwhen I see it. I'd like to fix it. I looked on the Ovation Fan Club site and some of these guys have [15] different Ovations...not one mention of disappointment, perhaps I should find a way to modify my perspective.
-Thanks for trying to help!

07-16-2010, 08:19 PM
Hi, Oltenderfoot,
I have a Ovation 2078Lx with the Op-Proo/Studio Preamp. Last night at a local gig the Red Battery light came on on my preamp also. I removed the preamp from the guitar and replaced the battery with a new on and the Red light continues to stay on even when preamp is not in the Guitar. Have you found a solution yet. It's bugging me to no end. Like you everything works fine except the red light will not go off.
Thanks billy4673

09-17-2010, 08:58 AM
To: Billy4673
No, I've not found a solution to this issue. I have been removing the battery after each session where I've plugged-in.
I really like the guitar, and so far have been able to deal with the disappointment (sometimes by avoiding this particular guitar in my session).
I've considered just snipping the wire that goes to the light, but I am afraid that would only address the sympton, and not the problem. I've also looked on-line for replacement preamp, but they seem to sell these on-line only if they are connected to a $1700 guitar. I will slowly continue to persue a solution and post here if I find a reasonable one.

Keep me posted if you find one please.


12-09-2010, 06:33 PM
Guitar is going to be listed fsot...just never could bond with this beautiful thing.
Showroom condition with exception of amp light.
Aiming for a Martin (MMV, D16-RGT / Gibson SJumbo)...Dreadnaught if there are any persons interested.

-"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro" - HST /RIP

01-12-2011, 06:24 AM
with regards to the above, I too am having the same problem but a little different. I have an OP 24+ preamp on my desert balladeer and the low battery indicator led comes on even on a new battery but after a minute or two. the only difference is that there is no output when the led is off but when the battery led shows low battery i get a output from the guitar. then there is a loud sound when the led goes off and there is no signal from the output. this keeps happening intermittently.

I have changed all the condensors and also the transistor.

Did u guys manage to fix it??

02-11-2012, 03:15 PM
Oltenderfoot & Pedalsteeler -
Like you, I feel like customer service at Ovation/Kaman took a nose dive.
3-1/2 years ago, I upgraded my 1980s Ovation Balladeer (Model 1112) to what I think may have been one of the first Op-Pro/Studio modules sold. A year later, it had the same problem you both describe - the "Batt. Low" light staying on. I was able to work through Guitar Center at that point and swap out a replacement. Two years later (6 months ago), the replacement module developed a more serious problem - random flashing on the LED display and loud buzz instead of music coming out the guitar chord. Guitar Center now acts like they have no affiliation with Ovation/Kaman other than selling their stuff. After no reply for 4 months from the Kaman Customer Service, I re-sent my inquiry and was told I should buy another module ($250) or else send the whole guitar in for eval. & billable repair. I think sending a vintage Balladeer from Oregon to New York is imprudent and told them so. I also feel that $250 every 2 years is unrealistic. Anyone know of an alternative (3rd party) Pre-Amp? I wish I could go back to the original volume-knob-only it came with! It worked as designed for over 20 years. . .

06-06-2013, 12:59 PM
batt. low light on and loud buzzing appeard when I put on a li-ion 9v 680 mAh recargable battery. And I asked the customer support if I could use that particular battery without demaging my Legend Custom 2077 LX before I put it in, and they said yes........


what were batteries you people used when you started having problems? I tested the battery it wasn't by any means 'strong'. It was full and had 8.26 v and made horrible screaming noises when plugged in PA, plus the light went and stayed on, and when I put back the previously used battery it worked with a lot of buzzing and light on. One of the elecricians I visited said that the 'electrical circuit' burned up to some degree and that it can be fixed when he gets the part- but I dont believe him a lot, if he makes it work I can post what he did. The guitar is 6 years old- so I don't konw is this because of it age or... battery or everything above.

Customer support also said buy a new preamp......and that's not easy since I'm from Bosnia, and they haven't got any op-pro/studio preamps in the whole Europe.

I love my ovation but this is such a pain in 'the appropriate part'.

12-23-2014, 01:00 PM
I've had the same issue with the Op Pro in my LX 2778 Standard Elite. Let me first say that I love this guitar. The Ovation LX2778 is a sweet guitar with a fine sound and incredible action. The weak link seems to be the Op Pro. I think I've had this guitar for probably 6 or 7 years now but am on my second Op Pro preamp that both have suffered from battery drain. My first Op Pro with drain issues eventually went dead and was replaced through warranty by the fine people at Elderly. The replacement has started the battery drain syndrome again after several years of use. I've even considered installing a micro on/off switch tied to the battery lead to save on 9 volts. The Op Pro sounds great and works well otherwise.