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Condensation - effect on an amp?

burning blue

Hi guys

I would love a hand with this and any heads up or recommendations on what I should do.

I could be completely wrong here. After moving to a new place in Sydney with a nice little studio in the front of the house I wasn't aware of how cold and damp it would be.

I have a Laney VC30 210 all valve which I started playing when a ticking noise started. I figured it was probably just bad tubes (they had only just been replaced). It persisted for about 6 months until one day, a day after wiping it clean with a moist cloth (definitely not wet, no water would have gotten into the cabinet), I switched it on and it konked out. The standby light still works but the amp makes no sound.

I figured as it was old it was probably time for a replacement so recently I bought a second hand Mesa Boogie rocket. I've had it for about a fortnight. When I switched it on tonight much more quietly the same ticking noise kicked off.

I'm freaking out a fair bit because it's a lovely amp and I'd hate any harm to come to it. Could the damp, cold room be destroying my amps? If so how can I deal with it as the whole place feels pretty damp and condensation builds on the windows in every room.

For the meantime I've put the Mesa Boogie in a dry timber wardrobe in my main room, out of the really cold front room. I don't know if this will keep it safe or if this will hurt it more, I did it because it "felt better".

What would your advice be?


J M Fahey

Condensation may hurt an amp, specially rusting poorly protected parts, making jacks develop poor contacts (the typical loop or headphone jacks problem) but it takes months or years to develop, and definitely not so gross as to short something, you'd need some high voltage part dripping wet for that, doubt it's your case.

To boot, tube amps are "self drying" because they run quite hotter than surrounding stuff, just using them regularly is fine.

That ticking sound you heard, if the same on both amps, is probably unrelated to the problem you had with the first one.

In fact, it might be caused by your cellphone, no kidding, or , say, some device in your studio, somewhere else in your home but still plugged in the same mains line or even something outside your house but nearby (think traffic lights controller).

FWIW my shop is located in the old Buenos Aires port, some 80 meters from the river itself.

A few years ago I was plagued by a strong ticking sound which could be heard everywhere: on amps, TV, radio, even the regular (non wireless) phone ... it was maddening.

It would stop as suddenly as it had started.

To make a long story short, I found the culprit: a Spanish fishing ship, on repair anchored close to my shop, who (illegally) was testing its Radar.

I learnt they have a regular, full power mode while sailing, and a much reduced power setting to be used while inside a port ... they were going full blast.

So in a nutshell I don't think the ticking you hear means danger for the MB amp, but have the Laney checked by a Tech to know the real cause of death ... which so far you ignore.


You might also check the wiring of the room. I had a room just remodeled by a licensed electrician and one jack was wired wrong and blew one bass amp, and then thinking it was just the amp, blew another bass amp. Urgh.

burning blue

Cool thanks guys this was really helpful.

Crazy about that radar ship.

I'm also going to look into the humidity of the room. I read elsewhere that may effect them.

Thanks for the heads-up, it's made me feel a bit better.


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