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Vintage stereo repair

Posted by Bryan Johnson on

We receive a lot of questions about repairing old stereo gear. Can it be done? How long does it take? How much does it cost? Is it worth it? Let's tackle those one at a time.

Can it be done? In most cases yes. The key is parts availability. As long as we can get the parts, yes, it can be. Basic electrical parts are always available. It's specialized switches, relays, transistors that are no longer manufactured and have no modern equivalent that create headaches. In those situations, used parts are the only option and require patience and searching to acquire.

How long does it take? Repair time varies with every item. Most of what we repair is over 30 years old. Quite often, it has literally been sitting unused for the last 15 to 20 years. Imagine storing your car that long and then trying to take it on a road trip. Like cars, stereo equipment was made to be used and when it's not, certain parts deteriorate and get weak. Now if it was just a matter of fresh parts, and assuming that they are all available and on hand, most any item can be rebuilt within a week or so depending on the complexity of the item. However, in most cases, there is also something currently broken on top of old, weak parts. Add to that the previous repairs that may have been done on an item and whether or not those were done correctly using the right replacement parts. We see a lot of broken equipment that has suffered at the hands of unskilled techs, using wrong parts. In these situations, correcting the original problem is key before proceeding with any additional restoration. This requires, patience, persistence and careful troubleshooting. It's time consuming to say the least and there is no easy way to estimate the time it will take. We do our best to give estimates but we cannot promise a completion date as much as we would like to.

How much does it cost? Repair costs also vary with each item. We price our repairs based on previous experience and potential known problems of particular items. Nobody likes an unknown potential repair cost. We do our best to give a range but there are always items that require far more time in the way of trouble shooting or chasing after parts that are no longer made. Vintage repairs should be considered a restoration process.

Is it worth it? In our opinion, yes, very much so. Music is an integral part of life. The money you spend on your stereo gear is an investment in yourself. Quality, vintage gear can last a lifetime and be passed on. It will be there making music long after the latest i-gadget has long since been recycled. 


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