Repairing the good stuff

At the Stereo Lab, we primarily work on gear built before 1980. This era from the late 1950’s till the early 80’s were the golden years of consumer home audio. While expensive and experimental gear existed, much as it does today, it was during this time that everyman could afford a home stereo. In a previous article I discussed how manufacturing and cost drove the design of gear into the late 20th century till today. In this post, I will discuss some of the differences.

Quality of parts. In older gear, the parts are larger and far more robust. Take for example a simple volume potentiometer, today they are digital, or about the size of your thumbnail. They are hard to clean and if the unit is using tac switches and chips then cleaning a volume control is largely out of the question. Another example is transformers, power transformers were once big, heavy iron things that could take decades of use and continue to function for a very long time, perhaps into the century mark. More modern gear simply does not meet the build quality standard.

The idea back then was if your piece broke, you could take it to a repair shop like Stereo Lab and have it fixed, which we still do today, but later the idea was if your piece broke you would throw it away and buy another one. This type of throw away mentality is not good for you, me or the environment.

Board level vs. Component repair. When you purchased your home theater system from the big box store, you were given a 1 year manufacturers warranty, (if you filled out and sent the warranty card). During this time, if your piece failed, you could call the number provided and given instructions on what to do. They would direct you to a service station somewhere, usually not close to you, and you would ship the piece to them. Once at the service facility a tech would replace the entire board the offending part was likely to be on. Another scenario is they would simply send you a new unit. After your warranty was up, the giant corporation that made your piece no longer has your board and you will be forced to buy a new unit. At the Stereo Lab we are able to identify and repair discreet parts on the older designs. This is why we sometimes reject a piece for repair, because it was not made to be repaired.

We love this older gear, it was built well, sounds great and can be fixed. Come see what we can do for you today.

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