WOW. THAT WAS… NIFTY. ( WHILE IT WORKED… )
The consumer electronics industry has never been more diverse and technologically sophisticated than it is today. Sadly, many of the modern wonders we now take for granted are not products that can be easily repaired if they fail, such as cell phones or MP3 players. However, within the overall universe of electronic and electro-mechanical devices that are a part of our everyday lives, there is one variety that stubbornly refuses to go quietly into the landfill.
Most people enjoy music, and many people still own stereo equipment that they regularly use to play the radio, audio cassettes, phonograph records, or other media sources. While this portion of the audio/video marketplace has been reduced to a smallish percentage in recent years, it is not only one still tended to by a very devoted group of people, but these same people often own equipment that may be 15, 20, 25 years old or even older.
So how is that possible, when “everyone knows” that electronic gear is only supposed to last a paltry couple of years before it either wears out, breaks or becomes technologically obsolete?
Traditional stereo system components are very different in design from the largely digital and computerized circuitry that make things like cell phones, DVD players and Ipods possible. They often use larger, more standardized, more reliable parts and are typically sturdier in their physical construction. This latter attribute was never more true than during the period sometimes referred to as “the golden age” of stereo sound-- the years between the late 1950’s and the mid-1980’s.
Some of this equipment is so well engineered and constructed that as long as parts or suitable replacements for same can be obtained, the product can be repaired almost indefinitely. The very best gear is often from the mid-70’s to mid 80’s, when construction quality and technological advances hit their peak together. You may own some of these components right now that are setting unused because they are in need of repairs or maintenance. The only problem is-- where does one find a repair shop that works on this equipment?
THERE’S NOT A LOT OF US LEFT THESE DAYS
But I’m one of them. And who am I? Leaving any philosophical issues to one side for the moment, I’m an electronics technician who had been employed for several decades by a local specialist audio shop-- providing sales, system design, installation, and service repairs. In January of 2009, I opened my own audio service shop, operating out of my home. Running an audio repair business in this fashion has advantages and disadvantages, but on balance the advantages clearly win out.
The disadvantage? My zoning restrictions for the residential area that I live in are that I operate what is referred to as a “No-Impact Home Occupation”. This means that I may not have a retail storefront, signage, parking allocations or the ability to have clients do business directly at my home. Sorry, folks, you can’t bring your gear directly to my location, but that isn’t the impediment it might first appear to be. In fact, it brings me to…
The greatest benefit of a home based business is the reduction of my operating costs to a bare minimum, allowing me to offer repairs to area audio dealers at a wholesale rate. The dealership’s investment is far smaller, and they can then keep service rates at or below what they would otherwise need to charge to offer repair services in-house, rates often much higher than many people would be willing to pay relative to the value of their equipment. My associate dealers serve as a storefront for me, and I personally pickup from and deliver your components to them, avoiding the very substantial risks and sometimes hefty costs of packing and shipping.
By the way, the simple reason very few audio dealers offer their own service department these days is because the shop overhead is very heavy and the volume of work is continually diminishing as throwaway products begin to dominate the marketplace. What I have done with my business offers a viable workaround to this dilemma.
NEARLY LAST, BUT HARDLY LEAST
It is important to emphasize that I am an audio specialist. While I can repair many other electronic and mechanical devices, 90% or more of my work over the last 20+ years has been within the audio field. I was a serious audio hobbyist before going into the field professionally. I not only do not have an aversion to working on older gear, but in many cases prefer to do so, for reasons outlined earlier in regard to overall product quality.
I am also one of the most experienced technicians in the region for repair work on turntables and record changers, having worked on literally hundreds of them over time, and also possessing the proper tools and test equipment needed for this now arcane but still popular recorded music medium.
So, in summary, if you own some quality stereo gear—be it new, classic, vintage, antique—or maybe even the odd electronic gadget here and there, I will be glad to see if I can bring it back to life again. Thanks for reading, and by all means, keep that music playing!
© 2012 C.J. Huss | Site design by Ninja Fast