Welcome to Liquid Audio’s FAQs

I’ve compiled a list of the questions I’m most often asked about servicing, repairs and classic hi-fi gear, along with answers, to hopefully save you some time and energy.

I hope you find these FAQs useful and if you’ve got a question I’ve not answered here, please get in touch.

How long will my service or repair take?
Good question and don’t know, it depends on what’s wrong with your equipment, the type of work you’ve requested and how busy I am.

I seemingly have half of Perth’s hi-fi equipment here for service or repair at any given time! I’m definitely not complaining, but it means there will be jobs ahead of yours, so keep this in mind.

All my customers want their jobs completed quickly of course, just remember that there’s a bunch of shonky operators out there, lots of work and just one of me!

Why do you describe Liquid Audio as an ‘ethical’ business?
Because I run my business honestly and this is a very important part of my business ethos.

My overall plan is to do as little harm and as much good as possible in the electronics repair space. You might call it acting in good faith and it continues to bring amazing customers to me.

Liquid Audio is my passion, I do it because I love saving hi-fi gear and helping people. I’m not interested in ripping people off or acting unethically, though many others are. That’s why I stuck my neck out and created the Hall of Shame.

Do you offer pre and post-purchase inspections?
Yes, we are very happy to assist customers needing pre or post-purchase inspections.

I’ve been involved in several cases where goods were damaged in transit or not as described. In each case, where I’ve acted on behalf on my customer, inspected the equipment and written a report, they’ve been financially reimbursed far in excess of the inspection cost.

Can you quote on repairs without inspecting my equipment?
Generally not, there are too many unknowns until I’ve properly inspected and tested your unit.

I can often provide servicing estimates, where repairs are not needed. For repair or restoration however, I need to properly examine and test your equipment to diagnose what’s wrong with it and determine the best course of action, based on your requirements and budget.

Can you offer advice via phone and email?
Yes, I’ll always answer my phone during business hours if I’m not tied up and I reply to emails within 24 hours.

I try to keep conversations and email exchanges reasonably brief though, I can’t enter into long email exchanges in particular. Telephone chats are better for me.

Can I get ongoing free advice and support?
No, whilst I try to help everyone, please understand that many people want my advice, opinions, help with repairs, etc.

I run a business focussed on my paying customers who always take priority. You are very welcome to become one of them of course, but I will do my very best to assist you whether you are or not.

Can you definitely repair my unit?
Most likely yes, but again it depends on what’s wrong with it.

Most hi-fi gear is repairable and repairs to vintage hi-fi gear are almost always worthwhile. Occasionally though, the combination of faults, condition and model, may render repairs not viable.

It’s important to understand that I am not responsible for the condition of your unit or the deal you got when you purchased it.  You might get a good example, or one that’s not so good and I can fix most things, but I’m not a miracle worker.

Sometimes, despite spending lots of time and money on something, it remains a not so good example. This is of course beyond my control and domain of responsibility.

Is your work warrantied?
Yes, we guarantee our work to be free from errors and parts supplied to be free from defects, for a warranty period of three months, from the invoice date.

We stand behind everything we do and in the rare event that you have a problem within the warranty period, related to work we’ve undertaken or parts we’ve supplied, we will gladly remedy it, free of charge.

Naturally, this warranty does not cover parts that we haven’t repaired or replaced. Problems may result from the age, condition and pre-existing parts within a unit and are therefore not covered by warranty.

Does you require any up-front payments?
No, I trust my customers and at this stage have no plans to request up-front payments.

I may ask for a part payment for work completed or for parts purchases in expensive repairs and restorations though. With most normal work, this is not necessary.

Do you charge for inspections?
Actually a Liquid Audio inspection is free if you proceed with a service or repair.

You only pay for an inspection if you chose not to proceed or the repair isn’t viable.

The bonus is that Liquid Audio won’t destroy your equipment in the process, a handy bonus compared to many local repairers. A ‘free’ inspection by someone who ruins your gear or can’t repair it isn’t saving you anything.

I like your overhauls and upgrades, do you supply kits or parts lists?
I don’t supply kits or parts lists for a number of reasons:
  • Upgrading electronics safely and effectively requires experience, knowledge and skill. Damage often results when people without this necessary background attempt modifications.
  • I use many rare, NOS and hand-selected parts not easily obtainable.
  • My upgrades and mods are tailored to suit your needs, budget, and equipment. There is no standard solution.
  • I don’t sell electronic parts alone, only supply them as part of a service, repair or upgrade.
  • I don’t have the time to assemble kits and then work through the problems that would result from people attempting to modify their equipment.
Why service or repair my vintage unit when I can buy a new one for a few hundred bucks?
Because you own a beautiful, better-made and better sounding amplifier or turntable that has already lasted longer than any new junk you can buy for a few hundred bucks will!

Please read the next four FAQs for more on this.

Nothing you can buy now for sensible money is built like your old hi-fi equipment, or even made in Japan. Even low-end gear from the 70’s and 80’s is better made and sounds better than cheap new gear.

“But Mike, what about all the improvements in technology..?” Marketing BS. With steadily increasing labor costs, improvements focus on making gear that costs less to build. Compared the weight of old and new 50 Watt amplifiers recently? Sure, there have been developments – in reduced build quality and reliability, not great ‘features’.

Ever considered why people in the know and with all the money go after the great gear from the 1950’s and 60’s..? Think about it, you can have anything, and you choose a valve amplifier from 1957… What hi-fi gear you buy today will be working in 4 years time, let alone 40, or 60? I service and repair equipment that has come in for its first visit in 40 YEARS.

But the dude in the Hi-Fi store promised me the new $500 turntable would kill my classic deck?
Of course they did, you know how these guys make money, right? In almost all cases, older turntables are better than cheap new ones.

So why would a salesperson tell you this? Because they want and need you to get rid of your perfectly good turntable, so they can sell you a new one. It’s how they make money, they’re paid on commission. Plus they then get to keep your older, better deck. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen.

Imagine walking into a hi-fi store, and being told by the only honest salesperson: “Well no sir, I recommend you keep your turntable, it’s a much better-made and will definitely sound better than this new plastic deck made in China!” How long do you think that salesperson would last?!

Hang on, surely newer hi-fi equipment & technology must be better?
Generally not, modern gear uses the same circuits and design elements, implemented more cheaply, with lower quality parts and construction quality.

There is no ‘new technology’ in analog audio. Almost all analog electronics circuits date back to the earliest days of tubes and transistors. Even things like class-D and class-T amps are not new, and Redbook CD was designed in the late 1970’s.

Now I’m not saying that there isn’t some great sounding new gear out there, there is, but you have to pay for it. Digital is one area where things have improved. Even so, to get a decent sounding new DAC or CD player for example, you still have to pay for it and a really good older design with usually be better than an affordable new one.

I’m just not buying this Mike, I bet your hi-fi system contains lots of new gear?!
No it doesn’t, the newest item in my stereo system is an upgraded DAC from 2004, the rest is much older!

Sure, I may upgrade my DAC to something newer, but my system consists almost entirely of vintage gear, including an amplifier and preamplifier from 1984, turntable, headshell, cartridge, transformer and speakers from the late 1970’s and a tuner from 1975.

Remember, I work on and listen to just about everything, including modern gear. I can have whatever I want, and I’ve specifically chosen this gear for sonic reasons. Occasionally I’ll hear something I like more and in those cases I’ll grab it, but that’s usually digital, not analog gear.

So, there’s actually an industry built around getting people to ‘trade-up’ to inferior, new equipment?
Correct. I’ll give you one last thing to ponder:

Read the press reviews – every new bit of gear sounds significantly better than the one it supersedes, right? And this happens roughly once every year…

How then is it possible for a lot of 40 year old hi-fi gear to sound significantly better than equivalent new gear? If each year there were significant improvements, older gear would sound terrible, compared with gear with 40 years of significant improvements, right?! Do you see how this just doesn’t add up?

How is Liquid Audio different from other repairers?
In ways that I know matter to my customers – passion, quality of work, professionalism, attention to detail, value for money.

Liquid Audio is a small, specialist repairer. I own and run the business, do the technical work, administer the website, write the articles and take the pictures. I’m immersed and invested in this and have been for a long time.

My motto is “do the least harm and the most good.” I work with the care and attention to detail you see in the articles here on my site and I’m not afraid to put everything I do out there. Check out my customer feedback.

What services does Liquid Audio offer?
Liquid Audio offers specialist service, repair and restoration for classic and vintage hi-fi equipment from 1970 onwards.

We service and repair most Japanese, European and North American amplifiers, turntables, CD players and tuners and undertake major overhaul and restoration work as well. Check out the Service & Repair page for more information on how Liquid Audio provides TLC for hi-fi equipment.

What types / brands of hi-fi equipment does Liquid Audio look after?
Liquid Audio looks after most European, Japanese and North American hi-fi stereo gear from 1970 onwards.

Liquid Audio is an independent repairer, specialising in most brands of Japanese, European and North American amplifiers, turntables, preamplifier, tuners, radios and CD players. We also have perhaps the only proper setup in WA for aligning hi-fi FM stereo tuners.

Is there anything you don’t work on?
Yes, I don’t generally work on equipment that isn’t considered hi-fi gear.

This includes radiograms, stereograms, jukeboxes. I also don’t generally take on gear that has been pulled apart, messed with by home repairers or modified using kits and other forum driven fiddling, because it usually means taking on too many problems.

Do you sell pre-owned hi-fi equipment?
Yes, visit the For Sale page for current stock.
Do you sell belts, stylii and other parts?
I do, and I can supply and fit almost anything you want, if that’s part of a service or repair.

This is for reasons of quality control, I generally don’t supply small parts unless it is part of a service or repair, but feel free to enquire.

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