Christmas in AU 1

2021 Recap, Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday!

Merry Christmas and a big thank you to our customers, subscribers, friends and family.

A huuuge thank you to all for helping make 2021 another fantastic year. Here’s hoping this Christmas message finds readers well as we near the end of another very busy year.

As usual, Liquid Audio will be closing for the festive season, this allows me to take a short break and even to catch up with a few of the many jobs in the queue.

Liquid Audio is closed from 19 December 2020 until 11 January 2022.

Hey, you’d be closed too if you had to work in an unairconditioned workshop, in heat like this! –

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Carine ambient air temperature, in the shade, 2.30 pm, December 26! That’s 111 on the old scale. Sweet Lord.

Statistics

Our web and business metrics have continued to grow. 2021 is easily our biggest year yet, with nearly 260K views and this December has been our biggest month with nearly 28K views. We also hit a million total website views this year, a real milestone for our small, specialist business and something I’m very proud of. The fact that people specifically seek out our help definitely puts a smile on my face.

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Growth remains strong, with 2021 our best year yet. It has to plateau at some point, but when?!

This year also saw our greatest number of unique visitors at over 125K and the largest number of comments at over 358 so far! Our most popular pages and articles are the revamped FAQs, the contact page, the store and articles on the Quad 405Kenwood KD-500/550, Technics SL-23, Yamaha NS-1000, and Sansui AU-919. The largest proportion of viewers come from Australia, followed by the USA and Great Britain.

Growth & Workload

This year also saw even more work completed and even more of the “Sorry we are Fully Booked” sign. I apologise if this impacted your ability to book equipment in, if turnaround was slower than you expected, or if I still have your equipment, as is the case with a few patient customers.

One issue is the type of work we deal with. It’s often high-end gear combined with technically challenging diagnosis and repair work. Pieces have often been to the wrong people before I see them which only makes things harder. I enjoy challenging work but it can be slow going and, as is typical with businesses that hinge around the efforts of one person, there just aren’t enough hours in each day.

We also help people, many of whom aren’t customers. “So what?” you might be thinking. Well, helping chews up time, a reason why many in this space don’t offer it in the way we do. Most people probably think it’s just them with questions, but it’s not and these interactions can each take 10, 15, 30 mins. Add it up and you have a ton of lost time that we increasingly need. It’s one reason I’ve so dramatically expanded the FAQs and introduced donations.

I’m thinking of implementing shut-down or work-consolidation periods in 2022, where I can focus on larger projects, unfinished jobs and writing. We will see how that goes. I also try to mix up the big repairs and restorations with plenty of smaller service and repair jobs that don’t take me too long.

Growth comes down to the feedback shared by my happy customers, the results we achieve and from this website and the content people thankfully seem to enjoy. My fantastic retail partners at Addicted to Audio, Douglas Hi-fi, Revolution Turntable and West Coast Hifi also continue to send work and new customers, so thanks to Dan, Pierre, Simon, Tony, Kim, Rob and everyone in these great stores for their support.

Thanks also to my electronics repair industry colleagues Jason @ The Speaker Doctor and John @ JW Electronics for helping create a network of actually great repairers who care about the work they do, as opposed to this nightmare of destructive buffoonery. Please support these guys too, because without great people like this helping raise the standard, we are all worse off.

Talking about the website, I did a lot of work this year improving it. I changed the theme, arranged new web hosting and various other refinements that have seen an extraordinary improvement in website performance metrics and user experience. I revamped the FAQs and store which are both now categorised, and tweaked a range of things in the backend to improve the user experience.

Equipment Donations

I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the generous Liquid Audio customers who also donate equipment they no longer want, need or perhaps have come across and don’t know what to do with. People obviously know that we resurrect vintage hi-fi gear so that others can further enjoy it and this year, like previous years, we received many donated pieces of gear.

Every piece of gear needs work, some of it is extensive. It means that, in many cases, this isn’t profit-generating work, but it’s worthwhile nonetheless as it saves beautiful equipment that might otherwise find its way onto verges. Who doesn’t love to see vintage hi-fi gear saved anyway?!

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Spectacular Harman Kardon 230e receiver, donated, repaired and now for sale, in our store!
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This classic Marantz CD-84 was also donated by a customer, repaired and sold through our store.

Hi-Fi Equipment Gallery

I worked on some amazing stuff in 2021, again everything from Accuphase to Yamaha. Brands I worked on most frequently include Accuphase, Kenwood, Luxman, Musical Fidelity, Sansui, Technics and Yamaha.

This year, I thought I’d create a gallery for the many of you interested in looking at a range of really special vintage hi-fi gear, the sort of stuff we work on. I’m happy to work on yours, too!

Take a look at some of the incredible power amplifiers I repaired and serviced in 2021:

Yamaha B-2
Repairing this spectacular Yamaha B-2 VFET power amplifier was a highlight of my year and one of two I saw in 2021!
Krell KSA-100S
This Krell KSA-100S repair and restoration has involved a highly technical diagnosis and repair process and is not yet complete.
Technics SE-A100
Perhaps the highlight of my year, repairing and restoring this jaw-droppingly beautiful Technics SE-A100 that had been shopped around to various repairers, none of who did a single useful thing to her and many of whom had added to her problems. We repaired her, properly, and it involved some of the most challenging repair work we see.
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Beautiful BK Components ST-140 MOSFET power amplifier, repaired and overhauled.
Accuphase P-300
This Stunning Accuphase P-300 power amplifier resurrection really needs a story written. Let’s just say this one was a technically challenging job. I’ll get onto writing that.
Pioneer Spec-2
This stunningly beautiful Pioneer Spec-2 power amplifier repair and service was another pleasurable job for me.
Marantz 170DC
As was repairing and restoring this gorgeous Marantz 170DC power amplifier.
Quad 303
Repairing and restoring this timeless Quad 303 was challenging due to the effects of corrosion, but well worth it!
Perreaux PMF 5150B
And yes, the daddy of power amplifiers, an amplifier that I also own, repairing this incredible Perreaux PMF 5150B for one of my regular customers was a pleasure. It’s one of several 5150Bs I worked on this year.

As usual, many gorgeous turntables graced the workbench this year, take a look:

Technics SL-1200
I set up several beautiful Technics SL-1200G turntables in 2021, this is one.
Thorens TD-145
I always seem to work on lots of Thorens turntables and it’s a pleasure, this TD-145 repair is typical.
Thorens TD-160
As was the work I did on this first of several Thorens TD-160s for 2021.
Denon DP-1200
Likewise, I work on many Denon DP-1200 direct-drive beauties each year, one of my favourite, sensible turntables.
Yamaha GT-2000
Regular readers know how much I like the GT-2000. We did a lot of very useful and never before seen work on this lovely example.
Marantz Model 6350
Similarly, this beautiful Marantz Model 6350 direct-drive turntable came in for work that was long overdue, in this case repairs and proper service and set-up.
Technics SL-1000
I always enjoy working on the end game Technics SL-1000 / SP-10, especially when I’m installing a Fidelity Research FR-64s!
Pioneer PL-1000
This year two rare and desirable Pioneer PL-1000 direct-drive linear trackers graced my workbench, this one for a major repair ad service.
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Clearaudio Concept and Concept MC turntable commissioning and set-up.
SME IV
I even assembled and serviced a very desirable and beautifully made SME IV, one of my favourite tonearms. Astute readers may notice what’s wrong in this picture…

Integrated amplifiers and receivers are a staple here @ Liquid Audio, check out some of the beauties I worked on in 2021:

Sansui AU-X1
Yep, the daddy of integrated amplifiers the Sansui AU-X1 continues to grace my bench, whilst she visits for a full restoration.
Yamaha CR-2020
Talk about a monster receiver, and I repaired two of these spectacular Yamaha CR-2020s this year!
Yamaha CA-2010
On the topic of beautiful Yamaha equipment, I saw maybe four of these gorgeous Yamaha CA-2010 integrated amplifiers in 2021.
Technics SU-V8
I also repaired several of my favourite Technics SU-V8 integrated amplifiers. Is this SU-V8 not the most beautiful integrated you’ve ever seen..?
Accuphase E-202
I worked on a ton of Accuphase E-202 integrated amplifiers, as usual, this year, these truly are another absolute favourite amplifier of mine.
Sony TA-5650
Repairing and improving a Sony VFET amplifier is always a pleasure, none more so than this sublime TA-5650, from a most delightful owner. You need to hear one of these if you haven’t.
Sony TA-4650
The baby Sony TA-4650 VFET amp is also always a pleasure. This was another repair.
Marantz 2238B
It never gets old working on beautiful Marantz gear like this Marantz 2238B. Wow.
Marantz 1300DC
Haha, but as they say, that’s not an amplifier, THIS is an amplifier! The one, the only, Marantz 1300DC. Repaired.

Other interesting equipment I worked on in 2021:

Pioneer CTF-1250
Repairing this otherwise unsalvagable Pioneer CTF-1250 was a highlight for me this year. We went above and beyond for this owner and the results speak for themselves. Another highly technical job, and we repaired the reel motor, often said to be impossible!
Nakamichi Dragon
Enter the Dragon. What else can be said about these iconic decks other than that everyone wants one and they all need a ton of work!
Perreaux SM-2
Do you love Perreaux as much as I do? The Perreauz SM-2 is one of the best sounding preamps ever. It makes some of the supposedly good locally made preamps look like the rubbish they really are. I repaired several of these this year, here are three of them, from around mid-year.
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Speaking of Perreaux, I repaired these three as well. The SM-3 is stunning and the PMF-3150 sits below the PMF-5150, seen in the power amplifier section above.
Marantz CD-16
I just repaired this lovely Marantz CD-16 that previously went to Mr Radio Waves who stuck a sticker on the back and did little else. We fixed it.
Sony CDP-X7ESD
The Sony CDP-X7ESD is one of the all-time greatest CD players ever made. I own one, so does a lucky customer of mine. This is his, here for major service.
TEAC P-30
I just finished repairing and servicing this really beautiful TEAC P-30 CD transport. From dead to perfect working condition, despite some previous ‘tinkering’… 😉
ARCAM Black Box 500
I completely restored this lovely Arcam Black Box 500 DAC for a very happy customer earlier this year. Here it is playing with my Rega Jupiter transport.

This is a small fraction of the equipment I worked on this year. My apologies if I missed yours or didn’t finish it. Additional apologies for not getting to link all the equipment featured here to articles already written. I’ll do a little more of that tomorrow.

Camping

I took two weeks off in October to travel with Liquid Blanche to the northwest coast and Pilbara region of Western Australia to camp and explore some of the most beautiful parts of our state. This was my first proper trip away since I took Liquid Audio full time, in 2017.  We mainly explored the Coral Bay coast and Karijini National Park. If you’ve never been to Karijini, you really ought to take a look, it’s spectacular.

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Francois Peron National Park

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Not much one can say about Karijini National Park except that it truly is one of the most beautiful places.

To 2022!

As always, this great year and the ongoing success of this business wouldn’t be possible without valued customers bringing me their cherished equipment, viewers who love reading about it and the ever-growing interest in this hobby that we all love – listening to music on wonderful, classic hi-fi equipment.

A huge thank you to everyone supporting Liquid Audio through the business, website and YouTube channel. Let me know if you have any suggestions or requests for 2022 and in the meantime, have a Merry Christmas, a happy New Year and a relaxing holiday!

8 thoughts on “2021 Recap, Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday!”

  1. Well done Mike, and wishing you all the best for 2022! What a pleasure it is (as always) to read about and see such fabulous gear and the passion and care with which you enable it to provide musical pleasure to others. Karajini has been on my bucket list for a decade: you’ve reminded me to get on with it! (When those from the East are allowed to roam freely again in WA!) Cheers, Rob in Melbourne

    1. Hi Rob, thank you very much for that and yes you really need to get to Karijini, it’s spectacular, though a long trip even from Perth! Hoping you also have a great 2022!

  2. frank charles Augello

    Best of the festive to you and your peeps Liq Mike
    Hope 2022 is all that it can be to you and everyone in Liq Land.
    🙂

  3. Merry Christmas to you and yours Mike.
    I finally got my hands on a Quad 34 to go with the 405 but I know it needs some love from you.
    I’ll get in touch in the new year.
    All the best.
    Paul Fleming.

    1. Thanks Paul and Merry Christmas to you too. Good news regarding the Quad 34, happy to look at her for you. Those filter capacitors in your 405 need to be replaced too but with both done you’ll have a superb combo! Stay cool in this heat!

  4. Well done Mike. Your know your stuff backwards and have an extremely rare commodity – integrity. Your truly independent and call it as you see it. No conflicts of interest. No BS. Customers appreciate your high end skills and your professional integrity.

    1. Thanks Tony, I really appreciate the kind words and I’m just glad that there are people out there who appreciate the same things that are important to me. Thanks for your support and all the best for 2022!

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