My high-end amplifier has failed, how much will repairs cost?

To answer that we need to determine precisely what’s gone wrong with it and why.

This concept applies to almost all technical fields, so it’s an important one to understand. Information regarding general service and repair costs can be found in this FAQ.


Electronic equipment failures are typically ‘black box’ scenarios, so you cannot look at electronic equipment and know what’s going on inside, sadly. This applies equally to hi-fi equipment and other complex things like bridges, motorcycles and people! The more complex the equipment, the more potential unknowns lie within, so the secret is to dig in and test, measure and assess to get to the root of the problem/s.

The first step for any professional always involves inspection and assessment. Asking for a quote before a technician has looked at the equipment is asking for a non-evidence-based guess as to what’s wrong, what parts will be needed and how long the repair will take, without any of the necessary background or critical information. It’s like asking a mechanic for a quote to fix a mystery fault with a car that they haven’t touched or even seen.

Six Steps

The correct approach involves a logic-based and stepwise appraisal and assessment of the equipment and its faults. There are six steps to electrical fault finding and repair:

  1. Collection of evidence
  2. Analysis of the evidence
  3. Location of the fault
  4. Determination and removal of the cause
  5. Rectification of the fault
  6. Checking, adjustment and calibration

Steps 1 to 3 comprise the assessment phase and generally have to be completed before a cost estimate can be offered. All the steps require a technician to be hands-on with the equipment. Other issues may become evident once work has commenced, which is why reputable repairers typically provide cost estimates, and generally only after this critical assessment phase.


You might wonder what someone has to gain by pretending to know what’s wrong and how much a repair will cost but that’s simple: business. Some folks expect sight-unseen quotes, goodness knows why, and less ethical, and maybe more desperate repairers enable this expectation because it gets them work. I operate with a focus on ethics and I don’t need the work, partly because I don’t work like this!

I could never have guessed what was wrong with a Krell KSA-100S I repaired a couple of years ago for example. I fixed multiple issues only to discover one hidden issue at the very end. It’s an interesting read! Similarly, an Accuphase E-303 I repaired contained five unrelated faults, none of which could have been guessed because they were so odd.

When you have a repairable amplifier, the last thing you want is to end up with a ruined one. Take this beautiful Gryphon DM-100 class-A amplifier for example. Sadly, this lovely amplifier visited the wrong people before I finally saw it and by then it was unfortunately too late.


Find out more with these repair-related FAQs:

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