FAQs

Welcome to Liquid Audio’s FAQs

Check out this list of frequently asked questions and answers about Liquid Audio, service, repair, old hi-fi gear vs new, etc. I hope you find the FAQs helpful and if you’ve got a question I’ve not answered, get in touch.

How is Liquid Audio different from other repairers?
I put my passion for hi-fi equipment into everything we do. The quality of work, investment in tools and equipment, professionalism, attention to detail and value for money all flow from my passion to offer the very best service available.

For the record, I own the business, do the technical work, write the articles, take the pictures and give the advice. I’m immersed and invested in Liquid Audio and have been for a long time. I try to set the benchmark for delivering industry best practice in every aspect of what we do. I’m also always on the lookout for ways to improve and refine things, to deliver even better results. Check out our amazing customer feedback.

I’d like to use the cheapest possible repairer, what are your thoughts on this?
My advice is to be careful. A better question might be: “do you want the work done as cheaply as possible, or do you want it done well?”

Doing anything really well takes care, experience, skill and time. Servicing and repairing hi-fi gear is no different, there are no shortcuts. I fix a ton of hi-fi gear that’s been to other repairers and still doesn’t work properly or has been damaged by them. When this equipment then has to brought to me or another careful technician to be repaired, this definitely hasn’t saved money or time.

Great value is a foundation of Liquid Audio. Customers often tell me my prices are low, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find a lower hourly rate. I think you’ll find that Liquid Audio offers you the best bang for your buck when you consider quality of work, quality of service, professionalism, attention to detail and most importantly, results!

You take on some major repairs, but are there jobs you won’t take on?
Yes, I generally avoid taking on equipment in very poor physical condition and that has been butchered or heavily modified.

I want to provide the best possible outcomes for my customers. I don’t shy away from the bigger, more challenging jobs, but if I can see that we are trying to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear, I’ll let you know. This saves pain, time and expense and I promise you’ll be much happier long term.

Do you sell pre-owned hi-fi equipment and sell on consignment?
Yes, we sell pre-owned hi-fi equipment and on consignment. With our high readership and attention to detail, buyers and sellers know they will be well looked after.

The benefits of selling with Liquid Audio are many:

  • We carefully select customers and stock
  • We look after photography, research and advertising
  • We have hundreds of visitors per day looking for hi-fi gear
  • We provide warranty for peace of mind
  • We take away the stress and hassle of selling
  • We get great prices for our sellers and customers

Visit our For Sale and Sold pages.

Contact me for details & terms.

Do you sell belts, styluses and accessories?
Yes, I have many parts in stock and fast access to thousands of others.

I can supply cartridges and other accessories direct to you, but I generally only supply and fit service parts like belts and styli. I don’t operate a retail store.

Can you provide me with the service manual for my equipment?
Unfortunately no, in most cases I’m not at liberty to share service data.

Manufacturers and distributors provide service data strictly for our personal use and not for redistribution.

How long will my service or repair take?
This depends on your equipment, what you’ve asked me to do and how much work I have in the queue.

At any time, I have a large amount of equipment here for service or repair. This means there will be jobs ahead of yours and, whilst everyone wants their unit back quickly, keep in mind that there’s only one of me! I promise I will get to your unit as quickly as I can.

Why do you describe Liquid Audio as an ethical business?
I’m driven by honesty, clear and open communication, doing the best work possible and helping my customers.

My business ethos is to do as little harm and as much good as possible. You might call it acting in good faith and it serves me very well. I’m lucky, I had great parents and Liquid Audio is my passion. Check out my work and then look at the Hall of Shame to see why I wrote this FAQ.

Do you offer hi-fi equipment inspections?
Yes, we offer pre and post-purchase inspections, cartridge inspections and more.

I assist customers in cases where goods are damaged, not as described or where peace of mind is needed before outlaying money for a second-hand amplifier for example.

These inspections actually save my customers money because they are able to negotiate discounts on equipment they have purchased and claim insurance on goods damaged in shipment or not as described.

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

For example, if the platter of your turntable doesn’t spin, do you know which of the many possible causes is the reason in your case? Is there one fault or are there several?

Careful examination and testing allow me to accurately assess what’s wrong and estimate the repair cost. This is much better than guessing.

Do you offer advice via phone and email?
I love chatting with prospective and existing customers and do my best to help and offer advice where possible.

I have to keep conversations relatively brief, but feel free to email or call during business hours. Please keep in mind that every moment spent chatting is one moment less spent fixing hi-fi gear!

 

Is my equipment definitely repairable?
In most cases, yes, though it depends on what exactly is wrong with it, the general condition of the unit and your budget.

Most hi-fi gear is repairable and repairs are almost always worthwhile. Occasionally though, a combination of faults, condition and other factors may render repairs difficult or not viable. Repair costs may exceed the value of a unit for example, or previous repairers have caused damage, rendering further work difficult.

Keep in mind that I’m here to help, but I am not responsible for the condition of your unit or the deal you got when purchasing it. Sometimes, despite spending lots of time and money on something, it remains a poor example. In these cases, it may be best to move it on.

Is your work guaranteed?
Yes, an industry-standard 3-month warranty applies to everything we do.

In the rare event that you experience a problem relating to work we’ve done, I will make it right. I sometimes even go beyond that, to make my customers happy!

NOTE: Warranty applies to work we’ve undertaken. For hopefully obvious reasons, it does not cover parts or issues arising from age and/or condition of the equipment or parts we didn’t replace.

I like your upgrades and overhauls, do you supply kits or parts lists?
No, I don’t supply kits or parts lists and I have no plans to offer these in the future.
Why should I service or repair my vintage equipment when I can buy cheap new gear?
Because you own better-made, better-sounding gear that has already lasted 5 – 10X longer than the new gear you can buy for a few hundred bucks will!

Read the next four FAQs for more on this.

Nothing you can buy new for sensible money is built like your old hi-fi equipment, or made in Japan. I regularly service and repair equipment that has come in for its first visit in 40+ YEARS. Reckon your Sonus will be working in 40 years time..?

But what about all the improvements in technology..? Marketing BS. With increasing labour costs, ‘improvements’ focus on making gear cheaper to build. Compare the weight and sound of old and new amplifiers or turntables and you’ll quickly get the idea.

But the hi-fi store guy promised me the new ‘Gold-Donger’ turntable would kill my classic deck…
I’m sure he did because he needs you to buy it.

Salespeople are generally paid on commission, creating a conflict of interest because they need you to get rid of your turntable so they can sell you a new one. In almost all cases, older turntables are better than cheap new ones.

Imagine walking into a hi-fi store, and being told: “No sir, I recommend you keep your old turntable, it’s better made and will sound better than this new plastic Chinese deck!” These people do exist but they are like unicorns – when you find one, keep him!

Hang on, surely newer hi-fi equipment & technology must be better?
Why and what new technology? Modern gear uses the same circuits and design elements, implemented more cheaply, with lower quality parts and construction.

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 CD was designed in the late 1970s.

Digital is a little different and things have generally improved. Even so, to get a decent sounding new DAC or CD player, you have to pay for it.  I’m not saying that there’s no great sounding new gear out there, there is, but it’s generally expensive.

Mike, I’m not buying this, I bet your hi-fi system contains lots of new gear!
I promise I’m being straight with you, the newest item in my stereo system is a DAC, the rest is older or vintage.

My amplifier, preamplifier, the turntable, headshell, transformer and speakers from the late 1970s and early ’80s. I also own a tuner from 1975, a cassette deck from 1983, my DAC is from 2013 and my cartridge is from 2009.

So you’re saying there’s an industry built around getting people to ‘trade-up’ to inferior, new equipment?
Yep, there definitely is, it’s not just me saying it.

Consider this: Read the reviews and every new bit of gear sounds significantly better than the one preceding it, right? Every year, every new model.

How is it possible then for 40-year-old hi-fi gear to sound amazing, often better than new gear? Surely, if each year brought significant improvements, older gear would have to sound awful compared with gear with 40 years of continuous improvement..?

Something doesn’t add up and when you figure this out, its quite liberating!

What equipment do you work on?
Liquid Audio provides specialist service, repair and restoration of classic and vintage hi-fi equipment sold from 1970 onwards.

We service and repair most Japanese, European and North American amplifiers, preamplifiers, turntables, CD players and tuners. We undertake major overhaul and restoration work, as well as offer on-site consults, pre and post-purchase inspections

Check out the Service & Repair page for more.

What equipment don’t you work on?
We don’t work on non-fi-fi stereo equipment like radiograms, stereograms, jukeboxes, mini-systems, DVD players and AV receivers.
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