Welcome to Our FAQs.
If you have questions, I hope you find the answers in these FAQs. Topics include what we do, how we’re different, vintage vs new hi-fi gear and much more.
If you have a question I’ve not answered, don’t hesitate to contact me.
What’s the best turntable?
There isn’t one best turntable, the best turntable is always the best one you can afford.
Aim for something heavy, well built, preferably well over $1000AUD new. Alternatively, you’ll get better performance in most cases from a second-hand classic turntable from the 1970s and ’80s. Nothing really good is light-weight though, keep this in mind.
What does Liquid Audio do?!
We service, repair and restore hi-fi stereo equipment, with a focus on attention to detail and industry best practice.
We work on: hi-fi stereo gear including most Japanese, European and North American amplifiers, preamplifiers, turntables, CD players, cassette decks and tuners produced since 1970.
We don’t work on: radiograms, stereograms, jukeboxes, mini-systems, midi-systems, DVD players, AV receivers, Bluetooth anything, docks, Sonos etc.
We carry out major overhaul and restoration work, as well as offer on-site work, inspections. Check out the Services page for more.
What brands and types of equipment do you look after?
We work on all major brands and most hi-fi stereo equipment produced from 1970 onwards.
Brands we commonly see are Accuphase, Akai, Kenwood, Luxman, NAD, Pioneer, Sansui, Rotel, Sony, TEAC, Technics, Quad and Yamaha. We specialise in amplifiers, preamplifiers, turntables, CD players, DACs, cassette decks and tuners.
Why do you need to inspect equipment before providing repair cost estimates?
Because every piece and every fault is different and there are many factors that affect repair cost estimates.
I like to know exactly what I am dealing with and that allows me to give you a reliable estimate. There are many reasons something might exhibit a certain set of symptoms. Think of it this way: can you tell me why my car wouldn’t start this morning and what it will cost to fix without looking at it..?
Everyone seems to have a different opinion, where can I get good advice?
Your best bet is finding people with the background and expertise to usefully contribute. They probably won’t be hanging out in the trendy audio forums and groups though…
Everyone has an opinion, but for many things in audio and elsewhere, there are actually correct answers. Forums are generally filled with subjective, conflicting, technically incorrect misinformation and nonsense, written by people who often have no idea what they are talking about. For readers, the issue is often a lack of the knowledge necessary to effectively filter all that.
Most real experts won’t be arguing with people in forums or even part of popular groups you might frequent on Facebook. I know I am far too busy and so are other people I trust in this industry. These people are specialists though and have the experience and background to genuinely assist you. You don’t need to wonder if a Denon DL-103 cartridge suits your tonearm because there’s a correct answer.
Can you help me fix my hi-fi gear without me bringing it to you..?
For many reasons, generally no.
How is Liquid Audio different from other repairers?
Our attention to detail, level of care, experience, passion and many other things make us very different.
This is reflected in our work, lab equipment, professionalism and so on. I own the business, repair the equipment, run the website and write the articles, so I’m heavily invested in keeping this a very successful business.
I’m thinking of using the cheapest repairer, what are your thoughts?
I’m thinking about how my Dad always warned me: “You get what you pay for.”
A better question would be: “Do you want the work done cheaply or do you want it done well?”
Are there any repairers I should avoid?
Yes, there are.
I created my Hall of Shame to highlight how destructive some repairers are. There are several excellent repairers in Perth and I’m not for a moment suggesting that I am the only technician you should consider, but there are many you definitely should not consider if you care about your equipment.
You take on some big jobs, are there any you won’t take on?
I avoid equipment in poor physical condition, gear that’s been butchered by other repairers, heavily modified or equipment that isn’t designed to be serviceable.
I don’t shy away from 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!
Do you sell pre-owned hi-fi equipment?
Yes, we sell pre-owned hi-fi equipment and equipment on consignment.
Selling with Liquid Audio works because we:
- Carefully select customers and stock
- Look after photography, research and advertising
- Have hundreds of visitors per day looking for hi-fi gear
- Provide warranty for peace of mind
- Take away the stress and hassle of selling
- Get great prices for our sellers and customers
Can you sell me a belt, stylus or cartridge?
Yes, if you bring your equipment in for service, repair or restoration.
I have many parts in stock and speedy access to thousands of others, but I supply and fit parts like belts and styluses as part of a proper service that will maximise the benefits of fitting those parts. This allows me to adjust and set everything correctly for maximum performance and service life.
Can you provide me with service data?
I’m not at liberty to share service manuals and data provided to me by manufacturers, but quite a bit is available cheaply or for free.
Manufacturers and distributors provide service data in confidence, so I respect that. It’s not a good thing for the average owner to start fiddling inside his or her amplifier anyway. Take it to an expert instead.
How long will you need my equipment?
This depends on your equipment, what you’ve asked me to do and how much work I have in the queue.
I always have many jobs in the queue. Everyone wants their unit back quickly but keep in mind there’s only one of me! I promise I will get to your equipment as quickly as I can.
Do you offer hi-fi equipment inspections?
Yes, we offer pre and post-purchase inspections, cartridge inspections and more.
Inspections save money, assisting customers who’ve purchased hi-fi equipment that is damaged, not as described or where peace of mind is needed before purchasing.
Is my equipment repairable?
This depends on what’s wrong with it, the general condition of the unit and your repair budget.
Most faults are repairable, but certain combinations of faults, condition and other factors may render repairs difficult, or not viable. Sometimes, it may be best to move on.
Is your work guaranteed?
Yes, an industry-standard 3-month warranty applies to all our work.
In the rare event that you experience an issue related to anything we’ve done, we will fix it.
I like your upgrades, do you supply kits, parts lists etc?
No, and we have no plans to offer them.
Putting these together would be time-consuming and unlikely to be profitable.
Why service or repair my vintage equipment when I can buy new gear?
Because vintage gear is almost always better than the new gear you can afford.
Nothing you can buy for sensible money is built like your old hi-fi equipment, or made in Japan. I regularly service and repair equipment that has lasted 40+ YEARS. Reckon your Sonos will be working in 40 years time..?
But the guy in the store promised me the newest ‘XYZ’ turntable would kill my classic deck.
Of course he did, but it probably won’t.
Salespeople are usually paid on commission. This creates a conflict of interest because they need you to sell you new equipment to survive. In almost all cases, older turntables are better than cheap new ones.
But surely new technology must sound better?
What new technology? Modern gear uses the same classic circuits 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. Digital is a little different and things have generally improved. I’m not saying that there’s no great-sounding new gear out there, there is, but it’s expensive.
I’m not buying this, I bet your hi-fi system contains lots of new gear.
I can have whatever I want, yet my amplifier, preamplifier, turntable, headshell, transformer and speakers from the 1970s and ’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 there’s an entire industry designed to get people to ‘trade-up’ to inferior, new equipment?
Read the reviews. Every new piece of gear sounds significantly better than the one preceding it. How then is it possible for 40-year-old hi-fi gear to sound better than new gear? If each year brought significant improvements, older gear would have to sound awful compared with gear with 40 years of continuous improvement, but it doesn’t. Curious, no?