FAQs

Currently our shop is closed.  Between my busy day job and focusing on designing and building audio gear in what little time we can find for this hobby, we have stopped working on customer gear.  

Here are some questions we have gotten over time.  We will add more as people ask.

  • What does “shop is closed” status mean?
    • It means we’ve taken in enough work into our queue to last a year or more so we’ve closed the queue.  Stay tuned, hopefully we will open it again in the future to let more work in.  Sorry, I don’t maintain a waiting list.
  • What does your “limited intake” service mean?
    • We have a very limited amount of time (about 4 hours on Sundays) to work on gear for customers.  Based on this, we are going to take in a few select pieces along the way to service.  It is a mutual agreement where you have something you want serviced and we have the desire to service that specific model of unit either to make a youtube video of or just because we desire to do so.  Don’t be offended if we opt not to work on your gear, it’s nothing personal.  Its about making choices with the very limited amount of time we have.
  • What are your hourly rates?
    • We are currently charging $55/hr for repairs & restoration work.  If it is an in-depth restoration involving many hours, we do take that into account and try to help with the overall cost.
  • Do you have a bench fee?
    • Yes – $50.  If you send us something and you select not to move forward with the repair/restoration due to cost, time involved, or whatever reason, we require a $50 bench fee + return shipping cost to return your item.  If you do move forward with the repairs, the bench fee is waived and our hourly rates kick in instead.
  • What do most repairs cost?
    • We rarely service anything where the overall service bill (minus shipping) is less than $100, so plan on that as a minimum.  However, we regularly do full restorations on vintage gear that runs $300-900, sometimes more.
  • I have a piece of equipment that needs some servicing or restoration, can you give me a rough quote via email or over the phone?
    • Sadly, its really hard to give an accurate quote without having it on the bench to inspect the unit inside and out.
    • However, what I can provide you is a range of typical prices that similar pieces of gear have cost customers in the past.  I prefer to do this via email once you send me pictures of the unit and describe the problem or what you are wanting done in detail.  This should give you a ball park figure to help determine if you want to bring the unit in for an official quote or not.
  • How long once I drop something off will it take to have it repaired?
    • 2-6 months, maybe longer.  I am doing this part time and as I can fit it in my busy life. If these timeframes seem too long for you, I understand but I may not be your best choice in that case.
  • I tried to drop something off at Underdog Records and they said you weren’t taking in any new work, what’s up?
    • From time to time I pause intake of new work to get caught up.  Sometimes my day job gets very heavy with travel and long days and I need to adjust my intake to accommodate.  My basement will only hold so much gear 🙂  You can always email me to get in the queue so when I’m ready I can let Jonathan know to let you drop off your gear.
  • Can I pay more to get my unit at the front of your queue?
    • I don’t offer expedited services at this time.  It wouldn’t be fair to others and I’m not really in this for the money.
  • Do you service or recone speakers? or know anyone that does?
    • Sadly we don’t, I don’t even do my own speakers.  There was a guy in Winston but I can’t find him lately and Speaker Doctor in Charlotte closed shop so I’m not aware of anyone locally.
  • My unit hasn’t been powered on in many years, is it safe to do so?
    • It really needs to be brought up slowly via a variac.  If you don’t have access to one, please drop it off for us to inspect it so you don’t risk damaging expensive parts.  Capacitors and other parts dry out over time and can lead to shorts or fire.
  • Do you know anyone who services newer digital equipment?
    • I’d try searching for service centers for the brand you own.  I don’t know anyone locally I’d recommend.
  • Do you do in-home visits to fix bigger pieces of equipment like console stereos or jukeboxes?
    • My current work schedule doesn’t permit such services at this time.  Maybe one day when I retire I will offer a much broader range of services.
  • Do you service guitar amplifiers or pro-audio musical instrument gear?
    • Not at this time.
  • How long have you been working on electronics & audio gear and how can I learn?
    • I’ve been at it regularly for 30+ years.  Its been one project after another since I was a young teenager.  Youtube is a great place to learn, check out our channel and many others.  Also local community colleges often offer 1 and 2 year electronics programs, check them out.
  • Do you service car stereo equipment?
    • No, it’s just an area I haven’t focused on and don’t keep parts for.
  • Can I bring you the parts needed to fix my unit?
    • Yes, but I can’t warranty the parts and I’ll only use them if they are the correct values and they test ok on my bench.
  • Can I come watch you repair my unit?
    • As much as I’d love to do this, time is not my friend and I do most of my work at night and on weekends when I can fit it in.  So for now, I can’t offer such services.  We are planning to remodel a building we have out back and turn it into a store front for our retirement career one day so hopefully then I could.
  • What is the difference between having my unit serviced and my unit restored (service vs. restoration)?
    • Typically service implies I fix what is broken to get the unit functional again and I will point out anything else to you that is likely to fail very soon and give you the option of having those elements serviced as well.  Don’t assume if you ask for a service that your unit will be gone through from top to bottom replacing everything in the unit, for that you need to ask for a restoration.
    • A restoration is a much bigger undertaking where we go through the entire unit replacing any parts out of specification, replacing most or all capacitors, making any service bulletin updates, a thorough cleaning, etc., basically a complete overhaul. These services involve many hours and aren’t typically inexpensive.
  • I see you make YouTube videos, what does it cost to have you make one of my repair?
    • Absolutely Free – just mention it when you drop it off.
  • Will you make a YouTube video of (random name piece of gear)?
    • If I have access to what you are asking about, I’ll try to fit it in sometime.
  • Can I ship my gear to you and have you fix it?
    • Yes, but you will have to pay shipping both ways on top of my normal service charges.  I only charge true shipping costs and get some very competitive rates.
  • If I ship my unit to you and it has issues under warranty, do you cover shipping back to you?
    • You will have to cover the cost of shipping back to me, I will fix for free and pay for shipping back to you.
  • Do you service Reel to Reel units and Tape Decks?
    • Not at this time.
  • My unit is blowing fuses, if I put in a new or even bigger fuse will it fix it?
    • The fuse is just a symptom of something else wrong in your unit.  You can try replacing it with the correct factory value, if it continues to blow fuses it will need servicing.  Fuses don’t go bad on their own, they blow because the unit is pulling more current than designed and the fuse is designed to blow and avoid wires shorting and catching fire.
  • Why are your rates so high (or low)?
    • Currently my rates are half or less of what most shops charge.  Typical rates in the industry are $80-125/hr.  I’m able to charge much less because I have zero overhead in my operation and I have a hoard of parts that I have bought over the years to help keep prices low.
  • Will you take in gear in trade for your services?
    • Not at this time.  If you have something really rare, I may consider an exception.
  • Can you come pick up gear at my house and fix it and bring it back?
    • Due to my schedule, I can’t.  However, I have an electronics savvy friend who would be glad to do this for a fee and play middle-man in the entire transaction for you.
  • Why don’t you do this full time, it seems like there is demand for it?
    • I have two children in college and while I could make a living doing this, it would be tough to afford tuition and maintain our current status of living. I plan to work until I’m 55 and then retire into this full time.
  • Why do you use Underdog Records instead of letting people come to your house?
    • I travel and keep a crazy schedule with my day job, finding times to meet up with people has proven to be impossible and frustrating for us and them.  The only way I can sustain this hobby business is if it fits my schedule.  So having a business that’s open Tue-Sat and that is willing to serve as drop-off/pick-up for me is a blessing for both myself and my customers.  Jonathan at Underdog is a dear friend so buy a few records when dropping off or picking up your gear to say thanks.
  • Do you ever plan to have a customer facing shop?
    • Yes, we are working on that now.  I hope to have both a listening room as well as vintage audio storefront where you can come buy fully restored vintage equipment.  Drop-off and pick-ups would also be available there.  However, I’ll likely always keep my workshop in my basement so I can be near my family. Stay tuned, it maybe a few years out but it will happen.
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