Repairing your home entertainment gear

Week of March 12, 2006

Q: Where might I be able repair my 1968 vintage Panasonic receiver?   It   has magnificent sound that few microchip-based systems can equal.   Any referrals or help you can give to get my old war horse back in service?

-R.E. Clark, Edgeworth, PA

A: Audio equipment repairs are a mixed bag.   Items such as VCRs and consumer-grade DVD and CD players are generally are not worth fixing because you can buy a new one for not much more than a repair estimate would cost.   If you have a higher-end piece of gear or vintage electronics then repairs are worth considering.

If you are not careful you could end up with a disaster on your hands.   A reader in California had a rare
and valuable pair of classic Ohm F speakers that needed new foam surrounds installed.   He trusted them to a local repair shop owner who said he could “fix anything”, rather than ship them to the shop I recommended who has experience with that particular speaker, which uses a very unique one-way driver cone called a “Walsh driver”. (I own a pair of Ohm As and a pair of Ohm Fs myself, and I correspond with other owners of Ohm Walsh speakers so I am very well versed in that particular speaker line.)

The reader was charged $250 for a “total refurbishing”.   When he got his speakers back he wrote,   “the repair guy did a great job on the refoaming, and he even sealed all the cracks in the paper part of cone!”   Unfortunately the cracks are called “slits” and they are supposed to be there!   I told the reader to hook the speakers up right away and as expected, they sounded distorted.   He quickly got a razor blade and was able to remove the rubber cement in time, saving his speakers.   He is happily enjoying them now but is upset over what he was charged and the “refurbishing” which should have been called a “ruining”.   No word on the status of his refund yet but I do hope he gets his money back.   I understand the credit card company will be involved should he not get satisfaction- perhaps that is another tip for this column, use a credit card to pay for repair work!

I collect audio equipment and have a small collection of modern and vintage pieces. Up until recently have had nothing but bad luck attempting to get it repaired and sadly have a small stack of gear I threw bad money at- the repair worked only for a few months, or didn’t work properly from the day I got it back.   Fortunately, me and my readers have also had some good luck of late and I do have three sources for repair service that I am happy to hang my hat on and recommend.   They offer free estimates for units shipped   to them.

The first recommendation is based on my own experience.   I own a now-discontinued Denon DVD player that is known for incredible picture quality.   I was heartbroken when the player’s drive assembly died an early death, and was ready to spend up to $500 to have my player repaired.     A search of web forums for Denon DVD repair found United Radio Service, at The repair was only $105 including return shipping, using a new and improved drive unit, and I had it back seventeen days after I shipped it out.   That was two years ago and it still works great- suffice it to say, I am very happy with United Radio!   I recommend them if you have a CD player, DVD player, surround-sound receiver, or other digital component.   They are a huge operation and likely have all of the latest computer diagnostic equipment, as well as the parts on hand.

For your 1968 vintage receiver I recommend Atlas Audio Repair, found at   It is a storefront operation and I have had favorable reports from readers having vintage gear repaired by them.     They sell vintage gear as well.

Have speakers that need fixed, particularly old and rare models such as Ohm Fs?   Go straight to The Speaker Exchange, found at   Their work is absolutely legendary and has saved some great classic speakers from early graves.

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