Vintage Tube Audio is dedicated to the preservation of vintage audio equipment
If your vintage audio equipment no longer functions, or if you have the impression it's sound has degraded, I offer services to from rebuilds, to “restifications”, to complete restoration.
I believe that simple “repair” (defined as only replacing a failed part) of a piece of vintage equipment, just to have the failure of another part (likely, with aged original components) is not a valid approach to bringing a unit back to life. Some early tube amplifiers have operated for 40-60 years after they were built, but this is extremely rare. Capacitors used in older tube equipment can fail at any time, and when they do, the failure can destroy valuable, and in many cases, irreplaceable transformers (as well as be a fire hazard). The aging issue also applies to electrolytic capacitors used in vintage transistorized equipment. These caps had an expected life of 10-15 years and many of them are now 20-40 years old. Because of these issues I do not “service” vintage audio equipment.
I offer the following;
“Rebuilds” replace failed and failure-prone components with new comparable components, and bring the unit’s performance to factory specifications. Rebuilds are generally the least expensive approach to returning function to an older unit. They may not be cosmetically correct, due to use of newer components. I am selective in what brands and types of equipment I rebuild.
“Restifications” (I have borrowed this term from the vintage auto restoration circles) involve upgrade of stock components to new, state-of-the–art components. This includes upgrades to power supplies and other parts, use of high quality capacitors and low noise resistors. The result is an improvement in performance over factory specifications. Again, the parts used will not be cosmetically correct, in most cases.
“Restorations” return the unit to original, using new old stock parts or rebuilding existing parts. The work might involve rebuilding bolt-in capacitors, even to nickeling the chassis. Restorations can be quite expensive, and should be reserved for high quality collectible equipment.
The choice and process starts with evaluation of your amplifier and discussion of your needs and options. You will find a general price structure in the Restoration section of this site. These are typical prices I have charged. If you have any questions please use the contact form link and I will contact you shortly.
I also build semi-custom and complete custom amplifiers. Semi-custom amplifiers are built around a standard chassis and can incorporate a variety of options at the customer’s choice. I use Dynaco ST 70 chassis for many of my semi-custom amplifiers. I have designed a preamp/phase inverter board that mounts in the Dynaco circuit board chassis cut out. I use a variety of power transformers suited to the output tube needs. Another semi-custom amplifier I build is based on Hammond organ amplifiers used in tone cabinets during the late 1940s to the late 1950s. These are unique in that they use a quad of 6V6 tubes for outputs.
Custom amplifiers are hand built by hand, and the process can be lengthy, particularly when I must track down rare parts or transformers. We can discuss your needs and wishes, I provide options and ideas, and when you make your choices, I begin the process. For Custom Amplifiers I require prepayment of approximately 50% of the final cost.
Vintage Solid State Equipment
I offer rebuilds and restification of select Dynaco solid state equipment. Dynaco offered a great value for the audio dollar and even today can provide very good performance for the individual wanting vintage equipment. I completely rebuild (restification) ST 80’s, ST 120’s SCA 80’s, SCA 50’s , PAT 4’s and PAT 5’s. I do not recommend ST 150s, or QSA 300’s. I do not work on ST 400’s or 416’s. There are several reasons for this. There is limited space in these units for upgrades and the circuit boards are quite fragile, but the most significant is the shipping issues. Over the last 5 years I have had 4 of the 6 ST 400’s sent to me destroyed in shipping. The damage was due to poor packing, not the shipping companies. None the less, it results in very big problems. I offer some vintage solid state equipment in my eBay store as well as in my “For Sale" Section of this web site.