Vintage Tube Audio  Restoration and Repair


A little background and my philosopy on vintage gear

I have been building kits or taking things apart and fixing them since I was a kid.  I developed a love for tube gear because my older brother had some Dynaco kits he had built and I liked the way they sounded.  Of course, like most of us, I grew up in the transistor age and ended up with transistor stereo equipment.  I built a number of solid state kits culminating in a Hafler preamp and amplifier.  Then about 12 or 13 years ago I bought a Jolida tube amp on a whim just to hear some tubes again, mainly because I had fond childhood memories of listening to my brother’s stereo.  I immediately sold my quite good SS gear!  Of course the Jolida is entry level stuff and I started down the path of restoring or building my own tube equipment.  I met Jim McShane when I did a Citation V amp.  Then I did a Citaiton II and a Citation I preamp, and then a few pieces for other folks and the rest is history.  This is now my full time job. If you send me a piece of gear for repair or restoration I will treat it as if it were my own.   I have now worked on a number of pieces which were sold and/or previously worked on by people who had a very good reputation, including one very famous audio designer.  These pieces had missing screws, many original power supply parts, questionable solder joints, poor parts choices, etc...In short, I would never have let them off my bench until these things were corrected.  I just want to emphasize that I only use very good quality parts, almost exclusively sourced from Jim McShane.  I/we always use parts that are very conservatively rated for the task.  I do not "bandaid" amps, changing one power supply cap and leaving all the other old caps or big carbon plate load resistors or old top hat diodes.  I rebuild them so that they will sound great and be reliable for years to come.  That is more expensive.  I am not talking about boutique $40 capacitors.  Just high quality, good sounding parts.  I use very good silver solder and teflon insulated OFC wire.  I have seen numerous amps that were rebuilt with $2 coupling caps when $3 - $4 would have bought a cap that sounded far better.  We are usually talking about an extra $10 - $20 to use much better parts in an amp.  So if you are looking for the cheap repair I am probably not your best choice.  That said, if you want your amp to last for years and are willing to make a reasonable investment I will be happy to quote a price for you.  I understand the value of certain pieces.  I do not drill the chassis or "hack up" gear that is in good cosmetic condition.  I certainly wouldn't drill holes in a vintage Marantz 8B or Mac tube amp!  I try to balance sonics, reliability, cost effectiveness, appearance, and certainly original tone.  All of these are factors in parts choices and deciding what should be replaced and which original components should be left in place if they are within specifications.  I will present you with your options and you decide.  It is your amp!  Again, I treat every piece as if it were my own amplifier and I don't send it to you until I am happy with how it measures, and more importantly, how it sounds.  If you have read the above and have a piece of gear you would like me to work on and require an estimate or have any other questions please contact me.
© Don Sachs, 2015