It’s always a good idea to give us a call before stopping by because we do not repair everything. Although each case can be different, repairs cost $75.00 per hour of labor plus parts. We require a $50 (cash only) deposit before disassembling any item for repair analysis. This is our minimum charge; it covers the first 40 minutes of bench time and allows time for reassembly if you do not want to move forward with the repair.
Customers will always be asked for pre-approval of any repair exceeding $150 total cost. If you feel your item is not worth up to $150 for repair, please just let us know in advance. Call or email Jack for further information.
We also operate on a CASH accounting system. That means no credit cards, checks, or credit. It also help keep business expenses down and the quality of our work high.
The Truth About Today’s Modern Amplifiers
We specialize in the repair and restoration of vintage amps made before 1980, so please do call ahead if you have an amp made after that. Other than some custom boutique amplifiers, the newest amps we usually work on are the Fender Hot Rod series and some Fender “re-issues.”
The sad truth is that most of today’s big amp manufacturers are simply exploiting their once trusted brand names. By producing good-looking and good-sounding amps often priced below $1,000, they have duped customers into believing that the lowest price amp is the best quality deal. But nothing could be further from the truth.
With the exception of some hard wired boutique amplifiers, the sad fact of the matter is most major brand name amplifiers made after 1980 start breaking down somewhere between 5000 and 10,000 hours of use. That means if you use an amp professionally for 10 hours a week, or roughly 500 hours a year, the economy electrolytic capacitors inside are going to start failing somewhere between ten to twenty years of use depending on ambient temperature and duration of time used each time you play through it. Coupled with other downgrade size components such as resistors, it’s fair to say that most of today’s modern ‘big name’ amplifiers have been designed for manufacturing (often times robotic) speed and corporate / stock holder profit. In contrast, the electrolytic caps in vintage amps easily last for a minimum of 30 years, often times longer. And with the exception of the output stages, the older resistors seldom burn out, though once in a great while we may have to replace one which became noisy after multiple decades of use.
Simply put, most modern amplifiers are actually DESIGNED to fail, designed to encourage you to give up and buy a new amp every ten years or so. Repairing these types of amps is actually bad business; it makes the repairman look incompetent, or the repair work to seem unreliable. And most of all, it’s bad for the customer’s wallet. These are the reasons why we do not want to be an “Authorized Service Center” for any major modern-day amplifier company.
The vintage Fender amp (above, left) is wired with quality components and parts. The newer Fender model (above, right) displays how cheaper, less reliable parts are currently the norm in today’s amplifier production process. Whenever possible, we always try to replace these faulty low-cost parts with top quality parts to make your amplifier more reliable and road-ready. But often times, the bigger, better parts simply won’t fit.
Many of our guys aren’t just professional techs; they are also working musicians. Here at Audiotech Services, every amp we work on is given a final “listen test.” Our guys actually know how different amps are supposed to sound because they have been playing through them for years.