Sending a tape deck in for service

Decks we service:

  • All major consumer and studio machines, from Akai to Studer and everything in between
  • Decks that we respectfully decline working on:
    • No name brand decks, such as Sears, Montgomery Ward, and brands outside of the popular home stereo brands. These decks have virtually no parts or service information available, and the chances of bringing them to life is low.
    •  All Sony single motor decks. This includes almost every Sony 7” machine made prior to 1973. These decks have not aged well, and most have too many problems to be economical to repair. This includes failing motors, all rubber components and electronics problems in literally every Sony at this point.
    •  All European decks. This includes Telefunken, Philips, Grundig, Korting, Nordmende, etc. Many of these decks used a number of idler wheels as well as cork in the transport, making them expensive to repair, with no guarantees as to how long they will work. (Revox/Studer are the exception)
    •  Tandberg. While they were great decks back in the day, they have not aged well, and require lots of work ‘under the covers’ over and above what the symptom may be. Many parts such as motors and certain chips were custom made for Tandberg, and haven’t been available for decades. They also do not ship well due to brittle components and circuit boards.
    •  Vacuum tube consumer decks. Generally speaking,  the consumer tube machines have numerous problems, making them beyond reasonable to repair.
  • If you own any of these decks, we suggest purchasing a newer deck, such as Teac, Akai, Pioneer or Otari, that have more parts available, are newer, and will last for years to come.

Exceptions to decks we do not service.

  • We realize that some tape decks have sentimental value, and people are willing to spend more than they are worth to have a collector piece, or to have a childhood tape deck functional again. We are willing to look at decks that we normally turn down for servicing, with the following caveats:
    • There is a minimum charge of $200 to look at a unique, entry level, or a deck we normally don’t work on
    • There is no warranty other than the specific work we do to the deck
    • The total repair charges will likely exceed the $200 minimum charge
    • The ability to repair a unique deck is limited to the information available online, and parts that may or may not be available

Here’s some basic information of what we work on, and what we don’t.

  • We only work on reel to reel tape decks and space echoes/analog tape delays. Unfortunately the vast majority of cassette decks aren’t worth repairing due to too much plastic construction, and most shops are now turning cassette deck work down. There’s a tech referral list on the website, some people there may work on cassette decks.
  • DAT machines, ADATs, etc are even more complex to work on than cassette decks and reel to reels, and we don’t have the training or test equipment to work on them. There are several techs in Canada and the US listed on our tech referral list that do work on them, but they’ve told us to expect a minimum repair cost to start at $800 US per deck.

Estimates

  • Our estimates are based on receiving a deck that has failed due to electronics and/or transport failures due to age, lack of use, or overuse/worn out parts. We are seeing a large influx of decks that have been incompetently worked on by others previously. Recent examples of this are bad soldering practices, parts installed backwards, low quality parts installed that need to be replaced, etc. Sometimes these improperly installed parts aren’t always readily visible until the bulk of the estimated repair work  has been completed. We cannot be held responsible for an initial estimate going higher than expected if we uncover work that has been done by others needs to be redone

Shipping in a deck for servicing:

    • For our US customers, we have a Washington State ship-to address at zip 98230, and we’ll ship any deck that’s been repaired back to you from that same location. We clear customs in both directions to and from our shop in Canada at no charge, you see the deck back as a domestic shipment. Please email us for that address, as we do not have it posted on the website here. (we keep track of all incoming and outgoing decks via email, and want to know that you’re sending something in for repair).

We only need the tape deck itself for servicing.  We don’t need you to send:

  1.  reel(s) of tape
  2.  takeup reel
  3.  power cord
  4.  NAB adapters
  5.  dust covers
  6.  service manual(s)
  • If you have a deck with a wood sleeve (Teac X series, for example), we recommend removing the wood sleeve and keep it safe, and    only send the deck in. Shipping will be less, and the wood case won’t be damaged in transit.

Parts Sales

  • Unfortunately, we don’t sell parts. eBay, Reverb and various other websites online are a great place to look for specific reel to reel parts.

Warranty on Decks and Repairs

  • We offer a 60 day warranty on all decks that we sell, and any repairs that we do. The warranty on repairs completed is only on the work done, and not the entire deck. We are very liberal with our warranty, which is why we test run each deck for a minimum of 10 hours before returning it to the client.

Minimum Charges

  • There is a $50 minimum charge to look at a reel to reel or a tape echo unit. That covers our shop time and supplies to estimate the repair work needed on your deck. There’s no need to pay up front, and if for some reason a deck isn’t worth repairing and you leave it here, that charge is waived, as we can use it for parts.

Repair Turnaround

  • Typical turnaround is 10 days to 2 weeks, assuming that parts are in stock. If we need to order parts, the time to repair your deck will take longer.
  • We do offer a rush charge of $100, payable up front if you want us to look at your deck immediately.

Storage Charges

  • Our shop is small, and we simply don’t have the room to store decks that are completed for months on end. A storage charge of $3.00 a day will apply to completed decks left here over 30 days of notification of the completion of the repair. Decks left over 90 days from completion will be sold to recover the cost of the repairs done.

Location and Time Zone

  • We are located in Vancouver Canada, which is on the West Coast. While we generally run extended hours, typically from 8 AM to 7 PM, please be mindful that we are on the Pacific Time Zone. 8 AM New York time is 5 AM Pacific time.