ELITE AUDIO REPAIR & RESTORATION’S
Most of us now think of audio/video gear
as disposable – if it breaks, we throw it away.
But there are a few businesses out there that are thriving on reviving home electronic equipment. One is Elite Audio Repair & Restoration in Hopewell Junction, N.Y. which fixes gear for customers nationwide. We spoke to service engineer Bart Gravino to find out what his days
are like. If you have a piece of gear you would
like to save from the trash heap, you can find out more at the company’s website, eliteaudiorepair.com.
Home Entertainment: Describe what you do.
Bart Gravino: I’m doing what I’ve always been doing, servicing electronics – mainly audio and
TV. I’ve been doing it for about 35 years.
HE: Does it really make sense to repair electronics these days, when most of the gear is so inexpensive?
BG: Yes, for two reasons. From an ecological
standpoint, you don’t have all this gear filling up landfills unnecessarily. And second, it’s possible to revive most broken equipment, if not all of it. The problem comes with how much economical sense it makes to do those repairs. Some parts of the industry have made that impossible.
HE: How’s that?
BG: If you buy a $49 VCR and it malfunctions,
it’s difficult for me to repair one and make anykind
of profit. You can buy a new one for what
it costs to have me open the chassis.
HE: What kind of gear do you most often repair?
BG: At the moment, it’s mostly classic audio equipment, made in the 1970s or 1980s. It’s very possible to service those pieces, and in many cases, it’s
outstanding equipment that shouldn’t be scrapped.
HE: Give us some examples.
BG: Tuners and amps made by Tandberg, which has been out of business for quite some time, but
we’re able to service those and in some cases I
manufacture new parts for them. Also McIntosh gear, Marantz, Denon… and Nakamichi – they made
some superior tape decks that are timeless. And turntables are big.
HE: How are you able to service so many brands and models?
BG: They do have differences, but there’s a lot of commonality. They’re all using transistors and integrated circuits that I’ve had experience with over the years, that I can revive.
HE: Can you service the latest gear, like DVD players and plasma TVs?
BG: Absolutely. Plasma TVs, LCD TVs, they’re all serviceable. You don’t service them down to the bad component, but down to a particular circuit board that’s bad. The parts cost is higher but the labor cost is lower. With the older TVs, you’d find out which component was bad and replace just that part – but the labor cost was much higher.
Service tech Bart Gravino at his bench in Elite Audio Repair & Restoration’s shop
HE: Why should people send their gear to you instead of to the manufacturer?
BG: In the case of classic audio gear, many of the manufacturers don’t exist anymore. And many of the manufacturers who do exist aren’t interested in servicing their old stuff, they want to sell you their new stuff.
HE: Why do you do what you do?
BG: My father taught me that there are three things to consider when you choose a career. It has to serve mankind in some way, you have to like it, and you have to do it better than most people. When I was a kid, and all my friends were out playing football, I was inside taking the TV apart – so I got good at it. Also, it’s great because you see the result right away. It’s not like gardening. I’m an instant gratification kind of guy.
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