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   REPAIR, RESTORATION, UPGRADE & MODIFICATION SERVICES
     
 WHAT WE DO
We offer professional repair, restoration and modification services for both vintage and current era quality audio equipment.

With over twenty-five years in audio development, we are well recognized for our design expertise in high end audio technology (tube and solid state) and especially with the the classic "vintage" circuit designs. This experience gives us a thorough understanding of the factors (such as component selection, signal path management and circuit operating points) that contribute to achieving the particular "sound signature" you want. We recognize that this audible signature can be more of a preference than an "absolute" and consequently that it demands understanding and considering your listening preferences, room characteristics and associated equipment. Therefore, before we begin any repair, restoration or modification we conduct a thorough interview with you to be sure we both understand your preferences and expectations. You may choose to restore its original "sound" exactly and/or enhance certain aspects such as improved spectral balance, imaging or depth. We then recommend a selection of circuit topologies and balanced component selection to meet your goals..

Because we understand and appreciate the emotional attachment that is a part of the audiophile psyche, we take the same care with your amplifier as if it were our own. Our workmanship is professional, clean and electrically & mechanically sound (no parts hanging in mid air or "hot-glued" into place). Your amplifier is thoroughly cleaned - both inside and outside, faceplate, surfaces, and connectors. To be sure there are no reliability issues all replacement components are selected minimally to be at least 125% of absolute max operating conditions .

To guarantee that your equipment will deliver the performance you expect, all completed projects are tested and verified to meet or exceed all stated specifications using the most advanced state of the art audio instrumentation and tools including Audio Precision SYS-322G Dual Domain System One Audio Analyzer, Venable Bode Analyzer, multiple Aglient 34401 6.5 digit DVM's and power supplies, Tektronix TDS5014B digital oscilloscope, Tektronix TCP202 (ultra wide bandwidth) and HP 428 Current Probes- no other restoration facility is as well equipped - period.  Finally all amplifiers are subjectively evaluated using our high resolution audio to be sure that audible performance is also as expected.

We Repair, Fully Restore, and Upgrade the products from the following select manufacturers:
  • Acoustat
  • Adcom
  • Advent
  • Amplizza
  • Audio Research
  • B&K
  • Beveridge
  • Carver
  • Cary Audio
  • Classe
  • Conrad-Johnson
  • Counterpoint
  • Dynaco (tube & SS)
  • Electrocompaniet
  • Fisher (tube)
  • Grado
  • Harmon-Kardon (classic)
  • HH Scott
  • Jolia
  • KEF
  • Kenwood (classic)
  • Krell
  • Lamm
  • Luxman (tube & SS)
  • Marantz (classic)
  • Mark Levinson
  • McCormack
  • McIntosh
  • MOSCODE
  • NAD
  • Paragon (tube)
  • Pass Labs
  • Quad
  • Quicksilver
  • Rotel
  • SAE
  • Shanling
  • Sonic Frontiers
  • Stax
  • Sumo
  • Sunfire
  • Theta
  • Threshold
  • Velodyne
  • VTL
  • Wadia

Feel free to e-mail with any questions - it is the most expedient way to reach me and I will usually get back to you within a few hours.

I have provided our phone number below however I encourage your to use e-mail or FAX for the quickest response. Once our dialog reaches the point that a discussion or interview is required, I will call you to discuss your situation in detail (so please always leave a contact number and preferred calling time).

e-Mail: cae-email 1686 Hyacinth Lane    San Jose, CA 95124
Phone: 408-341-9206 (PST) FAX: 603-584-6573

 

    

HOW WE DO IT
The first step is to discuss with you the nature of your problem and understand how it relates to the balance of your system and your desired outcome. On many occasions we may have you perform a few simple tests that will help us insure that we are focusing on the correct component and in some instances may even lead to the resolution of the problem without the need for service.

You will then ship your amplifier to our lab where we will perform an evaluation based upon our initial interview. There is a $100 charge for this evaluation that will be applied to the service should you elect to proceed (and is otherwise retained). This charge is necessary since the only way to establish the extent of the problem is to essentially perform an extensive diagnosis and partial repair - it is only at this point that we can determine if the remainder of the unit is functioning properly. Once we evaluate your equipment we will contact you with a list work estimates that will include the basic repair including replacement of "about to fail" parts (reliability issues) plus a list of suggested performance improvements.

Once you have selected and authorized the work, we will proceed. Regardless of the repair / restoration / modification work chose, each unit is subjected to the following checks and procedures:

Standard QC

  • Verify proper fuses installed

  • Clean pots & switches

  • Check power supplies & output power into rated load

  • Adjust/evaluate bias setting

  • Operate into simulated load for extended "burn-in"

  • Evaluate Frequency response

  • Output Power ~ Load (output power @ clip into rated load)

  • Evaluate Distortion (THD & IMD)

  • Audible Performance Listening Test

  • Optionally - Clean Chassis, Connectors, and Faceplate (If Possible)

We complete a 36 hour "burn in" test that is designed to identify any "infant mortality" failures. Most component failures occur during the first 36 hours of their life and therefore if it's going to fail for some reason, we'd much rather have that happen while it's still in our shop. We have a very low return rate, which we believe can be attributed to our "post op" procedures.

All internal interconnect will be silver plated copper wire with Teflon insulation. In addition to its outstanding tolerance of heat (compared to often used PVC insulation) it dramatically improves reliability. Most important, it has no sonic signature of it's own. The long term reliability and audible performance of your amplifier is our first priority!!
 

     
THE NATURE OF VINTAGE AUDIOPHILE EQUIPMENT
What goes wrong with vintage equipment? Most amplifiers (especially tube) suffer from problems that are related to heat and the components most affected are the electrolytic capacitors, corroded tube sockets, oxidized solder connections, delaminating phonelic printed circuit substrates, and "tired" switches and pots. Carbon based resistors may occasionally drift in value resulting in the circuit parameters to shift from the original optimum. "Re-capping", a common restoration practice for many vintage amplifiers, is an extensive effort but usually is needed for a successful restoration. Tube sockets lose their plating resulting in output tube failures that quickly outweigh the cost of socket replacement.

Another common problem is the fact that power company line voltages have increased slightly over the past 30 years moving from 110 to 120VAC. This 9% increase may not seem significant however since many power supplies were designed with only a 10% margin in the rating of their capacitors, this extra stress plus the warm environment  is all that is needed to quickly age these capacitors. Our use of replacement capacitors with higher voltage and lower ESR ratings will significantly improve reliability.

We replace defective electrolytic capacitors (power supply and signal path) with high quality fresh units rated to withstand a 25% safety margin when operated at or above 120VAC. This insures the highest reliability of the repaired unit. This same margin of safety is also extended to the power rating of the resistors and semiconductors. All of our replacement tube sockets, switches, connectors, or printed circuit cards employ only mil spec materials.
 
 
PRICES, CYCLE TIME & WARRANTY
Your actual price will be established based upon the work authorized that will include the cost of our materials plus our labor in hours. Our current labor rate is $85 / hour.

All of our work (repair, restoration, or upgrade) is warranted for a period of 6 months on materials and workmanship and 90 days on tubes (warranty transferred from original supplier). During our initial evaluation we will identify any weak components that are near failure and recommend replacement however since it is impossible to predict component failure with absolute certainly, original components are not warranted. All repairs, restorations or upgrades are tested to insure specification certification. Equipment returns must be requested and shipped within 15 days of receipt of item. Depending on nature of return, customer may be responsible for shipping..

Repair cycle time varies however typical repair cycles are 10 to 25 working days. We inventory most components however some obsolete parts may be difficult to source or may need to be fabricated. Upgrades may be slightly longer. Given the extensive level of work required for a full restoration, cycle time may extend beyond typical timelines.

 

     
PACKING AND SHIPPING INSTRUCTIONS (Please Read)

We know you want to protect your equipment. The best choice is to use the original boxes and fillers. If the original box(es) are unavailable, please pack your amplifier as follows:

  • Place your unit in a large plastic bag

  • Wrap the unit with LARGER BUBBLE wrap only (1" bubbles - NO "PEANUTS") until you have a cushioning layer 2 to 4" THICKNESS around the unit to each surface of the box.

  • Place in a box selected to provide a reasonably snug fit and fill the remainder of the box with crushed newspaper (open to full page then crumble into filler). Under no circumstances should you use Styrofoam Peanuts - they offer absolutely no protection for electronic equipment almost always resulting in equipment damage and subsequent insurance claims hassles. Additionally, we will incur disposal costs that will be passed back to you. If you feel additional protection is needed, consider placing the box inside a second box with another 2" of cushion material.

It is safest to keep the tubes inserted into their original sockets. To insure that they do not fall out, place a SOFT layer of foam rubber between the top of the tubes and the adjacent surface. Otherwise, pack each tube separately in bubble wrap and secure in their own internal box.

Always ship with the covers in place if at all possible secured with all of the screws in place. Line cords should be wrapped and bound.

We strongly suggest that you insure your shipment ($1000 minimum suggested) - insurance is very inexpensive (UPS = .35cents/$100, or $3.50 for $1000 of insurance) Following our packing procedure is critical for assuring insurance validity. We therefore we reserve the right to charge you for re-boxing if you did not box it in accordance with our guidelines.


SHIPPING OPTIONS

After shipping and receiving hundreds of electronic equipment packages we have developed carrier preferences - they are in order of preference: USPS, USPS Priority, Fed-X ground, and finally UPS. You may pack your unit as described above or use a "Mailboxes" outlet to do this for you, but they charge quite a bit for their work and place surcharges on everything. Instruct the carrier to permit the product to be delivered without signature at delivery


Please Ship to the Following Address:

CAE

1686 Hyacinth Lane

San Jose, CA 95124

 

copyright Curcio Audio 2010