StereoMan response to COVID-19 emergency

posted June 24, 2020

StereoMan is committed to conducting business in a safe manner even as the State of North Carolina continues to experience increasing spread of the novel coronavirus. Armed with new information about the way the virus is transmitted, it now appears safe to open my door to my customers, but I will continue to conduct all transactions by appointment to avoid having more than one person in the shop at a given time. And, in accordance with the State’s mandate, I will be wearing a mask during our appointment and I ask that all my customers do the same, or else I will not be able to invite you into my shop.

If you are in need of in-home service, please give me a call and we will discuss the parameters. If you are comfortable enough with my presence in your home, and I am confident I will be safe in your home, I will happily provide.

Unfortunately I am not able to offer car stereo work, and will not be doing so unless and until the pandemic has abated. I regret the inconvenience, but it pales in comparison to the inconvenience of being afflicted with this incurable disease, and I am determined to take every sensible precaution to avoid being the person who gives it to you or anyone else!

Who Is StereoMan?

Steve Livingston is StereoMan. Steve has over forty years of technical experience in electronics, including more than twenty years installing home and car entertainment systems. Among the services Steve provides are:


    • home theater installation
    • car stereo installation
    • home theater and stereo repair
    • background music and commercial PA

Steve can also help you obtain good quality audio and video components at competitive prices. And for your convenience, StereoMan makes house calls throughout the region!

Click the pages at left for information on StereoMan’s services


What experience does StereoMan have?

Why does Stereoman do this work?

^^Click the links!^^


Located at 33 London Rd. Asheville NC 28803

it has come to our attention that some GPS systems direct you to our across the street neighbor, RB Gas Co. We’re in the little red brick bldg in the hidden side of the curve.

Where is StereoMan?

^^Click the link^^ for a convenient map!


Monitor Modification

Read all about it! StereoMan adds missing link to enable flawless sound from overhead monitors! Click the link to see the full story!

Monitor Mod

StereoMan’s Rates

StereoMan’s labor rate is a mere $48 per hour. Car stereo installation starts at $54.95. Routine maintenance and repair of stereo components typically runs in the $30 to $75 range. If it’s going to be more, you’ll get a call first!

Despite having to increase his travel rate due to ever-higher prices at the pump, StereoMan’s travel charge is still a very reasonable $10 for the first 5 miles from the shop and $2.00 per mile thereafter.



Buy Local!!!


New Models Are Here! Wireless Apple Car Play/Android Auto!


StereoMan is your local






We now offer an expanded line of Pioneer products at prices
that rival the Big Box Stores!
Call or come by and see what we can do for your ride!


Click Here for 2020 Pioneer Stereo Pricing!



Land Cruiser Partial Bypass

Today I completed one of my biggest car stereo jobs of the year, and the result far exceeded expectations! My customer brought me a 1998 Toyota Land Cruiser with the premium sound system in it. He wanted a complete upgrade: Apple Car Play stereo, new speakers all around, satellite radio, and backup camera.

Just one catch. According to the various Land Cruiser blogs I consulted, integrating the new stereo to the factory amp was problematic. Due to an oddly designed ground loop, if the new stereo’s line level output was connected to the factory amp’s input wiring, it would generate unacceptable noise levels. The amp had to be bypassed. I suggested, and my customer agreed, to insert Pioneer’s tiny GMD1004 amplifier into the bypass to provide him with the extra volume he craved.

But wait! What about the factory subwoofer? If I bypassed the factory amp, the subwoofer would no longer function. Would my customer have to buy another amp? or do without the low bass? Or was there another solution? It seemed to me there was! And so I set about performing a partial bypass.

It’s commonly believed that all aftermarket stereos have four output channels, but that’s not quite true. Some have six, some eight, some ten! Only four are powered, true, but line level outputs can be used at the same time as speaker level outputs, with no harmful effects. And so I set about utilizing eight of the new stereo’s ten outputs to feed both the factory amp and Pioneer’s tiny GMD1004.
















I connected the line level channels to the amp integration wiring adapter, to feed the factory amplifier.

















I fed the speaker level connections into a pair of 16×4 speaker cables. I routed these cables behind the glove box, under the passenger door sill plate, and then routed alongside the factory amp’s wiring to the Pioneer “tiny amp”, which I installed right behind the factory amp. I tucked it under the carpet after the photo shoot!

















Now for the surgery. I tapped into the factory amp’s power and ground wires to run the Pioneer amp. I always use an inline noise filter with these tiny amps, I find that the amp produces a much cleaner sound as a result. I cut the leads running from the factory amp to the door speakers, and spliced the speaker ends to the tiny amp’s output leads. I left the subwoofer leads connected to the factory amp.













When I fired it all up and made some adjustments to the stereo, the results were amazing!  I turned on the stereo’s high pass filters and set them to 100hz front and rear, and then adjusted the equalizer to reduce the 6khz and 12khz bands by 6db. I tested with Joe Bonamassa’s “Mountain Climbing” and I had to admit, it sounded almost as good as my own car! It was like magic!

My customer came to pick up the vehicle and I gave him a test run with his selection of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'”. I thought he was going to burst into tears. “You just made my YEAR!” he exclaimed.

My customers are the BEST!

I took in a preamp for repair recently, and as usual I took a $25 deposit for my bench fee. A week or so later, the same customer decided to have his amp checked out and I said I’d do it at the same time as I did the repairs on the preamp, and I took it in without charging the bench fee.

Turned out the preamp needed some work, but the amp was in good shape, only needed a thorough cleaning. I completed the work on both pieces but when I wrote up the invoices, I forgot that I hadn’t charged a bench fee on the amp, so the invoice showed an $11 balance instead of $36. My customer picked up the equipment and paid the invoices, we had a nice chat, and he went on his way.

Not ten minutes later, he was back. He remembered that I hadn’t charged that second deposit, and he still owed me 25 bucks. How’s that for honesty??!

Kind help

Yesterday I provided in home service for a blind woman. Not merely “legally blind”, but absolutely not able to see. I got her two CD players hooked up and working (she has a backup just in case), and then figured out how to turn off the wake-up alarm on the backup (she had turned it on by mistake, and when it started beeping she thought it was a smoke detector and called in the fire department!). Then I helped her identify the different buttons on the remote, which involved guiding her fingers to the right positions as I explained what each button did.

When all that was done, she asked me to come in the kitchen and see if I could get her dishwasher started. To which I, of course, complied. She knew where the different buttons were located, but unable to see the indicator lights, she couldn’t tell that she had pushed one button too many and turned the wash cycle off instead of on.

Then when it was time to pay, she asked me to fill out the check, and then guide her finger to where she was supposed to sign it. I charged her $46 for my travel and my time. It was close by, and less than an hour.

I imagined how stressful it inevitably must be for a not-sighted person like her to let a total stranger like me into her house and allow me to work on her precious audio equipment. A lot of trust involved! It was so gratifying to me to feel that I had earned it, so satisfying to hear her say as I was leaving, “Thank you for your kind help.”

Still Super Busy!

StereoMan is still booked out more than four weeks on car stereo and six weeks on bench work. I thought I was catching up a mite, but new work keeps pouring in as fast as I can get it done.  Thanks to everyone for trusting me with your home and car entertainment needs. I do my best to hook you up for a fair price!

Bose Makes Waves

I’ve been working on Bose products for years and years, with some success despite their complete lack of support for field repair. No replacement parts, no service information, no tech support, nothing. Still, I can boast a better than 50% success rate, just knowing how to take them apart, what common problems to look for, and what replacement parts can and can’t be used to complete a repair. Due to their immense popularity – and high cost – I have at least one Bose unit in my shop at any given time.

Recently a customer bringing one in for repair told me they had found out about StereoMan on the Bose website! Imagine my surprise to learn that although they are doing absolutely nothing to support my efforts, they are happy to tell people that I am out here to support their products. The irony is not lost on me, but I take it in stride. I’m here to support my customers, and if they’re willing to take a chance on me repairing their Bose stereo, I’m going to give it my best shot.

Apparently my best shot is pretty good. Good enough to get mention on the Bose website. Huzzah!