Who Is StereoMan?


Steve Livingston is StereoMan. Steve has over forty years of technical experience in electronics, including two-way radio, radio common carrier, and over 30 years in consumer electronics repair.

Steve provides both bench repairs and in-home service as needed, and is always willing to offer a little guidance if you’re unsure how to proceed with your equipment needs.


What experience does StereoMan have?

Why does Stereoman do this work?

^^Click the links!^^



Where is StereoMan?

StereoMan is conveniently located at 30 Park Lane Ave, one mile from I-40 Exit 44. (Smoky Park Highway). Just turn right onto Acton Circle at the McDonald’s, go past the entry lane to Home Depot and turn left at the light onto Sand Hill School Road. It’s easy to get here from Sand Hill Road as well, just turn onto Sand Hill School Road at the Sand Hill Grocery (Marathon gas station). From points west on Smoky Park Highway, turn right at Bruce Road (the last turn before the I-40 on-ramp), right again at Highland Center Blvd, then left onto Sand Hill School Road. Click on the map for a larger view. When you arrive, please park in my driveway and walk across the front yard on the path provided. I will meet you under the orange canopy!

Mileage Rate Change

I’ve been charging the same rates for my services for over a decade, and am resistant to making a change in my hourly, but I do need to start charging more for my travel. It’s never been quite enough to cover my time behind the wheel and the wear on my car, and so much more so now with the cost of gas and maintenance being so much higher. So that’s what I’ve decided to do. My old rate was a flat $2/mile with a $10 minimum. My new rate is a little more complicated:

* $15 for the first five miles (just about anywhere in West Asheville)
* $3 per mile for miles 6-18 (so 18 miles would be $54)
* $5 per each two miles for 20 miles or more (so 19 or 20 miles is $59, 39 or 40 miles is $109, etc.)

To be clear, the mileage is the distance from my house, not the round trip. I will always let you know in advance wht the exact mileage charge will be. Just ask!

Three weeks out

Over the past several months I have been able to maintain my commitment to keep my bench backlog down to two weeks, in other words the time from the day you bring in your equipment to the day it gets to my work bench. But over the past couple of months I have taken in an unusually high volume of work and it has set me back an additional week. With regrets for the inconvenience, please be prepared for a three week time frame between the day you bring your equipment in for repair and the day it reaches my workbench.

Technics SL-1200 Ground Wire

June 3, 2024

I’ve done a few of these over the years, but this is the first time I’ve had one where the customer tried to DIY before bringing it to me. Not too shabby for an amateur, but what they did defeats the whole purpose of the extra ground wire, which is to provide an isolated ground for the tone arm.

From the factory, the tone arm is grounded to the chassis, and the cartridge wires are not. So what you don’t want to do is solder the cartridge wires to the chassis ground.

So my first task was to remove the wires installed by the customer and clean up the circuit board, then install the extra ground wire without connecting it to the cartridge wires.

Next, “dress” the ends of the patch cord and solder to the clean interconnect board. “Dressing” is the process of cutting, stripping, twisting, and tinning the wire ends so they fit perfectly and solder securely.

I know, and you should know, that if you use the overly thick patch cords, the factory strain relief clamp is not going back on again. To keep the wire connections secure, I epoxied the wires to the circuit board. Believe me when I tell you, there is no advantage to the extra thickness. In this case, it was mostly extra rubber, but extra wire doesn’t make much different at all in a low frequency, low current situation.

Next the original cover is reinstalled, taking care not to yank on the wires, which in turn would yank on the epoxy seal, possibly breaking it (and other things!).

And last, I reinstall half of the original strain relief clamp. The oversize patch cord is firmly clamped in place.

Smallest Part Ever!

March 30, 2024

Surface mounted parts are by nature very small, and require some specialized solder techniques to replace without damaging the circuit board. Over the years I’ve replaced more than a few, some of them quite small. But the one I did today wins the prize for Smallest Part Ever! It’s a voltage regulator, and it goes in a Yamaha home theater receiver. Here’s a photo of the part sitting on a dime to give you an idea of its size: a tad larger than a grain of salt.

Here’s a photo of the circuit board it goes on.

Can’t find it? I’m not surprised! Let’s zoom in some.

You can make it out pretty plainly now, just above the center of the photo. It’s designated as IC10. Here’s what the completed work looks like.

The bad news is that replacing the defective voltage regulator did not restore proper operation of the stereo. It’s not unusual for a power supply part to go out due to the failure of a processor, and that was probably the case here. But my customer was willing to pay me to take the risk, even if it didn’t prove successful.

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2024! StereoMan expects to continue providing repair service on all kinds of vintage stereo equipment, including turntables, amplifiers and receivers, and even old console stereos! Please call 828-775-5905 to discuss your needs, and I’d be happy to give you advice or a rough assessment, and make an appointment if it looks like I can help you. My hourly rate remains at $48, as it has been for the past ten years.

What does “By Appointment” Mean?

August 21, 2023

When you call to inquire about getting your equipment repaired, I will tell you at some point that I work by appointment: you’ll need an appointment to drop off your equipment and you’ll need an appointment to pick your equipment up when the work is completed. I would think that any person who has ever had regular medical or dental care, or had their vehicle serviced, would understand what that means, but to my surprise, I sometimes get a customer who thinks it means they tell me they’re going to come by today, or tomorrow, or soon. Or, it means they can come by any time after their appointed date and time.

I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way. An appointment is a mutually agreed to time and date. I don’t tell you when you must come and you don’t tell me when I must see you. What I will do is tell you when is my first available, and if that’s not convenient to you, I’ll tell you what future days/times work for me, and before long we’ll hit upon one that works for both of us. Since I work out of my house, I can be flexible with my hours, but I must limit the number of people I see on a given day, and I must avoid having more than one person here at the same time, out of respect for my neighborhood.

Here’s a few other things that work:

* If you’re a few minutes early for your appointment, that’s okay. On the rare occasion that I’m not here, I’ll be back by the appointed time.
* If you’re a few minutes late, that’s okay. My next appointment is at least an hour after yours, and our transaction will probably take no more than a few minutes.
* If you can’t pick up your equipment for a few days or even weeks after repair is completed, that’s also okay.
* If you’re not able to make your appointment, that’s okay too, I appreciate your letting me know and we can reschedule.
*If you miss your appointment, that’s an inconvenience to me, but there’s no penalty, we’ll just need to try again another day. Call me!

I can usually give you an appointment within two or three working days, but if I am busier than usual it might be a week or maybe even more. Please be patient, I’m not trying to make your life more difficult.

Holiday Lull, Post-Holiday Slam

Jan 23, 2023

What was I thinking??!

I had a lull in incoming work over the holidays and I thought, well! I’m going to plan a little time off and go see my girls — my daughter and granddaughters — in Texas. I thought, hey! I’m pretty caught up and with this little lull, I’ll be even more caught up before long. Ha! The lull ended with the holidays and I got slammed with new work, including five (FIVE!) Tascam PortaStudios. Those suckers take a LOT of time to service.

I’m going to do my best to turn out as much work as I can before I head south to see my girls, but by way of a heads up, if you bring me any repair work between now and my departure, it probably won’t be done until March.

A Very Favorable Resolution

Dec 23, 2022

Almost without fail, my customers show up for their appointments, either right on time or a few minutes early. I appreciate that so much! There are exceptions, I’ll admit, but very few, and this morning one of those exceptions was resolved, and very favorably.

Today being the coldest day we’ve had in quite a few years, I chose to not make any appointments, out of respect for the well-being of my customers. But unexpectedly I got a call from someone who had missed three (!) previous appointments to pick up a piece I had completed back in September, asking if he could come by today or next Tuesday. I was honest about my reluctance to make yet another appointment with him, but I suggested that if he was going to be out and about in this frigid weather anyway, he could come by any time, just text me before he showed up. Well, he texted me, he showed up, and he was considerate enough to add an $11 tip to his $39 payment.

A very favorable resolution!