Hi-Fi Repair – Is It Worth It?

Is Hi-Fi repair worth it?

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There was a time when repairing anything electronic was considered a fool’s errand.

If it wasn’t under warranty, it was cheaper and easier to just buy a new one. But with the advent of the internet and online communities of experts, that has all changed. 

Now, websites and YouTube videos show you how to repair everything from smartphones to cars. The same is true for hi-fi speakers and headphones.

Plenty of resources are available online that can help you fix your broken audio equipment without spending a fortune on repairs or buying new gear. However, should you really delve into hi-fi repair? Does it really pay off?

I have personally found that repairing hi-fi speakers and headphones can be a great way to save money. I have been able to fix numerous pairs of speakers and headphones that would have otherwise needed to be replaced.

In many cases, the repairs were quite simple and only took a few minutes to complete. In other cases, the repairs were more involved but still relatively easy to do.

HiFi Circuit board wiring diagram
HiFi Valve Amp Circuit Wiring Diagram

Of course, not every hi-fi repair will be easy or cheap. Some repairs may require special tools or parts you don’t have on hand.

And in some cases, the damage may be too great to fix, and you will need to buy new gear. But if you are willing to put in the time and effort, repairing your hi-fi equipment can be a great way to save money and keep your gear working like new.

In this article, we will go over some of the most common hi-fi repairs that you may need to do.

We will also provide some tips on how to troubleshoot and fix your gear yourself. And finally, we will give you some information on where to find the best resources for hi-fi repair.

Most Common Types of Repairs Hi-Fi Speakers or Headphones Need

There are a few different types of repairs that hi-fi speakers or headphones may need. Below are some of the most common types of repairs:

1. Driver Replacement

Klipsch Speaker Driver - Front view of the Cone
Klipsch Speaker Driver – Front view of the Cone | Make Life Click

One of the most common types of hi-fi speaker repairs is driver replacement. Drivers are small, round speakers that sit inside your speaker cabinets. Over time, drivers can become damaged or blown.

Especially if you’re cranking that Guns N’ Roses track from Appetite for Destruction.

Actually, it’s quite likely you blew them on some Yeezy before it all went pear shaped.

When this happens, you will need to replace the driver.

2. Crossover Replacement

Another common type of hi-fi repair is crossover replacement.

A crossover is a small component that helps direct the sound from your speakers to your ears.

Over time, crossovers can become damaged or stop working correctly.

When this happens, you will need to replace the crossover.

Crossover Settings for home theatre
Crossover on an SVS Subwoofer | Make Life Click

3. Cabinet Refinishing

Cabinet refinishing is another common type of hi-fi repair.

Over time, the finish on your speaker cabinets can become scratched or chipped.

When this happens, you may want to consider refinishing your cabinets. This is a relatively easy repair that can make a big difference in the look of your speakers.

This is just a cosmetic issue but we do like our stuff to look nice, right?

If the bracing on the cabinet has come loose or any internal dampening has become dislodged or degraded – this might cause for a more serious repair.

It’s really important your cabinet is structurally solid. Sometimes this just means some clamps and glue to tigthen everything up unless that’s too low brow for you.

4. Connector Replacement

Connector replacement is another common type of hi-fi repair. Connectors are small pieces of metal that connect your speakers to your amplifier or receiver.

Over time, these connectors can become corroded or damaged.

When this happens, you might need to replace the connector.

Where I live, close to the ocean, there is a lot of salt water corrosion that naturally occurs.

Previously, I lived in an area of high volcanic activity – same thing again, things corroded quickly.

There are ways you can clean these up with some elbow work, sometimes a little cleanser and even some contact spray cleaner.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS ONE?
WD-40 Specialist Contact Cleaner Spray, 11 oz.
Specialist Contact Cleaner Spray

5. Amplifier Repair

Amplifier repair is another common type of hi-fi repair. Amplifiers are the components that power your speakers.

Over time, amplifiers can become damaged or stop working correctly – like the rest of this list, stuff gets old.

When this happens, you will need to have,or consider, having your amplifier repaired by a qualified technician.

This is not something the average Joe can handle but I know a lot of you like a little soldering action.

I had a Sony integrated amp blow out when I fed it the wrong voltage. I tried for months to bring it back to life but my supers powers didn’t have what was needed.

6. Foam Repair & Replacement

One of the most controversial types of repair and replacement in a hi-fi speaker system includes the foam surrounding the woofer material.

Many audiophiles firmly believe that the speaker’s sound is significantly affected by the quality of this material, and as such, it should be replaced frequently.

Some say that replacing or repairing this foam can lead to degradation of the sound quality as well, as normal repair guys can NOT replace it just the way it was.

They believe that even the slightest alignment issues can lead to sound issues.

I personally believe that, so long as the repair is done by a professional familiar with such things (even if that is you), it can be an effective way to improve or change the sound of a speaker.

Hifi amp circuit board repair
Hifi amp circuit board + streaming RAM cards repair | JumpStory

7. Cone Replacement

The most common type of hi-fi speaker repair is replacing the cone. The cone is the part of the speaker that vibrates to create sound.

Over time, cones can become damaged or blown. When this happens, you will need to replace the cone.

It’s possible if your tweeter or cone center (if it has it) has been pushed in. Small kids love doing it.:)

If that’s the case you can probably wrap your lips around that and give it a little suction to pop it out again.

So the question again; Is The Repair Really Worth It?

Hi-Fi headphones and speakers are extremely precise, typically.

I once rebuilt a guitar amp box and cone but it was crap, and that didn’t need the precision HiFi gear needs.

A difference of a few nanometers in reassembly can introduce problems.

So, is the repair really worth it?

It depends on how much you value your audio experience.

If you are an audiophile, then you know that even a slight change in sound quality can be noticeable.

And knowing us audiophiles, even it if is good, we’ll always question it. Right? Acutally, that was retorical.

For some, this may not be worth the time and money required to repair their gear.

Others may feel that the repairs are worth it if it means they can continue to enjoy their gear, and their music.

This is without even entering in to the conversation of our replace it culture that is cluttering up landfill because it’s cheaper to buy another one rather than repair it.

Ultimately, whether or not to repair your hi-fi gear is up to you.

Weigh the cost of the repairs against the value of your audio experience.

If you’re not going to do it, and it’s worth a bit, at least see if you can get a quote somewhere you trust to repair it.

If you decide that the repairs are not worth it, there are many places where you can sell used hi-fi gear.

I have destroyed several speakers on my way to getting familiar with hi-fi repair.

Once, I ended up drilling a hole in the wrong place and had to buy a new speaker.

Blown Speaker Cone
Blown speaker driver cone

Another time, I glued the wrong parts together and had to start over again. My mistakes cost me money, but they also taught me a lot about hi-fi repair.

Now, I am able to repair most types of hi-fi gear. I have even repaired some professional audio equipment. If you are thinking about getting into hi-fi repair, I recommend that you start with something simple, like replacing a blown speaker cone.

Once you have mastered that, you can move on to more complex repairs.

No matter what you decide, remember that hi-fi repair is not for everyone.

It takes patience, practice, and a willingness to learn.

But if you are up for the challenge, hi-fi repair can be a very rewarding experience!

Slava is a man of mystery and no-one seems to know exactly where he is at any point in time. When he isn't enjoying writing about all things audio and technical he can be found researching his next project of interest. The man never rests.

This post was last updated on 2022-12-11 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.


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