Kevin

 

 

Heathkit Stereo Service & Repair is, sadly, closed for business


Kevin, the Wizard behind Heathkit Stereo, passed away peacefully in April 2016 after an aggressive illness.
Kevin brought joy to many with his work, and his electronics wizardry and musician's ears that enabled him to restore vintage Heathkit stereo gear to as good or better than when it was originally built, is, I know, going to be sorely missed.

I am leaving this website up for now, and will be monitoring the business email should you need to contact me.

If you have any interest in purchasing any of Kevin's studio gear (including a rare ARP 2500 synthesizer), stereo repair gear, or Heathkit manuals, please drop me a note. Items from Kevin's collection will at some point start showing up in his eBay store, which I have taken over. If you are interested in repairing your own Heathkits, I can supply, on a donation basis, lists of modern replacement parts for select Heathkit stereo gear, complete with ordering URLs. Kevin put in a lot of time figuring out the best replacement parts, I hope this will be helpful to some folks.

-- Sandi, Kevin's fiancée

 

 

The engineers at Heathkit designed some incredible stereo components!
Most of it, though, is now around 20 to 40 years old, and in need of service:
Electrolytic capacitors have dried up and changed their values (both capacitance and ESR), or possibly shorted.
Transistors short (often taking out other components), or are exhibiting power curves markedly different than when the unit was new.
Contacts have become dirty or sticky or have oxidized.
The lubrication on controls may have gummed up to the point where the control is frozen.
Carbon in potentiometers may have worn off, leaving dead spots.
The calibration of tuners may have drifted and stations no longer come in strong and clear.

Building Heathkits is one thing -- servicing them and bringing them back to proper operation when the Heath technicians aren't a phone call away is quite another. I've been working with and on Heathkits since I built my first kit (an AA-1214 amplifier) back in the summer of 1973, and Heath's line of solid-state stereo components has been a particular passion of mine ever since! (Remember the Master Builder Club?) [The vacuum tube stereos are superb as well, but vacuum tubes predate my training by just a bit, so I'll leave those sets to the techs who know and understand them.]

For those folks who would like their Heathkit stereo to sound as good as -- or even better than -- new again, send me an E-mail.
Whether it's figuring out why the fuse blows, or a complete refurb, I want to see your unit on my bench, rather than in a bin at the electronics recycler! [Heathkit stereos deserve much better than that!]

...And I'm not just a techie with some test equipment and a soldering iron. I'm an audiophile, musician and composer with a studio of analog keyboards and recording equipment [thus all the test gear to keep it running]. My ears are as good (or better) than my analyzers, meters and scopes at detecting problems in the sound. Let's keep the Heathkit stereos around and -- not just functional -- sounding GREAT!

(I often take on servicing other Heathkits, such as scopes, meters and other non-ham radio items on a case by case basis.)

If you'd like to contact me, drop an E-mail to

(And here's a challenge for you... how many Heathkits are in the photo here?)

In addition to Heathkit stereo (and quad) components, I've also found 70's "quadraphonic" equipment in general to be repairable (and very worthy of preservation, so that quad recordings can still be enjoyed). So, if you know of any quadraphonic
items in need of attention, drop me a note so we can get the ball rolling on that!

Please also drop by and bookmark my Ebay store, where I sell some awesome reconditioned hi-fi gear!
(Thinking of bidding on an item that needs repairs? Let's arrange to have it shipped directly to HeathkitStereo.)

Comments from happy clients [which are the only kind of clients at heathkitstereo.com]...

AR-1500 Receiver (purchased restored unit):
The AR-1500 arrived yesterday. Fired it up and WOW - sounds FANTASTIC. Super low distortion with great clarity. I'm very happy with the result - you did an outstanding job on this receiver. Once again, congratulations on the workmanship you put into this receiver - the inside looks immaculate - I can only imagine that it must have been a mess when you received it! The sound is nothing short of SPECTACULAR! - Thank you!! -- B. D., Shrewsbury, MA

Click this link to read what AR-15 owner Tony Stanz would like to share with you.

AA-1640 Amplifier (requested I build a reconditioned super-amp from two AA-1640 "parts" units I had):
Big night for me -- almost like Christmas! I ordered a set of A2rx-c's from Chane (wanted the A5rx-c's but they are out of stock) and I hooked-up my new to me AA-1640 and AP-1800 tonight temporarily. I don't have my shelves made yet for the components to be where I want them so I put them on a table in the garage and hooked everything up. I just wanted to tell you that I absolutely love the way the 1640 sounds. I actually heard sounds that made me look at the speaker. I can't say I've heard this before. Thanks so much for what you did to my amp. I should probably send you the 1800 as there is some static when I turn some of the knobs. Maybe I just put you on the monthly payment plan. LOL. I LOVE WHAT YOU DID! Thanks again! -- C. D., Fort Wayne, IN

AA-15 Amplifier restoration (purchased non-functional amp on ebay and had seller send directly here):
I'm sorry I haven't contacted you already. It arrived in perfect shape, extremely well packed. Wow, it looks brand new. I am so impressed with your efforts. I haven't listened to it yet as I am remodeling the house I am in and do not have the bookcases in that will display this beautiful unit.
[... and then later...]
Ok, I had to stop and email you.  I am just overwhelmed.  After your email I decided to just plug it in and listen to some music off my phone and thru my rebuilt Koss Pro 4AA headphones.  I am pleased beyond words. You are just a wizard. The smoothness and clarity is just beyond description. I have a very nice Sony home theater receiver, but unless I am imagining things this sounds so much more mellow and smooth. Again, I just don't know what to say. Not a speck of distortion or static. You have no idea what you have done for this old guy to bring all this back to life for me. I am just overwhelmed. Thank you so................ much. -- D. S., Wetumpka, AL

AA-1800 Amplifier repair:
Got the system up and running. Damn, the amp sounds better now than when it was new. Gee, thank you for fixing this amp. God I am so happy I did not throw this amp away. -- R.A., East Quogue, NY

AR-1500 Receiver rebuild:
The good news is that the AR1500 arrived today. Hooked it up, turned it on and it sounds great! You did it again! I'm happy to have high class audio here in Vero Beach!! You really did a superb job - sounds great, the FM has never worked like it does now and you even made the old cabinet look great!! Thanks again for the great job, Kevin!! -- B. D., Vero Beach, FL

AA-1800 Amplifier repair:
The amp arrived safely, and I got it hooked back up to my basement system a few hours ago. It sounds fantastic, I think the Time Windows are very happy to have the beast back in service. The NEC amp is back in its role as center/rear channel surround sound. Thanks so much for your efforts in restoring the amp back to prime condition. If you don’t mind, I would like to mention your good work in a post or two on Facebook (VHFSE); would that be ok? -- D. S., Jackson, MI

AA-1640 Amplifier rebuild:
It sounds great!!  Much, much more depth!  Thank you so much! -- M. K., Sonoma, CA

AA-1800 Amplifier repair:
Thank you very much for repairing my amp.  I really appreciate it!  Your full report was outstanding and I can't wait to fire the amp back up.
[Followed by, after receivng the amp...]
Damn this is nice!! You mentioned "effortless" a few emails back, you were right on with your description. It is amazing how it just cranks out whatever is required with no strain whatsoever. I still have some connections to finish but I made enough to try it out. It is not set up exactly as it was years ago. Rather than running through the Soundcraftsman pre amp I am running through the pre amp outs on my receiver. As I listen to it putt along on some pretty demanding tunes I don't remember it ever sounding this good. As I get time I want to work my turntable back into the picture and check out some of my vinyls. No complaints my friend! This thing sounds great!! Thanks again for bringing this amp back to life for me. If the old tube amps sound better than this, I never want to hear one.... Thanks again. -- E. B., Cohutta, GA

AP-2510 (Harmon Kardon HK825) Preamp repair:
Great to hear the report -- I'm glad I found you on Ebay (and glad I invested in a Heathkit, with service like this 25 years after purchase). Wish I had more Heath audio in the system to bring back to life :-) ! -- L. M., Gettysburg, PA

AD-1304 Active Audio Processor (purchased restored unit):
I'm sorry for the long delay before sending you your well earned positive feedback. The Heathkit AD-1304 Audio Processor is MUCH BETTER than expected and I was totally pleased with every aspect of this purchase. Thanks for helping me add a very nice piece of Heathkit equipment to my Stereo collection. Happy New Years, -- M. M., Harrisonville, MO

Nikko trm-50 Amplifier recap and tune-up:
Hi Kevin, amp arrived safely yesterday, and I am now happily listening on my Grado 60s to my reference WAV file with 13 song clips on it. Nice, detailed sound! I actually am short on banana cables to check out some speakers with, but will get to that soon enough. This powerful little amp will work very nicely in my office rotation. Thanks so much for your great work, and just as importantly, the great experience of working with you! -- T. T., Chicago, IL

AD-1304 Active Audio Processor (purchased restored unit):
Sir this is worth every cent I paid! Thank you for this fine unit! I only had it for 10 minutes and fell in love! Works like Phillips DNL, but better! I also have a friend that would be interested in one of these little babies! Let me know if you have another and I'll relay the message.
-- J. S., Colton, CA

AA-1214 Amplifier (fix problems caused by old parts in a NOS kit, recently assembled):
It was a heck of a job! Congrats! -- D. G., São Paulo, Brazil

Feedback from ebay sales of repaired or reconditioned equipment:

(Mostly Complete) Table of Heathkit Solid-State Stereo Components

Model Number Description Notes
Introduced
AA-15 Stereo Amplifier 50 w/ch continuous 67
AA-18 Mono Amplifier 3.25 watts 81
AA-29 Stereo Amplifier 35 w/ch continuous, 4 sliding controls 71
AA-1205 Amplifier 83
AA-1214 Amplifier 15 w/ch continuous 73
AA-1219 Stereo Amplifier 15 watts/channel, goes with AJ-1219 81
AA-1505 Modulus Stereo Power Amplifier 35 watts/channel
AA-1506 Modulus Stereo Power Amplifier 60 watts/channel 77
AA-1515 Stereo Amplifier 70 watts/channel 77
AA-1600 Stereo Amplifier 125 watts/channel 81
AA-1640 Stereo Power Amplifier 200 watts/channel (Monster amp, meters optional) 77
AA-1650 AM/FM Stereo Receiver 125 watts/channel
AA-1800 Audio Power amp 250 watts/channel (Incredibly powerful) 81
AA-2004 4 Channel Integrated Amplifier
AA-2005 4 Channel Integrated Amplifier 4 channels 75
AA-2010 4 Channel Integrated Amplifier 75
AA-2015 Amplifier 4 channels
AA-2500 Power Amplifier 100 watts/channel basic power amp (Harman/Kardon) 89
AC-1122 4-Channel Receiver with 8-Track
ACW-4540 Cassette Deck 89
AD-19A Stereo Credenza
AD-110 Cassette Deck 74
AD-1013 Audio Ocilloscope 4 channels - one of the best accessories ever! 74
AD-1304 Active Audio Processor Does wonders for pre-digital recordings & radio 81
AD-1305 5 Band Equalizer 81
AD-1307 Audio Control Center Meters from AA-1640
AD-1309 Pink/White Noise Generator 91
AD-1504 Dolby NR Module used in AN-2016, AR-1429, AR-1515
AD-1507 CD-4 Demodulator Module used in AN-2016
AD-1530 Cassette Deck 74
AD-1600 FM/AM Digital Tuner
AD-1701 Graphic Output Indicator Part of rack-mountable Pro-Series 83
AD-1702 Electronic Crossover Part of rack-mountable Pro-Series, highly valued piece 81
AD-1703 10 Band Octave Equalizer Part of rack-mountable Pro-Series 81
AD-1706 Active Audio Processor 81
AD-1760 Active Audio Processor
AD-1800 Crossover 83
AD-2002 Stereo Decoder
AD-2022 Matrix Decoder
AD-2550 Surround Sound 91
ADP-1370 Power Amplifier 250 Watts Per Channel 83
AEA-1706 Active Audio Processor 83
AJ-29 AM/FM Stereo Tuner 71
AJ-1200 AM/FM Stereo Tuner 75
AJ-1214 AM/FM Tuner   73
AJ-1219 FM/AM Tuner goes with AA-1219 81
AJ-1510 Digital FM Tuner "Computer tuner" -- incredible innovation! 75
AJ-1515 AM-FM Digital Tuner
AJ-1600 Digital AM/FM Tuner Analog tuning, digital display, part of the Pro-Series 79
AJA-1200 FM Stereo Tuner 83
AM-1503 SQ Decoder Module used in AN-2016
AN-10 Mixed Lows Stereo Crossover 77
AN-2016 4-Chan AM/FM Digital Control Center "Modulus" [I own factory store demo unit]
AP-1615 Stereo Preamplifier
AP-1800 Preamp/Control Center Everything you could want in a preamp 81
AP-2510 Preamplifier 89
AR-15 AM/FM Stereo Receiver 1st of the "15" line, 50 w/c continuous 67
AR-19 FM Stereo Receiver 20 w/ch continuous, 4 sliding controls 70
AR-29 AM/FM Receiver 35 w/ch continuous, 4 sliding controls 70
AR-1214 Stereo Receiver 15 w/ch continuous 72
AR-1219 AM/FM Stereo Amplifier Like the AR-1214, but with a silver face 81
AR-1250 FM Stereo Receiver 83
AR-1302 AM/FM Stereo Receiver nearly identical to AR-19 76
AR-1429 AM/FM Stereo Receiver 35 watts 81
AR-1500(A) AM/FM Stereo Receiver 60 watts, one of the finest receivers ever! 71
AR-1515 Stereo Receiver 70 watts, possibly even better than the AR-1500 75
AR-1650 AM/FM Stereo Receiver
AR-2020 Receiver 4 channels - quadraphonic (SQ) 75
GD-28 8-Track Deck
ID-5252 Audio Load essential for testing amplifiers at high power levels
TM-1626 Stereo mic mixer

 

Heathkit® in all uses, the Heathkit name, the Heathkit logos and slogans, are internationally registered trademarks of Heath Company. Word has it that Heathkit is in the process of restarting their kit building business, and the owner of this site is totally supportive of that effort, and by servicing old units is not intending to compete with that effort in any way. [In fact a resume to their board of directors is available upon request.]