Skywave Tape Deck Repair

Skywave Tape Deck Repair

Bensenville, IL

20 years in service

2 employees

Gold profile

About Skywave Tape Deck Repair

hired 23 times on Thumbtack

How does your service stand out?

It is simply a matter of professional pride just as it was when I worked at Teac. If it takes a little longer to get a machine set up correctly then that is the way it is. There is no short changing the customer nor doing a sloppy job. This is why when working as a Technician for Teac I had records for the amount of units repaired per month and at the same time a very low return rate and there we were not encouraged to take extra time on units.

What do you enjoy about the work you do?

It is a lot of work but the comments I get from people when they did not know how good their old equipment could sound makes the efforts worth while. Many times the deck from off the assembly line is not set up to optimum values. You need a well experienced Technician to know how to make the deck really perform well. Some of the people I train are surprised by the level of detail that is involved in doing the right job. Happy customers is what I hope to get and most of the time I get them!


617 McLean Ave
Bensenville, IL 60106

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  • 5/5 stars

    Sam does excellent work! He repaired 2 tape decks. 1 was a Akai GX 747dbx model which was in very bad shape. 2 more technicians passed on the job saying the deck was not service friendly and not worth the repair. Sam and his partner restored it very well.
    2nd deck was a Teac X 2000R which was in very bad shape and with high hours. Sam corrected all the issues and got the deck calibrated well performing with relapped heads. It is recording very well. I also have another X 2000R which has new heads I can't say a difference between the new heads and lapped heads.

    Thanks Sam!

  • 5/5 stars

    Sam took in my tascam 488 mkkii and repaired the transport mechanism and also fine tuned it. Despite the fact that it took him well over a year to complete this project, I stand behind my outstanding rating because it runs like a brand new unit. For those who are too impatient to wait, I'm not sure sam is the one for you. If you are looking for someone to do high quality work that might take longer than you hoped, then sam is the right choice. He gave me a fair price and did excellent work on my machine.

  • 5/5 stars

    For over 20 years years I've loved owning an industry standard (pro-level) Tascam 122 MkII cassette tape recorder. I've used it for many purposes, including making high quality, stereo master cassette tapes from direct mixdown of 8 - 24 rack reel-to-reel original music. I also created hundreds of cassette libraries of music with it. In recent years I've continued to use it as an analog source for DAC digitizing of old commercial cassette tapes into CD and/or USB music formats. When my 122 finally died, I was shocked, and heart-broken. The best local electronics repair shops in my city had no clue how to fix it, and several indeed tried unsuccessfully. I wound up mailing it to Sam after finding his website, reading his reviews, and personally discussing the project with him by telephone. He subsequently completely refurbished my deck, including motor rebuilds, capacitor replacements, new belts, new record/playback heads, speed potentiometer replacement and recording head fine tuning. My aged deck initially represented quite a challenge to Sam, who methodically researched the circuitry and kept me continuously informed of both his findings, his plans on how to creatively address the many unexpected problems which emerged, and their anticipated costs. While this was far from an overnight fix, Sam never gave up on the project. Today I received my deck back from better than new shape. It is completely re-calibrated, smooth as silk, quiet as a mouse and clear as a bell. Importantly, it is updated with modern parts which should give my old 122 MkII renewed life for years to come. I couldn't be any happier. This guy is an artist...and his work is a challenging labor of love for him. If you are a serious enough collector/user of these old high end tape-decks to invest a few bucks, Sam Palermo is your man. If you don't appreciate the art and value of quality analog recorders, are trying to pinch pennies, or have unrealistic expectations of an overnight fix, you're barking up the wrong tree. Hardy, M.D., Ph. D.

  • 5/5 stars

    He did a very thorough repair on my TEAC A-2300, and went above and beyond what I asked him to do. Although the repair took about six months, he was prompt to update me on the status of things. I highly recommend him to anyone that needs their tape deck repaired.

  • 1/5 stars

    My experience with Sam....not so good...while no time frame was specified its getting close to a years time and I still dont have my Pioneer RT-909 and RT-707 back from Sam. After telling him to stop work as of today (3-23-2014), after repeated requests he refuses to tell me when I can pick up my equipment. No stars in my book. I really thought he was the guy for the job but he appears overwhelmed. Any suggestions? Far from being professional.

    Sam P. from Skywave Tape Deck Repair replied to this review on March 24, 2014

    I have no excuse other than to say the 707 had shipping damage I did not see before and the motor was cocked in the mounting taking a good amount of time to try and correct. I have stopped taking in any more units so as not to let this long time frame go on and I just have to work what is here. People may not now have a place to take their units. I am sorry you have had a bad experience.

  • 1/5 stars

    This guy brags about being the best tech out their and runs all other techs down. TH is open for discussionvof repair not to run people down. I am sorry but I cannot recommend arrogance.

    Sam P. from Skywave Tape Deck Repair replied to this review on February 24, 2014

    No, that is not correct. I tell you about people that do sloppy and expensive work while doing nothing but polish the outside and make bad adjustments to the decks electronics which cause it to burn out parts. If this is arrogance then that is what I am.

  • 5/5 stars

    What a great job on my X2000. It spins tape smooth, quiet, records and plays great...then it looks super clean. What a fantastic job! I am totally happy and can't imagine where anyone could get this level of service & care and for quite reasonable service price. They said you are the "artesian" of tape machines. I completely agree!! Thanks for a job done- better than well!
    Steven Roberts
    Hayward, CA

  • 5/5 stars

    Sam - How do I get ahold of you. I can't find any phone # or email address.

    Sam P. from Skywave Tape Deck Repair replied to this review on December 11, 2013

    Hi Rich,
    My address should be on the Thumbtack site and my phone number is found in my signature on all E mails and posts on forums like

  • 4/5 stars

    Hello Sam
    Where can I buy a amorphous az head for my technics rs az6?, I think this head has been desmagnetized
    Thank you

  • 5/5 stars Verified Review

    Sam is awesome to deal with and his reputation and knowledge are second to none. He recently brought my Tascam 122mkII cassette deck back to life. He even replaced a couple parts that he's probably the only one on the planet to actually have them in stock. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to use his services again or recommend him to a friend. Another thing...his business ethics and honesty are above reproach.

  • 5/5 stars Verified Review

    The deck was deemed not worth proceeding with the repairs to it. I agreed and pursued a different deck. I appreciated his opinions, expertise and will consult him for other needs in the future. He was honest about the condition of the deck and that allowed me to make my decision quickly.

  • 5/5 stars Verified Review

    All I can say is Sam's credentials speak for themselves. I sent him a Teac A-2000 that was running so-so and it came back running excellent. There's no other way to describe it. He's also quick at replying to e-mail questions so be sure to check your inbox. A+ grade.

  • 5/5 stars

    Sam is a great tech he knows tape decks! He has fixed my Studer B67, and has it working like new.

  • 5/5 stars Verified Review

    Sam repaired my tascam atr-60 reel to reel machine. Here is a service professional who is willing to go the extra mile to do quality work. Extremely knowledgeable and thorough. Great customer service and rates.

  • 5/5 stars Verified Review

    Sam did an excellent job of fixing my 40+ year old Teac reel to reel player. He was extremely thorough, conscientious and reasonable. I have already recommended him to other people, accompanied with high praise for him.

Question and answer

Q. What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

A. There are always times that in deck repair we learn how equipment was made different and specialized. It is an ongoing learning process as you approach new types of equipment and the new problems associated with now 30-40 year decks. There is also a difference between a repair and a restoration. A restoration encompasses a lot more and can be more expensive. That idea has to be thought out before the deck is sent in as the difference in price may offend some people.

Q. How did you get started doing this type of work?

A. I was in Engineering school just after leaving the Police Department and needed a summer job. I applied at Teac and was hired due to good test scores pretty quick. After several years in tape deck, cassette, CD, VCR and other electronics products, I was called into the Radio business where I ended up owning my own business, working full time for ESPN, Sporting News, Spanish Broadcasting and Moody Radio. A good technical background can lead you far into many directions. I also worked as a contractor in Pro Video.

Q. What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?

A. Look for an individual that has experience and looks professional. Those that can answer technical questions well will provide the best service as they know their trade.
Contact me.

Q. What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?

A. Most if not all clients do not know how much time goes into fixing their equipment right. Often times I am charging 2 hours labor when it has been worked on 3-5 hours to get all aspects of the deck right. You only need one little thing to upset the repair experience. It is better to take extra time and get it perfect rather than to ship units back and forth due to rushing through a job. This is one reason a fast turn around is not preferred by someone who expects a lot of detail in repair.