We're updating our Terms of Use. Learn more. Close

Skywave Tape Deck Repair

About Skywave Tape Deck Repair

hired 23 times on Thumbtack

I specialize in Teac/Tascam repairs and have worked on Otari, Studer, Pioneer and several other brands in 40+ years of electronics service. I have been employed at both Teac and Sony Factory Service facilities. I have a BSEE as well as two Associate degrees.I have also serviced Pro video equipment. I have been Chief Engineer for 4 Radio stations located in Chicago.

Location

617 McLean Ave
Bensenville, IL 60106

  • LinkedIn verified

Reviews

Back to Top
  • 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 him....in 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.
    Rich

    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 Tapeheads.net.
    (630)616-0932

  • 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

    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.

  • 5/5 stars

    Sam is great!! I highly recommend him without hesitation! If you have any broken machines that need fixing he is your man!! Those other guys wanted to charge me $600 to fix my machine! Sam only charged me $175 (with shipping)!!! I really appreciate your help and advice!!

  • 5/5 stars

    Sam repaired and recalibrated two three-head NAD 6300s for me. Despite specializing in non-NAD equipment, he found the appropriate parts and was able to bring both units into perfect shape. Sam is highly professional and as conscientious a technician as you will find. I highly recommend him for all your tape repair and maintenance needs.

  • 5/5 stars

    I have to say the quality and professionalism is outstanding. I am lucky to have found such great talent in my own back yard. I would highly recommend Sam anytime. I plan on bringing other equipment for repair and maintenance moving forward; can’t say enough… Thanks


    GK Lagrange TEAC A-6300

    Sam P. from Skywave Tape Deck Repair replied to this review on April 30, 2012:

    Thank you for the kind words Glenn,
    I was glad to be of Service.

  • 5/5 stars

    Sam has made repairs to, and calibrated two machines for me bringing them back into factory spec. One was a Teac 3340S and the other a Tascam 52. His work is nothing less than perfection. If you want 100% satisfaction call Sam.

  • 5/5 stars

    Sam is great!!
    I took my Teac 6300 to Just Service, Inc. in Chicago, because 1 channel would not erase or record, and tape run off in reverse play wtih 10" reels, after 3 weeks and $200+ was told I needed a new record and erase heads, tape still ran off.
    Took it to Sam, only a bad ground on the head. SAM recalibrated the deck for today's tape,fixed the tape run off, new pinch roller and belt for less then Just Service, and the deck has been performing in an outstanding manner for over 2 years now. It only took Sam a week to fix it. Highly recommend Sam for all your electronic repairs.

  • 5/5 stars

    Let's put it this way ... I hired Geek Squad to repair the drive on my Dell computer, and they were unable to repair my drive or retrieve any of the data. Yes, the billed me anyway. I brought my drive to Sam, and he not only rescued my data off the drive, but he was also able to tell me exactly what sectors of the drive were damaged. I'm not sure there's anything that Sam cannot fix!

  • 5/5 stars

    You can't find a technician better than Sam. He is probably the most qualified expert on TEAC/Tascam recording equipment you will find on this planet, literally. I was fortunate enough to cross paths with him by being referred from a gentleman on the web in New Zealand who knew about Sam and his ability to resolved complicated problems with vintage TEAC equipment. He saved me by fixing my 3440 deck, when nobody else could, while I was in the middle of an extremely important recording project. Sam gave it his full attention, and for that I am very grateful.

  • 5/5 stars

    If you have a tape deck in need of repairs, Sam is the man to talk to! Sam has overhauled 4 tape decks for me, and every one of them came back running like they were brand new! It is absolutely amazing to see these old machines restored to perfect operating condition. Sam's prices are very reasonable, too. You won't find anyone who will do a better job of repairing or restoring your equipment to perfect condition!

  • 5/5 stars

    Sam did a fine job at solving a very complex issue with my tape recorder. Will not hesitate to send it to him any other TEACs in the future.

Question and answer

Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

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. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?

A. Clean your machine(s) and keep them well maintained.
If you want good performance from the unit get the unit looked at with regular intervals. Heads wear, motors need oiling and component change value with time. This is all taken care of by a Technician who knows what to look for and follow good technical practices.

Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?

A. Where have you worked in the past, what kind of equipment do you work on? What is the level of your technical ability and what education do you have?

Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?

A. It is simple. Do they want the equipment they have worked on by someone who does not know this type of equipment and one who asks what is an open reel? Do they want the equipment worked on including modifications needed to work with present day formulations or do they want it adjusted for a lesser bandwidth due to lack of knowledge or laziness? I often have to fix what others have messed up but I get the machine back in order. They usually sound great. That is what I am told time and again.

Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?

A. 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.

Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?

A. Well, it is often an observation from a unit that was suppose to be running just last week and it was found that the reel deck- X2000R had no belt on the Flywheels.
When buying something, just don't take peoples word for the condition of the machine- test it out or have it evaluated by a Service Technician. Then you will get the truth. This is more common than not.

Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?

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.

Q. How did you decide to get in your line 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. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?

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. What is your greatest strength?

A. It is determination. I have come across units that I have had here for a long time. They were in terrible shape from Radio Stations or E bay purchases. Many have intermittent problems that any service tech will tell you are a headache to fix. Still I take them on and eventually get them back into shape. I often tell clients with bad units that I go from the perception that all units can be fixed eventually and it is that the impossible take a little longer. I have never had a Teac deck I could not repair.

Q. What are you currently working on improving?

A. I am constantly trying to better my parts stock organization to be able to put my hands on a part that is needed quickly. I have seen too much time wasted when looking for a part I have but can not put my hand on right away. This is what happens when you have all the parts I have in a small location. I have also had parts made custom that were only available from the manufacturer but offered no more- thus, I am the only one that has them now.

Q. Write your own question and answer it.

A. Where can tape deck owners learn more about the field of recording and deck maintenance?
That would be Tapeheads.net where a number of experienced Technicians and other fine people that know what they are talking about. The membership is better than 6000 and most are willing to share what they know. I am there to help on a regular basis.
Where to buy fresh Tape? http://www.splicit.com/index.html