Sound Restoration for a Cherished Stereo


As a teenager, Sherri Rosenthal delivered newspapers and carefully saved enough money to make a major purchase. She meticulously researched stereo receivers to choose the centerpiece of her new audio system. She loved the Marantz models but her budget led her to selecting Consumer Reports 1973 "Best Buy", the Sherwood S-7100A. With its walnut case and brushed aluminum trim, it looked as beautiful as it sounded, with a warm tone reminiscent of older tube amplifiers.

The Sherwood outlasted its 3-year warranty. It had seen more than 30 years of service when suddenly one channel of the audio dropped out and never came back. "I had previously looked at the interior hoping to find anything fried or leaking," Sherri recalled. Nevertheless, Sherri kept that old Sherwood -- it was too good to throw away but she didn't know where to get it repaired.

sherwood interiorA friend told Sherri about Repair Café and she brought the receiver to the June 2018 event at the Scrap Exchange in Durham, North Carolina. Repair Coach Bob Kulow was ready for it. An electrical engineer, Bob has a love for vintage audio equipment. He had brought his oscilloscope that day and he and Sherri went to work. "After doing some signal tracing, I diagnosed the problem to a bad capacitor in one audio channel," Bob explained. "After I got home, I took a replacement from my stock and mailed it to Sherri."

Sherri had a bit of prior experience soldering electronic components, but her old hand-me-down Radio Shack soldering iron — a gift from her father — was always a handicap. On Bob's recommendation, she invested in a newer tool. "I took the opportunity to take my brand new Weller soldering station, unpack it and fire it up, and solder in the capacitor," said Sherri. "I broke out my little KLH speakers, and tuned in an AM station. Yay! Both channels came in loud and clear.”

Sherri says, "Repair Cafe embodies values that I love, and it also provides such practical help. Bob's coaching guided me to a reasonably-priced soldering iron that is a pleasure to use. Without his help, I wouldn't have been able to figure out how to repair the receiver. Repair Cafe not only keeps good stuff out of the landfills, but it builds Do It Yourself ability. And for me, it restored this great, classic receiver that also has sentimental value to me.”

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