Because Barry's 8 Track Repair is
Former top-level Avionics Tech
Military Electronics Training
8 Track Specialist, 10+ Years
Third-party Proof of Excellence
I have repaired equipment for
with a proven and official FAA
documented warranty return rate
I lose track of time in all the excitement of the busy classic car restoration season, but the presence of light through the windows and the absence of
my cat "Einstein" atop my Fluke 6060 strongly hint at what most folks call "daytime".  With my passion being the restoration of test equipment and my
livelihood coming from classic car radios, many a slice of Domino's has occupied my left hand while my right turns a knob or wields a soldering iron.

When I worked as an Avionics Technician at Cobham Aerospace, I was surrounded by serious laboratory grade, top notch test equipment.  Having
left that job in June 2012 to operate the business full time, I've had a few years to decide exactly what I need to perform virtually ANY type of test or
measurement on the audio and radio equipment I encounter.  I think I finally have my "dream bench" fairly complete.  Just for fun (and to entertain
electronics junkies), I decided to let the customer in on the various equipment I use and the many measurements I can make to ensure perfection.

Enjoy this little tour of my shop's equipment and capabilities (don't ask for the manuals - most are FREE online)
The Bench Equipment
1.  Fluke 6060   Programmable RF Generator

2.  HP  3325A   Prog.  Function Generator

3.  HP  4262A   LCR Meter

4.  Fluke  8520A   Bench Multimeter

5.  Panasonic  4 Channel Test  Receiver w/8 track

6.  HP  3311A   Function Generator

7.  Leader   LBO-552C  Stereoscope

8.  Pyramid   PS-26KX  Power Supply

9.  Tektronix   2465 ACT Oscilloscope ( 4 channel )

10.  Panasonic  VP-8131A  FM Stereo Generator
11.  HP  3325A  Prog. Function Generator

12.  HP  8903A  Audio Analyzer

13.  My hand-built Patch Bay/Probe Switch

14.  Niles Audio SBC-4  Amp/Speaker Switch

15.  HP  8575  Gain - Phase Meter

16.  My hand-built output level meter box

17.  B & K  1035  Wow and Flutter Meter

18.  HP  5535A  2 Channel Frequency Counter

19.  AEC  Audio Frequency (Real Time) Analyzer

20.  Soldering and desoldering equipment
The Floor Equipment
21.  Tektronix 575 Semiconductor Curve Tracer

22.  HP  8558B  RF Spectrum Analyzer  (to 1.3 GHz)

23.   Heath  SM-5158  Harmonic Distortion Analyzer
(Seldom used, raplaced with HP  8903B)

24.  Pioneer PRV-LX1  Professional DVD Recorder
(I have 3 of these - 2 are backup units)

25.  Pioneer SX-737  Receiver (audio monitor for DVD)

26.  Audio Rack for DVD Recording (10 pieces of gear -
compressors, EQ's, mixer, mic preamp, etc.)

27.  HP  230B  RF  Power Amplifier

28.  Fluke  8520A  Bench Multimeter (backup unit)

29.  HP  141T/8553B  RF Spectrum Analyzer

30.  HP  141T/8556A  Audio Spectrum Analyzer

31.  Sony FXE-120 Video Switcher

32.  HP  6268B  Power Supply  0-40V at up to 30 amps

33.  HP  6268B  Power Supply  0-40V at up to 30 amps

34.  HP  6268B  Power Supply  0-40V at up to 30 amps
(Total current capacity when paralleled
90 amps)
All of this cool gear is useless without the knowledge and experience to use it properly.  Below is
a link to almost every performance review from my 5 years as a top level Avionics Technician at
a licensed FAA repair station.  I was almost always the most productive tech in the department.

Quite possibly, I'm the only person who has ever repaired both Lear Jet aircraft equipment
AND Lear Jet 8 track players.  To legally work on any Avionics equipment requires training
under FAA jurisdiction and the authority to complete form 8130 for flight worthiness, not to
mention the necessary use of fixtures and test panels designed ONLY for a specific model.

In other words, even the best technician in the world can't walk into an Avionics shop, say
"I can fix anything" and be given a crack at it.  "NFW" on that one - every step of technician
training in Avionics is rigidly structured, with harsh penalties including prison for violations.
I have trained many technicians WAY better and more experienced than myself, and I won't
deny feeling silly when my "trainee" explained circuits it took me 6 months to figure out !

To view a VERY comprehensive collection of documentation depicting my outstanding work
performance repairing gear for NASA, Lockheed, Grumman, Cessna, Lear Jet, US Army, Coast
Guard, Boeing, Airbus, Eurocopter, McDonnel-Douglas (you get the message) - click  
Call  928-533-9666 (Paying Repair Jobs ONLY)
DVD Verification of Great Performance - Included With all Car Units !
When  you  send your work to ME, there is never the slightest doubt that your unit was professionally and competently serviced - and
experts) perform their own wiring, errors and even damage are fairly common.  Thus, the videos I make - using YOUR actual unit as the
demo model - provide proof that your unit is A-OK, preventing arguments, bogus "warranty" claims and promote trust and good will.

So that the customer can actually
hear the effects of features such as the "virtual" Balance and Fader functions on converted radios, a
fairly elaborate audio system is required since full coverage of the unit's capabilities requires a microphone on each of all 4 speakers,
plus a microphone to pick up my voice while I explain the function I'm currently demonstrating.  Additionally, there must be a way to
make the front and rear speakers sound different from each other, so that the customer can also hear the change from front to rear.

Other nice things would include noise gates on all mics, so that the sound of test equipment cooling fans won't come through unless
there is voice,  music or both to "swamp out" those distracting noises.  Finally there must be a way to funnel signals from 5 sources
into the standard 2 channel stereo format - ideally with the left front and left rear signals appearing only on the left side, the right front
and right rear signals appearing only on the right side, but with my voice appearing to come from the center when explaining functions.
FINALLY - and it only took me 6 months !
Since I had already been shooting my demo DVD's, using the mic I was speaking through to also pick up the sound from the speakers,
technically this was not the most urgent of projects.  But as a guy who is constantly on the prowl for ways to improve every possible
aspect of my service, knowing I can make better-sounding demo videos was really nagging at me for the 6 months it took for completion.

Visible at the top of the first picture are 4 of the 5 awards I have received from BILLBOARD for my original songs.  As a published writer
with a self-produced CD on the market and two ASCAP memberships (songwriter and music publisher), it was also my duty to provide
great sound on my demonstration DVD's.  I have no patience for menu driven, computer-based junk; just give me the old ANALOG stuff.
After servicing everything except the brand new mic preamp, carefully setting more than 300 controls and switches and chasing down
intermittents and other problems, I finally rolled out my "brand new used" system with real knobs to turn and real sound to process.
Pioneer PRV-LX1  Dual Drive
Professional DVD Recorder
mostly cut off)
Vintage Pioneer SX-737 Receiver
(used as monitor amplifier)
Nady 8 Channel Mic Preamp
Behringer MDX-1600 Dynamic Processor
(for vocal mics 1 and 2)
Yamaha Q2031  31 Band Graphic Equalizer
(for vocal mics 1 and 2)
Rolls RM65  6 Channel Mixer
Shure SM58
(voice mic)
Audio Logic 660 Compressor
(to reduce music when speaking)
Sony PVM-9L2
Video Monitor
Cheap Consumer Grade DVD Player
(for real-world testing of finished DVD)
Behringer MDX-1600 Dynamic Processor
(for left  and right REAR signals)
Yamaha Q2031  31 Band Graphic Equalizer
(for left and right REAR signals)
Behringer MDX-1600 Dynamic Processor
(for left  and right FRONT signals)
Yamaha Q2031  31 Band Graphic Equalizer
(for left and right FRONT signals)
HP  230B  RF Power Amplifier
(not part of recording system)
The actual rolling equipment rack came from Northern Airborne Technologies, and was acquired through one of the many raffle giveaways
following the integration of NAT with Wulfsburg Electronics (both owned by Cobham).  As is fitting with my very pleasurable experience as
a Cobham "Super Tech" (the exact words of some of my superiors and proven in my performance records) and a nice 3 week trip to Canada
to train on NAT's products to give my department a head start, I was also fortunate enough to get exactly what I wanted at almost every raffle.
FACT:  Every vehicle that landed on the moon was designed and built by GRUMMAN.

FACT:  Every astronaut who walked on the moon was breathing through a COBHAM regulator.

FACT:  I was authorized to repair the Cobham RMU-556, used on at least one of NASA's Space Shuttles.

FACT:  Units were not legally allowed back on the plane for flight without MY signing off on their repairs.

FACT:  I continue to maintain FAA standards wherever possible when performing repairs on YOUR car radio !
Don't just take my word for it - check out my many YouTube videos of completed repairs and conversions  HERE
"All In" to Go "All Out"
Being "All In" to go "All Out"     also means REFUSING to do certain things !
Any customer who is absolutely insistent on keeping his unit "all original" on the inside - if it means digging parts which have an
obvious tendency to break down out of an old junk unit - will have to take his business to another shop who is willing to do that.
When a customer's recently repaired unit fails again after a few months, he will be thinking of only three things:  1) That his radio
failed again already,  2) That he has to waste half a day removing it again, and  3) Who last worked on it - and it "ain't gonna" be me !

In THIS shop, I won't accept this type of job for reasons that are hopefully obvious.  Considering my background and experience,
this is simply unacceptable workmanship with a strong chance that the unit will break down again soon.   Even if the customer
is aware of this possibility and is willing to send it back every several months, the sad fact is that the customer is not the only one
who can make comments in classic car related forums, or contribute to word-of-mouth activity both good and bad.  To make a long
story short, MY work does not disappoint and inconvenience customers, and my absolute highest priority is RELIABILITY.

The Catcher-in-the-Rye type who makes a hobby of posting reviews of business and services - without knowing the unique
challenges and esoteric nature of the classic car radio industry - and who thus is not aware of the Terms and Conditions his
father signed in order to do business with me - can cause unjust harm to my reputation with a few keystrokes in the wrong places.
Unfortunately, it is partially because of these uninformed zealots that I must be very clear and very firm about certain things.

Unless parts for a given model are still readily available from a major supplier, I will always go straight to modern conversion.  The
parts you occasionally find on eBaY DON'T count as being "readily available".  When parts are not readily available, the only way to
obtain them is from a similar model.  So, what happens when the unit fails again and the customer expects it to be under warranty ?
Here's what happens:  Either the customer or myself must purchase an entire unit just to procure that part.  Okay, so who is going
to pay for this parts unit that can easily cost $400 or more depending on its rarity ?  Sorry guys, I won't be dragged into this.

This brings us to the subject of modern conversion.  To my knowledge, there are two major manufacturers of FM conversion
products, both with whom I held dealerships.  One of these manufacturers is Aurora Design.  Despite an attractive discount
when purchasing 10 or more of the
non-Aurora product, I have found their failure rate to be completely unacceptable and have
withdrawn my dealership with the non-Aurora manufacturer as of September 11, 2016.   I now use only Aurora products.

The non-Aurora products, from my experience as well as that of at least two other shops I am in contact with, typically suffer
from the following inconsistencies:   1) Will not tune higher than 102 FM,  2) Loss of the virtual balance or fader functions which are
affected by local FM signal conditions (unlike Aurora which uses the volume/tone controls and is rock-solid reliable),  3) Will not
reprogram sometimes when needed,  4) Overheating of regulator transistors, 5) Will not fit in smaller aftermarket radios,  6) No
tech support beyond pulling up existing documents,  7) Require addition of relays in some applications thereby increasing the
number of components that can possibly break down,  8) Slow to honor warranty, and  9) Manufactured outside of the U.S.

NOTE  that these statements are not necessarily a reflection on "the other company" or their products, only my own experiences
based on one purchase of 10 modules and the experiences of two other shops as conveyed to me in the form of helpful advice.
In approximately the same time frame, I have installed more than 50
Aurora modules with same-day support and NO failures.
No cost-cutting here at the expense of long term reliability - I am "All In" to go "All Out"
Anyone who is a serious user of tape machines knows
the importance of demagnetizing the playback head,
tape guides and other metallic parts in the tape path.
The buildup of residual magnetism, if not kept in check,
will eventually cause reduction in the high frequency
response - and can even partially erase your tapes.

Without the means to actually
measure the amount of
magnetization, however, it's very possible to magnetize
parts that were previously
not magnetized - for instance,
if the user turns off the demagnetizer while still close to
the machine or removes it too quickly, leaving a charge.

My Gauss meters are so sensitive that they can show
the Earth's magnetic field which is 0.5 Gauss.  Shown
using a transverse type probe held
parallel  to the field
so that the magnetic flux lines are not picked up, first
we adjust the meter for a reading of zero.  Note that I
have the range set to read 1 Gauss full scale, and that
there are still two ranges that are even
more sensitive.
Then by simply rotating the probe 90 degrees which
causes the magnetic flux lines to be intercepted by the
pickup element, we can now read the Earth's magnetic
field with great accuracy as the meter is reading exactly
0.5 Gauss (click on the picture for an enlarged view of
the meter scale).  Since any magnetic field always has
a north and south pole, this particular meter is the
zero-center type so that if the field measured is of a
negative value, you can simply read from the negative
side of the scale instead of having to reverse the probe
or changing the mode switch from normal to reverse.

Most shops don't have a Gauss meter because they are
generally not required to get the job done, and because
of their expense.  While a properly working Gauss meter
can usually be found in the $150 - 300 price range, the
probes required for measurement encompass many
different types, only a few of which will work with any
given model meter, and can cost anywhere between
two and five times the cost of the meter.  I made sure
that both meters I purchased use the same probes.
The meter on top is the somewhat fancier Bell model
640, an "incremental" meter that allows ranges to be
divided down into smaller segments and makes it
easier to keep the meter zeroed throughout ranges  
from as little as about 1/1000 (one thousandth of one
Gauss) up to 30,000 Gauss full scale.  Both of these
meters will measure a purely magnetic field (DC),
a purely electromagnetic field (AC) or both at once.
For tape equipment, 4 to 5 Gauss (and above) is considered to be potentially harmful to recordings
Click Here For My Phone Number
New For 2017 - Continuous, True Stereo, Real Time FFT Audio Spectrum Analysis !
Providing a continuous method of monitoring the frequency response of your repaired or converted radio or 8 track machine,
the two LCD oscilloscopes pictured above are directly in front of me at all times.   These scopes were installed to serve one
purpose:  To utilize their built-in FFT (Fast  Fourier Transformation) spectrum analyzers for continuous monitoring of your radio
or 8 track player's frequency response range.  For general testing and troubleshooting, I use my other oscilloscopes and keep the
above scopes set for frequency response analysis.  Above is a brief sample of the frequencies in Steve Miller's "Swing Town".

And below is a different part of the same song, but with the treble control at minimum to show the reduced treble response:
One of the main benefits of this new system is the ability to precisely adjust HEAD AZIMUTH - the most critical and difficult
adjustment of all in a customer's 8 track machine.  This system goes FAR BEYOND the procedures in ANY 8 track service
manual which instructs the technician to adjust one channel only, using a test tape and a voltmeter on the speaker output.

My new system uses BOTH CHANNELS, my own special test tapes and THE ENTIRE AUDIO FREQUENCY SPECTRUM.
I Don't Just Demagnetize the Heads - I Know EXACTLY How Magnetized They Were !