Dr “Tubeology” saved my 54 year old amps!

A few months ago back I purchased a couple of 1959 Lafayette LA-55 mono block amps.
With no expectation other than I wanted a restoration project over the summer and I was not about to get electrocuted!

Well the amps arrived separately and I was excited to get them up and going. But that just was not what happened as one amp came up and ran beautifully on some of it’s original tubes.
But the second up came up for 5 min then died!

As you can guess I was not happy as this restoration project by me was starting out on a bad foot…
In walks our hero Dr Tubeology himself Pat Hickman. With a tip from a friend who had his McIntosh 240’s worked on by Pat and was so pleased with the outcome. I decided to drive the 201 Miles to Pat’s shop and wow was I ever surprised by Pat’s lab.

I am an engineer and I love anything science related but when Pat sat down and explained to me what was going on with my amps and his prompt turn around I know I was in the presence of a true audio engineer. Pat was not only thorough but took the time to explain things to me about the circuit of my amps but some of the history of them. Even though they are 54 year old amps
Pat treated them like they were his own children. I know a lot of us out there long for that fat tube sound from vintage audio but don’t spend your money on some cheap chi fi tube knock off when
you can buy some vintage tube audio and see Pat to get you back up and running in no time.

I figured the process would take a month or so but Pat had it ready to go in 2 weeks talk about service!
The reason for me calling him Dr Tubeology is that he has a mannerism like a doctor about to do surgery on your loved one with a good prognosis in the end.

All in all my experience with Pat and his services are 1st class all the way!

And keep watching his website in the future as you may be surprised at what you see and hear.

Thanks again Pat for your work and friendship it means so much.

Oh I almost forgot Pat’s prices are the best I have ever seen and really fair!!!


Eric W (Seattle, WA)


“I recently purchased a tube amp, however, soon it developed a problem and required service. The builder was off shore and the limited warranty had expired. I was involved in high-end audio during the 90’s and at that time met Pat. I heard he had ramped up his service department so I contacted him to see if he could help me. I dropped off the amp at his shop and was very impressed by the setup, quality & quantity of the test gear, his knowledge and friendly attitude. I was very satisfied with his repair job, the work was done in a timely manner and was reasonably priced”

Graham T (Portland, Oregon)


“About three years ago I decided to go on the hunt for McIntosh tube gear.  I was looking for items that were mint and all original.  It took me quite a while to track down just the items that I was looking for and in mint condition.  After my hunt was over I then was on a mission to find someone to refurbish my newly acquired treasures.  There are many good technicians that I found on the Internet but they were all out of state.  I hoped for someone closer to home.  One day I went on Craig’s List and spotted Pat’s vintage electronics restoration ad talking about tube gear service.  I gave him a call and we talked for at least half an hour.  I was impressed with his knowledge and his way of explaining things to me in great detail.  Soon I brought two of my amps to him “and it was a real treat that I only had to drive about twenty minutes”.  Well, when he had them ready I couldn’t be happier.  Pat did a beautiful job on them and they sound superb.  Since then I have had him rebuild my pre amp and tuner (McIntosh MR-71)as well.  In fact, if you click on McIntosh under classic tube gear you will see my two MC-60 amps and C-22 pre amp.  Those black V-Caps that you see on the red carpet are now residing in my amps.  I highly recommend Classic Tube Audio for any tube equipment.  They are a class act.”

Jim R (Portland, Or)


” Had the good fortune of finding Pat’s store and service years ago on ebay. After several disappointing tube amp repairs from several sources I decided to send him my problem child. He quickly diagnosed the problem, made the repair and gave me additional recommendations to improve my unit.
That was six different unit repairs ago. I will not deal with anyone else. Pat’s sevice is exceptional, thorough, professional and his passion for tube audio shines in his craftmanship and expertise. Most of my units are not museum quality. In fact several look like Susan Boyle. Pat has made them all “sing” like Susan Boyle!”

Mark K (Las Vegas, Nevada)


“I took a tired, worn out and non-working Scott 350 FM tuner to Pat for a difficult resurrection.  After a few weeks it was back in my hands and performing good as new.  I listen to its tube magic every day.  Thanks Pat” !

Richard C (Vancouver, WA)


I’m an audio/Hi Fi enthusiast; with a passion for vintage tube equipment (Dynaco, McIntosh) and vintage turntables (Oracle, Thorens, Sota, Ariston). Recently I came across a “sputtering” Thorens TD125 MKII turntable in need of rescuing and some TLC.  I figured that either the motor was bad, the table’s electronics, or both. I contacted Pat via “Craig’s List” and asked him to take a look, to see if he could at least run some diagnostics and isolate the problem. It didn’t take Pat long to diagnose a bad IC and recommend repairs and upgrades (needed now and later), the table was up and running in no time. This is a great illustration of Pat’s ability to run diagnostics, problem solve, and repair all, at a reasonable price.
Subsequently, Pat has worked on my “noisy” Dynaco ST70; again repairing, recommending upgrades (needed now and later) and choice(s) of tube replacement. I highly recommend Pat for his in-depth knowledge of audio electronic theory and expert repair.

Jim L (Vancouver, WA)


I brought Pat a Melos preamp with a weird, fluctuating volume problem and some VTL amps in need of new caps.   I was impressed by Pat’s collection of old tube gear and test equipment.   He has more gear at his place than most stereo shops have!   I found Pat to be knowledgeable, friendly, enthusiastic and fair.  He could not fix my Melos preamp and so did not charge me for the time he spent trying to fix it.  In my VTL’s, he found some failing parts and replaced them, replaced all the caps in my VTL’s, and indeed, after consulting with me, recommended upgrading the coupling caps from Wimas to TRT Dynamicaps.  I took his recommendation, and he completed the upgrade for less than the VTL factory would have charged me.
The difference after the upgrade?  Drums, drums, and more drums.  Rimshots have a snap to them that they didn’t before; cymbals also have a quickness that immediately draws attention.  I jumped quite a few times in familiar songs when the drums or cymbals first appeared.  Also, there is much more bass and it seems a little tighter.  I also notice more detail.  In general, most sounds just have more presence, especially sounds with fast transients.   Soundstage also improved.    I did the Roger Waters dog bark test from Amused to Death, and the dog totally changed positions from before upgrade of about 75 degrees right to after upgrade of 10 degrees right (i.e., between the speakers instead of outside of the plane of the speakers), yet the crickets were still outside the plane, even further so.  I then started playing SACD’s on the Oppo bdp 83SE.  It blew my mind on my most familiar soundstaging test, which is the clocks at the beginning of Time on DSOTM. Before, the clocks always hung in the plane of the speakers, but a spectacular 2-D effect nonetheless.  Now, I heard two of the clocks at a hard right, 90 degrees!!  I had absolutely no idea that was possible on a stereo recording!
Anyway, I have whole new perspective on my music.  This is fun! Thanks Pat!

Tom T. (Vancouver, WA)


Pat, I have never written a testimonial before.

This HH Scott 299D after being recapped and a few modifications done to it is sounding better than it ever has in the previous three years I have owned it.

The work that Pat has done to this old amp has given it new life. The soundstage is bigger and deeper. I am hearing more detail in the music. The noise floor is much lower in all sections including the phono section, which had a very high noise floor before Pat worked on this unit.

I love using this amp in conjuction with my Klipsch Belle’s. It seems they were made for each other.

I would highly recommend Pat to tube audio lovers to perform needed restoration or modifications that will enhance your music listening pleasure.

Thank you Pat for doing such a good job.

Regards, Thomas B. (Tacoma,WA)


My 5 year old McIntosh MA 2275 amp developed a problem and a tube was overheating.
Looking for a service shop in my local area, I found Pat’s website and contacted him via email.
Pat responded promptly and soon after we talked on the phone.
He was very knowledgeable and helped me understand the nature of my problem.
Pat accommodated my schedule and I was able to bring to bring the amp to his shop in the evening.
The amp was repaired and ready for pick up in 10 days.  His work was excellent and the cost reasonable.
He also replaced the tired original preamp tubes with NOS tubes from his personal inventory.
His attention to detail shows as the case and all screws still look as new after his work was done.
The amp sounds better than it has in a long time.

Ed C. (Vancouver, WA)


I started using Pat’s services when a friend in the audio industry recommended his outstanding expertise.  The way my friend put it was that this guy really knows his stuff.  So owning a number of classic tube components which required servicing, I decided to send Pat a 1966 Lafayette ST-630 integrated amplifier.  This is a rather unique amplifier in that it is fairly rare and has some quirky operating functions.  After Pat inspected it he made some recommendations for improvement and we went forward with the upgrades.  When I received the Lafayette back, it not only performed flawlessly but sounded better than ever.  This impressed me so much that I decided to send Pat a blown Heathkit W5M mono block amplifier.  After his analysis, he immediately knew how to fix the problem.  I received the amp back within two weeks of sending it to him and not only is it performing smoothly but it sounds fantastic.  How does Pat do it?  By providing some of the best knowledge of tube equipment in the audio industry with an uncanny ability to diagnose and correct problems and offer this at a reasonable cost with service second to none.  Pat has earned my respect and my highest recommendation.

Gordon L (Seattle, WA)


Back in 1994 I bought a old 1956 Mono Tube McIntosh, that needed a full restoration. I started with the cosmetics of the MC30 power amp and C8 preamp. I wanted to rechrome the chassis of the power amp and redo the silk screening. But it would take a lot of time and work for me to do it. I also tore the chassis of the preamp apart to powder coat it. This was done in 1995, I never did finish it from there. Fast forward 15 years later, I decided to finish this project. I found a new reproduction chrome chassis for the MC30 power amp. Now who would I take this to and restore it? I didn’t know where to go. I found Pat’s ad on the computer and called him up. He told me,”Sure I can do this for you”. He made it sound and look like a new Hi-Fi! He also restored a McIntosh MR55 tuner to go with the Hi-Fi. I’m using a new Klipschorn with this system. I’m highly impressed with Pat and his knowledge! Thank You very much Pat!

Todd   (Graham, WA.)


Hello Pat,

Here’s hoping the New Year finds you well and content and ever busy.  Well, I have had the Dynaco components you restored for me home for a while now and must say I am very, very pleased.  I have certain reference input I listen to for comparison; Schoenberg Violin Concerto for highs, U-2 Joshua Tree for bass and drums, Beethoven 9th for orchestration, Sinatra, Julie London, Miles Davis, etc.  There have been absolutely no letdowns, the sound is marvelous.

I took your advice and called Andy Bowman about a 5AR4 to replace the Sovtek in my ST-70.  I bought a Dynaco labled Mullard from him.  The entire sound is more defined and clean with the NOS Mullard tube.  While talking to him he asked me to consider a 7199 upgrade.  I believe the tubes in my unit are JAN-Phillps.  I read positive comments about the RCA 7199’s and am inclined to go in that direction and keep the Phillips as backup. Are there other options that exceed the performance of the Phillips?

Finally, I can not say enough about your service and the care you take in explaining to a virtual novice like me exactly what you do, and why, in language that I can comprehend.  I really appreciate that.  Perhaps in the spring we can toss around ideas on some further “tweaks” to the Dyna that you mentioned.

All my best regards,

Rob W (Portland, Oregon)


A couple of months ago, I got the vintage tube bug and bought a nice pair of Heathkits on ebay – an AA-151 Integrated Amp and a AJ-32 Tuner.  When I got them, they seemed to be in good shape but according to the original owner, hadn’t been used in years.

I asked a friend about how to go about checking them out and he recommended Classic Tube Audio, based upon another friends experience with them.   I immediately sent an email to them and got a quick response from Pat.  Units were delivered to him within a week.

Pat checked them over and gave me a detailed analysis of issues found (caps, power supply and a couple of tubes were gone or going) along with his recommendation on how to proceed.  After some dialogue about my wishes to keep the units as true to original as possible, repair was authorized and he got started.

Pat completed the work quickly.  He walked me through the repairs, the current performance of the units and I got my amp and tuner back with all old parts.

Let me say, that the entire experience was great – good communication, quality work and the sound is fantastic!!  Couldn’t be happier!

Can recommend Classic Tube Audio and Pat without reservation…will certainly do more business with him in the future myself.


Clayton K (Seattle, WA)


I acquired a beautiful pair of McIntosh MC 30 amplifiers, and as with any tube gear from the 60’s they needed new capacitors to work and sound their best. Originally I intended to undertake the re-cap myself, but after thorough research I felt that I didn’t have the tools or expertise to do the job properly and safely. So began my search for a tech.

I was ready to send my amps to someone in the Bay Area when I caught one of Pat’s Craigslist ads.Β  His website www.Classictubeaudio.com is professional and neatly designed, and from reading it I got a sense that he was very experienced. I emailed Pat with some questions and he answered them promptly and courteously. Several email exchanges later and I was driving the Macs to his house. In person, Pat is very friendly, upbeat, and extremely knowledgeable with everything that is tubed. His workshop is well stocked with equipment and he’s got the wildest tube tester I’ve ever seen. We got to know each other a little, talked about McIntosh gear and tube preamps, and established a due date for completion. I drove home without a doubt that I had come to the right place.

Pat kept me informed on his progress and gave me some options along the way to modernize the amps. Some of the tubes were weak, so he sold NOS replacements from his personal collection (at prices close to what they were online). At one point I was interested in ‘designer’ coupling caps but Pat recommended that I try the amps with standard ones first. I took his advice and now I’m glad I didn’t spend extra money.

The MC 30s were completed on time and I drove up to get them. Pat’s work on the amplifiers showed the same care and attention to detail that McIntosh technicians did when they built them. His price for the restoration was very reasonable, I don’t feel like I was overcharged for the service I got. Before I left he offered some tips on how to clean up the chassis and improve the amplifiers cosmetically, which admittedly I still need to do…

When I got home I wasted no time reintegrating the amps back into my system (turntable, decent SS preamp, Klipsch La Scalas). Initially they sounded better than they had in decades, and after some burn-in they truly began to sing.  Detail improved greatly, the soundstage got deeper, and music sounded much more natural. On top of improved sonics, I can rest assured the amps will operate safely for the next 50 years at least.

Overall I am very happy with Pat’s restoration and his prices. I would not hesitate to use his services again, or to recommend Classic Tube Audio to someone else.


Dave N (Eugene, OR)


The best way to describe my experience with you is “full service”. From the beginning, you described various options on how to proceed with my restoration. You informed me of different possible outcomes. You did not “fix” my gear, you asked what my expectations were and then exceeded them.
When that great day came to pick up my amps, you spent time going over the restorations and gave me tips on future use. You did not rush me, but were patient and ensured I understood the information you were giving me.
I now have a pair of MC40s and an MX110 that sound better than I could have imagined. Now if I could just get you to come off those Klipsch speakers…

Michael D (Vancouver, WA)


I recently submitted two newly acquired vintage, tube stereo components to Pat for restoration; a McIntosh MR-65b FM tuner and a Scott LK-30 Integrated amplifier.  I had played both units in my home for a month or so and was very pleased with the sound quality of both, especially the McIntosh, which I thought had near CD quality sound characteristics.  However, both pieces had obvious issues that needed to be addressed, and soon, if I wanted to continue playing them.

I delivered the components to Pat, we talked about goals for restoration and set up communication channels.  I cannot say enough about the positive way the entire experience proceeded.  There were, in each component, certain unexpected issues that required a “forensic” approach to resolve.  A modification to the LK-30 power supply and a deep troubleshooting procedure on the MR-65b multiplex section were necessary to resolve the issues on the components to everyone’s satisfaction. The communication during this project was sincerely outstanding!  Pat kept me informed as each problem was identified, what his next steps would be and most importantly, sought my input along the way.

The Scott and McIntosh are now cabled together and filling my living room with beautiful music.  The amplifier has the classic Scott sound; great bass, accurate mid-range and lovely high frequency range and yes, the MR-65b does indeed have CD quality sound and tunes precisely with zero frequency drift.  Such a joy to listen to!


Rob W (West Linn, OR)


In the mid 1970’s I had a semi-mystical experience. This involved discovering the “magic” sound vintage tube equipment could have. That triggered a life long passion for the best equipment from the “Golden Age” of American Hi-Fi. During the ensuing years I’ve owned many of the finest pieces from major companies like McIntosh, Harmon Kardon, Fisher and Scott. Like many audiophiles I was always looking for that elusive sonic ” Holy Grail”. That involved selling numerous very fine pieces because they just didn’t’t sound right. The secret element that I was lacking materialized a couple of years ago in the form of Pat Hickman.
Since this discovery I’ve mused often about how I wish I would have met him earlier in my life. What Pat can do for a aficionado is bring vintage equipment back to the way it sounded when that equipment was new. His years of devotion to the restoration of vintage gear gives him the background to handle even the most difficult problems. Most of the pieces showing up today have been stored away in attics, garages and other out of the way places. This lack of use can bring on a multitude of hard to diagnose issues. Pat’s tenacity and background allow him to tackle issues many others would give up on. Pat’s personal passion for bringing back to life this audio heritage gives him a devotion to the equipment which results in the finest repairs.
He has so far done two pieces for me.
The first one is a Sansui AU-111. The unit used oil filled caps in large number. These were very good sounding when new but as they aged, started to leak. Leaky caps can pass DC which can damage other components. Pat tore the unit completely apart and cleaned every element and replaced dozens of caps, several diodes and a couple of tubes. I’ve been using this amp for over a year now and it has worked flawlessly.
The second amp is a Fisher KX-200. That did not require the complete tear down. But having been in storage for thirty or more years had some bias problem show up after the original rebuild. Even though he has a full time job in another field he had me come over right away dealt with the problem. The problem was solved and the amp sounds fantastic.
All that being said, I can honestly say that Pat’s devotion to the preservation of audio history, his very fair prices and world class knowledge make him one very special resource.


Joe W (Portland, OR)


I’ve always wanted some Mcintosh equipment. I’ve been a “programmer” on Friday mornings for over twenty years on Coast Community  Radio here in Astoria so I have access to lots of music and some very nice stuff to play with there. But I wanted something for my home, I’m close to retirement can afford it and while it’s not the “best” it’s a step in that direction. In my search I came across Pat, his name was mentioned by people I respect so I emailed him and told him what I had and asked for advise. He quickly responded and after several emails he offered a McIntosh MA6100 in mint condition at a fair price. I picked it up last Sunday.

WOW! It’s not only beautiful to look at it’s the best thing to enter my house in a very long time. I’ve gone from Miles Davis to Joni Mitchell from Greg Brown to Bruce Hornsby, John Gorka to Bob Marley,Van morrison to Maura OcConnell and wether it’s the fingers sliding on strings with Steven Stills or the magic in the voice of James Taylor or the tightness of the band behind the latest Leonard Cohen band (which I saw when they were in Portland) I’m hearing music in my own home that I’ve been missing. So I’m more than pleased to recommend his shop and service. While there he shared a bit of his knowledge, a few of his projects and concerns. All this was like going back to a time when the world made more sense. Also I dropped off a McIntosh mx1200 for Pat to work his magic on, so I’ll be going back. On the air and making waves is what it’s all about…. Thanks Pat

(for the readers, this was a restored unit capacitors as needed, a minor circuit revision, power supply bypass, output section re-bias, a few “secret sauce” mod’s, Pat~)

Albert S (Astoria, OR)


In the process of helping my grandparents move into assisted living I dug up a Scott 355 tuner/preamp that had been in storage for many years.  I figured it could use a go-over with new power capacitors so I ordered some custom multi section caps from Hayseed Hamfest.  Unfortunately they arrived right in time for school and life to be in full gear and I didn’t have time to work on it, so once again I called upon Pat the tube god and asked if he could install them.  I also had a small tube amplifier kit that developed a hum in one channel which had me stumped that I thought he could take a look at.  My budget was fairly small (being a student and all) and he agreed to work within it so I handed the equipment off and parted ways.

Pat had the Scott and the other amp ready by the next time I needed to go to Portland.  The new capacitors look great and needless to say his installation was very clean.  As a plus he aligned the tuner section, replaced a tube that was weak, and also marked up components I could replace myself later on- and the cost ended up being well below my budget.  I got home and set the Stereomaster up with my vintage system.  The chassis was no longer hot and the unit operated without any problems.  The kit amp was diagnosed and he found the volume pot to be defective.  After ordering and installing the new part the amp worked fine.

Recently I decided to refresh the audio section myself with new coupling caps.  Pat kindly helped me along via email with capacitor recommendations and tips for improving the phono section.  I now have 716P “Orange Drops” in place of the original Ceracaps, except for in the phono stage I used Dynamicaps.  Thanks to his suggestions, and after 100 hours of listening, the 355 has opened up substantially in detail.  Vocals in particular sound very lifelike!

Thanks again, Pat, for the quality work and the outstanding customer service.

Dave N (Eugene, OR)


Hi Pat,
I feel very fortunate to have found a kindred soul who truly appreciates the superior sound quality of vintage tube equipment and who has the ability to bring these gems from the past back to their former glory or even improve their capabilities to exceed original specs.  It was wonderful meeting you and seeing your vast array of testing equipment and your collection of vintage audio equipment.  I was very impressed by your knowledge of electronics, and really appreciate the time you took to explain every step of the restoration work you were performing on my McIntosh 60s.  The amps perform flawlessly, and are a testament to your skill and attention to detail.  Thank you so very much for your fine work.  You will be my one and only choice for future work on audio equipment.
Rick P (Happy Valley, OR)
This is a follow up comment from Rick P (Happy Valley, OR) he has a pair of Mcintosh MC60’s and McIntosh C20 that I just performed some repairs and small upgrades on.
“Pat The Electronic Wizard,
     I have my system playing right now and it is as if angels are singing.  I have never heard anything so beautiful in my life.  Peter, Paul and Mary never sounded better.  Thank you so much for all your efforts.”
                                                            Simply Flabbergasted,

I took my newly acquired Pilot SA-232 to Pat for a recap and restoration and I’m very pleased with the results. Quick turnaround, clear communication, and top notch work are all hallmarks of the service that Pat provides.

Dustin G (Portland,OR)


Hi Pat,

A quick note to say thanks again for servicing my Scott 299, it sounds great. Real happy with the work and the way you kept in touch with what was going on. Splendid. I’d certainly recommend you to eveyone.

I’ve been comparing the Scott to the World Audio Design valve amp (EL84) I have and it’s interesting to hear how different they sound. The WAD seems to have more highs and better control of the bass but the sound stage is flatter with mid range subdued. The Scott has a fab mid range and the clarity is super. The bass could be tighter and the highs more projected, but overall it’s a great little number. The Scott is well suited to vocals and things like classical guitar etc, more so than the WAD, alhough I’ve tried it on a range of music styles and it performs splendidly. I think I prefer it to the WAD for the moment. Now I’ll have to refurbish and upgrade my classic speakers to do more justice to the amp!!

Ricardo P (Portland, OR)


Hi, Pat.

I’m Way overdue in writing this quick testimonial for Pat’s Classic Tube Audio located in Vancouver, WA. Pat got 3 vintage tube amps up and running for me in the past year or two:

1)  HH Scott LK-72 (restoration)

2) THE FISHER 800C (restoration)

3) Dynaco MARK III’s & PAS3 (complete rebuild, mods & upgrades)

I’m very happy with Pat’s kind demeanor, patience with a tube amp newbie and expert knowledge and advice. Everything was done with a modest budget too. When I had premature rectifier tube death with one of my dynaco monoblocks, Pat had me bring it in, troubleshot the issue and had it ready to take back home in an hour or so at no charge. Thanks again, Pat. I’m sure it won’t be long before I give you another call.


Matt H (Portland, OR)


Hi Pat –

Just thought I’d say thanks. I can’t begin to tell you how pleased I am with the one I purchased from you. The mx110 is in daily FM use with a Mc 275 and a pair of Altec model 19’s. The thing that surprises me most is that I have no urge to upgrade or tweak it.

Stan S (Canada)


Hi Pat-

THANK YOU for the excellent work you did for me. The pre-amp sounds factory fresh. I’m sure my grandfather would be proud to know I’m using and enjoying his old toy. The only problem is it sounds so good I now have to go back and re-listen to my collection! I’ll be using your services again in the future. Take care,

John B (New Jersey)


Hi Pat,

It’s been a while , I just want to thank you again for my MC60’s , they changed my life ! (really!) and the way I am listening to music, and I discovered a new dynamic and definition of the sound of all my records .

I am enjoying them so much … such a great pair with my C22 !

But I am also curious in my quest to discover a new sound (does not mean I want to give up these gems!) , and I just bought a MC275 mk V, and I am now looking for a tubes pre-amp C2300 …

I would like to compare the new tubes sound and old school vintage sounds amp and pre-amp ! I was just wondering if you have any C2300 to propose , or what would be the pre-amp you would recommend for the new MC275 mk V ?

I am playing on vintage French speakers , named “Elipson” 4040 and BS402, and I already have two pairs of them … see pictures . I am waiting for the new pairs , the most desirable 4050 model 2 … and I am looking for a pre-amp for this mew sound system …

Many thanks !
Jean D  (Demarest, NJ)



“After visiting Classic Tube Audio my McIntosh C-28 is working as well as the day it was new just out of the box. The attention to detail was exquisite and the sound is warm and full. My system sounds so much better now that Pat has applied his technical magic. I not only found an excellent audio technician I found an audio authority that is fast, with reasonable prices, and lots of good advice.”

Lynn Linnell  (Ellensburg, WA)


Dr Tubeology saved my 54 year old amps!

A few months ago back I purchased a couple of 1959 Lafayette LA-55 mono block amps, with no expectation other than I wanted a restoration project over the summer and I was not about to get electrocuted!

Well the amps arrived separately and I was excited to get them up and going. But that just was not what happened as one amp came up and ran beautifully on some of it’s original tubes, but the second up came up for 5 min then died!


As you can guess I was not happy as this restoration project by me was starting out on a bad foot…

In walks our hero Dr Tubeology himself Pat Hickman. With a tip from a friend who had his McIntosh 240’s worked on by Pat and was so pleased with the outcome. I decided to drive the 201 Miles to Pat’s shop and wow was I ever surprised by Pat’s lab.

I am an engineer and I love anything science related but when Pat sat down and explained to me what was going on with my amps and his prompt turn around I know I was in the presence of a true audio engineer. Pat was not only thorough but took the time to explain things to me about the circuit of my amps but some of the history of them.  Even though they are 54 year old amps

Pat treated them like they were his own children. I know a llot of us out there long for that fat tube sound from vintage audio but don’t spend your money on some cheap chi-fi tube knock off’s when you can buy some vintage tube audio and see Pat to get you back up and running in no time.


I figured the process would take a month or so but Pat had it ready to go in 2 weeks talk about service!

The reason for me calling him Dr Tubeology is that he has a mannerism like a doctor about to do surgery on your loved one with a good prognosis in the end.


All in all my experience with Pat and his services are 1st class all the way!

And keep watching his website in the future as you may be surprised at what you see and hear.


Thanks again Pat for your work and friendship it means so much.

Oh I almost forgot Pat’s prices are the best I have ever seen and really fair!!!



Eric Worden

[email protected]




Hello Pat,

It’s been an honor for me to meet someone of your caliber. Please feel free to publish my comments on the 2a3 amp, I just wish I could articulate my true feelings on that amps performance….it’s just the most emotional experience I’ve ever had with an inanimate object. By the way,…WOW! I couldn’t be more impressed with my tuners, 4310, performance. It’s dynamics have me in disbelief, I’m truly flabbergasted with the results. I can’t wait to hook up the 310E, but it will be a while due to my nirvana, religious like, experience with the 4310. I’ll be slating my other 310E for a complete over-haul with you after the New Year. If I don’t see you before then, have a very happy holiday season.

John S.

Tacoma, WA


Audio Research and Conrad Johnson 11/2014

I had recently replaced my amps with a pair of ARC tube mono blocks. I retained my existing c-j tube preamp. But for some reason the setup was motor boating. It would not set-in for a couple of hours and could not always be duplicated. I brought individual components in to a great local shop, and they tried replacing caps and tubes, all to no avail. Candidly, I think they were just guessing and not really diagnosing. I posted on audiophile sites, but nothing suggested helped. I contacted ARC and c-j; ARC said it was probably an incompatibility with the preamp and to get an ARC preamp. As the c-j preamp had been modified, c-j would not assist at all.


So I took it all to Pat. Both mono blocks, preamp, interconnects, and power cord. You never know. In the course of one weekend (I had been without music for months), Pat found considerable evidence of poor earlier repairs, found incorrect tubes, hairline cracks in solder joints, and more. I brought the system home, and it works perfectly. I wish I had started with Pat – and I certainly will next time – he was timely and yet took the time to find everything and fix everything. He did not just guess but tested. It turns out both one mono block and the preamp had problems. But no longer. I am listening to great sounds right now, thanks to Pat. I highly recommend him.


Brian R.

Portland, OR



I have a Fisher 400cx that had a channel imbalance and distortion in one channel.  The guy I had repair my equipment stopped repairing equipment.  So I went online and found Pat Hickman’s website.  I didn’t have anything to lose so I contacted Pat.  He asked me to ship it to him and he’d see what he could do.  He kept me up to date through the repair process.  He even fixed a questionable prior repair.  I got it back and it sounds like new again.  His prices are very reasonable and a fast repair at that.  If you have something in need of repair, don’t question his competence.  I just sent him another Fisher for repair. Thanks again Pat!


Edward M.



GE  1959 MS4000-

I contacted Pat with the intention of restoring this stereo amp, and

the timing could not have been worse; dad passed away just a few days

afterwards, and to make matters worse, I became deathly ill for months

after I shipped the amp out.

This was not an easy job considering the nonstandard circuit design

and 6973 output tubes, but Pat made it happen , and even saved me some

coin in the process. It was quite some time before I was well enough

to hook up his work for evaluation, and I was not disappointed. I was

raised by a solid state audiophile, and this amp blew my dad’s Sansui

(now my synonym for garbage) out of the water.

Pat even devised replacement circuits to work around defective components for which replacements were no longer available.  This job cost more than your

average restoration due to my specialized needs but was well worth it. My business goes here from now on, NO EXCEPTIONS.


Chris M



Pat, I’ve spent the last week listening to the Marantz 5’s every day.  Paired with the Model 7 pre, 10 tuner, Garrard 301 and Altec Carmel speakers, this system sounds better than any I’ve heard till now.  I’m extremely impressed with the tone and clarity from the amps and just fantastic presence in vocals and instruments.  I love the vintage sound (tone) with clarity I’ve come to expect from high end equipment.  I actually think I may prefer this sound to the more modern SET Shindo and Thoress I have in my main system.  Thank you for all the work that you did on these amps and you have one very happy customer for life.

David A




I had a valuable and beautiful piece of circa 1960 audio gear. (HH Scott LK 72) It had been stored and ignored for decades and while it’s aesthetics were top notch, it’s function was just well, miserable and disappointing. I needed a top notch technician if the Scott ever stood a chance of being listened to again. I had a trusted acquaintance in mind but his life and bench were too busy to take it on. He referred me to Pat at Classic Tube Audio. I’m thrilled to say it was exactly the right thing to do.

Pat rebuilt exactly what was necessary to put the Scott Stereomaster integrated amplifier back to better than spec condition, fully functioning, and at the top of the ranks in my collection now. It’s playing as I write this.

Credit where due. Classic Tube Audio is the very best place I could have taken my amp. I’ll be back without hesitation. Thanks Thanks Thanks to Pat.

Dale C



Thanks for the great work on the Fisher 400cx2.  It has brought new definition to the Zu Definitions IV.  Following the power supply rebuild, ground scheme improvements, recapping with Super Caps, and flawless build of the Gold Point attenuator/power switch this is one of the finest vintage preamps I have ever heard.  I try to shy away from the audiophile adjectives because I have a hard time finding much meaning in them, but this baby is musical with explicit definition.  Midrange expression is phenomenal and nothing is lost at the extremes.  I would put it up against just about anything (within reason of course) and am confident it could hold its own, particularly the phono stage.  Great job, money well spent.
Ryan P

I want to post a little bit about my purchase from Pat,  of CLASSIC TUBE AUDIO!!

He had some very expensive vintage Marantz amps & pre-amps!
I live over by the East coast & was a little apprehensive about
purchasing equipment online & at $20,000.
After, Pat & I talked a little bit. I felt much better & we made a deal.
The deal was to split the purchase.
I would send him part of the funds & after I received the first delivery
I would send the funds for the rest of the equipment.
We were both comfortable after talking on the phone.
Pat told me before he would send the equipment, each would be tested
so to be in perfect working order.
He also told me he would take pics of the testing.
He sent me many pictures of the equipment, well lit with much detail.
Seeing the pictures I couldn’t wait to get the equipment.
He described the equipment exactly.
I trust this the man explicitly!
He was prompt in testing & shipping the equipment.
My only complaint: (just kidding, NO COMPLAINT)
It took me a very long time & a lot of effort to unpack the equipment.
That is the care he took to make sure these irreplaceable amps & pre-amps
would arrive safely to me.
Thanks Pat hope to hear from you soon, on some future finds!!
Jim M
East Coast



It’s been about six months since you performed a major overhaul on my circa 1962 vintage Fisher 800B receiver. Since that time, I have been using it on a regular basis and wanted you to know that it has been performing flawlessly for me. It sounds better than it has ever sounded since I came into possession of it a few years back and I have had absolutely zero issues with it since your work.


Thanks for the quality and diligence of your workmanship.


Jim M

Pacific Northwest


Dr. Tubeology

Thank you, thank you, thank you!, you have been taking care of my prized electronics for years. I’m so grateful. This past year I have had you fully restore several McIntosh tube amplifiers and pre-amplifiers all function just like they are brand new. Perfect zero issues. Thank you again.

Sam R.