As a child Jeff Chudy had a knack for taking things apart, much to the dismay of his mother. By the time he was a teenager, Chudy was fixing things around the family home in Clarence.
After he graduated from the Ohio Institute of Technology, Chudy worked a pair of jobs before he opened Precision Audio Service in 1979.
Chudy is married with two grown children. At age 59, he cares for his elderly father and enjoys a low-key life. Chudy, an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a branch president who works with young adults ages 18 to 30.
Visit his shop on Main Street in Williamsville and you’ll take a trip back in time. Among the equipment in line for repair are stereo receivers, CD players, a few eight-track tape players and a good share of turntables.
People Talk: There are a lot of turntables knocking around these days. What’s your sound system like?
Jeff Chudy: I got rid of my turntable about 15 years ago. I don’t listen so much at home. It’s all in the shop, and basically it’s the radio. But vinyl’s coming back. More people are bringing in their old turntables that have been sitting around for a long time. Teenage kids are listening to their parents’ old records. We’re seeing a lot of older stereo receivers, and once in a while I’ll see some eight-track tape players come through.
PT: What is the oldest audio electronic item you’ve repaired?
JC: A 1938 RCA floor-standing radio – AM and short wave. I like working on the old stuff with tubes in it.
PT: What gives you a problem?
JC: Some of the newer high-tech stuff – surround-sound receivers and digital board replacement. I prefer individual component replacement. A lot of the older stuff – like stereos from the ’70s – are great products, and you won’t see a lot of those coming through.
PT: What brand in particular?
JC: McIntosh receivers are built well. The company is actually in Binghamton. It’s still in business. They will actually manufacture parts for you.
PT: Have you always been self-employed?
JC: My first job out of college was at Hirsch Electronics on California Drive in Williamsville. After that I got a job at Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital in the bio-med department. They call it clinical engineering now. I was one of the first ones to start the shared services program, where I loaded up my car and went to Newfane Hospital and Medina Memorial Hospital and Millard Suburban to repair the equipment.
PT: How do you keep up with the new technology?
JC: A lot of it is pretty basic. Amplifiers are amplifiers. It’s when you get into the digital electronics, the HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface). It’s generally board replacement because it’s gotten to the point where it’s so high density. I mean, you’ve got a chip that’s got 200 pins on it and it’s soldered directly to the board. You don’t change parts, you change the board.
PT: How does today’s advanced equipment complicate your job?
JC: They layer manufactured circuit boards inside the unit so it’s much more difficult getting it apart. Some components have self-diagnostics to tell you what area the problem is in, but if the unit doesn’t fire up, you don’t have access to that.
PT: Do you and your family get away on vacation?
JC: If we do it’s just the weekend. It’s been a long, long time since we’ve actually gone somewhere. This past weekend we went to Canada – just past Long Beach – to a family cottage. My grandfather built it in the early ’40s. It’s right on Lake Erie.
PT: What do you do for fun?
JC: I’m a homebody. Even when my wife and I were married, we went on our honeymoon and within two or three days we were ready to come home. During the summer, we like walking through Williamsville for Music on Main Thursday nights.