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Sales Department

SteveSteve Rowell · 8:00-5:00 M-F · 607-766-3501 x101
    When he was just 13, Steve began building speakers and playing electric guitar. His enthusiasm for high fidelity grew as he devoured audio magazines, and visited any audio store he happened upon. While in college he was well known for his audio systems. He would invite his friends to listen which frequently led to being asked his advice on purchasing a system. Steve saw the opportunity to earn "pocket money" so he built more speakers, and began buying and selling used equipment. Best of all, he truly enjoyed doing it! After receiving his BA in communications, and a minor in music theory from Ashland University in Ohio, Steve moved to Walton, NY and worked producing radio shows at a recording studio in Binghamton, NY. He was a frequent customer of the local McIntosh dealer and had one of their systems in every room of his house. It was here that Steve met Frank Gow and Ernie Schleider. In 1979, the dealer went out of business and Steve bought their remaining McIntosh inventory. While on the way home with the components, Steve made stops to visit local audio enthusiasts that he knew, selling several pieces. This became the beginning of the part time Audio Classics business. Five years later, Steve devoted himself full time while working out of the basement of his home. The operation soon outgrew this location, so he moved Audio Classics to the basement of the Walton Post Office in 1987. A devastating flood struck ten years later, and with the help of friends and family, he was able to save his inventory, and realized it was wise to relocate to higher ground. Steve searched for the right building and chose our Vestal, NY location, where Audio Classics has been doing business since 1997.

MikeMike Sastra · 8:30-5:00 M-F · 607-766-3501 x102
    Listening to music is a lifelong passion of Mike's. It started with his Mom when he was just a kid, she always had music playing morning till night in the house or in the car. At age 8 he swept the floor's and emptied the garbage at the local music store to earn enough to buy his first hifi system, a early stereo setup with detachable fold out speakers. His mom realized how much he enjoyed listening to music, so on his fourteenth birthday she bought him a Lafayette integrated amplifier and tuner with separate speakers. Over the years he developed an affinity for panel speakers and owned several from Magnapan, Acoustat, Sound Labs and Martin Logan. He would pair these speakers with various amplifiers including Krell, Levinson and Counterpoint trying to get it right. Then in 1989, while working a full-time job, Mike began helping out part time at Audio Classics until Steve mentioned he was looking for full time help in sales and shipping. From this point his hobby turned into a job and still is a hobby to this day. Mike is also a licensed amateur radio operator with the call of W2SAS. In addition to sales, Mike specializes in physical detailing and mechanical functions of pre-owned equipment. He also evaluates new audio products as they are introduced and performs critical listening trials to pair components that work well together. There is always music playing somewhere in his house from one of his McIntosh systems, this must run in the family. If you email him your likely to get a fast response most any time of the day, evening or weekend.

RyanRyan Kilpatrick · 8:30-5:00 M-F · 607-766-3501 x104
    As a self taught musician, Ryan grew up with an ear for music. He began learning to play guitar at age eight then went on to play bass guitar and has been performing in local bands for 25 years. Ryan has twenty years experience working with Audio Classics and is one of our knowledgeable audio sales consultants. Being a musician also helps Ryan suited for helping out with our Taylor and Martin guitar sales. In addition to sales, Ryan also manages our service department and personally oversees all work brought into Audio Classics for service or reconditioning. He acquired service knowledge from working along side McIntosh technicians and engineers, and received formal training from manufacturers. He's an active contributor to various audio related Internet forum groups and hosts social gatherings with international audiophile clubs. Ryan's an enthusiast of new and vintage two channel McIntosh equipment and rotates auditioning various components for listening at home. Contact Ryan for new and vintage sales or if you have a component in need of service or reconditioning.

Receiving, Parts, and Sales. Also contact Chris for cabinets and remotes.

ChrisChris Bailey · 8:00-5:00 M-F · 607-766-3501 x112
    Chris was born and raised in Vestal, not far from the Audio Classics storefront. Early in his childhood he began exploring music through drumming. He grew up following his creative drives, leading to a diverse network of friends and colleagues in the arts today. Chris holds a BFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago and has previously made a living selling vinyl records and screenprinting band merch. Through his journeys he's gained a lot of knowledge on the world of home audio as it exists today, and as it existed before he was born. He still frequently attends live music concerts in an ever-widening radius and follows musical projects of all sorts. He still enjoys collecting and listening to records, but when a break is needed from all of the constant music he heads straight outdoors to the sounds of nature. Chris is a passionate explorer of our natural world, especially the many beautifully protected areas close to home in the northeastern states. His vested interest in the highest quality audio and visual design has seamlessly integrated him into Audio Classics. Message Chris with any questions about parts for your new or vintage McIntosh pieces and much more.

Service Department

Ryan Ryan Kilpatrick
Service Manager · 8:30-5:00 M-F · 607-766-3501 x104

    Ryan is our highly experienced sales consultant and manager of our service department. Ryan began working with Audio Classics in 1992. Call Ryan for any sales related questions or service inquiries.

RichRichard Modafferi
    Inventor and independent consultant to Audio Classics, Rich Modafferi has established himself as one of the World's foremost authorities on tuner and loudspeaker design and development. He holds Masters degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the NJ Institute of Technology. A Senior Engineer at McIntosh Laboratories from 1968-74, he designed the MR77 and MR78 tuners and the famous "Rimo" filter. The MR78 tuner has received worldwide acclaim for its State of the Art performance. He has been granted a United States patent for Phase Shift Bass Loading and for the Infinite Slope Crossover. These patents are currently being licensed to Joseph Audio of White Plains NY for use in their speaker systems. Richard also serves as a writer, reviewer and test lab for Audio, Audio Critic, and The Sensible Sound.

KevinKevin Schmalz
    Kevin comes from a musical family and began playing the French horn when he was 12. He became interested in audio around the same time and started building kit audio equipment and speaker enclosures for friends while in high school. With the ongoing improvement in the quality of electronic components over time, he realized that older equipment could often be tweaked to sound better, and this discovery began a lifelong interest in audio equipment. He attended Carnegie-Mellon University and earned BFA and MFA degrees in music performance, and was a member of the Caracas Philharmonic for several years during the early 1980s. When he returned to the States in the mid 1980s he continued to freelance around the Buffalo NY area, but got a day gig working for NYSEG which turned into a 30-year career in various capacities beginning with performing energy audits, marketing, credit, and finally program management. He recently retired from NYSEG and now is having a blast working for Audio Classics. His specialty is restoring vintage tube and solid-state equipment.

ebay Sales
Dave Dave Wood

    Dave joined Audio Classics in 2007. He's been an audio equipment enthusiast since he was ten years old. Contact Dave for information or questions about our items listed on ebay.

Kelly Melnyk
607-766-3501 Ext 107

    Kelly joined Audio Classics in 1999 and is responsible for keeping it all together financially. Call her for questions about your account.


ErnieErnie Schleider
    Ernie retired from Audio Classics in September of 2019. He served in the US Army from 1969 to 1971 as an E5 Sergent and after completing his term, enrolled at Broome Community College and SUNY Binghamton. While a student, Ernie began his audio career working with Frank Gow at Weeks & Dickenson, one of Upstate New York's largest full service audio and music retailers. The store encompassed five floors of showrooms, studios, repair facilities, an auditorium and a radio station. Ernie became the manager of the audio department during his first year of employment. It was here that Ernie met Steve Rowell, president of Audio Classics. Steve was a frequent McIntosh customer and the two became friends. Ernie earned his associates degree while working at the store and remained working there until the company closed it's doors in 1978. Ernie later worked in sales or management positions at a variety of retail companies ranging from pharmaceuticals to furniture and he owned a part time business making custom golf clubs. Ernie kept in contact with Steve throughout the years and purchased audio components from him. As Steve's audio business grew, a position became available and Ernie came to work for Audio classics in 1997. Ernie has five systems at home, consisting of new McIntosh, vintage tube, electrostatic speakers, Klipsch Cornerhorns, Mirage, Sonus Faber. After 23 years of service at Audio Classics, Ernie is well known for his friendly advice that has helped many find the right gear for their application.

DavidDave Pipher
    Dave Pipher retired from Audio Classics in 2019. Prior to working with Audio Classics, he was a service technician in the McIntosh service department from 1971-1980, the last of four years of which he was the lead service technician. Dave served 27 years with Lockheed Martin where he was a lead technician in many US Navy, US Air Force and NASA avionics suite development laboratories. Most notable of these, was the lead technician on the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster recovery team. Dave was the lead technician for a US Navy helicopter avionics suite development laboratory, prior to retiring in 2006. With the knowledge gained while working in service at McIntosh Laboratories, followed by the detailed and quality oriented technical work with mission critical electronics, Dave proved to be an exceptional fit in servicing McIntosh equipment for Audio Classics.

In Memoriam

George Melnyk · February 28th, 1932 - June 29th, 2023

George Melnyk George Melnyk at his test bench in the 1970s.

Unfortunately there was only one George Melnyk. Audio Classics first met George when Dennis Gazda brought him to an evening event we hosted shortly after we moved to Vestal. From the moment he arrived, we knew George was different. I can't remember who presented the seminar, but George took exception to some of his "facts." George didn't suffer fools or as he would put it "bullshit." At the end of the meeting we thought George was a bit of a crackpot, but he came back in the following days to pick up some McIntosh MI200 Amplifiers that no one else was able to repair. He made new circuit boards, repaired the units, fabricated new panels, painted the chassis and to finish it off, made shipping crates that were far too good for mere shipping crates.

We quickly learned a couple of things about George: (1) He didn’t know something couldn't be done, he just did it. (2) Anything he did, and I quote, "had to look store bought." It turns out he wasn't a crackpot, he really did know what he was doing.

Over the years George worked with us, he made us all look better. And we all did better. He set the standard. Ryan and I put one over on George. We gave him an amp in pieces. He returned it and said he wasn’t going to repair it, so Ryan reassembled the unit and gave it back to him. George didn't recognize it and simply repaired and returned it! George turned around units faster than anyone I know, sometimes overnight. He hated unfinished units. Sometimes he'd have me order parts, but by the time the parts came in, he'd finished the unit anyway.

This remembrance wouldn't be complete without some Georgisms...
"I said hello and she looked at me like she was having trouble coming up with an answer."
"The squirrels are looking for you in the back yard, you're nuts."
"It looks like you bought it at Toy's R Us."
"I'm goin to buy my wife a bologna sandwich."
"I gotta get up on the learning curve."
"What'ja do, paint it with a mop?"
"You can't shine shit."
And his best, "It's going to cost you", and it did. Usually a little more than he said it would.

George was a Senior Engineer for IBM with 8 patents and 15 publications to his credit. George headed a group of individuals who restored and rebuilt a Robert Morton Theater pipe organ at the Forum in Binghamton. If it was electrical, mechanical, metal, wood, analog, digital, solid state or tube, George could make it work. George was a good, honest man who truly loved his wife and family. We were all lucky to have known him.

George Melnyk, 91, of Endicott, NY passed into the next life on Thursday June 29th, 2023. George was the tenth of eleven children born to John and Paraska Melnyk family, who were immigrants from Ukraine. Going before George were his parents and siblings: Walter, Joseph, William, Ann Wrobel, Mary Chesterfield, Margaret Babek, Alice Zaley, Helen Melnyk, Irene Melnyk, and Sophia Melnyk. George was born February 28th, 1932, and grew up in Plains Pennsylvania, graduating from Plains High School. George served his country in France during the Korean Conflict. After returning home from overseas, George went to work for IBM in 1956. George met the love of his life, Irene (Herlica) and married her on February 8th, 1964. George would be instrumental in bringing the Robert Morton Theater Organ to the Binghamton Area in 1976. After working countless hours on restoring the organ, the instrument was dedicated to the Broome County Forum in 1978. George would retire from IBM in 1991, retiring with eight-patents and twenty-two publications to his name. George was never one to sit idle, so in 1995 George started working for Audio Classics repairing high end audio equipment, including McIntosh equipment. In August 2022, as his health started to deteriorate, George would finally retire to rest the last months of his life. George is survived by his loving wife Irene. Daughter Maryanne and her husband John Bednarski, sons Michael and Matthew. Son Robert and his wife Theresa, sons Parker and Andrew, and son Michael and his wife Kelly and daughter Emilie.

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