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A current short thread in the CRITICS corner reminded me how useful it would be to have a list of dealerships around the world that come highly recommended by audiophiles for service, know-how, selection and people skills (i.e. no intimidation, no high-pressure sales but the kind of good service you'd feel comfortable recommending to friends and family members).
Please, no "all dealers suck" rants. Yes, there's bad eggs in any business or field but this solicitation for recos is specifically about the GOOD dealers you've frequented and can recommend.
My hope is that with your help and AA's international audience, we can come up with a shortlist I can publish on my site. Once something's up, more people will see it and perhaps add their own recos so this could be an ongoing process of building a little informal data base.
May I count on your help?
Audio Connection in Verona NJ
If I could afford to buy all new I would only deal with them.
John Rutan and co. are as good as they get and are willing to take the time to inform the novice as well as sell the mega buck gear.
As busy as it may get at times there's alway a bit of time to answer you question and give you some food for thought. Never felt pressured and always felt excited about the hobbie after leaving there.
Scared to go now as I may need to take out a second mortgage to get new toys.
No affiliation just happy camper
Anyone who has any interest in hifi in Ireland has probably already heard of them, but Cloney Audio in Blackrock are as good as it gets.
They may not always have every piece of equipment you want to sample, but the standard of service is awesome. Home dems are never a problem, there's never, ever a sales pitch, it's owned and staffed by enthusiasts who are genuinely interested in sound and how to get the best for your budget, they're always happy to dem something way out of your budget just to let you hear it. Cloney's the kind of place that if they see you passing by on the street, they might just call you in to show you some new cool piece of equipment. I can't imagine a better hifi shop.
Since you are compiling a list of best stereo dealers, as suggested by the inmates here at the Audio Asylum, would it not make sense to also put together a list of the worst dealers as well?
If you do decide to make such a list, I would be more than happy to give you a name, or two, for that list as well!
(I will hold off for now, so as not to direct this thread in another direction!)
I had the same thought. The problem is, if the same stores reappear, the first poll loses its purpose.
Yeah, I thought about that too, but that is information that is useful as well. (In fact, I know there are a few people that would put my choice for best stereo store, "The Analog Room", on the worst list.)
Though his brand selection is limited Bob is honest, engaging, helpful and informative. He is generous with his experience and informed opinions and he loves to talk about music. A really nice guy!
Seemed interested in finding the right component to meet my needs not his bottom line. He went out of his way to help me with a defective cartridge that needed replacing. Good guy.
This is a vote, yes? And I presume each vote is equally valid? Yet it says "around the world". As the great majority of inmates are American it doesn't matter if the best dealer in the world is in London, Tokyo, Mexico City, Calcutta or Beijing. ALL of the "best" dealers will be in the U.S.A.
Currently, of the 140 postings so far only a tiny handful are for dealers outside of the US.
Of course the list of dealers could be arranged by country but then it would hardly be realisitic as those dealers outside of North America may have but a single vote, so hardly representative.
I would just be happy for a geographic listing. When I travel on business I like to visit audio shops and there have been some mentioned here that I was unaware of in cities that I travel to frequently.
I agree, Venus is an excellent dealer. Brian is very intelligent and really knows his audio. A very good place to do business.
I bought my first Vandersteen 2s after a patient demo by John Rutan about 15 years ago, later I traded up and then recently upgraded to their 3a Signature. John has helped with advice and service, without BS, all along the way. Straight shooter, good guy.
Will the Asylum get a credit in this article?
"Vote for your fave dealers ...."
"My hope is that with your help and AA's international audience, we can come up with a shortlist..."
DMC Electronics in beauty-ful Garden Grove, California. Great guy. Bought my NAD 'table there. Lust after some of the PSB towers he carries.
Been working on them to cary more tube gear and maybe hieff loudspeakers for a bit they where a cain & cain dealer and moth but that was before audiophiles jumped om the SET hieff bandwagon.Before they couldnt give the stuff away.
Second Abe Collins' post. Great guys, great listening rooms, pure enthusiasm for the hobby. They might recommend their best-selling $2k cart or $15k speaker w/o even thinking, but are perfectly willing to show you a model at 1/4 the price when you tell them what you had in mind. With a minimum of technobabble they put together some amazing-sounding systems.
Stewart Ono is really amazing with knowledge and customer service.
FYI Audio Directions is a KK dealer, but my positive impression of Stewart pre-dates my business relationship with him. And I have no doubt that if KK ever proved not to his liking we would be out. Stewart bases his choices on what matters to the customer, not his bottom line. He is a true enthusiast.
I was recently on Oahu in Honolulu loking for hi end audio dealers and found none. Phone book had nothing in the honolulu area. Do you have a phone number or e-mail address for this shop?
Audio Direction, Ltd (808) 941-6550 1814 Algaroba St. Honolulu 96826 He is unclestu52 here and has posted a lot here.
Met him here, and he then exchanged with me on Vandersteens. He REALLY knows...and incidentally agreed with me and my ears on some aspects of 2Ce's and sigs and associated equipment.
Funny that he sold my uncle his Vandersteens in his Honolulu place (lives in SF and other places). And we use his little green cd tweak.
He volunteered re the tweak of tightening the speakers and esp. replacing the screws with nonmagnetic stainless ones, which I will try. No cost, just helping.
...I went there on vacation and found his store. He helped me out and actually seemed like he didn't want to sell me things since I was just visiting. There are some dealers that give off the right vibes and make you wish they lived in your neighborhood (or you lived in theirs). Stewart is like that.
As noted in my previous post under the original thread that prompted yuor idea: Audio Consult in Copenhagen, the original Audio Note shop in Denmark, home for many other brands as well. Each customer is treated with honesty and respect. It's just that simple.
An unknown dealer in Toulouse France. I was visiting, and after walking around all day on a Saturday thought I would peak my head in. In my very fractired French, I said that I was an audiophile visiting from the US... They set me in front of an exceptionally fine system, gave me a stack of CDs to listen to, and let me listen away. A very pleaqsant experience, especially since I think they understood that this was not a potential sale.
Analog Room in San Jose treated me with similar courtesy, and wins the prize for the best system I ever heard in a dealer showroom (Audio Research electronics, Dunlavy 5s, Aries turntable). I add GNP since I got my first excellent system there, and much good advice, although I haven't been there for many years.
Finally, Galen Carol is just a fine human being, and always a pleaure - my dealings have been by phone and e-mail, and he always is willing to spend time. If I am interested in buying something he sells, he is my first choice.
Montreal, for relaxed shopping: Audioville and Son Ideal. New shop, very nice people but never bought anything there so this is a qualified recommendation: Coup de Foudre Audio.
Knowledgeable dealer, fantastic sounding setups, and good music/recordings are the main priorities. Interesting, even daring selection of brands.
I have a (non-audiophile) friend who lives in Verona and is thinking about purchasing a decent entry level two channel system. Should I recommend Audio Connection to him and do you think that they can help him put something together without any BS? He's a really down to earth guy and if they start talking audiophile at him, I think he may be turned off. Any feedback will be appreciated. Cheers.
My friend makes a good living and if he likes what he hears and is well treated, he will be willing to lay down some cash. I'm curious to see what he auditions and what he thinks. It's nice to know that there are some down to earth high-end retailers out there (and judging from the responses to this thread, more than I would have thought). Cheers.
I've bought a lot of equipment from John Rutan over the years and he's a great guy to deal with. He does a good job of narrowing in on someone's listening preferences and explains things in terms that most can understand. I would not hesitate recommending these guys to just about anyone. They simply steer clear of the sometimes snooty audiophile attitude that you can sometimes run into with other dealers.
My wife hates when I go there because she knows that it will put a dent in the credit card bill.
I drove out to Verona from NYC and I bought my Morch arm from them years ago. I was able to sit in on an interesting speaker/amp demo for another customer too. Later I took a non-audiophile friend there to get him speakers. When he's not swamped, John Rutan is patient and will explain available choices without trying to sucker newbies into purchasing items they don't need or items past their budget. No snotty attitude.
never bought anything from them but when I called and was thinking of upgrading they told me what I had was great and just to keep listening and enjoy! They also wouldn't sell another piece of gear because I had a local dealer and would not sell outside of their territory.
I totally agreed. My entire system came from SOS. They don't come any better than Steve. Highly recommended.
I agree. I purchased from Steve, and he helped me out even with a component I purchased elsewhere. A real asset to this industry.
I don't live in NH, so I've only dealt with Steve remotely, but he seems like a great guy: very honest and quite knowledgeable. After dealing with some real scumbags in my 20+ years in the hobby, it's nice when I meet a good guy. And Steve is a good guy.
I found the guys at Innovative Audio Video and Lyric HiFi in Manhattan to be down-to-earth, friendly folks. I can't say the same for Sound by Singer. I would also like to mention a fantastic dealer in New London, CT, called "Robert's Audio Video."
Great selection, love viny, tubes and know how to repair them all to boot.
When a dealer has about 2000 LP's in the store (and they probably have way more) and can actually let you listen to no less than 5 diffeent turntables and will let you take stuff home to audition then they're on the right track.
Add to this low pressure and even a free capuccino and donuts from time to time and that blows away the usual give me your money as fast as you can because "this deal won't last long" approach that many/all other places I've been to.
Plus, it's so nice to see people NOT wearing suits and acting like snobs.
And to actually let a student who is not going to make them rich sit and listen from opening to close and not seeming annoyed is a truly fresh approach. In other words, let the customer listen offer a ton of equipment to try -- and chances are one day they'll get a sale. It also helps if you carry at least one line that does not need a salemsman to "sell" but that will sell itself on sound.
Bob Kirk at Archive Audio
I've had more useful and honest consultations from clueless K-Mart employees than any high-end audio emporioum, anywhere, ever.
What support are you using? I'm using a an old console t.v. that no longer works. I haven't messed with power cords yet.
Do you think we could hang out? I'd love to form an emerson gold line audio club. Second Saturday of every month? I've got some englebert humperdink roaring out of the speaks right now and I'll tell you what...
And if you find after you break in your new equipment it doesn't meet expectations, they don't give refunds, especially if you lost your receipt. So what's left to do? Sell it on e-bay at a profit, right?
Absolutely!! Hell with Audiogon...Salvation Army Direct might be a goldmine...direct to Ebay that is. I think people are spurred on by recent posts like finding a pair of EPI 100s for $4.95 ( in working condition ) at the Salvation Army...probably just needed to be refoamed. If people here can wax poetic about Home Depot HD-14 cable then I can certainly see there's space for the "Bargain Bin". Honestly, I saw a older Thorens turntable in the Salvation Army or St. Vincent De Paul a few years ago that worked and was selling for $10.00. It looked to be in good shape.
Just needs a new head shell, which Recoton wanted $25 for, hehe. Whole think cost $71 new. I'll have to check more rummage sales to see if I can get another head shell.
Heck yeah...I'm just a bit enamored by places that may not know ( or care ) if they have something that would be valuable ( read: salvageable ) to the audio hobbyist. EBay is like Sotheby's where your local Goodwill or church rummage sale can provide anything from a bedroom / basement system to something straight out of Antiques Roadshow. My folks sold a 1936 Philco AM / Shortwave console radio for nearly nuttin' that was worth a few hundred bucks. Wasn't used for over 30 years. Still worked great with new tubes put in around 1980.
Tim's in it for the passion. Has a tremendous knowledge of LPs particularly pop and rock.
I can recommend University Audio in Madison, WI (talk to Ben) and Audio Emporium in Brown Deer, WI (talk to Mark). I also like the people at Audio Advisor and Music Direct - knowledgeable, straight-foreward, and patient.
Dave Holmes seems to be a music lover first...who, incidentally, has been selling "a little bit of audio stuff" for the past 30 years or so.
Tom, thanks for reminding me: I meant to mention, Dave, not Mark (not certain what I was thinking yesterday). Your post prompted this addendum. I like his new--okay, it's been some years now--shop by the deli. Audio Emporium is always a nice spot to stop to listen to some fine gear and enjoy music. No pressure or pomposity there.
It seems like this may be against AA policy of opening the opportunity for advertising on here. I know this was not the intent of the post but it opens the door for questionable posts. Just a thought.
I've been impressed by his professionalism and his dedication. He's been around the audio block, but retains the enthusiasm and attitude of someone who loves sound more than gear.
So my vote.
Jeffrey Catalano of High Water Sound helped me do something that no other person has done as well.
That is, figure out exactly what I love about music and build a system to it.
He loves music, first. And he loves the equipment that can reproduce it, second.
That's my kind of dealer because his heart's in the right place.
I bought speakers from Jeff, but both well before and since he has been extremely generous with his time and expertise, helping me to understand more about the synergies and tweaks that help make a *system* (as opposed to a disparate set of mismatched components) sound great.
He helped rekindle my love for music in the home after I had several aborted attempts buying audio equipment that clearly wasn't for me.
If everyone in the industry provided Jeff's commitment to service, no one on AA would have anything to bitch about -- except maybe criticizing UPS!! :-))))
Jeff is an exceptional dealer who is passionate about reproduction of music in the home. He really believes in the products he sells and always goes the extra mile to satisfy his clients.
There's Sound by Singer, Innovative Audio/Video, Lyric HiFi, In Living Stereo, Rhapsody Music & Cinema, Ears Nova, High Water Sound, Park Ave Audio, Harvey, Stereo Exchange.
Sound by Singer: Years ago I swore I'd never shop there. All sound rooms are off limits unless you are accompanied by a salesman. In other words, no browsing. You can't even peek through a window in the door. I just don't care for that kind of vibe. Impressive product line, though.
Innovative Audio: You can browse, I like that. But the selection seemed surprisingly limited, like they really want to push B&W. The kid who was the salesman seemed more interested in computers than hi-end audio. But overall a nice place, nice rooms, laid back atmosphere. The place to go in NYC for Wilson Speakers.
Lyric: I have no experience with them but if you want Magnepan or Audio Research, this is the place to go in NYC.
In Living Stereo: A modest two rooms, but friendly guys and their dogs, which adds a nice homey touch. The place to go for Totem speakers--I wanted to audition the Model 1 and the Mani 2, and these were not available, which surprised me, and they may have lost a sale.
Rhapsody Music and Cinema: I bought my MBL 7008 integrated amp here. This place is really upscale. They do have a few relatively affordable items, like Joseph Audio bookshelf speakers and the Manley Stingray integrated amp, but overall I think this is a place to go if you have serious bucks to spend. No salesmen--you will be helped by the owner. Check out the Goldmund Room. Wow.
Ears Nova: Never been there, but I am impressed with their advertised product line.
High Water Sound: Never been there. From their ad I take it that this is a specialized store--S.E. Amps and horn speakers.
Park Ave. Audio: Never been inside, but I like to check out the used gear in the window. The place to go for Dali Speakers.
Harvey: Bought my Krell speakers here. Harvey tries to appeal to the general public, so the salesmen all wear ties. But they do carry hi-end stuff: Sonus Faber, Krell, Martin Logan, McIntosh, Linn.
Stereo Exchange: Bought my Rotel CD Player here. Like Sound By Singer, the rooms are locked, but at least you can look through a window in the door, unlike Singer where you are not even allowed in the area. So you can browse; but look, don't touch. Like Innovative Audio they seem to want to push B&W speakers, but they do have many rooms with a very nice selection of stuff. The top-of-the-line McIntosh room is very impressive.
Never been in the store, but have corresponded many times with Kevin via e-mail and phone. Always been more than helpful even for very trivial things. I would not only buy from Kevin again, but would recommend him and his services.
In Hawaii (Oahu, Honolulu) I can recommend Audio Directions, and Audiolab.
If you are a very serious DIY-er, you should definitively talk to Stu at Audio Directions. He offers advice to anyone (from novice to experts) who approaches with good intention. He has unbelievable experience, from building your own caps through modifying your cartridge, to building your whole setup from scratch. His hobby is to take things apart, to separate the wheat from the chaff...
What I like about him particularly, is that he wants to know what you are looking after, and he can point at what you can do to get there. He is very keen on value: he only carries gear, that have very good price / performance ratio, and if he does not carry something that will satisfy your needs, he won't deceive you just to get money out of you.
The other place in Honolulu to go to, is Audiolab. Tom carries home theater, and projectors, in addition to two channel stereo. He is also very open, and cares about his customers. He carries more mainstream gear, including solid state amps. If you want to listen to some breathtaking vinyl, just visit him.
Both Stu and Tome care about the sound of what they demo, and what they sell, and know how to set the systems up right, and how to install them at your place. I found that they care much more about music and stereo than any mainland dealer does, who I have met. In fact, my wife was very seriously pissed off with the poor sonic quality combined with the very high price tags she heard elsewhere. Not to mention the attitudes - if you don't look like a millionaire, the fancy dealers won't even look at you. Probably we checked out the wrong guys...... but this thread will help everyone to find the right places.
Thanks for responding. Well that's not going to give a very accurate picture of these dealers. It's so obvious it almost goes without saying but feedback is only useful if it includes both negative and positive feedback. That way you get some idea of the "record" these dealers have.
What this amounts to is cheerleading.
Nicholsons Hi Fi has been in business for over 60 years.....yeah thats right 60! Family owned, nice folks, great gear, honest, no pressure, very laid back atmosphere.
Ensemble A/V in Nashua NH. These folks do HT, however they haven't forgotten good 2 channel. I've done a lot of business there, both new and used. No pressure, good conversation and excellent people.
Dennis B. and John R. have been more than good to me.
Nice folks and great gear.
# The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men # Samuel L. Jackson (Ezekiel 25:17)> Pulp Fiction < Current Set-Up..Plinius CD101-> M8-> SA-REF-> Genesis IMG8300 <-
Owner Stephen Monte will not push product down your throat and epitomizes everything a dealer should be: helpful, knowledgeable and available.If you like tubes he's the man.
Stephen is a great guy. I wrote about him recently in my local area audio group message board. I included it below. It might sound over the top but that pretty much sums up my thoughts. I also like, and dislike, that he is always getting new brands in to try out. I like it because it is great to be able to listen to lots of great gear, but it also makes it very hard to keep my system (and bank account) stable. Pure torture!! :-))
Over the years I have become extremely jaded when it comes to dealing with sales people, especially for “disposable income” or “hobby” items. I have been extremely put off over the years by the typical salesman, in this hobby and others. You all have met and dealt with them, I am sure. They want to impart their “superior” wisdom and knowledge of the hobby onto you although they feel you are undeserving of the passing of this knowledge. They do not want to “waste time” getting to know your tastes in music or what you like and do not like about various aspects of the sound (are you a bass freak or a nut for midrange clarity or do crystal clear highs give you goose bumps). And they especially don’t want to spend time with you if you are not ready to buy “right this moment”.
Why am I stating all this? Because I feel that Stephen is the opposite of this. I first approached Stephen from a defensive posture assuming he was “like all the rest”. I was wrong. Does he want to make a sale to me? Sure! Why be in business otherwise. But he won’t make a sale just for the sake of making a sale. He is rightfully proud of the products he distributes as an importer and carries as a dealer … most offer high value/performance for the cost. But I also feel he is very humble about the performance of these products. If he feels the product is not right for me he says so. If he has a suitable alternative he points it out. If he does not have a suitable alternative he suggests products that he does not sell. He’d rather see me have the best system for me than sell me a product that does not fit into my system. I feel Stephen is the same with anyone in our group, or anyone that comes into his store, or phones him, or emails him. Your mileage may vary. :-)
I've never heard of them. I just checked out the web site... ah... so THAT'S who's carrying Von Schweikert products in the Philadelphia area these days.
I bought mine from a dealer in Chestnut Hill, PA a long time ago. After Von Schweikert Research company went out of business, I don't believe he picked the line back up once the new company was formed. I'm glad somebody did.
Another vote for Steve Monte at Quest for Sound. I've done business with him many times over the past five years. Every contact and transaction has been a pleasure.
Good folks, great selection. Like many dealers they have a heavy focus on HT these days but they certainly know their high-end audio
I love working with Tim at Experience Audio. He is always looking for ways to both understand your needs and meet them is the best way possible. Not only that but when I have had an equipment problem he has gone out of his way to help!
Audio Advice in Raleigh, NC, provides a lot of selection on the floor, good advice and service. I have been buying from them since 1983.
Harold is a great guy - friendly, patient, no pressure, a humorist, enthusiastic and dedicated to music and good sound. He's the best audio dealer I've met.
Audionut.com - Phoenix Az., Esoteric Audio - Scottsdale Az., Sound Revelation - California, Gene Rubin Audio - California and Audio Essence - Georgia.
Give me rhythm or give me death!
He is a gentleman who gets excited by great-sounding gear, He won't try to replace equipment that you like, rather, he'll try to sell gear that will complement your own.It's the kind of place that people will drop in just to hear what he has set up.
I've had the good fortune to work with some great dealers as I've migrated coast-to-coast:
Deja Vu Audio, McLean, VA
Audio Unlimited, Denver, CO
Brooks Berdan, Monrovia, CA
Vu is a very knowledgable person who first got me into tubes, Spendor speakers, and SOTA TTs. John Barnes is one of the best guys to work with and I still go to him for my analog needs. I've just discovered Brooks Berdan and while I haven't made a purchase yet they have been extremely helpful. Not to mention a service department that is staffed on Saturday and an analog museum that is a blast from the past.
Great selection (lots fo tube gear) and no pressure, mellow owner - Stephen Monte - He's a Deadhead.
Alan Goodwin at Goodwin's High End in Waltham MA
Jonathan Halpern of In Living Stereo in New York City (also of Tone Imports)
Unlike any other stereo showroom I have ever been to. 5 stars for them. Excellent.
Everything from the low end Magnepans, to Avantgarde, Jolida, Viva, VAC, others. Truly something for almost everyone's budget. And a customer service that is very enthusiastic and personal.
Dave and Liz have a passion for fine sound while providing excellent service and information. Love the way they have done their tweaks for the Magnepan speaker line. I hope to have them do their tweeter mod on my Magnepans soon.
While San Diego is blessed with several very good audio dealers, this store can be recommended as my favorite for several reasons:
+ A broad selection of quality products.
+ Well established, in business for over 25 years.
+ No pressure, friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
+ Owner Bruce Heimburg is a knowledgeable music lover which is reflected in the lines carried and component recommendations.
+ Large inventory of new and used vinyl.
+ Bruce and his staff support our San Diego Music and Audio Guild club meetings, even for presentation of brands not carried in the store.
Hands down the most patient and responsive guy in audio.
Top marks for his local guys in Chicago - Rob and Ron Lapporte at Ultimate Audio Video. A couple of wonderful guys with STUNNING Rives designed home showrooms who carry Brinkmann, mbl, Gryphon, Boulder, HRS, and a whole lot of other neat stuff in addition to Shindo.
I just wanted to thank you for your kind words about my brother and I, and our store. It's guys like you and Jonathan Halpern that make what we do so enjoyable. My only editorial comment is that we are not a dealer for Boulder, although I'm flatterd that you recalled so many of our products.
PS: The Latours are nicely broken-in!!
Jonathan is very knowledgeable, and a pleasure to do business with.
He is the man! Actually all of his crew. Very friendly and knowledgeble. Never pushy or annoying. God bless them! Hands down, he is the best dealer that I have met, and I have worked with many. I have conducted numerous business transactions with him, and he has been consistently excellent, personifying great customer service - a rare commodity these days. I recommend him wholeheartedly to everyone, without any reservations. I hope he'll remain in business for the years to come!
Audio Unlimited Denver - John Barnes / Carl Jerritts
DENVER COLORADO PHONE: 303 691-3407
These guys have some of the most incredible high-end gear on the planet, some of it very expensive including Boulder / Accuphase / BAT and others. Yet they also have very affordable brands and don't mind me coming in and playing with any of it to my heart's content. Of course it's fun playing with a $100,000 system(!) but I've purchased a few "more affordable" pieces from them over the years.
They don't greet you with "how much are you planning to spend today?" like that other Denver based high-end store off I25 & Colorado Blvd. Maybe it was just that one a-hole punk sales rep but I never went back.
...in the world. It's a true haven for tubes and analog, and those guys are the nicest in the world. Check them out!
Jacked me out of $180. Wouldn't lend a $800 pair of speakers to someone who drove 1.5 hrs to hear them. The speakers were purchased and didn't work in the system. They charged $180 restock fee for return. So to me they're sadly just another dealer who wants to make a quick sale.
I agree with Ping, gave them a call and they told me how awful my equipment was (over 30K worth) and what they carried was just plain better. I don't need this type of dealer, there are too many of them already.
When you're ready for serious hi-fi check these guys out.
-Online/eBay: "Spearit Sound", very highly recommended.
-Minneapolis area: "HiFi Sound" on 13th & Harmon, and "Audio Perfection" in Richfield.
Audio Dimensions in Royal Oak
Almas Hi-Fi in Royal Oak
Overture Audio in Ann Arbor
/*Music is subjective. Sound is not.*/
I came to audition some speakers with a stack of my own cds, the dealer set them up with the amp/source most similair to my own and left me alone for over an hour. After that he was more than willing to chat and give advice, even recommended products that he didn't carry! Also said "if you liked those (Spendor) you're gonna love these" and hooked up some $10k speakers. He knew there was absolutely no chance of selling them, this was 5 tmes my budget, but spent another half hour playing music, shooting the bull about gear and music.
Didn't end up buying there (found speakers I like better, that worked better in my room, at The Analog Room (also discussed in this thread), but I'll be back to audiotion their equipment every time I'm ready for a purchase.
"Music is God's gift to man, the only art of Heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to Heaven."
-Walter Savage Landor
A great little 'audio hut' in the casual tradition of sports shops of a past era with some interesting regulars often enjoying a cigar.
Experts in Turntables and Music.
New and used records.
10% off list prices on components.
Electronics can be taken for home trial Saturday afternoons if returned Tuesday morning.
Can be a challenge to find, there's no sign out front.
Great stereo store, with knowledgable staff, especially the owner, Brian!
(Given that there is a nice selection of vinyl too, does this mean we can vote twice for the Analog Room?!)
I have to give props to my local dealers in Boston and Cambridge:
Spearit Sound on Comm. Ave. I can't speak for their NorthHampton location.
QAudio around the corner from Mass. Ave. near MIT.
In Your Ear record store, which sells cool used audio geer at reasonable prices. It's mostly mid-fi, but they get the occasional gem and lots of vintage.
Audio Lab in Harvard SQ knows turntables.
I had good service from Saturday Audio Exchange in Chigago on a mail order item, too.
I forgot about Spearit Sound but not because they are forgetable. Ralph Spear auditioned the Hales Concept Threes for me on Comm Ave. which allowed me ,a few years later now ,to confidently buy the Rev Threes without vean hearing them.Turned out qwe also knew a few of the same old Tech-HiFi 'brass' as I had been a top ten, corporate wide, selling salesman back in 1981-2 but don't hold that against me, i left for ethical reasons lol...
My first experience with Spearit was in '98 or '99 I think. I didn't think I could afford high end. I sort of knew enough that I could do better than Tweeter next door, too. But, I figured I'd walk in there first and maybe find something open box. After listening to a few so-so stand-mounts over there I finally decided to give Spearit a shot. That's when I heard the B&W 302's and realized that sometimes better quality costs less. I've also gotten some good used deals over there. They know I'm on a teacher's budget but I've never felt like I was being treated any less than the big spenders.
It's difficult to describe the confidence in knowing that what you just purchased would preform better than what other dealers in the area where selling at the time. Weather you stopped in to wash some vinyl on their Monks machine or to simply listen to their reference they were always very welcoming and never snobbish.
...brings back memories of the 1980s - ahhhh, the good old days.
Many of the people who worked here have gone on to prominent places in the audio industry;
- Sterling Troyle and John Hunter took over Sumiko and import REL and Sonus Faber among others.
- Garth Leerer has Musical Offering and distributes some of the best analogue equipment around.
- Founder Doug Blackwell went to work for Transparent Audio.
Progressive Audio (Columbus, OH) . Although I've heard that they might be shifting their emphasis to Home Theater, I give them the highest recommendation. I purchased several items from them after extensive home trials (via mail order!), and without restrictions on return. Although I dealt primarily with one person with whom I had established a comfortable vendor/customer relationship, everyone else there with whom I had contact was terrific.
Disclaimer : My personal experience re the liberal trial/ return policy might have been unusual and based largely on the foundation of trust and respect formed through my initial dealings with the individual salesperson involved (and who, unfortunately, is no longer in the audio business). That aside, Progressive has still been the best audio dealer I've ever experienced. Period.
Placette Audio (Boise, ID) Though not exactly a "dealer", this direct-mail manufacturer (in the person of Guy Hamel) also provides a pleasant, respectful, and rewarding experience, with policies that leave the purchaser with none of the typical anxieties of mail-order transactions. Superb
They have a very nice selection, are sublimely knowledgeable and friendly. Their service is top drawer. I consider them (Father and son) to be friends, so I'm biased. It's a favorite place, of mine, to go. I know there are several other fine places to shop in the LA area, but I'll never need to go anywhere else.
honest, knowledgeable and more than willing to share that knowledge even in a non-sales situation and willing to take the time to guide and educate you to the sound you want.
Natural Sound in Framingham,Ma has proven exteremly knowlegable, friendly and highly capeable. I went in yesterday to take home a Mark Levinson No. 39 to demo and before i arrived the salesman had discovered an anomalous sound emenating from within the case. Their crack equipment crew(Dave) had the unit open and just as we were discussing having to send it back to Madrigal, mercifully very close by, Dave fixed it and i broght it home with many good suggestions for future companion components.
Fidelis in Derry,NH has also been highly informative and fully ready and willing to listen to and answer all my questions.
Ensemble in Nashua,NH was also likewise helpfull,friendly and informative.
Then there's Audioproz in Watertown,Ma where Vince will talk your ear off and leave your head spinning.In spite of his sound,well reasoned and ultimately informed advice i have proceeded to dump many more dollars than he sees neccesary for the performance i seek.He'd surely find me a hopeless case but he'll give you the straight scoop undiluted and full of rapid fire technical facts.
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