Do you have a local audio shop that you like?

Do you have a local audio shop that you like?
Absolutely
53% (102 votes)
Pretty much
17% (33 votes)
They're okay
9% (17 votes)
Not really
13% (26 votes)
Absolutely . . . NOT!
8% (16 votes)
Total votes: 194

One of the keys to enjoying the tweak audio hobby is having a good place to learn about the art of sound. A good dealer can also help you make good choices for your personal needs when it's time to buy.

Share | |
COMMENTS
Robert Brown's picture

Underground Sound, Memphis, TN. George Merrill is great. Excellent store with excellent service. Love it!

Josh Tarnow's picture

I travel from NYC to Philidelphia just to go to Soundex. I have more choices in 10 miles than most of the country does in 200. My consultant, Adam, is a consummate professional . . . he adds his opinion without barring mine (a rarity in the audio retailing environment).

PAUL RANDAZZO's picture

MY SON AND I WALKED INTO ENSAMBLE AUDIO IN NASHUA NH LOOKING FOR A CD PLAYER ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO. MY SON, A MUSIC STUDENT, SAW SOME AUDIO EQUIPMENT AND SAID "DAD, WE DON'T BELONG HERE, THEY SELL THE SAME KIND OF GEAR THAT IS IN THE RECORDING STUDIO OF UNH-ITS WAY OVER OUR HEAD" YAEH, I CAME BACK AND WAS INTRODUCED TO SOME OF THE BEST SOUNDS AND SERVICE I HAVE EVER KNOWN. I'M PROUD TO CONSIDER MYSELF AN AUDIOPHILE. WHEN I MEET SOME OF MY SONS FRIENDS THEY ASK WHAT INSTRUMENT DO I PLAY, THE FRENCH HORN LIKE MY SON? I SAY NO, I PLAY THE STEREO. THE PEOPLE AT ENSAMBLE HAVE BECOME PERSONAL FRIENDS WITH A VERY SINCERE INTEREST IN MY ENJOYMENT OF MUSIC. WHEN I PURCHASED THE BASICS OF MY CURRENT SYSTEM, IT TOOK ME 7 1/2 HOURS JUST LISTENING TO DIFFERENT SYSTEMS. THEY HAVE MADE IT EASY FOR ME TO UPGRADE AND HAVE REALLY HELPED ME LEARN WHAT TO LISTEN FOR. THEY HAVE EVEN HELPED ME KEEP PEACE WITH MY WIFE. I KNOW THAT MY SON IS IMPRESSED WITH THE SOUND AND MY WIFE IS STARTING TO TALK ABOUT GETTING AN FM TUNER. I NOW KNOW WHERE EVERY SPARE DIME WILL BE SPENT.

Mark Stranczek's picture

A good, reliable, honest dealer is well worth it. They can help you with not only choices of gear and music, but also service. A lot of people don't think much about what it takes to successfully service a customer, especially a specialty one. We tend to be a pain in the ass when it comes to our "hobby." A good dealer can and will take care of you. They are absolutely indespensable

Matt Eiffert's picture

Elliot Kallen's Tweak Shop tears ass. He is not just your dealer, but your friend. So, Tweak on, man!

Ken So's picture

I have a local audio dealer who pretty much knows my musical tastes and, when I shop for equipment, knows what I want. However, I still shop the other dealers just to keep my regular dealer honest.

David Merrifield's picture

Having one store you trust is a lot easier when narrowing down purchases - they can almost certainly set my system from components in their shop. This makes differences more meaningful at an initial stage. Then the final choice(s) are lugged to my house by them (free of charge of course) for listening before the final choices. If you can't trust the dealer you go to - how can you buy from there? How could you value their opinion?

Gaines Owen's picture

The only thing we've got around here is Circuit City. That's worse than nothing. I have to drive 140 miles to Jacksonville to find a decent dealer.

Edward Metz, Winston-Salem, NC's picture

American Audio in Greenville, SC. Simply the best audio/video retailer in the country. Knowledgeable staff, good equipment selection, great service, qualified technicians on-site. The complete package.

Nathan G.'s picture

All of the dealers in my area (there are only 3) employ rude and pretentious people who would rather help the buyer who wants to purchase $15,000 worth of equipment than the one purchasing $5000 worth.

C.  Celli's picture

Good audio shops are few and far between, even in large metropolitan areas. Sure, there are shops that carry high-end equipment, but the selection is always slim and disparate (e.g., a place that carries two brands: Mark Levinson and Adcom). And you're almost guaranteed that none of the salesmen will have knowledge even close to yours. In short, a good audio shop is a rare species, and this ensures the longevity and proliferation of mail-order, as well as usually forcing us to purchase equipment sound unheard. Unwise, you say? For some of us, it's the only choice, which is why we rely heavily on the opinions of reviewers and their ability to convey what they hear.

Ryan Golderg's picture

Commissioned salespeople make me wary when it comes to big ticket purchases

Joseph Ramon's picture

Best place is in the home. Good dealers help, but own experience, and most important, budget, will be the deciding factor.

Adam L.'s picture

The shops in the mpls mn area have a great selection of great gear and knowledgable sales staff; however, none of the sales man are very willing to help me or answer my questions because of the fact that i'm only 21. i still have a genuine interest and DO spend a considerable amount of money on audio gear. how the staff treats me BEFORE they know i'm ready to drop a few grand is how i decide which shops deserve my business. don't forget that it is my generation that is the future of high end audio; encourage our interest, don't discourage it!!

Sami Rifat's picture

Accutronics of Ann Arbor, MI gets my vote. They make shopping a pleasure, and help make this hobby most enjoyable. Arnie, Christian, and the boys really know their stuff.

Miles Ferguson's picture

Audio Ensemble in Nashua, NH deserves mention. They talk with you, help with setup, leave you alone, then talk with you some more. No pressure to buy. I drive an hour and a half, past many other stores, in order to visit them.

Rob Cornelson's picture

A dealer should give you options, offer opinions, and then let you decide.

Curt Simon's picture

A good dealer is essential. I have found a dealer (Audio Alternative, near Atlanta, GA) that has allowed me to listen critically and compare components. He allowed me, for example, to compare my Adcom GDA-600 DAC with a CD player sold by the store. He set up the system, shut the door, and left us in peace. This is far preferable to having a guy standing over your shoulder telling you what you're hearing!

Anonymous's picture

Ensemble, Nashua NH

MWM's picture

Elko, Nevada is sound-poor! Somebody help, please.

Rick Fauska's picture

The primary high-end dealer in my area really does not meet my expectations. Most information I receive is just re-worded sales and marketing hype. Unfortunately, in the Milwaukee area there is not much competition.

Brad Bryant's picture

I live near Topeka and have to go to Kansas City to find good equipment.

Brent Duffield's picture

Many dealers are more than willing to provide usefull information. For those that are willing to learn, this can be a very rewarding experience, but... When it comes to sound, you should always trust your own ears. If something does not sound right to you, don't buy it.

Rob Cappuccio's picture

My dealer has consistently given me good advice when making purchases. He takes note of my system, room environment, and requirements, and advises on the best upgrades/setup. Not only does he do this, but he actually advises against his own product line when necessary. It's all in the quest for great sound! Oh yeah, he's also a really nice guy and I'm proud to call him a friend.

CHRIS HOFF's picture

WE HAVE A COUPLE HI-END SHOPS IN TOWN AND BOTH HAVE HORRIBLE LISTENING ROOMS. PRETTY BAD FOR A CITY THE SIZE OF ST. LOUIS. IT HAS NEVER BEEN A GOOD HI-FI TOWN EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE GOOD JAZZ CLUBS AND A FINE SYMPHONY. I NEVER COULD FIGURE IT OUT.

Kurtt's picture

My vote is for Stereo Design of San Diego. Rich and Dan are the best!

John M.  Crossett III's picture

Butternut Audio in Essex Jct., VT is run by the husband-and-wife team of Tom & Cathy Dodge. I have spent many, many, many happy hours there, and have profited both in terms of my audio and musicial knowledge, but also by getting great advice on upgrading my system in both cost-effective and audio-effective ways. Thanks, Butternut, I couldn't have done it without you.

Mark A.  Guthart's picture

The local shop I use is great at providing straightforward, plain English answers to beginner audiophiles with the background experience and knowledge, to experienced, high-end audiophiles also. The range of products they offer their customers reflects this, supporting gear for entry-level listeners and high-end listeners alike. Very highly recommended!!!!

Tom Kirk's picture

Spent a good deal of time in Steve McCormack's retail store when it was open. Living in the center of one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, one would think finding a new store would be easy. Not so! Perhaps this is the ultimate answer to what is wrong with the "High End." I have tried several stores in Orange County, San Diego County, and even into LA, with mixed results---none made me feel like I was important enough to them for me to make them my "trusted advisors" in things audio. This situation has led me away from the "High End" to a more mass-market and mail-order approach with products like Carver, NHT, etc., with a focus on video. Maybe I'm not the only one.

FLORIN PENCIU's picture

But they're biased toward what they sell. The happiest thing is to talk to more than one dealer in two different stores. This is why I go frequently to Columbus at "Progressive Audio"to listen to their stereo systems, although I have right here in Cleveland a wonderfull store to go to, "HI-FI Tech".

Pages

X
Enter your Stereophile.com username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.
Loading