Do you have a local audio shop that you like?

Do you have a local audio shop that you like?
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.

Thomas J.  Foti's picture

I've been shopping at Woodbridge Stereo since I've gotten into high end. Woodbridge is where I was introduced to high end components and systems - cera 1990, and I've been educated and serviced ever since.

Sean's picture

Fun Shop to visit lots of cool equipement. Audio-Logic DesMoines IA

Kevin Heine's picture

John at the Audio Connection in Verona, NJ is the best! Honest (sometimes brutaly, but I respect that), knowledgable, he tell's it to like he hears, even if he doesn't carry the product ( I mean this in the positive sense). He's an individual that I trust and know that he will deal with me fairly. The other dealer is Classic Audio, they went above and beyond the call of duty in helping me replace a malfunctioning amp (you guy's really need to add durability to your reviews or at least recommended components).

Jim Causey's picture

In the community I'm in, it's tough to maintain a big high-end presence, and unfortunately, though the store I work with is full of nice, helpful people, it shows exactly this problem.

walter williams's picture

I have been very happy with Brooks Berdian in Monrovia, CA. I have also been happy with Audio Video Today in Westminster, CA.'s picture

I am located in the North of England, where high-end audio dealers are practically unheard of. My nearest true high-end dealer is 100 miles away. I've recently started buying from a dealer on the net who is over 4000 miles away yet is more helpful, courteous, and knowledgable than the vast majority of UK dealers I've ever dealt with. Thanks to the net, my local dealer is just an e-mail away, and long may it continue.

Eric W.  Sarjeant's picture

Dealers can be helpful, but you must always exercise caution in how you trust your audio dealer. It's prudent to arrive with at least a minimal understanding of audio basics. Implicitly trusting your dealer to select components for you can be a rather expensive experiment in hi-fi.

skosro@aol's picture

They're in business to sell. I rely more on unbiased magazine reviews.

Bill Ehring's picture

The Analog Shop in Victor, NY, outside of Rochester, has been a great resource in helping me build my audio system. I never feel rushed into making a decision, and they offer lots of advice on what sounds good based upon my likes and dislikes. No pressure, and willing to help me learn.

Marty T.'s picture

Greensboro, NC hasn't attracted any high-end audio shops. The closest one is in Raleigh (about 1.5 hours away). I'd love to have a place to go for some good high-end "gossip" and some other audio/video nerds like me. I have to satisfy these cravings by keeping in touch with various newsgroups and the various subscriptions I've bought.

Anonymous's picture

Although I read Stereophile and I audition products that I'm intersted in, I feel that my dealer is a great help when it comes to the buying decision. He's been in the business 20+ years. I feel that I would be a fool not to take his experience into consideration when it comes to making a decision. I feel that everyone should find a dealer that he/she can trust. Even if you have been in the hobby for a good number of years, it's important to take another's perspestive into consideration. You don't have to agree withit but atleast, you considered the option.

Joe Hartmann's picture

There are two shops I drop into at least every couple of months even when I am not in the market for equipment. Because of long standing relationships with these dealers, its always a pleasant visit and an update on what they are thinking about the progress of the art.

Ed Litteral's picture

I have a great small shop about 20 miles from my house: New Paltz Audio in New Paltz, NY. The owner, Fred Ebell, really works with customers to get them the best sound for their hard-earned cash. The staff at Overture in WIlmington, DE is the best, friendliest, and most helpful large shop staff I've encountered anywhere. A great store with great people.

Don Howden's picture

The Audio Ark, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Whenever I have gone there to make a purchase, large or small, they really only seemed to want to help me make a choice from several options. Never did I have the impression that the sale was the only thing that mattered. Well-thought-out advice, hassle-free, no pressure! This is what I want in a high-end audio store.

Mike McCormick's picture

Not unless you consider Colombus, OH close to NJ. I have lived in six states in the last 10 years, and good dealers are a rare find. I'm sure that I'll make the trip back to Progressive Audio when the time comes for the next equipment purchase.

John Vaccaro's picture

Audio Visions in Tampa, FL has been great to me. My budget is extremely limited, yet they have gone the extra mile to help me out. Their annual demo sale conflicted with my working hours, so they stayed open an extra half hour so that I could take home a Rotel CD demo on approval. (I bought the wonderful thing!) I may be of modest means, but for me, Audio Visions is "the end."

Mark Brumby's picture

The trick is to find a dealer who knows the difference between hi-fi and music and is on a similar wavelength as regards your requirements in sound and musical taste.

Lee S.  McDonald's picture

Dealers have little to do with demonstration in my instance, I live in a very rural part of upstate New York and dealers are few and far between. I wonder what (small) percentage of your readers are from rural areas ? My general buying descisions are influenced by friends with simular equipment tastes. I enjoy building, and tweaking So mail order is often used. I use 1 dealer I respe ct, a mere 80 miles away...but the roads are bad ! I can usually arrange home trials also.

Eduardo Rojas's picture

Deja Vu in McLean, Virginia is the kind of store you describe. Vu, the owner/manager, helped me to move to the fringes of high-end, and I am a very satisfied customer. I highly recommend this dealer.

john's picture

the rochester new york area is in dire need of a good retailer.

K.D.'s picture

In Houston the place where I could consistantly go to drool over hi-fi gear called The Grove, closed down leaving only chain stores like Home Entertainment Inc. Or the Home Theater Store, not to say they are bad, just not truly high end.

Mark Mason's picture

Arkansas is a tough place to find high-end shops, so I resort to travel (I think I'm stretching the rules on "local" here). My best results have been to find a dealer whose sonic priorities are the same as mine. After I have determined that I trust his ears, his ethics, and his outlook, much progress can be made quickly as he steers me through the choices. My favorite dealer is Ken Christianson of Pro Musica in Chicago. A bonus with this shop is that they strive to find gems in all price ranges, particularly at the lower price points.

Homer Pearce's picture

Very pleased with Audio Solutions of Broadripple, run by David and Laurie Adams of Indianapolis, IN. Also, Tone Studio and Ovation Audio (Castleton) are reasonable. In addition to the obvious---knowledge, dedication to music, product lines, and good, friendly service---it is very helpful to have a shop that makes it easy to audition a component in the environment of your home without major credit/payment hassles. Audio Solutions is great in this respect. I have also been impressed with Galen Carol Audio in San Antonio, Texas, for all of these reasons.

Lance Huntley's picture

There are still audio snobs working in otherwise excellent SF Bay Area salons.

Jack Vermega's picture

Advice and trading don't mix.

Hoovenson Haw's picture

There are about 5 high-end shops in this country and two of them belong to the same company, not much to chose from.

Carl Eberhart's picture

Profit motive will always cloud a dealer's ability to hear and tell the truth. Are high-end audio clubs the answer?

Joel Noble's picture

I think you can tell as a customer if the "person" you are dealing with is willing to build a customer/salesman relationship. Some do try to build a relationship with their customers, I think in order to obtain the "long term dollar" while others just try to get as much as they can, as quickly as they can so they can go off to the next customer. I think it comes down to commission. Two shops come to mind, Definitive Audio, and Magnolia Hi-Fi, (in the Seattle area) Magnolia I know has a salary based sales staff, and they have been very helpful over the years, they have even recomeneded products from other companies. I trust them and they have answered every question I have ever asked. While on the other end of the spectrum, Definitive Audio has only tried to sell their products while putting down other companies products, here's a sample of products they've slammed: Martin Logan, Kimber, Audio Quest, Parasound, and Sunfirre. I may not have auditioned all these brands of products but I sure want to after hearing a rude salesman tell me they arent any good. I could go on all day, but I won't. Thanks, Joel

Ken Vance's picture

My local "high-end" shop has a rather snobish mentality. If you are not in there to buy something today/now, it would appear you are wasting their time. Accordingly, I don't go in just to learn about the art. If I ask about a product line they don't carry, I'm told that product isn't very good or they would carry it. That is why I subscribe to Stereophile for information. I think I'm going to buy used from now on.

Jim Maddox's picture

The Underground Sound in Memphis, TN. is just such a place !!