How far have you traveled to audition or purchase an audio component?

How far have you traveled to audition or purchase an audio component?
Up to 25 miles
36% (64 votes)
Up to 50 miles
11% (19 votes)
Up to 100 miles
18% (31 votes)
Up to 250 miles
13% (23 votes)
Up to 500 miles
8% (14 votes)
Up to 1000 miles
6% (11 votes)
Up to 3000 miles
3% (5 votes)
Over 3000 miles
6% (10 votes)
Total votes: 177

Some audiophiles will only buy what they can hear, which poses a challenge if what you want is hundreds of miles away. How far have you traveled to audition or purchase an audio component? <P><I>Note to last week's vote commenters: due to a server move, we lost several days' worth of votes. We're all better now but we apologize if your comments didn't make it.</I>

Jim P.'s picture

As a teen, my buddy and I wandered into an amazing audio store and met Dwanye. He welcomed us in, and over the course of the past 19 years, and a half dozen store names and locations, I still know where to find him in Davenport Iowa. Some kids want to be a fire fighter, some a teacher or doctor. To this day, I still want to be Dwayne, an amazying audio sales dude.

Michael Chernay's picture

It's at least 20 miles to the "local" dealers. Although, for the right component or the right audition i would definitely drive more than 150 miles.

Douglas Bowker's picture

Just lucky I guess, because I've always lived in urban areas that had good gear shops nearby. I did by chance get to go to the Berlin high-end audio show in 1989, while traveling as a student across Europe! That was quite the trek, although not the main reason I was in that city, of course. Man, the Germans have some really serious stuff!

Dave Bennett's picture

I do a lot of travel with my job, so strictly speaking the travel wasn't to audition audio components, but when I was still living in the UK, I purchased a cartridge from a store in San Antonio and auditioned a pair of loudspeakers in Champaign, Illinois. Now I live in Northern California and have visited and purchased from Upscale Audio in Southern Cal and from Audio Connection in New Jersey. I have also visited Music Direct in Chicago and now buy from them online.

Bruno, Slovenia's picture

To buy B&W DM6 loudspeakers, I must travel from Skofja Loka ( Slovenia ) to Hamburg ( Germany ).

Dimitris Gogas's picture

It was over 3000 miles and I eventually went alone, because nobody believed I was really going to do it! My first solo trip abroad.

Johannes Turunen, Sweden's picture

We are rather spread out in this country and living in the capital doesn't guaranty availability to brands of interest.

Woody Battle's picture

There are no local high end dealers, so I have to travel at least 100 miles to look at anything.

Sam's picture

living in the NY metro area, there's hardly a reason to travel far

Joe Hartmann's picture

I've heard equipment on trips that I would not have heard locally. On a trip to San Francisco, I heard Fulton gold speaker wire (I own and still use it), in Minnesota I visted Van Alstine's home/shop and heard B&W speakers and mods that opened my ears to how good a soundstage could be. These days, it is becoming impossible to hear a phono cartridge first—and at several thousand dollars, I want to hear it first.

Nodaker's picture

Drove from Fargo to Minneapolis to listen for the fun of it—actually was going down there anyway but what the H, may as well count it.

macksman's picture

My dealer here in Dallas is 4.5 miles from home. Once, I drove across town, expecting to be welcome at another dealer in a non-residential area of town, only to be turned away because I'd not called for an appointment! He didn't even have single-speaker rooms. Since, I've saved lots of gas by not returning many times, although I regularly frequent art galleries in the area.

Tim Bishop's picture

The only reason I say 1000 miles is that I used to travel on my old job. I have auditioned tnings in Ohio, Texas, NY, Colorado, Oklahoma and a few other places as well.

Bob in Stokesdale's picture

Flew from NC to San Francisco to visit family, and to visit the shop where my nephew works, to listen to a pair of Quads 2805s. Until then I'd only ever read about them in the mags, never seen, touched or heard any in person.

DAB, Pacific Palisades, CA's picture

I purchased a pair of Acarian Systems Alon IV speakers back in 1993. I traveled to La Jolla, CA to audition them. It was well worth the trip! I even brought my amp, preamp, turntable, records and interconnects to the dealer with me so that I could hear how everything in my audio chain would sound together. My wife and I stayed over in nearby San Diego and had a wonderful time. Who says that audio is a boring hobby?'s picture

I would go 500 miles to pick up a piece to take home to audition; to listen in the store to see if a piece makes my short list 50 miles. If I can't get an in-home audition at some time, it makes my don't care list.

Louis P.'s picture

Since I live in New York City, just about any high-end product is available locally. But if a certain product was only available at one of the several local dealers who have given me poor service, I would have no problem travelling a bit.

J.R.'s picture

The good stuff is just over 100 miles away. The local "semi-good" stuff audio store kicked me out and told me to never come back after they found out I saved well over $500 by purchasing an amp online after seeing it demoed in their store.

Isiah Johnson's picture

I use to travel to Los Angeles from the San Francisco bay area when you had your audio shows. It was the one time I could audition all my favorites in one place.

Mullard EL34's picture

For our Quad ESL-63 electrostatic loudspeakers, my wife and I took our Saab hatchback on a 350-mile road-trip to audition, purchase, and return with our new loudspeakers (the Chicago-based Quad dealer was willing to offer a money-back satisfaction guarantee if we didn't like the ESL-63s in our dedicated home music room). With no "local" Quad dealer, we really didn't have any other option. Fortunately, when we later pursued a pair of Martin-Logan CLS electrostatics to replace the ESL-63s, we were able to work with a Martin-Logan dealer in our hometown.

Paul J.  Stiles, Mtn.  View, CA's picture

From San Jose to San Francisco and Berkeley when I was looking for speakers.

F.  Chasinovsky, Van Nuys, CA's picture

Online or by vehicle?

Xenophanes's picture

There are only a few good speakers available locally. To hear a good selection of speakers, I simply have to audition them while traveling. Electronics are much less critical, and the ones available locally will do just fine.

David H's picture

High-end manufacturers have only a few dealers scattered around the country, and coming from Michigan, over a year, I've gone from the west to the east coast to hear potential components.

Don Bilger's picture

I'm not sure if this counts, but I visited Frank Van Alstine's shop during a family vacation to audition a preamp. I was so impressed with what I heard that I ordered the preamp kit and later bought a power amp, a CD player, two upgrades to the preamp, a DAC, and a phono cartridge from Frank.

Jim Campbell's picture

part of a trip, to be sure

kelsea ziegler - qu4k3's picture

I bought an entire system from another province (Canada) but it was well worth the drive because the wife plugs her ears at times while we are watching movies. :)

Richard's picture

For just audio equipment, about 110 miles.

EG's picture

I had to go to New York City to hear a set of Halcro monoblock amplifiers. It was worth it. I bought them on the spot.

Al Marcy's picture

Dr. Bruce Edgar works near the Pacific Ocean. His speakers are closer to Kozmik. PS: if Kozmik is a brand, sorry for any confusion ...