Adventures in Table Shopping


At nearby Goodwin's High End recently I was turntable shopping (My Linn Basik/Akito is getting a little old but still works great) and the "Turntable Expert" there (older, distinguished looking dude) who was assisting me first utterly ignored my query about a Pro-Ject "The Classic" table I was thinking about (really…like I was speaking Mandarin), and was only interested in pushing a Rega P3 with a Funk Firm arm and a Hana cart. Sends the unused Rega arms to Sota he said. Fine. He gets a Funk arm for me to look at and doesn't notice it's just a Rega and not the Funk arm and fumbles it back into the box, noting he doesn't have the Funk arm. Oh well…he lopes  off to help somebody with a speaker (no biggie)…at some point notes that he is a huge Linn user, has 3 modded and "special" ones, loves MC cartridges, and says you shouldn't use them with metal platters (Linn freak…aluminum isn't magnetic…weird again). He's busy to some degree (and there's literally 3 customers there) and I ask him to write down the model of the Funk Firm arm and I'll look it up later…he writes it on his card and off I go (although I had wandered around the store for a while to look at the exotica…sweet…). I get home and when I try to find the arm, the model number for the arm doesn't exist anywhere including the Funk Firm site, and realized this person is the poster boy for what's wrong with high end audio. I now doubt that Goodwin's will ever see any of my cash, and, hopefully I'll never see that dude again. Lame, but not totally unexpected. I had a better experience there a couple of years ago, but they didn't have a Linn belt to sell me and weren't very interested in getting me one, so, again, meh...
wolf_garcia
I have had similar experiences at Goodwins as well although not for a turntable.  I just bought my turntable, a VPI Prime from John Rutan at Audio Connection in Verona, NJ.  It was a 3 1/2 hour drive from my home in northern Rhode Island.  Well worth the trip.  Johnny is a wealth of knowledge in audio and music.  He will get all my business from now on.
Yeah…they're more or less nice as advertised ("no pressure"), but I would like a little more professionalism from supposed professionals…when I'm hired to run the sound for a serious show I don't think…meh…I'll just do an "ok" job. 
If you want more professionalism Wolf, just visit a Best Buy/Magnolia and talked to their sales people.  You'll be running back to Goodwins to see that guy.
I've been shopping at Goodwin's for years and my experience has been the  opposite. Have never been pressured. I'd say the guy you talked to was having a bad day. Paul (the manager) told me they were looking for help a few months ago. The guy you describe doesn't sound familiar so maybe it was a new guy. Who knows, maybe it was his first day. I've always found Natural Sound the place to go if you want pressure.
Wolf - I think everyone has experienced this type of service - it seems to be the norm rather than the exception

If you know the owner, then take them aside and let them know - they seldom want to employ people with this type of attitude.

If they don't see anything wrong - don't shop there.

CLUE - High staff turnover may indicate the owner is not really bothered about "customer satisfaction"

I've even experienced the same attitude from owners - after speaking with friends in the industry - they said the store probably had to move a certain volume of product to stay with a distributor.

In this scenario the customer is just a pawn in the game of sales

However -  there are ways to achieve that goal without alienating the customer. Good sales people know this.

He was just a poor salesperson. Don't let it put you off the store.

Regards...
I've had some wonderful experiences with audio store owners/employees. The most positive one was with Don Hoatson, the owner of The Listening Room in Baltimore. He was my intro into the hi-end world and he was patient, listened to my tastes and experience, and never once up-sold me anything. In fact, he cautioned me away from several more expensive components, saying my room (at the time) and listening habits didn't warrant them.

On the other end was a nameless employee of another hi-end store in the Balto/DC area, this one closer to DC who, on one slow Wednesday afternoon when my fiancee and I were the only people in the store, reluctantly demo'd some pieces from Boulder, Wadia, and a few others, each time emphasizing how much they cost and how expensive the speakers other customers had who had bought them. He brushed aside my existing Maggie 3.6R's as "good for beginners" and urged me to upgrade my Blue Circle pre-amp to something "more in the world of hi-end". 

I'm not making those quotes up, btw. Total tool.

I'm meeting with Steve Deckert later on this month to audition Decware amps. Anyone have good experience with him? Apparently he's quote accommodating and friendly. 

Full disclosure: I'm no longer in the DC area.
Wolf Garcia,

If you are interested in the Project Classic you might consider my new build, which is just being finished off. It is a totally Hot Rodded TD 150. Only the chassis, platter and bearing assembly from the 150 was used, with the rest being new components selected for their quality in accordance to this build. (Origin Live Advanced motor/Jelco 370, custom cherry plinth, well damped chassis, carbon fiber etc.

A custom dust cover is being fabricated and will finish the project. I've modded a number of tables in the past and this is my 4th Thorens and second 150. This one pulls out all the stops. It is posted over at Audioasylum and with full discussion over at taperssection.com in playback.

This table takes the best from the classic tables of yesterday and pushes to a level that delivers today.

This is not intended to be a shameless plug for my table but rather in response to what it appears you are looking for.

BTW, sorry about you bad experience at Goodwins. I've never visited their store but I would suggest that you give them another shot. If the experience remains consistent, well.....................
I’ve been to Goodwin’s before and it was OK except for the lack of belts for my Linn…this time it was simply too weird to not mention. I realize I can get a new table online with zero hastle, and am attracted to the Pro-Ject because it seems inexpensive for what it is…good reviews also. Note the dude at Goodwin’s wasn’t exactly "pressuring" me, I simply feel that sales people need to have listening skills as well as product understanding. He scoffed at my simple Sumiko Pearl cart which I completely get…it’s very cheap…but it sounds amazing and I seriously doubt this guy knew that, but it’s FINE. I’ll go to Goodwin’s again someday maybe, but since I rarely need anything they sell it’s no big deal. I know a guy who works at Natural Sound so I never have issues there really…and they said they’re getting a "Classic" table in soon that I can at least check out. Note there's no section in audio asylum called "playback" that is obvious, so that's that.
Note there's no section in audio asylum called "playback" that is obvious, so that's that.

No, you would need to go to www.taperssection.com and then to their "playback" section.

A good inexpensive cartridge can out perform an expensive one if it is well matched and set up properly. Take the lowly Denon Dl 103. Slight mods, well matched and set up well and it will out perform many much more expensive cartridges. 
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A good inexpensive cartridge can out perform an expensive one if it is well matched and set up properly. Take the lowly Denon Dl 103. Slight mods, well matched and set up well and it will out perform many much more expensive cartridges.
Yea, but will an inexpensive cartridge out perform a more expensive one if BOTH are well matched and set up properly?
Raymonda…got the link…thanks. Regarding the Sumiko Pearl, I bought a highly regarded AT440MLA  and it sounded screechy with too much treble, or at least unlistenable so off it went…the Pearl was recommended by the Natural Sound dude and he was absolutely correct about the sound…so good I re-tipped it a few months ago.
Wolf_Garcia.
Where did you send the Cartridge for retip? What is the turn around time?
 Thanks 

No offense but these anecdotal, individual encounters don't say much about a business, in my opinion. Every retail outlet has its pluses and minuses, including Goodwin's. The guy you mentioned is probably the new person at the counter - I've spoken to him a number of times and i'm sure he'll work out his style. I've bought a few things at Goodwin's and have no complaints at all. But they serve a particular market (High End, as in their name), so if you're looking for warm and fuzzy, or good value for the mid-range consumer, Goodwin's ain't the place. You could try Q Audio in Central Square. They've always been a great resource in my opinion, and Dariusz won't sniff at a Sumiko Pearl.  
Yes, as I mentioned, an inexpensive cartridge, set up properly, can out perform an expensive one. 

Again, a modded dl 103 can out perform many more pricier cartridges. Price doesn't guaranty performance.

My experience as a salesperson years ago was I'd be glad to help answer your questions if you're in the market, even if and especially not today. But I'd get folks that just seemed to need a friend or well audiophiles can be a bit ... eccentric, yak yak yak..Anyway keep in mind salespeople are at Work, they need to earn a living going in and just using them for information or just to shoot the SHT is disrespectful 
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My Pearl wasn't so much a re-tip as a replacement stylus for 45 bucks from the Needle Doctor.