Quintessence Audio on Dempster Avenue in Morton Grove which is just north of Chicago. The owner's name is Mick... tell him Rich sent you.
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I don't know what quintessence is like in person but I tried emailing them AND calling them about driving up from Indiana to demo some gear and never heard back in any way... They lost a sale. I purchased an amp elsewhere.
OTOH, I have heard nothing but good things about Holm Audio. They seem very honest, patient and helpful. Killer Joseph Audio set up right now too!
Thanks a lot guys. Music Direct has moved to a new warehouse, and does not yet have any listening rooms or retail space. I want to stay in the downtown area, so I won't go to Quintessence or Holm Audio. But, the guys at MusicDirect suggest that I check out the Dusty Groove store on North Ashland Avenue for an "awesome record buying experience." So, wish me luck. It should be a great couple of hours digging through bins and bins and bins of vinyl LP's.
This post is from 2006:
Goto Clark street and Diversy.
Start at Saturday Audio Exchange (open on Saturday and Thursday night only). They are just north of Diversy on Clark. They don't have that much high-class merch but sometimes they do.
Next, go out the door (of SAE) to Clark St.
Go South about 1 mile to Pro Musica i.e., "Naim Country" (across the street from Tower Records -score!).
Next, go out to Clark St. again and go south 1/2 mile to Paul Heath Audio (MBL dealer).
Visit the Lincoln Park Zoo across the street.
After the petting zoo, go back to Clark St. and go south again about 2-3 miles to Audio Consultants (not their best store but on the tour).
After, go south a few blocks on Clark to Chicago Ave. Turn right (west).
Go about 2-3 miles west to Milwaukee Ave. Turn right.
Go down a block or two to Superior Audio.
Joe G. is a true sound/music fanatic and will do you right. There is no store sign so call ahead.
Next, go outside and go south on Milwaukee to Ogden Ave (very close). Go down Ogden 1-2 miles to Karen St. (just past the train trestle).
Go right about 1/3 mile.
This is Music Direct.
Again, no sign so know where you're going and ring the bell.
Next, Next? What are you? Some kind of fanatic?
There is (was?) a Red Rose store pretty close to Chicago Ave. and State street I believe if you've got to have more.
Yes you can go to Barrington to Brian's house.
It is a long drive (an hour or more depending on traffic).
Holm is also a long drive from downtown Chicago but a pretty cool store.
The Chicago Audiophile meetings are always good and sport the nicest guys in Chicago area (Brian used to be president).
The "tour" is all from memory so do your home work as far as addresses and to find out if store(s) are still there (I haven't been there in a few years).
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Yes, MusicDirect has moved and I'm not sure Essential Audio is still there. This is a good start...
For records, I second the recommendation of Dusty Groove and Reckless. Dusty is better for soul, R&B, jazz and blues. Reckless will have more rock, indie, punk, metal, and recent stuff. The Milwaukee Ave Reckless is pretty close to Dusty Groove, and it is larger than the downtown Reckless.
Another option for gear is Decibel, on Milwaukee Ave. They carry Harbeth, KEF, Rogue and more. That Wicker Park neighborhood has lots of nice shops, and I prefer it to downtown for wandering aimlessly or shopping. Easy trip up the Blue Line.
May be trickier to get to via CTA, but Logan Hardware is also excellent. And on your receipt they give you a code that allows you to enter the game room in the back. Loads of old video game machines and pinball. Great spot!
Well, it was a beautiful day in Chicago. I found some great jazz on vinyl at Dusty Groove ..... after over an hour of browsing through their bins, I bought twelve used albums, all in "near mint" condition. Can't wait to get home and start spinning them ! Then, a two martini steak lunch at Gibson's and about four hours walking through this great city on a perfect early Spring day. Life is good !