Interaction with Audiophile companies and AudiogoN members have been (for most part) positive through the years. There have been a few, however, that have gone 'above and beyond' to ensure that the customer was satisfied. To that end, I would like to give a 'shout out' to Audioquest that recently made a situation right when they really didn't have to. I won't go into the details, but suffice to say, that when the need arises I will not hesitate to buy from them again and will recommend their products and service to anyone who values my opinion.
For discussion purposes, would anyone care to raise a glass to a company that in your opinion deserves some love.
Maybe I've just been lucky, but all I've done business with the last several years have been like that.
Keith Herron at Herron Audio graciously answered all kinds of questions and made me feel like way more than just another customer. I am certainly not the only one to speak highly of Keith. The man is a rock and a bit of a legend.
Betty at high-endelectronics.com has been a real sweetheart in helping me with a lot of great Synergistic HFT, ECT, PHT and fuses.
Eric at Tekton, for a guy as incredibly busy as he is has nevertheless been available to talk and answer all kinds of questions, and even willing to do custom builds. I decided to pass on that but others here have their custom speakers as proof that Eric is the real deal.
Most recently John Hannant at Townshend Audio as been as genuine an audiophile as I could ever hope to meet.
One thing they all have in common, even though they all have their stuff to sell it never felt like any of them was selling anything, more like being there to help me make my system as good as it can be. That to me is what it's all about.
Haven't done business yet with Dave at Raven or Peter at Soundsmith but I sure do look forward to it when the time comes.
Honorable mention, Chris Brady formerly of Teres Audio. Teres is no longer in business but Chris is still around answering questions and helping out years after the doors more or less closed. Respect!
With rare exceptions, I buy used components. One of those exceptions occurred recently when I made my first ever purchase of a stand-alone DAC. Having done plenty of research online, I opted for a Denafrips Pontus II, and have thus far been quite happy with it.
However, there were some small (non-mechanical) issues initially, and Alvin Chee, owner of Vineshine Audio in Singapore, worldwide distributor of Denafrips, was extremely helpful. He regularly appears on various forums, including Audiogon, and to help troubleshoot, not directly market his products, and seems to always be available to help customers, or prospective customers, with any questions or issues that they may have.
Like @millercarbon, I also have an honorable mention. While Green Mountain Audio was a relatively small, boutique speaker manufacturer, the late Roy Johnson, owner and designer, was almost unbelievably generous with his time and knowledge. I'd estimate that he spent a good two to three hours on the phone with me before I bought my first pair. I know that I wasn't alone, either, as similar testimonials appeared online now and then. RIP, Roy.
I have two; Klaus Bunge at Odyssey Audio shipped out a new amp without hesitation when the first one arrived destroyed by UPS. I was prepared to file a complaint and let that drag out but Klaus argued that would be a lot of trouble and just shipped out the replacement. Liquid HiFi in Charlotte, NC.
Ron Bluffington is the owner and spent a lot of time with me going over different speaker options.
+1 for Andy at Backert Labs. Richard Schram from Parasound always responds to your questions and concerns.
I don’t trust Ralph at Atma-Sphere anymore. He converted me from using solid state equipment into a tubed equipment that I am thoroughly enjoying! How dare he :-)
John at Audio Connection - never met him or dealt with him directly. But his experience with ProAc loudspeaker placement recommendation is 100% SPOT ON! I greatly benefited from his recommendations on this forum.
I have been at this hobby/vocation for more decades then I like to admit. And I have almost always enjoyed and strived to get to know the owner/designers of the companies with which I invested. High End Audio is a unique business built mostly around small, boutique and mom and pop companies whom are focused around quite personal customer service. But, through this Forum, I have been able to build a real relationship with a one-of-a-kind true gentleman who is also one of the true legends, Ralph Karsten. Ralph has been building and developing his Atma-Sphere components from the dawn of the modern High End in the late ‘70. He is also very well known and appreciated for his highly educated and astute posts on the Forum. Through my thread “Is there a SS amp that can satisfy a SET guy?, many, many emails and phone calls I came to believe that Atma amps and preamps were the answer. Now the proud and “satisfied” owner of M-60 amps and MP-1 preamp. But I never felt that I was being sold on these. In fact, when I got the first M-60 amps on trial, I was convinced in the first minute that I had found the answer to my quest. And my communication with Ralph has continued to where he has become a “guru” of all aspects of my system. I well know that he sincerely is dedicated to make sure all issues are addressed. As a result, I now have a system well beyond any I have had. Recently had a friend come over to listen. He only had one comment, “it is luxurious”. It is that. And my daily enjoyment is beyond any time in my life. I owe a lot to Ralph and want to sincerely thank him.
You know you're screwed when you walk into a shop and see glowing tubes. Before you know it you're spinning vinyl and questioning the whole perfect sound forever narrative. Such dealers are totally subversive. There oughta be a law....
As you are an owner of a fine tube integrated, I am surprised by your post Chuck. Ralph is not a dealer but a designer and company owner. And prior to becoming an Atma-Sphere fan, for 20+ years, I loved the "glowing tubes" of my SETs. Ralph did not subvert me at all but kindly, with great integrity, educated and helped.
Uh, well then I am screwed. Nothing kills a joke worse than having to explain it. And I thought the whole perfect sound forever narrative thing
was a dead giveaway.
(Just in case it has escaped anyone's attention I am virtually "Release the Kraken!" on digital)
I tend to take myself too seriously. And have read too many contrarian posts. But it did give me a chance to refer to Ralph's kindness and integrity. I Googled "Release the Kraken". "Clash of the Titans"? Guess that's you? Liam or the Kracken?
Audio Advice in Raleigh is a great place to do business. They have been a high end dealer for over 40 years. The sales team seems to be specialized into various areas. My main dealings are with Ivan, who takes the time to listen to you about the equipment that you have and what you are looking to achieve.
They were the first place that I heard B&W speakers when I was a teen back in the late 70s. I can't remember the exact model, but they were huge.
They have a mail order service now, so you can call them up to order Mcintosh, ARC, Vpi, etc.
I have never bought from there, but I have seen only praises about Machina Dynamica's professionalism and accomodating customers. I am not saying anything about its products, but despite the persona that was projected here, it seems that business interactions were much better than many.
had more bad than good experience lately. I understand it’s a tough business but not every buyer will have a vocabulary of a sound engineer, just wants a good speaker or component and is eager to learn.
Ayre acoustics, the best customer care I have experienced in the past few decades. Gary Mulder when he was in Ayre set a standard that’s impossible to beat . Shout out to ayre . Gary now with Yg acoustics, I will be buying their products one day just cause I know gary is there and customer care will be the best. Joe Parvey at house of stereo , Jacksonville and ceo of wolf audio is a great resource and always there for his products. John Mcgurk with vandenhul audio is phenomenal. kef USA were great when I owned kef ... I had problems and customer service was top notch .
I agree wholeheartedly about PS Audio. I also feel the same way about Jolida/Black Ice (USA). Mike & Jarred are a phone call away. Balance Audio Technology’s (BAT) Victor is also accommodating via email/phone.
Scott @ Tavish Design...I don’t think the guy sleeps...he answers question at all times of day. A very nice person who is seemingly very gracious. His products are top notch and sound terrific. Another would be Sumiko...they have always returned my calls and are very nice to deal with. One last one, although not an audio company, but a UK dealer. Audio emotion in Leven, Scotland. They are a terrific dealer, especially for Tannoy.
The last 12 months has resulted in me not traveling every week and I took the opportunity to listen to music and upgrade my system.
I've had some very good interactions with a few companies:
Audio Concepts - a Dallas hi fi shop has been a great resource. I have purchased a few items from them including demo items and have other components I've owned or bought as demos...either way they have been incredible resource for me.
McIntosh - I purchased a demo and registered it for the warranty and was informed by the company it was previously owned. After an email exchange - I received a phone call and the woman on the other end actually researched the dealership and noticed they changed their name and saw I was the original owner and registered the warranty for me.
Bluesound - I'm not the most knowledgeable computer person and it took me several attempts to set up a media server successfully. And if would have never been set up successfully let alone tied in without the help from the customer service folks at Bluesound
I can be short on patience - I have found the 'community' is passionate about their business. And others comments confirm there's a lot of good companies and people out their who love music and find a way to connect with others through music.
Honorary mention to Spec's who is the libations distributor who often enhances Music with Friends Fridays.
Apos Audio Reno HiFI Bob Crites, RIP Pine Tree Audio!!! Got to be pen pals
Tubes4HiFi Schiit Duke LaJeune GIK Acoustics I have had 99% good experiences. I also appreciate the companies who post here with good informative help not the ones who self-promote. Spending big money doesn't necessarily mean good outcomes. I used to spend 10K a year with Walmart, I know, not a good example.
Excellent: Pass Labs-Nelson and Kent Oppo-now gone sadly Sanders Sound-Josh and Roger Danny at GR Research James at Choice Audio Hugh at Music Lovers Larry at Woolsons Vintage Audio James at High End Repair Peter at Sound-Smith
Not so good: Schiit -I suppose at their prices some leeway must be given as their products do offer insane value.
When you think about it there are really many more good people in this business than not. And considering how some consumers treat these folks it is a wonder.
Thanks to all and the many I have forgotten to list!
Everyone at McIntosh...I bought a sacd player from someone that had a bad laser and they replaced it free, they fixed the lights on an amplifier I had for free, I purchased a replacement glass for a c28 preamp I was restoring and broke it trying to put it on...they replaced it free!! An unbelievable company that has my loyalty forever..
Retailer: Upscale Audio. Hands-down, one of the very best in the industry. Always ready to help, low pressure, will steer you right.
Manufactures: Manley Labs and especially EveAnna Manley. Balanced Audio Technology. Steve Bednarsky and Viktor Khomenko are always helpful, very timely in their return of calls or emails, and provide very helpful information. They stand very well behind their products.
I agree with Jon Sollecito at Source Technology. A great guy that helped me when I owned his .org. Infinite Slope speakers and I now own his 2 way Source model floor standing speakers. They use high end Scan Speak drivers and are the best 2 ways I have ever had. It’s a shame that they are not very well known among audiophiles! I also agree about Sheila, she was an amazing woman and a credit to this industry. As well as her husband Harry and son Matt. I could go on and on about just how great those two are. I live in NJ so I have been fortunate enough to visit them at their Cliffwood factory and office. Harry himself once installed a new cartridge on my Classic 3. After taking it over to the VPI sound house and playing record after record always making small adjustments he got it to sound amazing! When I asked him how much I owned him (I was expecting 2 or 3 hundred) he said nothing— I’m retired my time is cheap! The first time I went there Matt gave me a tour of the factory and I sat in on a little meeting on cartridge recommendations with his sales staff. It does not get any better than the people at VPI—they treat you like family.
Despite having elevated his product offerings way past the Taranis power amp I bought from him back in 20(15?), he responds promptly to my emails and continues to provide support for it. Never once tried to up-sell me. BTW - am still enjoying music from the system using this Class D amp.
Can anyone recommend a store/individual in Manhattan with whom one could reliably deal with for headphones, amplifiers, etc. Now that I have been vaccinated I would like to go into a store for knowledgeable advice and to be able to try out some equipment. Reasonable prices wouldn’t hurt also. Thanks All.
Hey switzer145, try Stereo Exchange at Union Square. They have been around for quite a while. They used to have a store in the Village, but had moved to Union Square since. They no longer have a store front on the street level. They are located on the third floor of an old building.
They are pretty low key, no sales pressure. Check them out on their website. They only thing I'm not sure of is whether they carry headphones.
I know Park Avenue Audio definitely carries headphones. I find them to be pretty low key also. They are also not too far from Union Square.
Kent English at Pass Labs Just about anyone at PS Audio. I purchased the first generation DAC used had to be over 10 years of age. Could not get an update to download even after spending an hour on the phone with a PS Audio tech He then sent me the update an a memory card at no charge. My thought was that if this company did this much on a unit that was at least by this point second hand. Maybe I should buy some new gear from them So I purchased a new DAC, a BHK pre amp and BHK amp and a power plant 20 could not be happier