Just read a recent Stereophile article on the lack of retail high end dealers anymore. I am lucky in the DC area to have several high end shops still in existence. However, I am limited to what they carry (which is good stuff, but still...) and can't audition some of the speakers I would be interested in hearing, especially with the amp I would be interested in buying. Gone are the days when you could listen to and buy a whole system right in the neighborhood! I guess the internet has opened up so many new possibilities that no one dealer, even in a very populated area, can serve everyone. I will probably just have to go with my gut and hope that if I am dissatisfied, I can sell the gear here and move on. I would like to buy new stuff every 10 years or so, but I am also curious about brands that my local dealers do not and will never carry. So I end up buying used gear here and bypassing my (perhaps struggling) local dealers. I have local dealers for both Ayre and Audio Research, but not for BAT or Dali. Also, the Thiel dealer does not have ARC, so I can't hear them together. The ARC dealer only carries speakers I don't like. The Thiel and Vienna Acoustics dealer does not carry tube gear. So no matter what I do, buying new will involve some guesswork, something I would prefer not to have to do when spending up to $20,000 someplace.