Audio Perfection in Minn., Minn., Audio Odyssey in Iowa City, Ia., Specialized Sound in Madison, Wi.
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THE best retailer I know is John Adams. He is the owner of Community Audio, in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, PA. He carries great brands, is knowledgeable, patient, very easy with home auditions, the list goes on and on. Oh, and more thing, he is a really nice guy. He doesn't try to make it seem like he knows quantum levels more than you. Not all that common in this business, unfortunately.
I'll second the mention of Audio Outlet. Mike O'Keefe not only has one of the best set of ears around, he is also a top-notch turntable setup man and an expert on vintage vinyl. In addition, I have nothing but good things to say for my two local dealers, CSA Audio in Upper Montclair NJ and Audio Connection in Verona NJ, both of whom have sold me plenty of items and let me have extended auditions of equipment I have considered purchasing.
I'll second Audio Connection in Verona, NJ. John is a great guy and very knowledgeable. I've never felt rushed or like he was ever trying to make a sale or push me in a particular direction. He seems to just love doing what he does and has been very helpful. His prices are fair and he carries some real nice lines. Worth the trip.
Ramstl, I agree!! The Analog Shop in Victor,NY is a nice experience.I have been there a couple times.I have never been to "Toys From The Attic" in White Plains,NY but have bought lots of great stuff from Mario.He is a super cool guy and knows his analog like no one else!! He helped me break into "vinyl nerotica" Call him (914) 421-0069
I have had good experience with Simply Music, thetubestore.com, and Brooklyn Audio. The only thing I've ever had go wrong with Audio Advisor is that they sold my shipping address (my address at work) to some mailing list, and that's not really something you can take back, because once it's sold, that person can sell it, and so on. I've been scolded for using my business address for non-business related activities (which I'm usually very good about keeping separate, it was Audio Advisor's screw-up). Not pissed enough to stop buying from them, but neither can I recommend them.
my man Stewart at weekend environment,in port orchard is an absolute pleasure to deal with. he trys a lot of new products at his own expense. Stu is usually one step ahead of the crowd. he reviews gear in his news letter that the big boys don't talk about until six or eight months later. which simply means he's not afraid to say that he likes a product without co-signer from on high.
I was not very impressed with Audio Perfection...they left me in a room and never even bothered to walk me through what was hooked up and if I preffered a different pre/ or cd player. They pointed to the piece of gear, grunted, and left me in the room. The listening room had speakers haphazardly strewn throughout the area. Nearly impossible to demo anything. You have to show a little care when you want the customer to shell out many thousands of dollars on audio gear. They carry some nice gear and have a large selection but the customer service I received left alot to be desired. Who knows, maybe I came in on a bad day but I sure like Stereoland in Uptown a whole lot better after my trip to Audio Perfection. One of my worst shopping experiences in audio.
PROGRESSIVE AUDIO in Columbus, Ohio. These guys are great to deal with, and NO high pressure. They have 15 listening rooms on 3 floors with many brands to choose from in all price ranges. They are also into doing custom installations into homes and businesses. I know it sounds like I work there, but I don't. I am just a very satisfied customer.
Robert at Star Sound, who make Audio Points, is really cool and helped me out a lot in replacing my speaker spikes. He knows a whole bunch of crap and worked with me in getting what I wanted. I definately plan to call him again for my componenets. The guy who owns? designs for Merlin is also cool to talk to. Both these guys are really confident about their products, which i think is great. My experiences with these two and some others have led me to routinely call the company instead of or before going to a dealer.
AUDIOPERFECTION in Minnesota is run by an opinionated, self-important group of individuals who feel that they have the last word on audio gear. They show little interest in assisting customers and will not, under any circumstances consider a discount even when one is intending to spend more than 20K on a system. Most maddening is their condesending attitude. I will never step back into their higgeldy-piggeldy toy shop pretending to be a high end audio operation.
donmorrisonaudio.com has a product unlike any I have ever purchased and I have purchased well over $100,000.00 in 2 channel audio alone, not to mention HT, not to mention the office, the boat, etc....maybe I have a problem....but I recognize exceptional sound and value when I hear it...in short, buy the g-- d--- thing, for <800 dollars, late night, you own a product worth > million. As a refreshing plus, Don Morrison is a unique and honest individual that handbuilds every unit and is genuinely intent on helping you enjoy music as close as it gets to 6th row center...both accoustic and processed music. If your into objective measurements ( the Audio Critic tested it as the best measured preamp ever)as well as the ethereal or supernatural aspects of reproduced music, it don't get any f------ better than this, IMHO. In fact, given the 3 to 4 month wait, and the likely resale value of this classic, I will pay anyone what they paid to Morrison for the unit, assuming no damage or "tweaking" by the original owner, plus shipping paid by me, if they think there is a better 2 channel at any price......email for details. Thanks.
Audio Perfection has been good to me, sorry to hear that others have had less than positive experiences. Mark and his staff have gone out of their way to provide me with their time, experience, product...and discounts. I have delt with audio stores from New York City to L.A. ..and points in-between, and Mark and Co. are as good as any.
Audio Perfection is the worst!!!!!!! I wish I could remember the name of the guy I dealt with but I think I have repressed the painful memory of his obnoxious, insecure little mind. Those guys are the kind of guys who give audio a bad name and are largely responsible for the lack of mass market acceptance and commercial success of the sector. They looked at me and spoke to me like a homeless person who had just wandered into the Ritz hotel. I admit I am jeans and t-shirt kind of guy but I work at home and trade commodities. I have 3 dedicated rooms at home -- one for playing the piano and listening simultaneously, one asymmetrical sate of the art 2 channel room and one for home theatre. I have easily spent over $500,000 on equipment alone in the last couple of years. I was considering a major revamping of one of my systems when I went into Audio Perfection but was so offended by their arrogant attitudes that I WOULDN"T BUY A FUSE FROM AUDIO PERFECTION IF IT WAS SATURDAY NIGHT, MY SYSTEM WAS MISSING ONE CHANNEL AND I WAS HOPING TO ENTERTAIN DINNER GUESTS WITH MY STEREO. I hope you guys are reading this and maybe you will learn and change your ways. In the mean time, why don't you get some therapy to feel better about yourself. Working as a waiter in a pretentious restaurant would be a better career match for your skill set.
Danny Oovlin at "BestofDeal", a clicks-and-mortar audio business in Santa Clara, CA. Danny advertises in the back pages of Stereophile mag, which is where I first learned of him. I got excellent service and a GREAT price on my Bryston 4B-ST amp. He carries a number of high-end lines, and I recommend him highly. The easiest way to contact him initially is by E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Audio-video logic in Des Moins Iowa. I went in and took a few minutes to tell them what i was looking for in a system. They listened attentively and within about 20 minutes had put togeather a system that was exactly where i wanted to be and then left me in a well treated room to listen to my hearts content without pressure. Those guys have great gear and they know their components well. I went to a number of shops in the Minneapolis area and as a contrast either got the dumb look when i tried to describe what i was looking for or they ignoed my comments altogeather and tried to sell me what they though sounded the best. Another great shop for service and attentiveness is the sound environment in Omaha Ne. I've been going there on and off for about 20 years now and they always have very friendly and helpful people working there. The current manager, Doug ,is a great guy.
Since moving to the Denver area,I have had the pleasure of doing business with Moon Dance Audio div.,Second Sound Inc.True High End dealer with New and Vintage gear. They have treated me well and totally stand behind every piece of gear sold new or used. They keep their word.One cannot ask for more than that.
Audio Art in Richmond VA - in business over 27 years offering solid, knowledgable advice about component matching and system synergy. The owner, Tim Harrison, has built an excellent dedicated listening room to allow you to make an informed evaluation. All auditions are by appointment only, so you get 100% of Tim's attention for the time you are there. And the system will be set up and optimized to allow you to hear together in one system the components you want to hear. Tim also is a lover of vinyl. When I was there this past week, he had four turntables set up in his listening room that he could demo.
Actually, I have the fortunate situation of dealing with two "high-end" audio/video dealers in my area. Each offering me differing (but no less valid) points of view in every phase of system assembly and construction. I go to one for my audio hardware, and the other still, for other intricate type of items like cables, power conditioners, and power cords. But I must say that one also offers me an "in home" type of setting each time I want to stop in and audition (or might I say....... listen to) some equipment. But nonetheless, both of the guys I deal with at both of my dealers are courteous, professional, and more importantly...... VERY patient. Anyone who spend a large amount of time with me usually gets rewarded by getting my business when it is time for me to open my wallet. And they get rewarded VERY handsomely, mind you.
But anyway, the two dealers I deal with here in the Washington, D. C. area are as follows:
(01). JS Audio -- Bethesda, Maryland (has a nice assortment of high-end equipment there, and some of the most knowledgeable people around. They listen to what you have to say, and then they come up with VERY NICE solutions accordingly. And all of their salesmen have very good ears on top of that). Be sure to ask for Mike when you get there. Great guy. I cannot wait to buy my next SERIOUS piece from him.
(02). Myer-Emco -- also of the Washington, D. C. area. They have store all over the area. But the one I frequent the most is located in the Georgetown area of Washington, D. C. Also, very nice guys. But the guy I have bought most of my gear from was Oliver Pagen. Also very knowledgeable. Gives me a fair price on my gear each time when it is time to open my wallet. One of the nicest guys you ever want to meet. If I have ONE TINY criticism about him (and I am nitpicking), it is that he's not as ambitious as Mike at JS Audio is when it comes his systems (Mike at JS Audio strikes me as more ambitious....... as he has the most serious system of the two). Oliver to me, takes a more conservative approach. But that point aside, if you ever come to Washington, D. C., and you want to check out some audio gear while you are visiting, and somehow end up in Georgetown, I highly recommend that you stop in and meet Oliver. Like I said, great guy. And tell him Charles sent you.
Later and Regards...........
Okay I started this thread some 4 years ago and Audiogon has grown by leaps and bounds and probably beyond anything the owners of Audiogon ever imagined.
But now it is time to vent a little. Not only with the membership but the retailers on this site.
I buy,sell and trade a lot on this site and most all need to improve the way they do business.
First of all pictures on Audiogon. We have some good photographers, though not many of them. If I can't see what your selling, I am not buying or bidding, no matter how much I may want that product. There are plenty of digital picture editing programs, - GET ONE or loose the sale. I am tired of looking at black blobs!!
Second, ad descriptions are getting just awful. You don't have to be Hemingway, but you should be knowledgeable enough to write a decent description, after all you own it,tell me about it. Include the dimensions and what voltage it runs on is always a help.
Third, this item just irritates the crap out of me and that is Pay Pal fees. First of all I never charge the customer a user fee of Pay Pal. It is the cost of doing business. When I had a retail store I never charged a user fee to the customer. And when was the last time you went into a retail establishment and were charged additional to use a credit card?? Most likely never and I never have and I am an old fart now. If you feel you need that paltry 2.9 percent include it with asking price.
Fourth is the shipping charges involved. No one makes a nickel out of this but the shipper. To haggle on shipping is like going to Dennys on the highway and trying to negoiate a deal on breakfast. Shipping is shipping, get over it!!
As far as I am concerned, in the future I will deal only with members and dealers that can take decent photographs,with enough ad copy to peak my interest and do not charge a Pay Pal fee. And yes I will pay all reasonable freight and insurance.
Fifth ripping off someone's picture,ad description or product review is getting out of hand. If you do at least be courteous enough to give the owner a heads up or at least mention the author in your ad. Have had my pictures,ads and reviews ripped of many times without even a courtesy menetion. Just remember if you rip off a copyrighted item, you will have lawyers down your back in a hearbeat. So be wise and ask permission before you do this.
The Audiogon site is maturing quite quickly now and we all need to be more professional in what we do here.