Personally, I love going to Ambrosia in Bel Air. Great service, great staff.
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I second Ambrosia. David has strong opinions, but hasn't steered me wrong. I've purchsed a few things there over the years. Also, GNP (Pasadena location only -- extensive selection, good stuff) and Optimal Enchantment (limited selection, but good stuff -- ARC, Vandersteen, Oracle). If you want to drive, Upscale Audio (not on the Westside). If you're driving to Upscale, pick up four ultra matched, super low noise Mullard gold pin 6922's for me :-)
For selection and maybe service, Ambrosia is probably "the best." But, although Ive never bought anything from him, I have really enjoyed my visits with Randy at Optimal Enchantment ((310)393-4434). Especially if you are interested in analog, call him and make an appointment.
That's all there is on the west side of town. And, frankly. that's all there is in Los Angeles proper. GNP in Pasadena is pretty good. Upscale Audio way out there has good stuff.
Closer to the west side, in the South Bay, not a store but you can make an appointment to audition stuff at Reference Audio Video in Torrance. They have BAT, Sony sacd stuff, Proacs, lots more. And, again, to be frank, there is no one in this business more pleasant, honest and informative to deal with than Ken Ito, the proprietor of Reference. Call him at 310 517-1700.
Hi AV and Jim: Yes, I heard that Shellie's lost their lease at the SM store (the hospital was going to tear down the buidings and put up a park). No one has mentioned LA Audio in East Hollywood. I don't shop there anymore (long story) but they carry a lot of good lines including tube gear. Ambrosia had always been very helpful (over the phone) with my somewhat stupid questions and I would like to visit them as well as Brooks when I have more money in my pocket. GNP was great when I visited a couple of times and "offered" a home demo of some speakers that I was (seriously) considering. If you were to venture to the valley there is another shop out around Shellie's that I have heard mentioned, but can't recall the name or city off hand.
In addition to the fine establishments previously noted, though not in W.L.A., I'd also recommend that you try a little trip out of the city and up the coast to Precision A/V in Moorpark. Mike has some great lines (Goldmund,Gryphon,Cary,Venture, etc...), but at least as important, great sound in his store. He also has some strong opinions, but straight forward and honest. Enjoy.
Sorry if I have to disagree with Paulwp.I took my AR9 pre.to Scan.Waited the week/ they couldn't find/fix the problem. Payed the $40.'twas a tube,I found out latter. Also my Kenwood tuner,no sound R. channel. Paid the $125 repair,got home,tuner now only gets 4/5 stations/and very poorly at that. Bought another tuner for 175 used. Kills my Kenwody.The Kenwood is for sale,but I think the shipping would exceed the value of the tuner. No lies,or streaching facts.
IMHO there are no true audiophile shops in WLA. GNP in Pasadena, Brooks Berdan (the ONLY man to set up your turntable) in Monrovia, and Kevin Deal of Upscale Audio, in Upland are way east and way better. Brooks holds court every saturday morning, an event not to be missed if you can handle the honesty.