High End Audio Dealers

I am sure this question has been asked many times before, but I am new to Audiogon. I am researching audion equipment. Unfortunately, I live in Birmingham, Alabama and the high end audio dealers are few. Most have converted to become custom AV installers. There are only a couple here and they handle a limited stock. How do you audition equipment if you have no local dealers that handle the manufacturers you are looking for? I guess I could drive 2 hours to Atlanta.
of dealers varied tremendously. I probably visted 6 different dealers throughout the tri-state area. Of the 6, I would only say 2 were exceptional with the remaining being okay to poor. I eliminated a few brands right off the bat b/c the local dealer either didn't provide demos or they didn't have the given speaker.

I think the net is putting pressure on the average (or less than average) dealers who can't add value to the process. IMHO, the really good dealers have a following b/c they have differentiated themselves....good service, products to demonstrate, knowledgeable sales staff and carrying strong lines. Its really irritating to show up for your appointment with a dealer to find he doesn't have the exact piece or the room isn't ready.

The speaker shopping experience made me appreciate how good I have it at the shop I have been dealing with for years. I also realize I have to cover a lot of ground if I want to hear something they don't carry.
I think we're going to see a lot more home-based dealers in the future. The lower costs compared to having a store front helps them to stay competitive, and the lack of salesmen USUALLY helps keep the sleeze level down.

I'm not saying all home-based dealers are great, but the ones I've worked with certainly are.
Since you're considering integrateds, suggest you include tubed integrateds from VAC and Audiomat (see mfr's. sites for dealers). They are very well built, will drive most speakers with ease and, most importantly, are musical.

Good luck!
If I take the time, mine and the dealer, to audition a piece I am considering acquiring I will acquire it from said dealer. I have purchased enough goods, both product and service, over the years that I can ask for advice on used purchases and get it. I do not abuse this favour and only ask it of pricey items.

Dealers that do not have a large portion of their business revenue coming from service/upgrades are having a very rough time. People that can actually fix and modify things typically have more than enough work is my experience.
Ive had to many dealers ignore me or treat me rudely,ive given up on them,,,i will buy online,from now on,,seems like i get treated much better.