I worked my way through dental school as manager of the largest and at that time "highest" end audio store in New Orleans. It's name was Custom Audio and the years were 1964-1968.
I worked at a big Japanese retail store that had a large audio/video department from '84-'87, when I was nineteen. I also worked, concurrently, at a high-end audio store from about '85-'87. Back then some of the big names were Threshold, Counterpoint, Spectral, SOTA, Linn and Infinity.
The owner of the high-end store was from the far east and was a classical music lover. He happened to own the building it was in and decided to convert it to a radio broadcasting station with a small music hall for the preservation of a classical music. Twelve years later I revisited the building when an opera singing friend had a performance there. I suppose the music never left the building.
I did from 1977 to 1987. It about drove me nuts at the end! It is alot like posting here. "wire is wire", "my friend has better stuff than you sell" and the EE guys make you
wish you worked at ToysRus instead. Most of the customers are fun though and the people in the industry are great for the most part. It's a big difunctional family!
Started out buying and selling in small town, buying gear from the "warehouses"(Illinois Audio, 37th ST. Audio etc)and reselling. Went to work for Scott Sound Center in Memphis Tn a low to mid fi to occasional hifi(we had Superscope, Pioneer Centrex, and AR LST's, and had guys that would sell you that system, go figure) during the big audio boom of the mid 70's, CMC Stereo hired me from them(a huge mistake on my behalf)and moved me to Dallas, they and I both went bust just a little bit later. Everybody lost track of the sound and became more concerned wiht the money. Great experiences all though, and learned so much and met a lot of great people. Just bought some gear from one of the guys I worked with back then, big ole deja vu there. Actually just got back into it for myself, and its still very much a joy to be involved in, especially when you don't have to worry about how much money is being made for someone else.
Have worked and am still working in a dear friends highend shop from time to time. Don't get paid in $$$, but love helping out. My payoff comes by way of listening, in my own room, some of the finest gear in audio. Also much of the hotshot, ripoff cables. We will sit for hours doing AB comparisons. We will sit an listen to wires, that beat up some of the most highly praised wire. It always amazes me why some people buy what they do. Especially because of nothing to do with sound, but because someone wrote a great review. There are so many great products out there that do not get the recognition, that sound so much better than the highly reviewed pieces, yet the better sounding gear will many times be overlooked. I have even heard one man say that this is a much better sounding product, but will buy the more expensive product because of a review. I do not, or will I ever understand this. Can anyone explain this to me. I am sorry, but I am going to have to steal from another member. I hope he forgives me.
I remain totally cluless.
Brulee, i hear ya and completely agree. Some people are stuck on brand recognition and prestige. I'll let them buy the "flavor of the month" while i listen to my "low-fi" ANY day of the week.
My one question about your cable comparisons though is have you ever used a cable burner before evaluating these ? I am of the school that truly honestly believes that you haven't really heard what a cable is capable of until it has been "burned" on a "burner". Hundreds of hours of in system use still can't equal a few days on a burner. Sean
I got sucked into this situation a couple or three times. First round was with Lafayette Electronics in the 70's, not at all high-end but we did sell audio & car stereo. It was part time low paying & didn't last very long.
Second round was with The Shoppe, again part time (you really need a day job too if you're in this business) but this was a lot more fun. I mostly did the repair bench work but did assist on the sales floor occasionally. I was paid "in equipment" and managed to assemble what turned out to be the most musical sounding rig that I've ever had. The foundation of that system was beautiful classic Luxman Ultimate Series componentry. We used to bring prospective customers over to my house & wow them there; they almost always bought after one of those demo's although the equipment they chose rarely even resembled what they had heard. Then I would go the the customers' houses & show them how to connect everything together; some became steady clients on the side. The store manager & I were (still are) good friends, but the owner took advantage of us too many times & lost us both.
Third round was again a brief stint, this time at Music In Motion, a southern Chicago area car audio shop that sold & installed some pretty decent equipment. I met the owner at CES & later arranged a job there for my manager friend. The place was also a lot of fun to be involved with but there was no money in it for us as underlings. I assisted the installers occasionally when they needed technical expertise; sort of like an in-house consultant. Compensation was again in equipment, so I built a mobile rig in my truck that took first place at the car wars. I really hurt my hearing with that setup; it measured out >130dB SPL before clipping. We both left the place when the owner's coke abuse became incorrigible, but it was a good time while it lasted.
I worked for Harvey Electronics in Paramus, NJ from 93-95. We carried quality midfi and some High End audio/video products. The manager of that store before right before I was hired was Jeff Joseph of Joseph Audio. I really enjoyed selling systems. I took advantage of a job opportunity in an unrelated field and remain employed by that company. I used to work the weekends at AVI in Little Falls, NJ selling home audio, car audio, and video products on the weekends for a few years for extra income. I stopped that in 97.
Hi Sean, My dealer friend breaks in all his wires in in his home theatre room. I used the Duo Tech. It seems to work, but takes forever. I am very interested in the cable cooker you have mentioned in the past. Gonna have to get one of these. I also agree with you that a cable should not be evaluated until completly broke in. That's the tough part for me. When is a cable fully broke in? Any info on this cable cooker would be much appreciated.
I worked for or managed four audio stores all together, sold many of the brands mentioned here.
Also served as factory representative and tech rep. for a number of high end lines. I called on audio stores, commercial sound providers and recording studios over several states. Total time spent amounts to more than ten years. Some of these jobs provided great pay, others provided priceless experiences and introduction to friends that have lasted for years.
I'm with Albert. It's the relationships that make this so interesting,...and the look on a thrilled customers face! John Entwistle (bassist for The Who) once said, "I do this because I have to. The money, the fame, the other perks are nice, but playing is what I was born to do. I'd be doing this even if we never made it big." This is my feeling on owning a Hi-End store. Some months we operate at a loss and I want to have my head examined. Then somebody says, "Thank you, I absolutely love it!" and it all makes sense again.
You know these people never worked in a HiFi store. They have money! I remember in 79 when I was working in audio retail, making $85 bucks a week sometimes, driving a $65 61 Olds Dynamic 88, and listening to my $5000 ARC and Magneplanar rig(beg, borrow, or steal), renting a room in a crappy old roach infested house.Real glamor and status. I did that crap for ten years, and learned to hate every minute of it! If it sounds like I'm bitter about it , I am.
worked at HiFI BUys 81-84 in East Lansing Michigan
Sold Nakamichi, ADS, McINtosh, DCM, Genesis, B&O.
Remember the slow embrace of cd's. Always enjoyed the clients, many professors, doctors etc. Like doing home installs, especially getting involved in new building projects. I had the bug early and was constantly upgrading as a college student.
I am now a geophysicist working in oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico (helps pay for my audio vices)
Ah! A classic HiFi bum! Well, it's not easy getting women living like that for sure! We can always change--it's harder as we get older because of age and momentum, but it can be done...
I have been a HiFi bum at times. It's just that music cannot become a compulsion. The building I am renting in is undergoing a condo conversion and I have to leave in a few months. It is very nice, with an indoor pool...I am being tempted to live somewhere cheap in order to complete the audio purchases I have in mind. You are not alone...
Hey Tom, You must know Jolly Bob and Lance Boyle!I Worked in the old East L.A.(Lansing) HFB store while Carl was still with us. I started around 78. you forgot to mention Magnepan and NAD, at least I didn't have to live with the Mac and B&O!(I had my ARC gear, thank god)I saw Marga Beth a while ago and she seems to be doing well.