How to shop for audio

I'd like to hear some advice regarding shopping for audio.

I own a pair of Eidolon Diamonds and wish to upgrade my electronics which are currently the Goldmund entry line gear. And I need to improve my cables.

But what to do? How to decide? Do I travel to Massachusetts to visit and listen at Goodwin’s or Overture in Philadelphia to hear a variety of electronics, etc. in environments I’m not accustomed to? These are theclosest stores I know of with significant inventory.

This is a lot of travel expense and hassle, but is it what I have to do? Plus, for me, it takes time to evaluate my likings. How can I decide in one visit? I’ve been to Atlanta, the closest big city reasonably nearby, for thorough shopping. Not much there.

The media is suspect. Like why is there never any Spectral, little Rowland, etc.? I doubt if it’s because their equipment isn’t “worthy”. I don’t see the mags virtually ever mentioning this fact

The media is little assistance, though I like looking at the shiny pictures.

What about just buying/testing through multiple AudiogoN buys? And try not to take much of a loss in the process.

And can you provide one more opinion regarding this:
I want solid state. I’ve been through tube hassle enough, and I’m a solid state man. If I want hassle, I’ll endure it via my phono system. Yet, on AudiogoN, especially among people with Eidolons, tubes seem to reign.

What the heck do I do about that? Can I ignore it like the media?

Be glad to hear your counsel.

I think the Eidolons are lovely, lovely loudspeakers.

You might start out with your Avalon dealer. Avalon is a pretty big-name line, and chances are an Avalon dealership will have made darn sure they have suitable amplifiers to drive them with. I have a very good impression of Avalon as a company, and would expect their dealers to be quite competent.

On the subject of the audio press, I don't know very many of them personally but of the people I've met and gotten to know a bit, I don't think any are insincere. It might be worthwhile to consider making exceptions to your aversion towards the audio media. See if you can find a reviewer or two whose opinions and perceptions consistently parallel your own. You don't need a hundred off-the-wall opinions; you only need one or two reliable ones.

When I was a newbie SoundLab dealer, I called up SoundLab and asked them to recommend an amplifier line or two to me. They balked, saying they didn't like to make recommendations. Hmmmm. Okay, I rephrased the question - I asked them who they had shown with at CES. Well that loosened their tongues and they talked on and on about this show and that show, within a few months I was a dealer for several amplifier lines that they'd been especially happy pairing up with.

You might try that. See who Avalon chooses to show with at audio shows. I can recall seeing them exhibit with solid state amplification from Boulder, Rowland, and BAT - and I'm sure there were others. Back when I was in New Orleans I was a Rowland dealer, and at one time I was talking with Avalon about possibly representing them as well. They asked me what amplifier lines I carried, and when I got to Rowland they told me that was an excellent match with their speakers.

Finally, what is it the Goldmunds aren't doing for you? What improvements are you looking for? Would it be worthwhile for you to go back to your Goldmund dealer and describe to him what improvements you seek, in case he carries something else that would better serve you? Maybe he'd take the amp back in trade.

Best of luck in your search,

FWIW, Overture is in Delaware, not Philadelphia.

As for your question, buy and sell used on Audiogon.
Search the archives in the forums for brands that interest you. Then if you see something you like at a reasonable price, buy it used. Listen to it in your room, in your system, with your music, for as long as you want. Then decide to keep it or re-sell it.
You'll get the opportunity to hear a lot of great gear in the best evaluating environment (your room), with the best test instruments (your ears). IMHO, it's the only way to shop.

Happy listening,

Way to go DUKE. There is a line in a movie(Amadus) that goes something like this:(peasant, to the King) "Oh your majesty,you give such Royal Advice". I do love reading your stuff,Duke.
I live just outside of Boston and have been involved with audio for a long time. I have shopped in many audio salons but I never felt at home in one after The Music Box in Wellesley closed years ago. I heard some amazing systems there and most of the sales help their were very helpful (albeit the owner was a bit gruff). In the past few years I have been very pleased with my experiences at Goodwins High End. The folks there are very well informed, helpful and make the whole shopping experience a pleasure. They are an Avalon dealer and I am sure they can help you get from the Eidilons. Best of luck and happy listening, Jerry
there is another approach. Find some mail order or local dealers who will let you audition equipment on your own system.

it might be more cost effective than buying and selling.

one other thing, there is going to be a lot of "trial and error", before you settle on a component.