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Yes, go to both stores if you have the time. I've purchased equipment from both and I personally like Valentino's better. A little more organized. Wilson's is a Rogue, ARC, Spendor, Harbeth, paradigm, Maggie dealer. Doug Wilson still listens to SP100's (I think) and been in the business forever. Valentino's has B&W, Martin Logan, Classe, Rotel, and others I can't remember. Jay and Ken and are quite personable. Good luck and enjoy your trip.
That could have been one of 2 stores. The aforementioned Valentino's, who moved to Baton Rouge; or Alterman Audio who is over on 17th street. I'd forgotten about them as I don't live in the area anymore. Wilsons, Valentinos, and Alterman were in a 3 block radius of each other. Alterman's, as I recall, is more of a HT store. But check their website to see what they're carrying these days. I see they carry Denon and Sony AVR's and are now carrying Parasound, so maybe worth a walk over there. They are only about 3 minutes from Wilson's. BTW, make sure you lunch or dine at Drago's over on N. Arnoult. About another 2 minutes away
Wilson audio is by far the best place for quality gear and Doug's reference room will routinely compete against anything out there. BtW, he still uses BC1s in his own setup.
Few people know Spendor, Maggie's, and ARC gear better in terms of sound.
However, I wouldn't deal with anyone except Doug and your experience could be variable in terms of customer service. If he gets to know you, you will be will take care of in deals and guidance. He has no problem recommending something much cheaper if it's better. However, other first timers can find he lacks the typical demeanor you see from Jay Valentinos more polished operation.
A lot of brands repd by Valentino have been crap imo and have never heard any system that blew me away, but I'm sure that part is subjective.
An experienced audiophile would probably enjoy a visit to both and contrasting the positives and negatives of each.
For me, the only person I've ever met in this hobby who I trust their ears as much as mine is Doug Wilson.
@ Acresverde, Yes!, That is the gentleman that owned the store in Metairie, Jay Valentino, man, He was really young ole chap back in the late 90s, I use to give seminaires at his store on resonance tunning, so he moved to Baton Rouge, mmm, I suppose Hurricane Katrina was enough for him, and everyone else, The store was called Audio resource, when you said the name, it hit the bell in my old head,LOL!, that's the store for sure, Hey man, Thankyou, I may give him a ring soon and supprise Jay, He would fall out of his chair, nobody has heard from me in a very long time.
I have bought from Wilson Audio off and on since the 80s. Doug Wilson is a nice guy, very knowledgeable, pretty opinionated though. Likes tubes, big on Audio Research. I think he also told me he listens to Spendor BC-1s. They are probably one of the few Oracle (turntable) dealers in the country. They also carry System Audio speakers, another lesser known brand. Plus lots of other brands.
Wilson Audio started in 1974. They recently had their 40th anniversary. Their current store in Metairie is nice, it used to be the Audio Resource store.
I know Jay Valentino, a friend of a friend. I heard that he and his partner closed the store in Baton Rouge. I think that Alterman Audio closed their store in Metairie a couple of years ago. Wilson Audio may be the only true specialty audio retailer left in Louisiana.
Well, looking at what at what wilson audio has to offer, I suppose I will have to go to Atlanta,Ga from Mobile,Al, In the 90s, Jay Valentino offered some choices I enjoyed, to bad for Jay, here on the gulf coast, they all believe $300.00 8ft speaker cables is great on something like Rotel, Really, anyway, I hate to hear that jay closed the doors of his store, never got to go to the one in BatonRouge, just the one in Metairie,LA cheers.
I bought my first audio system from Wilson Audio in 1996 --
Rotel CD player, Rotel integrated and B&W 601 speakers. I'm
glad they were there. I don't recall the salesman's name,
but it wasn't Mr. Wilson.
I went back years later to buy Spendor S8e speakers. The 1.5
hours I was there was miserable. They were helpful, but Mr.
Wilson couldn't stop railing against my current gear
(Bryston 7B SST amps, Audio Research LS12 preamp) and cables
(whatever Bryston was selling at the time). I paid them $100
for their time and never went back.
There was an AV store in Baton Rouge about that same time
frame -- can't recall the name. They were a Paradigm dealer.
Much more comfortable experience.
I had a Rotel amp with Tara Labs Decade interconnects and speaker cables, LOL!, over 20 years ago, my has time flew, Now days I have a Modded krell 700cx amp renewed and done recently by krell, with Tara Labs Zero Gold interconnects and Omega Gold speaker cables, that's what I am talking about, here on the gulf coast, They believe $300.00 speaker cables are good enough, and that a top model stereo amp from Rotel is good enough, Jay, years ago carried Krell and many other good names of the industry, this was when he was in Metairie, La of course!, I never have bought local in Mobile,Al other than the Rotel and the Decade cables ever.
Hi Jafant, Here in Mobile, there is a store called look and listen, sadly, they did make a mad attempt to go real high-end audio, they offered some world class name brands, get this, no one bought nothing!, They had to go back to entry level audio to stay in bussiness, I was in owe over the fact that I must be alone here in this ever costly hobby, The crazy thing is that the rich here will spend thousands up on thousands of dollars on a system to the point of costing $50,000.00 and more on junk audio and wonder why their system does not sound good at all compaired to what most of us do, not one thing in the system cost over $3,000.00 a piece, I do not get it, or understand why, automated lighting, speakers in the ceiling and walls, cables they believe are the best that cost only $300.00 for 8ft speaker cables, etc... you get the picture?, look and listen may have one or two brands worth getting now after the dust settled, cheers.
Right On! audiolabyrinth. I grew up on the Eastern Shore and now have a home in Prattville AL. My family is still in the Mobile area.
I have been to look & Listen several times, I was there upon the open house. Jeff (owner) had a better business when he operated Custom Audio mid-90's. This guy is a poor businessman, as he has the knowledge and experience to own 'the' premiere home audio shop in the entire gulf coast- but does not.
I have never understood his position?
Jafant, Did you ever see or hear Jeff crigler's invention home speakers?, he made some money selling the rights and whole deal to a company that I cannot remember? I agree, he is a poor bussiness man!, I'm saying he had at the store some profound brands not to long ago and could not sale them, Is it mobile?, likly!, he's back to entry level, however, some how he is carrying Vandersteen speakers?
Good Day Audiolabyrinth-
no I never saw/heard those speakers. Interesting though, Jeff has been in the business for a long time. I am sure he has knowledge of many things, representing some many brands over the years. He could easily have an operation like Wilson Audio in N.O.
There is another guy that has opened shop (no pun) in Mobile and represents MBL gear.
Finally, is Fidler HiFi doing anything new?
Wow, Jeff Crigler now that's a blast from the past. Anyone interested in a pair of his flagship MCM's? They consisted of ported stereo subs topped with a Strathern ribbon. An extremely rare beast. I had the pleasure of owning three different models back in the 90's. Two transmission lines and the ribbon/hybrid. All were quite good. Sadly, he really struggled to bring the regional retailers on board. Somewhere I still have the sales sheet showing the entire lineup. I'll see if I can post a pic.
Jafant, Hi, I have a Brand new completly refurbished and modded Krell 700 cx amp that I bought at sound ideas through E-bay that is in Gainsville,FL, Krell just did the whole deal to my amp, the complete modds and renewl recently, I have a pair of JBL L-7 vintage 4-way Bi-amp 91 sensativity 6ohm speakers I bought from an individual here in mobile, I currently just bought another Vincent tube/solid state hybred cd-s7 cd-player from audio advisor that is better Than the Ayon cd-2s player I got rid of, the spinner is going to go on a second system I will build later when I get a world class cd spinner for main system, I have a pair of Tara Labs Zero Gold analog interconnects with HFX grounding station I bought here used on audiogon from Hanson Audio in Ohio, Then I got a pair of Tara Labs Omega Gold 6ft speaker cables I bought direct from Tara Labs, and I have The Tara Labs Omega 10" jumpers for bi-amping direct from Tara Labs, And I also have in the closet ready for second system, bought directly from Tara Labs, The one interconnect and the one 6ft speaker cables, I run my digital direct to my amp, I also Have the Tara Labs Cobalt power cord with oyaide terminations I bought used here on audiogon on the cd-player, I'm in the proccess of doing much more, oh, I have the still points ss footers and Poly crystal footers I bought used here on audiogon, cheers.
Jafant, to tell you the truth here, my original different system got stole by by second wife that I am no longer with, and sold why I was out of town in 2006, I have had to start from scratch, nothing to sale to up-grade, nothing to trade in or anything like that, so it's been a very long road with many un-heard of difficulties!, I have been building this system I have now for two years with many set backs, at this rate, It may take a total of 5 years to be done, very sad, but true, an example of what I am saying is, I am on my 4th digital player in two years, only one player was bought used, all the others were new, including the one I have now.
Much Thanks! for the kind words, Audiolabyrinth.
Actually, I am in a period of rebuilding my system. As luck would have it, I travel for a living, especially to Texas & North Carolina. this life of travel affords me the opportunity to visit dealer/retailers that we do not have in Alabama. And yes, we can most certainly be friends. fantja at g mail dot com is where I can be reached anytime.
Additionally, my travels allows me to hear gear abroad to cuts down my short-list for buying gear/speakers.
Happy Listening! JA
Jay's store closed
I would only deal with Wilson Audio
Doug Wilson is little opinionated but has good ears.
Doug Morrison is the younger salesman and is up to date on the newer technologies too
they have returned to turntables in a big way
nice show rooms
Auduo Research, Magnapan, Focal ?, Spendor, System Audio, Paradyn, Rogue, etc
I can update my previous comment 2 years ago by saying things have only gotten better at Wilson per my recent visits.
His support staff is very friendly and helpful. I'd still recommend dealing direct with Doug...at least that's what I do...but it's not a one man show.
On a recent visit, Doug wasn't there yet and the other guys set me up in the reference room when I mentioned wanting to hear the Maggie 20.7. The 20.7 were already setup yet, and after listening for awhile, they offered without asking if I wanted to hear the 3.7i to compare.
Rarely do you get unsolicited offers to swap big speakers out...especially to less expensive ones.
You may not get online level pricing, but Doug will only sell stuff that he believes in. In fact, he wouldn't even sell me a 3.7 when they originally came out and directed me to the 1.7. He didn't like the 3.7 until the recent 3.7i update, so he wouldn't sell it.
You can also get great used gear at his shop - typically ARC. Again, don't expect an eBay price, but it's worth paying a little more for his support and testing of all used gear before it gets sold again.