I will pass on my experience in the Bay area last week.
Music Lovers is open 6 days a week. A friend works
there 6 days a week. They have a Berkeley and a Downtown
SF store. I visited both and listened without appt in both.
I called two other stores that people spoke about as being
good. One is by appointment only. The other is open but if
you care to audition anything the cost is $250 up front creditable
to a purchase.
I did not bother visiting either of those stores. Although I do not feel
they meet the standard of being a true retail store.
Minneapolis has at least three great stores I visited in Sept.
Seattle has Hawthorne and Definitive. Now Hawthorne is by appointment.
Sign of the times I suppose.
Appreciate and thank the few good ones left to us!