Planning audio audition trip to NY/NJ, vendors???

I am planning on burning some winter blues by jumping in the car, leaving NE Ohio and traveling east to Philly, north NJ or NYC to audition some audio gear. I'm looking for everything, CDP's, speakers, amps, etc., for various room sizes, future upgrading, and general audio knowledge/experience etc. I'm looking for your help on some good retailers to visit in these areas, hopefully some vendors that I could have a buying relationship with in the future. Would appreciate your positive experiences.
certainly audioconnection in Verona (973)239-1799 for precise address.
Three weeks ago I had what was without a doubt the most pleasant experience I have ever had at a dealer's showroom. This was after 25 years in this hobby and visits to every major showroom in the NYC area, as well as showrooms in several other cities. I found myself with two hours to kill between rehearsals in the Madison ave. area and I stumbled across the Red Rose Music showroom on Mad. ave. This as you know is Mark Levinson's new company; I had read and heard about them, but had not had the opportunity to check them out.

I have never owned any Levinson gear nor been particularly "blown away" when I have heard it at dealers', shows or friends'; although I have liked what I heard and certainly respect the man ML.

I walked in without an appointment and for the next hour and a half sat in a very comfortable single listening room environment with a piano and other instruments around, and listened to MUSIC with the warmest, most respectfull, and most audio/music-astute salesperson that I have ever met. While there, three other folks dropped in and stayed for shorter periods of time and received the same treatment.

I loved the sound: VERY alive sounding and MUSICAL!!!! The word "easy" keeps coming up. Their small ribbon tweetered two way powered by the tubed integrated (I don't remember model #'s) with a SONY HDCD sounded absolutely gorgeous. Wonderfull liquidity and fabulous clarity in the mids and highs without a hint of harshness. The bigger gear was stunning. If I were in the market for a whole new system, this would be at the top of the list.

I guess you can tell I liked their stuff and their attitude. Highly Recommended! Good luck.

Red Rose Music
943 Madison Avenue
212 628 5777
I'd second the above two suggestions. The Red Rose stuff has always impressed me as being what this hobby should be about. Another place with good equipment and nice folks in Upper Montclair, NJ is CSA Audio, 973-744-0600, 193 Bellvue Avenue. Mike O'Keefe, the guy who turned me on to tubes and analog, has recently rejoined them and done a nice job setting up their high-end showroom, bringing back analog to that room with a nicely set up Nottingham table (probably one of the few places around you can hear that table).
I'll answer two ways. Stay away from and visit:

Sound by Singer
Stereo Exchange

Park Ave. Audio

If you can make it to Wilmington, De. hit Overture. In N. NJ, besides John Ruttan at Audio Connections, hit CSA Audio and tell Mike O'Keefe hello. If you can make it north of NYC, hit Toys from the Attic. Great guys with great new & used gear at fair prices.
I am not the best person to discuss the North Jersey/NYC dealers, so I will leave it to people such as the wonderful Rcprince...

I can speak at length on what is in and around the Philadelphia area. There are several dealers, but I believe that things are better in NJ/NYC. Although, you will not have to put up with as much attitude here, in most cases.

Here is a short list of a few of the high end dealers in my area:
1) Community Audio. Chestnut Hill(NW) section of Philadelphia. John Adams is the owner, and a very, very nice guy. I consider him a friend. The greatest asset is that he will allow you to listen in a relaxed, no pressure atmosphere, yet will be as involved in guiding you along as you would like. Brands: NAD, Jolida, Cambridge, Rega, Rogue, Linn, Naim, Electrocompaniet, Totem, JMlabs, Nova, Osborn, Music Hall, Creek, Ixos, RedGum, etc.

2) Stereo Trading Outlet. Jenkintown(5 minutes north of Philly), PA. Mike Leshner is also a very good guy(also a friend), and his store has always specialized in used, high end equipment. He also carries new products, but I feel the discounts offered for the used merchandise overshadowed the new stuff. You can also listen in a relaxed, no hassle environment. A visit is only necessary if you are interested in listening to the used inventory, as an up to date list is on their website( Brands: any and all used, Paradigm, Pass Labs, Canton, Marantz, Sherwood Newcastle, Sunfire, Cary(limited selection, but I guess he can order it), PS Audio, etc.

3) David Lewis Audio. Northeast Philadelphia. Ah, now we get into a guy who a lot of people absolutely abhor as the typical, nose in the air high end dealer. Dave Serota is the owner, and I find him to be better in person than over the phone. I deal with him well, and even purchased my Jadis amp from him. Yes, he is opinionated. Yes, he might tell you that you will not be able to listen to anything else today. But, I believe he honestly tries to offer his customers the BEST in audio. And, will not carry a brand he does not believe in. In terms of sound, support(why he doesn't carry Jadis any longer), and the whole package. Store really does well in terms of tubes(especially SET) and vinyl. No HT. Brands: Air Tight, Cary, Kimber/Kimber Select, Synergistic Research, Nordost, VAC, Vans Evers, Montana, Monitor, NAD, JMlabs, Acoustic Energy, YBA, Audio Refinement, etc.

4) Soundex. Willow Grove(5 minutes north of Jenkintown), PA. OK, here is another place that could be considered a bit snobby. But, I find them to allow one to listen in whatever manner they like. Yes, they are there to make money. And, yes, they think they are audio dieties, but they carry very high level equipment, and will allow you to do pretty much what you please while you are there. They are pleasant in person. The place is massive, and you could easily get lost, or spend an entire day there. Along with the industry, they went HT in a very big way. Brands(reads like an 80s - 90s Murderer's Row): Audio Research, Mark Levinson, Krell, Martin Logan, MIT, Wadia, Dynaudio, Proac, etc.

HiFi House. Jenkintown and Broomall(20 minutes west of Philadelphia), PA. Relaxed and good people. Sort of the normal high end retailer. Brands: B&W, Definitive Technology, Bryston, Paradigm, etc.

I would like to mention some others. Danby Radio, who carried B&W, Alliante, Sunfire, and Conrad Johnson, but I believe they may have closed, so I cannot fully list them as a place to see. David Mann Audio is also OK, but I wouldn't really take time to see the store. Quest For Sound is also in Northeast Philadelphia, but isn't a store, but an e-tailer(sells out of his home) here on Audiogon. Good brands, but you will be doing business over the net, and will not be really going there in person.
re: Camadeco's suggestions, while I agree that you should stay away from Sound by Singer, I disagree with his advice on Lyric and Park Avenue. I recommend Lyric, as being very helpful, knowledgeable and responsive, and have found Park Avenue just the opposite, and snobby to boot.
I live on the opposite coast, but from personal experience I can make the following strong recommendation. Go to Audio Connection (Verona, NJ), and see John Rutan. A fine retailer, and a first-class guy.
By the way, don't jump into the car till next week, many of these folks are out at CES.
I highly recommend Audio Outlet in Mount Kisko, NY, about an hour's drive north of NYC. Frank Huang is the owner, and he and Mike are very knowledgeable and nice. They carry ARC, Martin Logan, ProAc, Conrad Johnson, Revel, Hovland, and others that I can't remember. Check out their website at
I agree with Trelja on David Serota at David Lewis Audio. They have good products and he will have your head spinning. Don't be to eager to buy anything. It all sounds different in your own home so be thorough and see if you can get equipment loaned out. I know soundex lets people audition at home but most pay retail for their gear.
Audio Connect on Bloomfield Ave in Verona NJ is a very good and recommended visit. Ask for John Ruttan. Dealers in NYC can be a disappointing experience. Audio Connect will be a good experience. 973-239-1799 ask for John Ruttan. Maybe best to call in advance so John can arrange an appointment and give you undivided attention. Every one at Audio Connect is very friendly and cares about the music. Kelly and Mary are sweethearts and will make your visit warm friedly and comfortable. You will hear music and be surprised at how much sound you can obtain for a reasonable amount of money when the components are matched well by a knowledgeable experienced staff who cares. Enjoy the trip.
Just for the sake of adding to the din regarding the NYC standard haunts, as well as possibly demonstrating that it can all depend on the luck of the draw when you walk in the door, I've had wonderful experiences at Innovative; fair to good experiences at Park Audio; both great and awful experiences at Singer (my favorite guy left, alas); reliably mediocre times at the Stereo Exchange; and after one trip uptown to Lyric to hear the Maggies, I never made it back. Yes, and Red Rose is a treat -- and you can pop into the Whitney while you're at it. While the New York city audio salons are certainly not the most reliably user-friendly, you can't knock the selection....
Toys from the Attic, in White Plains, NY (about 45 minutes from 42nd St) is great for used gear (and new gear, too!). I've been a customer since they started. They have a great depth of knowledge because they constantly take home used gear to play with. Check their website at Jim's my regular salesman. Tell him Steve Cuskley sent you!
I agree with Stevegolf1 - Toys From The Attic in White Plains is a GREAT place to go. Jim, Bill and Mike are VERY knowledgeable about all kinds of gear and are glad to just hang and talk audio with you. Their prices are fair and they are simply some of the nicest guys I've met in the audio retail business. No stuck up, condescending "audio" attitudes there - just nice, down to earth folks who love audio as much as we do and who are always willing to help.
Most of my stereo came from Toys From The Attic in White Plains.I bought new,used and demo.Every piece I bought was like new.The prices were the best I could find.I always did business directly with Mario,the owner.His staff very pleasant but when I buy I want the top guy to take care of me.Mario helped me break into analog and spent countless hours on the phone with me helping me with set up etc.He even guided me through the complete set up of one table I bought from him over the phone.Of course it was my dime!Anyone thinking of getting into analog or anyone looking to upgrade should give Mario a call.He is a true analog child prodigy :~)MJH049-I would plan to visit White Plains on your trip.Besides an audio shop,Mario and John have one of the best guitar departments in the country.Im sure you would have a good time hanging out.
TFTA is a super place, I love going there and hanging out, hopefully I get to do it again soon. Like everyone else said they are super there, easy to get along with and human! The audio dealers up here(albany area) have issues and I avoid at all costs. Also worth mentioning I was into the watch collection at TFTA(my other hobby) which is very impressive, to me an how. Mario is a super individule, the moment we met he made me feel as if we had known each other for years, we spoke on the phone a few times prior to meeting and he saw my watch from across the room and said "so your Tim the Tire Guy, nice to meet you" with such confidence even if I wasn't me I would have to agree with him :) I look forward to doing some business with them.
Well, I'm sold. Sounds like time to take a trip up to Westchester....
We are having a demo at the W New York - The Court hotel in New York City on the 29th and 30th. We will be demonstrating the same home theater and two channel systems we had at CES including the Piega loudspeakers, Aloia amp & new cd player, and more. We are giving out a limited number of invitations to insure a quality demo. We'd be glad to send you one if you're interested. Tuesday is press day and Wednesday afternoon from 1-5pm is for consumers. If you'll be in the area those days feel free to email us for an invite.
Happy Traveling!
Don't forget the wonderful selection of used watches at Toys you can shop for.