look in the verizon yellow pages under stereophonic and home-theater. good luck... call Mark at northern audio, maybe he can help. 412-931-5850...
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It's tough around here.
Listening Post in Shadyside sometimes has some nice tube gear but usually not 845, 2A3 or similar SET amps. Last I saw was McCormack.
Let's make music in Shadyside will/can get anything. However, they usually only have top notch solid state on display.
Triangle on West Liberty has had some tubes but not much.
NAX.com, Northern Audio and Video sometime will have something by Rogue or similar. He knows his gear but doubtfully will have much for you.
There was a Sonic Frontiers dealer in North Hills (formerly Better Sound Concepts, owned by Al Tucker) and has changed names a few times. They may have some gear but I'm not sure. I believe they are on Rt. 19 in the shopping center across the street from the Mercedes and Acura dealers.
Hope that helps!
Otherwise, do what I do: TRAVEL (phila, cleveland, NYC...)
email me directly if you need more email@example.com
More years ago than I care to count, there was a place in Squirrel Hill (Shady near Forbes?) that changed hands in 1992. The outgoing owner was Michael somebody (?) who introduced me to high-end audio even though I was a poor grad student and couldn't afford much beyond the barest mid-fi equipment. I don't suppose it's still there?
There was also (at least briefly) a tiny little place nearby on Forbes, upstairs in the back of a building, in maybe just one room. The guy strikes me as just the type to get interested in SET (not sure why), but alas the place didn't exactly radiate business acumen (no disrespect intended -- the guy who ran it was friendly and helpful).
But after such a long time I regret that my nostalgic rantings probably won't be useful to you ... good luck!
Sophia Electric makes a very nice 845 amp sophia.electric.com and they offer a 30 day trial period. The 6sn7 driven 845s sound great with 845B, 22wpc but very quiet, do not run extremely hot like some other ones (I use them year round in a/c room). Banana connector only for speakers but monster cable spade adapter works just fine. Four and 8 ohm outputs.
I remember Opus One and bought a preamp and turntable from them back in the late 70s. What was the name of the place down on Smithfield St. in the city? They had a row of movie theater seats, and the guy who owned the place was quite eccentric. Back then they had some esoteric stuff such as Hill Plasmatronics. Anybody remember Audio Excellence, in an old house? The guy had Audionics, the Acoustat X's, and other stuff.
Michael Kline still owns Let's Make Music. He has very nice taste, just not cheap. This guy will always stand behind what he sells.
He is right next door to the Listening Post.
Both of these are on S. Aiken at Walnut street in Shadyside. To find Shadyside, take 5th avenue away from CMU and Pitt for about 1 mile and turn left.
The upstairs place in Squirrel Hill is closed.
Howard Swimmer closed his shop in Squirrel Hill also. He now does only custom EXTREMELY high end theater.
Everything downtown has closed-Tasso Spanos still sells vintage gear from his stores out of his basement sometimes!
There are 2 nice stores on West Liberty Avenue (slightly south of downtown, 3 mi). Audio Junction is great but mainly mid-fi and theater. The other place, Triangle (I think) was matching $10K thiels with Adcom amps-tells you what they know.
Northern audio is buy at your own risk-I don't shop there.
Northeast of Pittsburgh (route 28) are Butches and Stereoland-OK but not high end.
Yeh, I miss working near the Stereo Exchange in NYC and living near Brookly Audio.......
I bought my first real system from Tasso Spanos at Opus One.
He was a classic, old school, intellectual-type, semi-bohemian hi-fi guy who loved the KLH 9 and Marantz tube amps. I remember hearing my first ARC tube amps in his shop; he was one of the first to demonstrate the Dalhquist speaker, and was the Linn dealer in Pittsburgh when direct drive turntables were the rage in the 70's.
I was not an easy place to do serious listening during the day, since the 'trolley' would go by every few minutes (aka a 'streetcar,' a sort of homely version of the cablecars that still exist in San Francisco).
I also remember the Curley Bros- anybody here remember those guys? Mike was a heavyset, wild looking guy with a hatfield type beard- met them (his little brother Denny was his second in command)- they used to run the original Audio Warehouse on Rt__ . (They were not the owners, but it was as if the store was theirs). Tons of used equipment, hi-end on the cheap, left there, had their own little odd shop up in the North Hills with Transcriptors, old Mac tube stuff and early Wm. Johnson amps/pre-amps. Mike was also an avid Ferrari collector back when you could buy them for the price of say, a good preamp today. Haven't seen them in years.
Jebel, The sound store was in monroeville mall, as it happens this was the first place that i bought my first "serious system" as a kid. I remember their showroom floor was packed like a sardine can , could hardly move without bumping into something.. That system consisted of a technics reciever,bic tt, and a pair of sonic art(remember them) speakers, WOW seems like a million years ago.. I used to blast that system in my bedroom and drive my parents "nuts". Lots of tt feedback but man did it rock-out...(:^)...
"The Sound Store" was a department inside "The Appliance Store" and had about 8-10 stores across the metro Pgh area. I remember one store across Rt 22 from Showcase Cinema in Monroeville and their warehouse store in East Liberty. When I was about 10, I went with my brother to the East Liberty store when he bought his first stereo -- a 55 Watt Technics receiver, JBL speakers, and an Optonica tape deck (high end Sharp.) Sure sounded better than my all-in-one (receiver, tape tape deck, phono) Sanyo thing.
Wanders was also an appliance/audio store that was a competitor to the "The Appliance Store". They had stores in Monroeville Mall, Eastland Mall (when it was a real mall) and at one point had a store in Squirrel Hill on Forbes and one in Oakland -- also on Forbes. I used to buy my Maxell XLII and TDK-SA tapes there. They used to sell 6 or 8 Maxell tapes in a Wander exclusive 15 tape vinyl cassette holder. Just found one and it is in great shape!! Anyone want to buy one? :) Ironically, a friend of mine recently gave me his Nakamichi tape deck, but I haven't even hooked it up to my system as I'm afraid how bad it will sound.
Opus One closed when I was still pretty young, but do remember buying a Teac tape deck there. I remember telling the salesperson how great Bose speakers were, but he really didn't want to get into a conversation with a 12 year old and let it go. I remember him telling me that you can do a lot better for the money. Pretty sure he was telling the truth :)
Whart: "aka a 'streetcar,' a sort of homely version of the cablecars that still exist in San Francisco)." bahhahhahaha! that's the best description I've heard yet!
I do remember the Appliance Store.
Elevick, I never knew there was another store in Shadyside besides The Listening Post. Experiences at the Listening Post were so bad I never felt a need to go back. Northern Audio is a troubling place as well (to put it mildly). I stopped by there a couple years ago.
Short story for you: I frequented "The Audio Gallery" under both owners: Michael and Howard. Back when Michael was owner I was in high school and eventually bought an Adcom GFA 555MKII and Theta Pro Prime II. Michael was nice to put up with me and my buddy Eric-- we made it a near weekly trek from the south hills to listen to the high end gear. Michael had a nice line of Thiel/Audio Research components along with good listening room acoustics. They sold acoustic panels, "Room Tunes" (Michael Green??)--also bought a complete set. There was a technician, Anders, I believe, who was very good with tube equipment. I was into modifying Audio Alchemy (DDE 1.0) DAC's at the time and, once when Howard was owner, he let me compare it to a high dollar Theta piece over Thiel CS 2.2's run by a big ARC tube amp. The little DDE was awesome, but no Theta overall. Anyway it was funny because Howard thought he was listening to the Theta when in fact it was the puny DDE 1.0 "ahh listen to that Theta!". He turned red when reality hit. I wonder where they are today? Did "Let's Make Music" move/close?
In 2009 I moved from DC area back to Pgh area and miss the brick and mortar offering of NOVA. O well adapt to change or die, they say!