Voodoo in Ann Arbor

I am spending the weekend at a friend's house. He recently purchased my JMlab Tantal 509's and is in the market for a power amp. Since he lives close to Ann Arbor we decided to go shopping there--supposedly, good high end stores are located near major universities.

Anyway, we called Audio/Video Showcase and it was such a fiasco! What a salesman they had--he was trying to sell us *watts*...he wanted us to buy a Denon power amp (which to my friend and I looked questionable) without auditioning it and at full list price! Although the store claimed to be high end (Conrad Johnson, Bryston, Musical Fidelity, Denon) he was reluctant to have us audition equipment. Finally my friend asked this salesman to rig some JMlab Cobalt (2-way) with a Musical Fidelity dual mono 85WPC integrated and the MF CDP. The salesman used Tara Labas snakes, from power cord to speaker cables. IT SOUNDED HORRIBLE!!!!! It wasn't the JMlabs, as we're familiar with their sound.

Unbelievable! This was an absolutely awful experience. Why did this happen, we ask ourselves. Was it because we're not Anglos? Anyway we would give this store a 3 out a possible 10.
The mid-fi shops that think they are high-fi are way to into themselves. The one near me sells at above list price(no exceptions), and is full of salesmen peddling monster cable- and they are always claiming they are "serious" audiophiles. For every good audio shop there are about 10 bad ones, unless of course you like some dirt merchant turned audio salesperson telling you how you "need the bass". ~Tim
Hello psychicanimal,

I've been in Ann Arbor for a year now and have been to all the local "HiFi" shops. Your experience is unfortunate but not too surprising. The store you mentioned is actually owned by its neighbor "Big George's Appliance Store" So their orientation isn't necessarily HiFi.. Too bad too cause they carry some good Sonic Frontier and Dynaudio gear, just don't know if they know how to sell it.

Next time you're in Ann Arbor try Paragon Sight and Sound. They have a high end orientation and know how to set up a room for an audition. Also an older hi-end store on S. Main, Overture Audio, has great service/knowledge.

I had a similar experience at some stores in Chicago (Burbs), trying to sell high-end stuff without the knowledge or effort to set up a good listening room to audition gear.

Better luck next time.

I was at that shop recently Psychicanimal, about a month or so ago.

I went to Ann Arbor as I heard they had good shops as well, what a disappointment! I went to listen to some amps, my short time at that shop was *somewhat* productive, I was able to listen to 3 amps, one after another in just a matter of a few minutes of each other, BUT, none of them sounded good because of their setup! I was able to determine a few things between them, but nothing critical. When the salesman found out I wasn't buying that day, he seemed to lose interest in me fast.

There is one nice shop there though, Paragon. Unfortunately for me, they lost power just prior to me getting there.

One other shop I was at wasn't to bad, but very small! (Far better than the shop you were at though, as far as for an audiophile.)

There is a shop not to far a drive from AA, in West Bloomfield, called Ensemble, it's geared more towards HT, but it's an awesome place to check out IMO.
Sounds very much like what you get at Tweeter Etc.

On the other side of the coin, I was burning some time waiting for friends at the local Circuit City, and there was this guy in his early 20's selling home theater setups. I listened to him for quite a while talking to others, and I asked him a few questions myself (secret quiz). This guy knew his stuff. I hope he is a student paying for college. He was too good for Circuit City.

I think that we've all had experiences like this, regardless of race or location. Some people just don't know how to run a business. As such, the "bad" ones are only worried about the color of what is in your pocket i.e. "green" and could care less about you as a person or customer.

The smart ones know that anybody can become a good customer and such an occurance might not take place overnight. They are willing to invest their time and knowledge hoping that planting a seed now will help you to "take root" with them as the gardener later. Those are the ones that you want to seek out and find. It might take some doing though, as there are FAR more "bad" shops than "good". If that wasn't the case, this forum and others like it would be filled with "kudo's" rather than "complaints". Sean
I have been in Ovation in A2. It's in the old HiFi Buys location, on Main. It seemed like a nice store with good lines and good people. I don't know of the others mentioned,they sound like hucksters.
In that area(Ann Arbor is just part of Detroit in some ways) Check out Audio Dimensions in Royal Oak on Woodward. Harry has been there for many years and really knows what he is doing. It would be worth your time to check it out. This is a REAL audio store!
I also can highly recomend Harry at Audio Dimensions in Royal Oak on Woodward, be prepaired to spend some time, also he has demo equipment to take home to fully trial.
Sedond emailed someone from HD who lives in Detroit and gave us some names. We went to Almas & The Gramophone--and were treated right at both...

Almas had Rotel & The Gramophone had B&K. I could easily tell the Rotel had better & more controlled bass. When I looked at the specs the Rotel had a damping factor of 500 vs 100 for the B&K. What can I say, I have a good ear...

We also went to Guitar Center and they have some pretty heavy (literally) Crown amps at decent prices---275 WPC for $399--and it comes with a fan!!! Guess I found my future subwoofer amp...

Thanks for helping us--it's so hard to get good sound!
I have dealt with Harry ataudio dimensions for over 20 years he is a true gentleman and knows great sound and how to get it to you. By all means head up to Royal Oak you will not be dissapointed.