a rare beast. for a number of reasons. any room where gear is frequently moved in and out will be less than ideal. or a room with multiple speakers will not be ideal. better listening rooms need to mature with stable gear. odds are against it. but i’m sure there are a few that are good that i don’t know about.
as a group what might be the best collection of rooms would be Rhapsody Audio based in NYC. they have 6 showrooms all around the country. and part of why they are good is the brands they represent are not all typical brick and mortar brands. they have pretty esoteric stuff. but they take their sound very seriously.
i have done business with them in the past but currently do not own any gear from them. so i’m not in any way connected to them. but i do know them, good guys who know great sound and music.
select ’Rhapsody Locations’ from this link to see where they are.
Fidelis in Nashua is excellent. Audio Video Therapy has a few rooms of great gear too.
We have five well set up listening rooms
DAVE AND troy
Audio intellect nj
Any of the Magnificent 7 Vandersteen dealers :-)
get out more, invite people in, join LA / Orange county audio society, SD Audio guild, etc…..
I host the sane and near sane every now and then….
@mikelavigne does same and i greatly admire and respect him for that contribution
thanks @tomic601 for the kind words. enjoyed your "sane and near sane" comment. :-)
for sure, many have journeyed to my room over the years to hear specific gear in my room instead of a dealer showroom someplace. a great part of the hobby all around.
Thanks “mikelavigne” for the nod to Rhapsody.Audio. I host one of the west coast Rhapsody locations in my home just outside Portland. As always, there is the reality what someone hears in a showroom (or any room for that matter) isn’t going to come across quite the same in their own room. Personally I think this is most critical for loudspeakers — but applies across the board unless the demo rig matches your own to a T.
That said, my room was gutted and acoustically remodeled 6 years ago, so while gear is going to sound different in someone else’s room/rig, here you can get a good taste of what a speaker (component) is actually capable of. And my space isn’t a typical rectangle room, it does not seal from the rest of the house, and has big glass windows between & behind the speakers. I don't keep other brands of speakers in the room when I set up for someone who is coming to audition, instead taking time to optimize each speaker’s position for the best sound. This won’t be the same as a months or years long adjustment period some folks might do to optimize setup to the last mm of finesse, but those aren’t typically commercial oriented rooms.
Rhapsody rooms are all in real world homes, except the Dallas location which has custom built rooms in a commercial space. We all carry some subset of the full assortment of components imported by Rhapsody in Brooklyn, NYC.
should you find yourself in the Pacific Northwest give me a ring, I promise excellent sound in an excellent room. https://rhapsody.audio/location-portland/
Two of the best show rooms I have been in are GTT Audio in Long Valley, NJ and East End HiFi in Coram, NY (Long Island). Both operate out of home showrooms and setups show extreme attention to detail to extract the best of their product lines. Very impressive. The owners are very knowledgeable. Appointment only.
Quintessence Audio in Morton Grove, Illinois (Chicago suburb) has the best rooms I’ve experienced, and not by a small margin. I traveled to hear different speakers and knowing a bit more now, I’m amazed how overlooked acoustic treatments and proper listening spaces are in many dealers.
@gestalt in Nashville. Some of the best sounding gear I’ve heard in my 30 years of audiophile journey.
Most cities have places that are sufficient to get the essence out of the equipment. In Portland Oregon it is Pearl Audio, Echo Audio and StereoTypes.
If you guys are ever in Miami, reach out to John at Audio Salon in Coral Gables. I have purchased stuff from him but I’ve sat in high end shops all over the world…. I don’t know why exactly, but his room just sounds pretty special.
He features Gryphon, DCS, Wilson, Audio Research, McIntosh, Nagra, VAC, Joseph Audio, etc.
John the owner is a lovely guy and if you’re lucky, his dog Bernie will be in residence,
...well, it's the old "Have ears, must travel...."
and usually in the places a 'vaca' will avoid....;)
Good variable factors, E....👍
Goodwin's High End in Waltham Ma. 10 miles west of Boston. They rep some of the finest equipment available and always provide superior sounding systems.
my best to all, Jerry
@bobvin I swear I've seen that space on Miller Carbon's website ... no?
I thought it was 'photoshopped' ... Beautiful space!
Agree with @oddiofyl, Fidelis Music Systems in Nashua, New Hampshire is a great place to experience gear. And Marc is an knowledgeable and welcoming host. Highly recommended.
Home / Fidelis (fidelisav.com)
That Nashua, NH area has some of the finest audio shops on the EC. Fidelis, (drool) and AVT have some impressive gear and are really nice peeps but, if you have the chance, you should try and visit Holt Hill Audio. They have an amazing loft in an old Mill building with high cielings, 10' windows and even a pull great elevator to get you up there. Maybe not the greatest space to critical listen though with big rooms that are highly treated, which is good, but there's a lot of outside noise and parking is tricky. However, once you get to them, boy, its some place. The owners are cool and highly knowledgeable with interesting backgrounds. The vintage speaker restoration work they do and the super clean & exotic electronics are reason enough to drop in. Seems like I mention these guys a bit but I really enjoy what they do. Just my opinion.
I have a slightly different take.
”The Listening Room” in Chestertown MD is an old school record shop and HiFi dealer. The room that I auditioned speakers was not a sparse, conditioned room. However I had the best time there because you could listen in nearfield (or close to it). Michael (the one man shop dealer) would bring in different speakers, place them out in the room and we could adjust position and seating. He sat with me for 2-3 hours! Listening to different amp/ speakers combinations. He carries many brands (had like 8 rooms at recent capital audio fest), but it was the personal attention, no pressure method that was awesome. I ended up buying a pair of Magnepan 0.7s on the spot. They actually serve most of the east coast.
if you are around DC, Baltimore or Philly, it’s worth a trip to this quaint college town and a hidden audio gem. (I am not affiliated with them, just love what they do)
They're probably long gone, but Imperial Sound in Tulsa, OK in 1983 was great. They asked what gear I wanted to audition, then told me to pick some albums off the MoFi rack to listen to. They moved a Tandberg stack, a pair of ADS L1530 speakers, a Nakamichi ZX9 and a Yamaha PX-2 in to their listening room-while I waited. When I was ready they made sure I was up to speed on the gear, then left me alone. I spent a couple hours in there.
Turned out to be a good investment for them. I wrote one of the biggest checks of my life that day, bought everything, including the albums. LOL
Qudos and Strong Agreement with Quintessence in Morton Grove, as well as Audio Salon in South Florida.
My personal in-house favorite is Salon 1 Audio (Eric) in Ormond Beach Florida.
If you can come to Florida, come in February on the 16 - 18 to attend the Florida International Audio Expo. 15 Hotel Floors of Exhibitors for 3 days. Since 2019, and growing every year! Lots to listen to!
Seems mostly like east coast suggestions. Bummer, I’m on the west coast. I’ve demoed brick and mortar shops in the SF Bay Area, the LA area, and at several audio shows. I have also been to the Magico factory demo. I’m curious if I’ve missed anything by not demoing other excellent sounding systems.
Initially getting into this hobby, I wanted to demo the best systems I could, then try to closely replicate the sonics within my budget.
Definitive Audio in Bellevue, Washington has a couple of well set up rooms. But I'm looking forward next weekend to going for the first time to Shibuya HiFi - a Japanese style listening lounge in Seattle. They have a few rooms, and I believe the room I'll be listening to John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" in is the one with a vintage (1970's) pair of Klipschorns driven by either Luxman or Marantz electronics.
Suncoast Audio here in Sarasota has an excellent room and some stunning gear including Magico, Audio Research, B&W, and many other even more expensive brands. Mike and his folks are excellent to deal with.
HiFi Buys in Atlanta has several excellent listening rooms featuring gear producing outstanding sound.
The Sound Advantage in Rochester Mi. does a nice job. One thing I find odd is that most audiophile types claim vinyl is so much better but high end dealers rarely show their systems by playing a record.
yes, that is my room. I had no idea it was being used on the millercarbon site. All the photos on the Rhapsody page are just from me and my iphone camera, though not the one on the millercarbon site. You will see some of my images on different sites and I’m flattered they’re chosen though I could probably claim some copyright if I were that kind of guy (i’m not.) thanks for the kind words.
I’ve been to the dealers in Portland you mention. All three have listening spaces to audition gear. There is a big difference in “sufficient” to get the “essence” of equipment and optimized to hear equipment at its very best. I invite you to come have a listen at my space just outside Portland in Oregon City and hear the difference. I promise it doesn’t suck! If you’re a member of the Portland Audio Club you’l” see I host listening events several times / year.
I used to be a customer of Definitive, bought ARC and Wilson from them in the past. Their’ rep often told me how many ways those rooms were sonically compromised. Still, in most cases sitting relatively near-field in those rooms you’d get good sound. For brink n mortar (and within the scope of their brand offerings) Definitive is a great outfit. If you find yourself in Portland and care to hear something different I welcome you to visit.
Goodwins in Waltham MA and Audio Shoppe Hingham MA.
Agree on Fidelis in Nashua NH also the Audio Connection in Verona NJ has some nice space and equipment. Both have great staff willing to help.