Nowhere to hear speakers and amps anymore!

When I started buying stereo equipment in the 1970’s (yes, I’m old) in Seattle, there were many retail stores where I could hear and compare equipment. I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1982 and found the same number of great stores until 2000 when they started disappearing and now there are none! There are plenty of Home Theater contractors, but I can’t find an audiophile store anywhere short of going to LA or back to Seattle! Is there an “audio desert” in my area? Seems like an opportunity for someone! Am I missing something? 


@Thomson723 I wish Century Stereo was still around - that was my go-to place. Closed now forever. 

Boston still has a reasonable number of options- Audio Lab and Q Audio in Cambridge, Natural Sound in Framingham, Goodwin's High End in Waltham (really high end $$$), and in nearby Nashua NH Audio Visual Therapy and Fidelis.  Best Buy/Magnolia also some decent equipment but the expertise is very hit and miss. There are even a couple of audio repair shops that can actually repair older equipment.  It is not like the good old days but there are still good options.

Down here in the South East there are a couple but are by appointment only. I’ve been to a couple and frankly they have rubbed me the wrong way but I understand. The market here for most everything is pretty ridiculous with influencers thus hard for them to filter who’s who; who is a tire kicker and who is serious.

I requested an audition to go see and feel some amps. I felt very unwelcomed and there was hardly any interest in trying to win my business. I asked about taking the units home to listen to it and it was a flat no (I offered to leave a guarantee).

Forward a couple of months and a friend was going to visit for a listen of my system with my new amps and was bringing a friend of his. Yes, the friend was the owner of the showroom. "I remember you, man you have a very nice system, why didn’t you buy the amps from me.....".

I have had great experience with various out of state vendors who will give you a money back trial period. Give it a shot.

I hear you, @ervikingo!  But I also understand we aren’t living in a 1970’s economy. The internet changed everything and provided endless means to find the best price, making those who stock product in a store look like they might have missed the train. But I’ll tell you that when you encounter someone who REALLY listens to what you need and finds the right solution for the right price, that’s a deal whether it’s done in person, internet or on a forum like this one. I had such experience with a dealer here (I’m not sure I can mention the name, but you can search the respondents to my original question to find him). He listened to what I was saying; had experience with my current amp and with others in its class and knew EXACLY what I needed. Then he cut me a great deal for a demo product with a handsome exchange. I’ve never met this fellow, but he owns a store in NJ and my hat is off to him for knowing his business, internet or not.