What's your experience with snooty HiFi salesmen?

I began my Hifi journey in 1976 at a shop in Birmingham MI called Audio Dimensions. He was a Magnapan and ARC dealer who was kind to a 15 year old kid who bought a set of MG 1s with paper route money. The ARC amps he carried were about $4K back then- a LOT of money in 1976. In the beginning I drove my MG 1s with an old Fisher Studio Standard integrated amp. Since those lovely innocent days I have encountered some real buttholes. They act like they are doing me a favor as they quiz me about what gear I have and if I'm listening to "approved" recordings. Needless to say I don't buy from those guys. Several wives and businesses later I'm back into the hobby with a much vengeance as a 61 year old  can muster given only so many free hours in a day and only so much cash to apply due to my other vices: Classic cars and salt water fishing. 

Have you ever encountered a really good or really bad dealer (or employee) that changed your buying actions?

Darko posted a video on this topic which I found really enjoyable. Many of you have already seen it but for those (like me) who discovered it much later here's the link: 


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Yes. If I go to a new store I try an get to the owner / manager first and basically interview him to see if we click. If not I move on. There are some incredibly great audio dealers and some duds. I have had three dealers that have been friends also for twenty years. They are worth finding. I have no patience for egotistical, stupid, or inexperienced dealers.

FWIW I usually only go into a brick and mortar store with a specific goal. i.e. to see/hear something specific. I do not go in to discuss my equipment, ask for advise, or engage in ’audiophile’ topics. I will not encourage a salesman by opening a general conversation about audio topics. Faced with this attitude if they insist on asking questions to fortify their sales pitch, I will walk out and move on. Life is too short.

Incidentally, when I was starting into the really high end stuff, the best salesman/owner that I’ve ever run across was able to engage me about my equipment by being respectful and attentive. He always he always praised my stuff!!!! And after a conversation would offer me the opportunity to hear his stuff which he thought I might like. No sales pitch or pressure. This was back when I needed some helpful advise. BTW, he went broke and closed his beautiful store with all its high end stuff on display, because he overextended himself and tried to make his store a musical experience as well by having regular events where musicians would play live (not to listen to audio stuff). Too many audiophiles I think and not enuf customers who prized music first. The ’audiophiles’ just wanted to listen to his really high end stuff, then shop it on the internet and buy it used. Small wonder that some B&M stores have some rude folks.

I usually go to three places.   

Natural Sound  in Framingham MA

Aidio Visual Therapy Nashua NH

Fidelis  in Nashua 

All good places to deal with , never snobby 


+1 oddiofyl I just recently purchased a preamp from Fidelis and have dealt with them and the other two you mentioned in the past. All were low key ,respectful and polite. 

I just picked up the Sutherland KC Vibe at Fidelis and there’s a good chance I’ll be upgrading to a 20/20 within the next year.    

AV Therapy also has a one year trade up policy.    Both great stores.  

Lyric Hi-Fi in NYC and White Plains, NY was the worst. Here is a Steve Hoffman Forum about Lyric: https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/lyric-hifi-in-nyc-is-gone.1078578/   My own experience was that the salesmen in both locations were snobby as hell and didn't really know audio.  They have been out of business for a couple of years.  

I bought my vintage equipment back in the mid-late 80s and the guys at the store were like my best friends. Never stuffy and we would have listening sessions after they closed. They would let me take home new equipment to demo it for a few days and return it in a week or so. The store eventually closed and we lost contact over the years.I often think of them and wonder where they ended up.

Flash forward to 2023---the only hifi store in town is a mess and the staff are just plain rude and show no interest in getting to know their potential customers. I've purchased more newer equipment over the years but travelled 50-100 miles outside my city to places with friendlier, more competent staff. 

I live in a big city and three out of the four places are just horrible, incompetent sales people mainly. One charges for his 'advice' and claims his advice is on the order of a Medical Doctor. Yeah, right. The other won't let you listen to any music but what he puts on.

At the last place I was very clear I needed a turntable with an attached dust cover. The salesman then trashed every table he had except for the one that did not have an attached dust cover. Crazy - I mean I told him exactly what I was looking for and he ignored what I said. Lost a 4K sale. Another time the same guy spaced some well-known $12K speakers too far apart, making them sound really bad, when I asked him to place them a bit closer, he refused saying I didn't known what I was talking about. Later he calls me up and says his manager agreed with me and moved the speakers closer together and to come back in. I never did. I have other stories, but will end it with that one. Most audio stores could do twice the business if they knew how to sell - or even just listen! 

Lol it is always a good idea not to say much in a hi-fi  store and listen  to what they don't know. Then never forget that almost all the customers  have a much higher net worth than the salesman  do. If they get to bad don't be afraid  to let them come to that judgement many times I think there jealousy shows in there apparent arrogance. 

Back in the early 2000s, I was an IT contractor for BellSouth.  A group of us (all contractors) would often go to lunch together and sometimes visit various "interesting" stores while out and about.  One day, we went by an audio boutique North of Atlanta, up I-85.  About four of us went in and we were looking around.  One of the other contractors was looking for a set of speakers for his setup and really liked the look of the Thiels on display.  Only problem was, none of the salespeople would even bother talking to any of us.  Between the four of us, there was probably close to $2,000,000 per annum combined income, but we couldn't get any assistance to demo a pair of speakers.

That store no longer exists.  No wonder.

I've given up on the dealers in my town since I've had some bad experiences. The most recent was a few days ago. From now on I'll probably buy from other dealers online who are more copacetic. 

The market today is very different to when I started this obsession as a destitute, married undergraduate in the early 1970's. The larger retailers sold almost nothing like hifi, some factory warehouse outlets had started but basically sold cheap rubbish. Then the UK got stores like Superfi. Many lunch times spent there as a student. Staff were quite well informed and genuinely interested, hi fi mags were rather bookish and for enthusiasts. As the marketing and literature got more market orientated the consumers got more knowledgable. The great hifi store scene on "Not The Nine O'clock News" was actually not untypical. As engineering students, oddly with a design professor who had been an audio designer and a hifi freak, we had design assignments for linear tone arms, direct drive turntables, transmission line cabinets and all manner of hifi things. Of course we now knew rather more than most hifi salesmen.  The hifi enthusiast opening his (always his I'm afraid) own store was now a rarity, a member of staff who sold radios and tv's last week  was now trying to sell hifi. It still happens.I remember meeting a barman of my acquaintance working in a hifi store, I was looking for a turnable.  He pointed to a Garrard 401 with SME arm and said, "best in the world, direct drive". I said isn't it an idler drive", "yes the little rubber wheel drives directly onto the turntable" he replied.  Only recently in a multi chain national supposed specialist store I enquired about an amplifiers power output and he went onto the internet and I was told with disdain, "40 watts", I asked into 4 or 8 ohms, "what's the difference", was his reply even more disdainfully. 

I think 'snooty' is where a dealer is disdaining or dismissive of a customer, particularly a young customer, who hasn't much money to spend.

This happens quite a lot.

Sadly, Audio Dimensions closed for business back in July.  Always knowledgeable, old school store for sure.  

@oddiofyl  been to all 3 of those myself and agree they have all been very down to Earth and friendly. In fact I just bought my Revel’s at Natural Sound back in October. Even though I could have received an extra 10% going online (and gotten them much quicker) for the package, I still went through Larry at Natural. He took the time to set them up, spent time with my wife and I, and also left us alone and made us feel completely comfortable. I did tell him I could get them sooner and cheaper but that I wouldn’t do that after the great customer service he provided. Then he had his stock guy deliver them to me to save the sales tax as I am in Nashua…


Same same with Fidelis (Marc) and AV Therapy. Good down to Earth people man!

I just bought a cartridge at Natural Sound.   I was surprised at how many they had on hand to choose from

Larry and Mark at Natural Sound are good guys.   I prefer to shop locally when I can and will take the 45 min drive to Nashua often to save tax.    That was good of them to deliver.   Enjoy

When I was a teen in the 70s, my brother took me to Soundex to buy my first stereo with my first income tax refund. The store was small and my brother knew the sales guy from previous purchases. Over time Soundex grew and ended up with a 2 floor 22 room Hifi Heaven with all the latest and greatest. My experience then was that if you were not dressed a certain way, had a certain haircut, or have money hanging out of your pockets, you were pretty much ignored. I used that to my advantage on Saturdays when I would take my own disks and step into Room #1 which actually had whatever the latest top high end gear was that month. I would close the door and play my disks. The sales guys always assumed another was doing a demo for a buyer and rarely bothered me. That was how I got to hear some of the best gear available at the time. 2 times when I was ignored, I watched someone buy a $20K Oracle TT and then the next week trade it in for the $30K model so I had to wait forever to buy a set of  $50 cables . Soundex is long gone but was a premier spot for High End in it's day as long as you looked like you had money.

@ghdprentice I understand the reaction of "moving on" if there is an attitude problem in a store. But given (a) the scarcity of audio stores and (b) the importance of hearing a system in person, many people don’t have the luxury of moving on, right? This does not justify the salesperson being snooty or rude, but they have leverage in the situation.

I live in Denver. I have found the folks here pretty friendly, open. That’s partly a Western state thing; friendly is expected a lot of the time. Still, if they weren’t, and I wanted to hear Devore or Wilson or Dynaudio or Acora or whatever, I would have to try to get a slightly tougher skin. Otherwise, I'd have to travel a long way to hear them. Beyond that, what do I do -- buy these speakers on the internet and pay $$$ for shipping to return them? That's not going to give me a lot of experience before buying. Hence, the leverage.

Soundings in Denver is one of the good ones. No pressure and very knowledgeable. Ask for Jess. 

Yes, and you don’t need to go to a store anymore because now they’re on-line in forums like this and on the phone! When that happens I won’t buy anything from them, and in some instances even the product they are selling from anyone. That’s why I will never buy a particular streamer, that I won’t mention here because I don’t want to offend the good audiophiles that enjoy that product. I also make it a point to continue to tell everyone I am in contact with and discuss audio about my experience and why I don’t recommend buying from this person. This is the only way you can make a difference in the attitude of some of these individuals. Your wallet! On the flip side, if they treat me right I treat them right in every way I can. I’m their their best advocate, product and person 😀

Sorry if this rant is a repeat!

In the metro Denver area, you will be hard pressed to find a quality Audio store. Yes there are stores that sell quality audio equipment, but their sales staff leaves a lot to be desired. From one store that only has an Xbox of a disk transport and the system that holds great promises& public admiration, can’t play a single note below 100 hz.. Yes something is wrong with that. then you turn to the oldest store (approx 45 yrs in the business) in the community where the sales person asks you that you currently use in hopes of providing something near equivalent to start with and then hooks you up to the most obnoxious pieces of flotsam and on top of that didn’t have ANY kind of disk transports and couldn't fine any sample music you bring in on ANY of his streaming sources. If you end up buying something ’IN SPITE OF’ your salesman’s attention to you, you should be rethinking you choice of stores. From now on I think I might have to travel at least as far as Ft Collins or possibly Albuquerque, as these idiots here don’t deserve to be in business and that totally takes away from the purpose of buying locally.

I will say there is one store (in the tech center) that I haven’t visited as when I was last searching for equipment, they were in the process of moving and didn’t have much of anything set up to show off.

Yes!  and I wouldn't go back either.  Same with snooty auto salespeople.  It is not that hard to spend your hard-earned money someplace else.

@hilde45 "But given (a) the scarcity of audio stores and (b) the importance of hearing a system in person, many people don’t have the luxury of moving on, right? "

I think you've drilled down to the crux of the matter.  Whether one values the assets on hand at a dealer, or not.  If not, it's a mute point. But, even if you don't like dealers in general, they do put a lot good gear in people's homes, generate revenue, keep some quality manufactuers in business, and often launch new products/technologies.  If you value the dealer, it can be an ackward, sometimes frustrating, experience.  

Not to sound snobby here, but I'm going to present the premise that most of you contributors here have reached a level of success in life a bit higher than the "average" sales guy they you're going to encounter at an audio store.  Instead of looking down on them, we have skiills and talent (and, motivation) to try to navigate our way through to a good outcome.  

I can't tell you how many times I've had to "coach" salepeoplle how to sell to ME.  Cars, homes, commercial properties, tires, motorhomes, etc.  Give them the opportunity to "humanize" the relationship by asking them personal questions, etc. And, yes, you will often know more about THEIR product, than they do.

That being said, as an old, retired dealer, the dealers have to reinvent themselves.  But, they also have to make "the numbers" work.  Reinventing also means reinvesting.  Your business matters to them.  Whether those representing the company make it apparent.  Or, not.


We have different experiences of Metro Denver. The folks at Crescendo Audio were easy to deal with and have great gear (Ayre, Dynaudio, Elac, Wilson, Chord, Octave) as were the folks at Aural HiFi (Devore, Quicksilver, and lots of great vintage gear). As were the folks at Soundings (Rose Hifi, Acoro, Rockport, Boulder, Kef), and there are other stores, too — with ProAc, Harbeth, Legacy, Apertura, Goldmund, and more. So…what are you talking about? A single bad experience? 

As for this comment — +1:

Not to sound snobby here, but I'm going to present the premise that most of you contributors here have reached a level of success in life a bit higher than the "average" sales guy they you're going to encounter at an audio store.  Instead of looking down on them, we have skiills and talent (and, motivation) to try to navigate our way through to a good outcome.  

YIKES!  So sorry this happens to ANYONE.  When I opened my shop in the early 1970's, I was convinced I could help every customer who walked in.  I spent HOURS with each one, first getting to know them--it was a VERY small town back then--and then learning as much about their musical likes and dislikes, what they currently owned, and what they were looking to achieve.  This was sometimes difficult as it was kind of a one-person shop, so should more than 2 customers arrive at the same time, I had to learn how to manage that situation, which I think I did fairly well.

Now, some customers were "just looking" as we had the only high-end shop for 30 miles either way.  Back then, you could only carry what the other guys were NOT carrying.  Fair trade and territorial branding were in force, which made it difficult sometimes to help customers.  A good example: we were and ARC/Magnepan shop.  Hi-Fi Associates in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale was a Mc shop.  Luskin in Ft. Lauderdale was a middle shop that sold under cost since he bought closeouts by the train-car load for less than they cost me.  While business was good, the items we sold were EXPENSIVE compared to middle stuff, so I had a lot of, "I can get a receiver at Luskin's for 1/2 of that" comments when I was selling Marantz and he was selling Scott or another decent but middle-priced item. 

Many customers wanted discounts like they found at other shops, but Fair Trade laws prevented me from doing that.  At the end of the day, I had many loyal, repeat customers for high-end products and we added a 5000 sq ft custom wood shop to our business and were making custom hardwood cabinets for customers who wanted to house their gear out of sight (wives ruled back then as I suppose they do now) in expensive homes and condos.  We were unique in that space, and with our top-of-the-heap products we had a nice following.

Some lessons:  NEVER ask what a customer does for a living.  I had barefoot, shirtless, long-haired guys walk in with suitcases of cash.  I had well-dressed doctors try to shoplift $15.00-$50.00 items.  I had "frantic" late night calls to "come get my stuff and store it until you hear from me again."  It was an interesting time in my area back then for many reasons... .  I treated EACH AND EVERY customer with respect and spent as much time with the tire-kickers as with the good repeat customers.  At the end of the day, I felt good about my ability to educate customers even if they did not buy that day.  Many showed up years later and bought when they had more income.

I enjoyed THAT part of the business.  The worst part was the state, city, county,  and federal and other rules, laws, requirements; manufactures were also very in control and that was a point of friction as well.  Customers don't see that part of the business--it is debilitating when your only goal was to help people improve their systems.

At the end of the day, while I was jealous of stores like Lyric in NYC ("they sell 6 ARC pre-amps a week" my sales person told me.  I sold one or two a month), I was pleased that I had helped people and (almost) made a living at the same time.  If your dealer is not receptive to spending time with you, demoing whatever you want, and bringing gear to your house to demo since store demos are pretty much useless, I would find a new dealer.  These days, with brick-and-mortar dealers few and far between, you might have to travel.  BUT, if you are spending big money, you should be in control of the sale.  Best of luck to all of you.  In a way, I wish I still had my shop.  In another, with today's retail environment, I am happy I don't!


I may ;have just been lucky, but, I have not had many bad experiences at audio shops.  I have seen many customer/shop interactions, including adverse interactions, and in the most cases, I would put "blame" (if that is a fair word) on the customer--many come with strong opinions and are offended by the salesperson who has a different opinion; many seem to come in spoiling for a fight or they come in expecting to be confronted so they are in a defensive frame of mind.

Why wouldn't the salesperson ask questions about a customer's system so that he has a frame of reference and can suggest what should be addressed first; why are some customers so defensive about this type of question?  There appears to be so much insecurity among those going into shops.  If the salesperson has a strong opinion about what is good sound and what is not, I don't mind this at all, even when that person's opinion differs from mine.  I prefer that a shop have a "vision" and perspective rather than one just stocking what is the reviewers' flavor of the month.  

At the two shops in my area (Northern Virginia) that I really like--Deja Vu Audio (tube-based electronics and old school speakers and turntables, including their own custom builds) and Command Performance AV (tube and solid state, popular high end brands) visits are fun experiences and not painful high pressure sales experiences.  At Deja Vu, the owner has a very strong opinion on what is good and not good sound and is not afraid to tell someone that he thinks a certain piece owned by the customer is crap, but, if you show enough respect by listening to what the store offers for sound, you will be treated with respect in return and you will learn something even if you are not "converted."  The people at Command are also generous with their opinions, but are perhaps more diplomatic, and will treat customers fairly. 

Go into a shop with a friendly, positive attitude (expect to enjoy the experience, don't go in fearful of being intimidated), treat the salesperson with respect (allow them to speak without confronting every utterance), be honest about what you are looking for (even browsers are welcome in most stores), and shopping in a brick and mortar shop will be fun.  

I have nothing but praise for my two local dealers in South Florida: Let There Be Sound! in Broward, and Soundlux Audio in Miami Dade. Excellent people, excellent service, fantastic products, broad knowledge. As for for negative experiences, suffice to say that the store that almost swindled me out of money for a PrimaLuna integrated amp in 2017 went out of business. I was able to get my credit back for my product. They took my money for an an amp they had never ordered. A nine week nightmare. The most mendacious, dishonest, and despicable salesmen I’ve dealt with in my almost 50 years of buying gear.


I enjoyed the time period in South Florida you mentioned.  I moved down here in '82 and there were a number of good local shops.  

Audio Dimensions was a great place...I've never really had problems with sales people at audio stores, though certainly some much better than others...and it has to be rough on them, having so many walk-ins, knowing they want to audition, but will buy used...


The store you said is moving is Soundings and it would be worth your time to drop in. They are also now a new distributor of Acora speakers. 

This is a story I've told just about all of my audiophile friends over the years:

It was a beautiful sunny spring or summer afternoon in the late 70s or early 80s, as I recall. I was in a small city, had a day off and wandered into the highest high-end shop in the city just to look around. I had no intention of buying anything. I just wanted to see what this shop offered. It was a weekday, around lunch time, and I was the only person in the shop, other than the owner.

After a few minutes of nosing around, the owner approached and asked if there was anything he could help me with. I immediately and politely said "no", explained that I was just looking around to see what was on hand and wasn't in the market for anything at the time. He responded with a congenial smile and said:  "Ok. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help." as he walked away and left me to my own musings.

After about 20 minutes or so of checking out the merchandise, I headed for the door. At that point, he intercepted me and we engaged in a brief but very enjoyable conversation about stereo toys, as audiophiles are prone to do. Since it was such a slow day for him, he asked if I might be interested in listening to the best sound he had in the shop. So, we sat and listened to a pair of electrostatic speakers that were at least 6" tall (can't recall the name), a beautiful B & O linear tracking TT, an amplification system I can't recall the name of and some wonderful LP recordings. The cost of this entire system was well over my annual salary, at the time.

After about10 minutes or so, I thanked him for his hospitality and explained that I should be on my way. He asked what I thought of the system we'd just heard. I said it was very nice and was content to leave it at that. However, he insisted upon detail, an honest critique. So, I told him I thought the TT was very nice, loved the amplification and recordings but was somewhat underwhelmed by the speakers. He pointed out how much they cost, said they were the best in the shop and asked if I'd heard anything better in that price range. So, I mentioned 2 or 3 alternatives that appealed more to me. At that point, he became visibly miffed, even upset, and, basically, tried to convince me my ears didn't really know what they liked. I was more than a little surprised by this reaction and politely explained how some folks, no doubt, would probably like those speakers but I was not a fan. Surprisingly, this only served to irritate him further. So, I just smiled, thanked him again for his hospitality, made my way to the door and never went back to that shop again.

@oddiofyl those are great shops, with great people! I've frequented all 3 of them. If you don't mind a little more travelling, I can strongly recommend Safe & Sound in Chicopee, MA, as well. Q Audio in Cambridge, MA is also great shop!


I lived in Ft Lauderdale in the 70s. What was your store? I bought my first hifi system in ‘73. Well, it was hifi to me. All I could afford was a Nikko receiver, Smaller Advents, Garrard turntable that I bought from the first Sound Advice store on Federal Highway. My first experience was great and that set the standard. I ended up lurking in all the hifi stores I could find. Unfortunately, SA got too big and lost what made it fun.

I remember Luskins, HiFi Associates and of course Sound Advice. 

I find the smaller the shop the better.  More personal service and attention.  The tradeoff of less choices is worth it.  There are many duds out there just trying to move merch but I've had some very pleasant experiences with like minded people who love music.  About a year ago I was demoing a pair of Amatis in NYC and through the entire demo the salesman was standing close by tapping his feet and enjoying the playlist.  Very enjoyable hour with these folks.


Usually one knows very quickly if the person they're dealing with will be a good match.  I've never let a mismatch get to the point where some salesman has the chance to talk downhill to me.  Cheers

It isn't the quality of the equipment that these store have. It was their equipment that brought me into the stores. It was My Preparation to make sure they could accommodate me, their arrogance, their inability to provide a professional experience and finally paper thin walls between listening rooms. That just doesn't fly with me. I cold have gotten a better experience at Radio Shack. At least there you know what to expect and can accommodate for that i you own mind.
Another store that yo did not mention and notice again I am not going to say it. Their sales man after hearing about my previous experience went all the wany to ask me what I had for a system so that he might try to match it. Only he connected some tiny 2way bookshelf speakers to a Mac and though he would reproduce my home experience with full sized towers. Also when he couldn't produce anything that I had on a lengthy music list or means to play either a CD or DVD Also, those 2way bookshelf speaker were EXCELENT speakers in their own way. I would love to put some of their towers next to mine and compare them. but a tiny 2way is never going to sound like my towers. Had he chosen to connect to proper speakers that he had in front of him and been able to play something I know! He probably could have made a sale, but I ended up getting a far less expensive AV Receiver just becasue I know what to expect for NAD instead of something that NO ONE was able to demonstrate to me. WhY else would I g to a brick and mortar store?



You're right. Not all my experiences have been good and a couple stores you didn't mention were problematic.

But -- whatever the gear -- I had good experiences at:

Crescendo Audio

Aural HiFi

Gold Sound


Salespeople change and sometimes stores get feedback that helps them get better. 

When people on this forum swear, "I'm never going back" they may have hit a wall. That's unfortunate.

They may also be admitting, tacitly, that they don't know how to help the sales people help them. They don't know how to relate to people. Because, we're all people in this thing, I take it.

Can't really recall any. But then I just avoid people who are likely to annoy me and try not to dwell on it. It's like 2nd nature now. Also helps to do due-diligence beforehand, so I can provide my context and targeted questions from the get-go. 

Funny enough, I've encountered a couple big dealers via Facebook friends - not for audio related business - who turned out to be real sh*t-heads. Fortunately there are PLENTY of dealers and manufacturers I really do like. And I've maintained a good relationship with my main dealer for some 15 years. 

So, no problems with bad salespeople here. If anything, it will be entertainment if/when it happens. 

Audio Dimensions? I visited that place many times!

Harry was a great guy. I said was because he was quite old when I last visited but perhaps, he is still around. I'm not even sure if the store is still in business.


@upshift and @szeidman2002 My shop was in Boca. As for Sound Advice, the guys who started it came into my shop one day--4 of them. They proceeded to laugh at me and my shop and told me that "they will run me out of business" in a month or two.

Well, MR X put his profits up his nose, they were so in debt to Sony that they took over the company, and eventually:

The company later went public until being acquired by Tweeter for around $150-million in 2001. After two filings for bankruptcy in less than one year, all 94 Tweeter / Sound Advice stores have officially closed down as of today.Dec 3, 2008

They were from Detriot and had been somewhat successful up there. If you lived there in the early ’70’s you might remember them. I don’t.

They were "big time" for a while, but they never sold what I did. You may have also visited Sound Components in Miami, started by a man I know who’s father owned a mint in South America. He was better capitalized that I was by a mile! He started recording live music with a Stellavox and achieved some notariety in the "big boy" Audio world. He is now working at some big company--I don’t remember which one. The store is still in Miami, but I have no idea where or who owns it. It used to be in Coral Gables. Hi-Fi Associates was owned by a man who’s dad started a large rental trucking company and he was VERY well capitalized for a while. As I remember, he opened a few more shops and his dad eventually pulled the plug.

I could tell many stories of those days down here, but will not. Suffice it to say, it was a VERY small group of us and we all knew each other pretty well, for better or worse.

And yes, it was an interesting time in SO FL in those days...we will leave it at that.

Oh, for those who wonder, I still listen to my Tympani I-C speakers/ARC gear from the late 1970’s and they are still the most accurate speakers made--the newer ones obvioulsy improved. Put them next to any other speaker and YOU choose. Many don’t care for them, but if they are set up properly with excellent tube gear, well, if you hear them, you will understand. Not for everyone, but for me, as good as it gets.



I had read Sound Advice had gone out of business. I left S. Fl in 1980. I appreciate those guys (meaning Sound Advice) might have been arrogant. I rarely went to Boca as I would have loved to have seen your store. I tried to go to and lurk in as many as I could find. I remember Fl fondly because that’s where I first heard what music sounded like on a real stereo system outside of an all in one Soundesign.

I don't really patronize any dealers where I am now but in the luxe goods market (which is what "high-end" is), I would always call well in advance to set up an appointment. That process itself was often instructive. 

I dealt with many dealers when I lived in NY metro- some good, some bad, some indifferent. 

Ironically, one of the best dealers I encountered in my last decade plus in NY was someone who I did business with entirely through house calls-- he brought equipment to audition, did visits to address repairs, brought manufacturers over, etc. It was only when I was in the process of leaving NY that I finally paid him a visit at his facility, which was impressive, but it was more of a social call than anything. 

A good dealer is something to be treasured--it isn't just about selling something--long term- the support, the knowledge, the willingness to explore other possibilities beyond what the dealer himself might regularly carry make for longer term relationships. 

I've found this to be true in all sorts of endeavors beyond audio. A good dealer will know that the relationship, the referrals, the repeat business, all count, probably more than ever. 

Having not set foot in a retail hi-fi store in years, I don't know how much truth this still holds. Most sales people learn how to "qualify" customers pretty quickly.  The best "dealers" of any type of good or service will not be rude because you never know....  


Interesting, I moved to Boca in '82. At that time I had my "dream system" from when I graduated from college.  Worked a second job teaching at a community college and that went towards my first big system:

Infinity Monitor IIa speakers

Phase Linear 700B

Soundcraftsman Preamp/Equalizer

Rabco Tonearm mounted on a Technics Direct Drive Platter

Still in Boca now.

Several have already mentioned Natural Sounds in Framingham; +1 to them.

I was in town to visit family and had some time to kill.  So I walked into the store and told them: I was from out of town and thus, it was highly unlikely that I would buy anything from them so I didn't want to waste their time.  But if they didn't mind I'd walk around and see what they had on display.

They were super nice: said there were no customers in store so there was no problem if I even listened to a system.  They took me to a room (Ayre amplification; don't remember speakers) and played for me and also chatted for a while.  Super nice people, nice equipment, and great attitude.  If I was living in that area, I'd definitely buy from them.

I follow the example my late Father set for me. The retired head of the Chemical Division of Eastman Kodak who was raised dirt poor in SW Virginia -- a member of the famed Carter Family, the founders of Bluegrass and Country Music. When Dad took early retirement in 1981, he focused on his true loves -- working on the 100 acre Family farm, building expert quality furniture out of the woodworking shop on the farm loaded with the highest quality gear available, and building a 3,000 square foot log cabin out of 3 log cabins originally built between 1820 and 1850.


When he was in the market for new cars, trucks, televisions, or nice furniture, he went to the stores in a beat up farm truck, his sweatshirt and jeans covered in sawdust from the woodworking shops, and asked to speak to a salesman. 99% of them ignored him thinking he was a lowly farmer with little to no money to spend, but the 1% who treated him like a valuable customer with dignity ended their interaction with a product sold with cold, hard, cash. Whether it was a $100 chair or a $30,000 brand new pickup truck. The other salesmen would crap their pants and try to quickly make up ground. Dad never gave them the time of day just as they had him. Usually it was a brand new kid who recently starting working that got Dad’s sale -- and that’s the person he dealt with for the following years as long as they still worked at the store. When I’m in the market for a high-end product I do the same thing -- dress like crap and look like I just rolled out of bed. Whoever treats me like a human being gets my cash.

@kingbr @oddiofyl 

We have 1 1/2 shops here and when I decided to buy Some KEF speakers, I knew they’d have to be shipped whether I ordered them from a local HT shop who had never seen or heard one or from another dealer, so I bought from AV Therapy and had them shipped 850 mile to my front door. John took very good care of me.

The same as with snooty wine/realestate/spirits/ anything else salesmen. Mutter f+++k off under my nose and go somewhere else. At 74 I'm too old to put up with anyone's nonsense.


I used to live in the SF Bay Area. I have had good luck with salespeople at Stereo Plus (Berkeley); Music Lovers (Berkeley); Audio Chamber (Berkeley); Western Audio (Palo Alto); and, my personal favorite "The Soundwell" (Berkeley). I had less than good luck at The Audible Difference (Palo Alto). 

We moved to Arizona, and it is a wasteland for hi-end stereo. The best shops I have found are AZ Hi-Fi (on Central), and Woolson's (Phoenix). I enjoy shopping at LMC (Scottsdale), but I prefer their Tempe store. Somehow, the LMC stores make me feel uncomfortable if I don't buy something...or maybe it's just me.