During the Holidays we took a stroll down the I-5, starting in Washington and making our way all the way down to San Diego and then on to Las Vegas. Along the way we stopped at some HiFi stores here and there and noticed a wide discrepancy amongst stores. Some stores have chosen to go the path a barebones and no longer have show rooms. Purchasing audio components is all about passion and in order to ignite that passion you must have the product in store. I personally would want to see, feel and listen to a product before I purchase it, would you not want the same?
On our drive we visited five stores that we found accomplished this task. They not only had systems that you could listen to, vinyl collections you could choose from but they also had product on hand that you could switch out on systems. Each store had a uniquely different way they accomplished the task of showing off their gear.
The first store we stopped at that we felt accomplished this task was Elite Audio. When you first enter Elite Audio, you will notice that you have entered a coffee shop! Elite Audio has it’s own coffee shop out front that features some of the best espressos we had in San Francisco. After you have ordered your espresso, you walk down into the show room that is separated into a number of different experiences. From Home Theater to Two Channel, you can find different set-ups throughout the store. Some very cool furniture makes the store a comfortable place to sip espresso and listen to music! There is an entire wall of Vinyl for you to put on one of the many turntables in the store to test out systems, so you don’t always need to bring your own music to test out systems. Which in my mind is a valuable asset.
Mike does custom installs as well. He will set up your home theater and do a full acoustic treatment for you as well. It is very San Francisco, a combination of new Tech SF and old style SF, and we definitely enjoyed my time at Elite Audio.
893A Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
Telephone: (415) 795-1149
Monday-Friday 11:00am to 5:30pm
Saturday 11:00am to 3:30pm
After trying out a couple other shops in the LA area we eventually made our way to Brooks Berdan. Brooks Berdan has been in business since 1956 and has developed recognition amongst Audiophiles across LA. They have been in the same location this entire time and it is an awesome spot. They have multiple rooms that are all treated acoustically to give you the best possible listening session and Shiela Berdan has told me they will be expanding and adding additional rooms. Their primary focus is on the HiFi/Home Audio side of things and they offer in house services as well.
The services department is one of the unique things we felt Brooks Berdan offered. They fully repair audio gear from tubes to turntables and have plenty of parts in stock to keep you listening to your systems. They have been around so long they even have a museum of vintage audio gear, which includes a very cool old record mastering machines.
110 West Olive Ave
Monrovia, CA 91016
Telephone: (626) 359-9131
Tuesday-Friday 12:00pm to 6:00pm
Saturday 11:00am to 5:00pm
Monday by Appointment Only
Next up about 30 minutes away is Sunny Components. One of the best things about Sunny’s Components is that every product you find in his store he has stock of! He doesn’t have anything out on display that he doesn’t have at least one for you to take home if you want it then and now.
Instead of sound rooms he has two large warehouses that he has set-up multiple systems in. One of his major focuses is T+A and he also had a very large Wilson Audio set-up. With his next project he will be opening up the lower end side of his product lines in a brand new warehouse that he is re-modeling to be more acoustically sound and visually superior to that of his competitors. He holds events quite often and you can probably get a deal or two during them!
1370 E. Cypress St
E Covina, CA 91724
Telephone: (626) 966-6259
Fax: (626) 966-5467
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 9:30am to 5:30pm
Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm
Tuesday by Appointment Only
Stereo Design is right next to a Vinyl shop I used to visit when I was a young poor college student and high-end audio was out of my league! Their new location is something every San Diegan should check out! They have ten full showrooms! On top of the ten showrooms, they have products and systems in their main lobby, front lobby and center hall. They offer Home Theater solutions on top of their Home Audio systems. By requesting an appointment the Stereo Design team will set up specific systems to match your needs, which puts them on the list of the better dealers out there!
7276 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92111
Telephone: (858) 573-0060
Fax: (858) 573-0092
Wednesday-Friday 11:00am to 7:00pm
Saturday 10:00am to 5:00pm
Tuesday by Appointment Only
After San Diego, we ended up making our way up to Las Vegas for CES. We was quite busy but we were able to stop by this store while at CES. The AV Boutique has a history in Interior Design and this makes their space quite unique. If you are looking for a truly fashionable and décor look then the AV Boutique is definitely a place you want to check out. They hand pick their artwork, furnishing and accessories from the Valleys craftsmen and artists.
They have multiple systems set up in their studio as well as headphone listening stations supplemented by wine tasting! They switch their systems out quite often in the shop to give visitors a taste of everything they have. Looking for someone who can help build you an awesome system and make it stunningly beautiful, then the AV Boutique is your shop!
353 E. Bonneville Ave. STE 175
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Telephone: (702) 948-9262
We have recently just taken a trip out to New York and we have a report in the making for that trip as well. Have an audio dealer in your area that you think is awesome, let us know so we can check it out the next time we are in that area!