Dealer Spotlight: Loud & Clear

This month, we focus on one of Nordost’s longest standing dealers in the UK, Loud & Clear, who recently celebrated their 20th Anniversary.

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With a hugely experienced team of 18 across showrooms and demo suites in Glasgow & Edinburgh – Loud & Clear pride themselves on their system synergistic approach. They consider an audio or audio/video system as a whole – a system which should be greater than the sum of its parts. Rather than looking at individual components, a system is all about how products interact and complement each other to give a truly outstanding performance.

In the words of Allan Boyd, Glasgow’s MD, “We have all put together a system which, on paper, should sound amazing, but in reality is a touch disappointing. It’s all about knowing the strengths of each and every component in the chain and knowing what will work together.  It’s one of the great things about Nordost cabling and the QRT product – they add very little – they just let the system breathe and perform to its best.”

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“Demonstration is the key to what we do – we all have our personal preferences about the music we love and the way we listen. Both stores have unprecedented demo facilities – two hifi suites in Edinburgh, as well as a multichannel room, two hifi suites in Glasgow, a multichannel room, and a recently added private demo suite dedicated to the high end on the South side of Glasgow.” added John Carroll, MD of Loud & Clear in Edinburgh.

One of the things that sets the Loud & Clear team apart from their local competition is their prevailing attitude to only offer products that they truly believe in, rather than merely sell ‘the latest thing with a five star review’. This consistent philosophy is reflected by the fact that many of the key brands present in the store when they opened their doors back in 1996, such as Rega, Linn, NaimAudio, ProAc & Sonus Faber, remain integral parts of their business today. In contrast, the last 20 years have seen the closure of many other hifi shops in Scotland, that jumped from brand to brand, and review to review.

In addition to the company’s focus on performance audio – Glasgow is also the home of Loud & Clear Smarthome – a dedicated team of 5 who specialize in home theatre, multi room audio, lighting, and heating control— working on projects large and small throughout Scotland and beyond.

Product photogrpahy at Loud and Clear Hifi in Glasgow. The Edinburgh store extends its offerings into the esoteric high end. This is illustrated by having products such as dCS, Kef Blades, YG Acoustics and Moon Evolution on permanent demonstration. 

The reality is that the two stores complement each other perfectly! There’s probably nowhere else in Europe where you’d be able to compare the likes of dCS, Linn, Meridian, Moon and Naim alongside more specialist brands like VPI, Plato and Merging.

There are some clear product synergies with Nordost here - Moon and Nordost have partnered up at many hifi shows over the years in the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden and the UK.  Similarly, VPI offers Nordost internal wiring as an optional upgrade in their tonearms. As a result, many VPI turntables are sold around the world with Nordost tonearm cables.

Not many hifi dealers can boast owning a record label, but Loud & Clear can! Groove Line Records was established in 2015, and specializes in the reissue of classic disco records. As you’d expect with all things associated with Loud & Clear, attention to detail is second to none, with every release taken from the master tapes, and the vinyl pressings being produced at one of the most renowned pressing plants in the world—Optimal in Germany.

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When you take into account all the diverse areas that the Loud & Clear Group operate in, you quickly realize that there is probably no other dealer like them in the world. A sheer love of music shines through in all the staff. When this is coupled with an unerring ability to extract the maximum potential & performance from all the products they sell, you can understand why they establish such enduring relationships with their customers—many of whom have spent the last two decades developing their systems with them.

If you’re ever passing through the great cities of Glasgow or Edinburgh, we highly recommend visiting our friends and partners at Loud & Clear!

Dealer Spotlight: Pure Wave Audio

By Jon Baker

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Jim Pavett, producer/engineer and owner of Pure Wave Audio, is one of the most respected pro audio retailers in the country.  However, that isn’t Jim’s whole story. For over 30 years, Jim has run Southern Arizona’s premier commercial recording studio: Allusion Studios. Since an early age, Jim has had a passion for the very best in electronics. This passion keeps him searching for the latest technologies, which in turn has helped Allusion Studios to maintain its edge and continue its long-standing reputation. From this passion, Jim decided to take his vast product knowledge and use it to grow a boutique, pro audio, consulting/sales business, by the named of Pure Wave Audio. By building trust in the marketplace, fostering client loyalty, and carefully selecting vendor partners, Jim has grown Pure Wave into a leading specialty pro audio hub in the Southwest.


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Jim holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and is an experienced educator and clinician.  He is also the creator of the video tutorial series, The Studio Edge: Pro Audio Recording Series. Throughout his career, he has served as a panelist for the PotLuck / TapeOp Recording Conventions, and has written for national audio magazines. Additionally, one of his many recording projects, Beyond Words by Gentle Thunder, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2007. In 2010 Jim recorded and mixed Jack Gladstone’s Native Anthropology, which won Gladstone the award for Native American Historic Recording Artist of the Year.  Most recently, Jim has produced and recorded Muscle & Blood with Marc Storace (Krokus), Barry Sparks (MSG, Yngwie), Pat Travers, Les Dudek (Steve Miller), and Frank Mario. He is currently performing this album live with vocalist Marc Storace / Bret Kaiser (Madam X), Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Whitesnake, Quiet Riot) on bass and guitarist Robby Lockner (Jack Russel’s Great White).


In 2015 we were happy to welcome Pure Wave Audio to the Nordost family, giving them the distinction of being our very first Ax Angel dealer.

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Dealer Spotlight: Overture Audio

By Mike Marko

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Since 1989, Overture Audio, under the helm of Keith Moorman, has served the audio and video needs of southern, Lower Michigan.  Their commitment to excellence and first rate customer service is unmatched in the region. With top notch demonstration facilities, some of the best brands in the business, and a dedicated, no-pressure staff, you can be assured of a fair and competent demonstration.

Long time staff members Tom Jankowski (TJ), Tom O’keefe, and Craig Johnson are all seasoned professionals dedicated to the finest in customer care.  I’ll let Keith describe the advantages and benefits of his crew:

“Just like the equipment we sell, Overture Audio’s staff puts us well ahead of the competition. Unlike the steady stream of rookies you’ll see at the mass merchandisers, we have been doing this for a long time. I’ve been selling audio and home theater here in Ann Arbor since 1981, and everyone working here with me has been at it as long as I have or longer. Overture Audio is very proud that several of our alumni have gone on to careers with some of the best manufacturers and distributors in the industry.

We’re not just resting on all that experience, though – technology changes too quickly for that. We continue to receive in-depth training from our manufacturers, both in our store and at their facilities.”

They currently have the entire range of Nordost products from our reference Valhalla 2 to White Lightning, as well as a full range of Sort System resonance control devices and QRT power purifying devices, on hand for immediate listening.  Overture has hosted many Nordost events over the years in their state-of-the art demonstration facilities.

When they opened their new location on Stadium Boulevard in Ann Arbor in 2013, Overture Audio designed four different environments that are used for demonstrations. The lobby is 24 feet wide and over 40 feet long, and they always have a simple, great sounding system set up in that space, along with an excellent headphone and computer audio demonstration area. Off of the lobby, there are three purpose-built rooms for two-channel and home theater demonstrations.

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These rooms are designed to represent typical sized listening and viewing environments. Studios A and B are identical medium-sized rooms – approximately 21 feet by 14 feet with 9-foot ceilings. Studio A is used for home theater demonstrations, as well as two channel auditioning. Studio B is dedicated to only 2-channel audio, and is usually the busiest room in the store. Studio C is a considerably larger space – roughly 25 feet by 17 feet with a 10-foot ceiling. This is where larger 2-channel systems are demonstrated, but it’s an excellent room for a projector-based theater as well.

Keith says further:

“We’d also like for you to know that no one at Overture Audio is paid a commission on their sales. Our staff is salaried, which results in a laid-back, low-pressure atmosphere that’s impossible to achieve in a commission-based store. We believe that our customers benefit when there isn’t any financial motivation for us to recommend one particular product over another. And last, we think it’s beneficial for our customers to be able to talk to several different salespeople if they wish, without having to worry about stepping on anyone’s toes.”

Nordost will be sponsoring another event later this year in Overture Audio’s cutting edge facility.  Check back for dates and times and find out what the locals have known for decades.  The next time you’re in Ann Arbor to sample the local arts and sports scene, drop by Overture Audio for an experience you will not soon forget.

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www.overture-audio.com

Phone: 734.662.1812
email: mail@overture-audio.com
Fax: 734.662.1928

Store Address:
Overture Audio
2460 West Stadium Blvd.
Ann Arbor, MI
48103

Dealer Spotlight: Ljudmakarn

By Bjorn Bengtsson

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Ljudmakarn, or “Sound Maker” in English, has a long history of supplying the people of Sweden’s capitol with the highest quality products available on the hifi market. Since this Stockholm staple was founded in 1973, it has gone through several different phases, changing as the industry changes. In 1999, when mass-market mall audio shops started to invade the hifi scene, the owner, Mr. Kaj Lundberg, decided to move away from low-priced, entry-level products, and began to invest in high-performance devices.

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In order to sell these exclusive hifi products, you need to be able to provide passionate, compelling demonstrations and a friendly, knowledgeable staff. Ljudmakarn boasts several demo-ready systems (wired with Nordost cables) in their two-story shop. However, visitors are encouraged to book a demonstration in advance, so that the staff can customize a system tailored to their needs. Kaj and his staff believe that whether the perspective customer is interested in speakers, components, or cables, it is important that they feel confident that the demo system they are listening to has been carefully put together to highlight the product in question. If you would prefer an at-home audition, the Ljudmakarn staff is more than happy to accommodate that as well. 

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At Nordost, we are very grateful for the nearly two decade long partnership that we have enjoyed with this loyal retailer. Over the years, Nordost has been invited to present at several organized events at Ljudmakarn, both dedicated to Nordost products alone, as well as events that are in conjunction with other high performance audio manufacturers. We’re looking forward to 20 more years working together!

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Dealer Spotlight: AudioNirvana

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By Michael Taylor

The High End industry in the Dominican Republic has a special shop available to them: AudioNirvana. Audiophiles there know that AudioNirvana is a place where they can get together to share their hobby and purchase the best products in the market, made by the best brands in the world. All of this is possible because of the efforts of AudioNirvana’s owner, Nelson Gomez.

Music has always been a part of Nelson’s life. Ever since he was a child he would sit in front of his father’s TUNER for hours, listening to all types of music. Even as a child, Nelson could appreciate that each genre of music created something special.

He entered into the world of high end audio in 1997 as an end-user, and ever since then, he’s made a point to attend industry shows around the world, creating and fostering relationships with key players in the hifi community. However, it wasn’t until five years ago that a friend suggested he turn his passion into his career, as an agent and representative for the brands that he loves.

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For Nelson, it is of the utmost importance that he identifies with the brands he represents. Nordost is one of those brands. He says, “Nordost permits me to demonstrate to my clients what their technology is capable of, with no limitations or anything that would change the characteristics of its sound”.

AudioNirvana has a unique business model.  Nelson often invites the companies that he represents to the Dominican Republic to engage in presentations and/or discussions about their products. This gives his clients the rare opportunity to have a direct interaction with the manufacturers of the products they love. Apart from these periodic discussions, Nelson also gives product presentations, teaches classes on technology, and entertains his clients in his shop, so that his customers have the chance to observe, and have a better understanding of, the products they are interested in purchasing.

In the Dominican Republic, the high end audio market has been growing consistently. That’s due, in great part, to the relationships that Nelson has cultivated with his clients, which are, according to him, his greatest investment.

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Dealer Spotlight: Audio Eden Ltd.

By Bruno de Lorimier

Just north of Toronto, in a charming old house in Yonge Street’s commercial district, resides one of Greater Toronto’s finest HiFi shops. Welcome to Audio Eden Ltd. in Aurora.

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Audio Eden is the perfect spot to see and hear some of high-end audio’s most sought-after brands, including Bryston, Linn, Naim, Totem, Acoustic, Kef, LFD and of course, Nordost. In fact, in addition to representing Nordost’s Leif, Norse 2, and Valhalla 2 cabling, Audio Eden is the only retailer in Ontario where you can experience the Odin 2 range. A full loom of Nordost’s Supreme Reference range is on display, connecting big names like Nagra, Kharma, JBL, and Mark Levinson.

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Storeowners, Robert and Mike, have been passionate audiophiles and music lovers since their teens. The years they have spent as hobbyists and retailers, listening to and setting up a vast array of gear, have helped them curate their current lineup of world class audio goodies. Their experience, and their commitment to customer satisfaction, coupled with the multiple sound rooms in their facility set up to mimic real world listening environments, help ensure that fellow audiophiles and music lovers will find the right path on their journey to HiFi nirvana.

Let the boys at Audio Eden show you how the right cabling can “breathe” life into your system’s performance, no matter how accomplished or modest your rig.

Stop by for a listen, a look, or just to say hello. The pursuit of high fidelity is alive and well at Audio Eden.

Dealer Spotlight: HiFi Innovationen

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In northwest Germany, surrounded by beautiful green meadows, parks and valleys, you will find the city of Kassel, equidistant from major cities such as Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Leipzig, and Hannover. Kassel’s relaxing environment is the perfect setting to enjoy good music, and at HiFi Innovationen, owner Klaus Kirchhof goes out of his way to make your listening experience in these idyllic surroundings unforgettable.

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Each year, HiFi Innovationen hosts several events where customers can listen to new releases from different manufacturers and setups at every level. This spring, Nordost was invited to participate in two separate demonstrations and was greeted by a full attendance throughout the whole weekend.

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First, we put the emphasis on power—starting with the power cords. We showed attendees that feeding electronics with good power cords can make a great difference. In fact, these often overlooked components are fundamental in making your system play at its best! We also used our QV2 and QK1 harmonizers and enhancers in order to demonstrate how to minimize the electrical noise that sneaks into our setups through the power supply. However, electrical noise isn’t the only thing affecting the sound quality of your system negatively. Mechanical noise can also seriously degrade musical reproduction, which Nordost remedies with Sort Kones and Sort Füt. During the demonstrations at HiFi Innovationen, we showed that even the power distribution block is subject to noise that feeds into the signal chain.

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Finally, we featured our new, Supreme Reference Range, Odin 2. During our demonstration of this revolutionary cable, HiFi Innovationen customers had the rare opportunity to hear A-B comparisons between the original Odin and Odin 2 cables, including power cords, loudspeaker cables, and digital/analog interconnects. By the end of our presentation it was clear to all in attendance how Odin 2 has improved technology, construction and fidelity, lifting our reference bar to new heights.

Next time you’re in Germany, make sure you visit Klaus to audition Nordost cables for yourself.

 

HIFI INNOVATIONEN

Dipl.-Ing. K. Kirchhof
Weserstraße 11
34317 Kassel -
Habichtswald-Ehlen
Phone 05606.6155
Fax 05606.6156
Mobil 0172.5644588 

Dealer Spotlight: Arizona HiFi

Arizona HiFi is a hotbed for music lovers, located at the always-busy corner of Camelback and Central, just north of downtown Phoenix. Arizona HiFi not only offers some of the finest brands, but they’ve also created an atmosphere where enjoyment of music and all things cool are at the forefront.

Formally known as Arizona Tube Audio, Arizona HiFi was founded by Dan Mazza, who had decided to phase away from the business in 2000. Glen Bevell, who currently serves as Arizona HiFi’s steward, took ownership because he couldn’t imagine the Phoenix community without this wonderful institution. Music has always been a central part of Glen’s life; early on, family members would gather during the holidays and sooner or later somebody would pick up an instrument and begin to perform. Sadly for Glen, musicianship wasn’t meant to be, but developing a good ear was. This, combined with Glen’s constant stream of random audio gear, which he, along with his older brother, performed Frankensteinian experimentations with, lead his never ending pursuit of the ultimate in audio performance. This culminated in Glen’s professional involvement in the specialty audio industry.

Arizona HiFi wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Glen’s second in command, Bill Goodman. Bill has been a constant fixture in the Phoenix hifi scene since 1979. Bill possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of audio gear and its history – Bill has passed this knowledge down to Glen and the next generation. Away from the shop, Bill spends a considerable amount of time devoted to Phoenix’s homegrown live music scene. Today, Bill spins tales and helps tend to the flock of Arizona Hifi followers.

Arizona Hifi has created a positive and constantly busy environment; this is without doubt due to the energy and soul that Glen and Bill bring to the store every day. Please don’t hesitate to visit their website, pick up the phone, or even better, grab some of your favorite new music and swing by the store.

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Dealer Spotlight: Cloney Audio

By Alex Brady

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It seems fitting this month to focus on one of Nordost’s longest standing distributors: Cloney Audio. They’re based in Blackrock, on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland and began distributing Nordost back in 1991.

2016 sees Noel Cloney and his team celebrating their 50th year in business. Over that time, they’ve established an enviable reputation for providing hi-fi systems of outstanding performance for their loyal customers.

Alongside Nordost, they’ve distributed other highly regarded brands for many years, such as Arcam, B&W (including 800 Series), Linn and Naim.

Never a company to stand still, Cloney Audio has, in recent years, developed a very successful international custom install division, installing complete home automation solutions in glamorous locations such as Ibiza and Puerto Banus.

Nordost and Cloney Audio’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of performance across all areas illustrates why they have been such successful partners for a quarter of a century. The good news for customers in 2016 is that Cloney Audio is offering more Nordost solutions for audio, video and home automation than ever before.

Everyone at Nordost congratulates Cloney Audio on its 50 years in business and looks forward to many more years of partnership together.

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Dealer Spotlight: LYRIC HI FI

By Steve Greene

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Whether you are a visitor or a resident of metro New York City, any trip uptown or north of the city in White Plains would be incomplete without dropping by Lyric Hi Fi to see and hear the latest high-end audio gear in some of America’s best sound rooms. Lyric was founded in 1959 by the venerable Mike Kay, an icon in the audio industry for over 40 years. When it came time for Mr. Kay to retire, the New York audio community was fortunate indeed to see him sell his business to longtime and beloved key employees Lenny Bellezza and Dan Mondoro. In fact, both gentlemen have enjoyed working with Lyric’s fine clientele for over 30 years, so the transition to new ownership was incredibly smooth! Lenny can be found at the Lexington Avenue store in the city, and Dan at the White Plains, NY store. Lenny and Dan exude the very definition of professionalism and class, making sure every customer is treated like a family member, and ensuring each customer’s experience at Lyric turns them into a lifelong client. Both stores are staffed with experienced installers and very knowledgeable sales people, including Mike Deutsch, Bob Herman and Scott Trusty.

While Lyric was a leader in early remote controlled custom audio installations, they became the leader in high-end audio in both metro New York City and the US as that industry began its formation and growth, particularly in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Lyric Hi Fi became an oasis for manufacturers to showcase their latest high end products. Music lovers, and even magazine editors and writers, flocked in to see and hear these cutting-edge hi-fi components perform in special, custom-built sound rooms— and the same remains true today! Lyric’s sound rooms are very unique for an audio store, allowing you to hear everything the selected equipment being demoed is capable of. The floors are decoupled from the walls, which are not parallel to each other, eliminating standing waves and hiding any interference from New York’s famous underground subway. The construction of all the special materials used to build these awesome sound rooms was actually done in the Lexington Avenue store’s basement level cabinet shop! In fact, some manufacturers even used these facilities to build, among other things, speaker cabinets. Industry luminaries like Rudy Bozak, Saul Marantz, Dick Sequirra, Bob Carver, Harry Pearson and so on were known to frequent Lyric Hi Fi! This continues today with the industry’s top designers and manufacturers making frequent visits.

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Today, customers still reap the benefits of Lyric’s vast customer service experience and superior demo facilities perfected over the years. The product mix in both locations run the gamut from affordable but great sounding components, up to the very finest audio components that most can only aspire to buy. Brands like Wilson Audio, B&W, McIntosh, VPI, Rega, dCS, Audio Research, Marantz, GoldenEar, PrimaLuna, Dynavector, Audeze, Sonos, Magnepan, NAD, and, of course, Nordost, just to mention a few, are on display and available for demo. Both locations also offer a wide range of accessories to enhance your system, including a huge selection of Nordost cables, Sort Kones, and QRT products. It would be difficult to visit either store and not find something in your budget that you just can’t leave the store without! Parking is quite easy with spaces often available directly in front of the Lexington Ave location, or just around the corner on 83rd St, which is where I usually park during my visits. A public parking lot is directly next door to the White Plains store as well as directly in front of it. So, make sure you visit either store when uptown or north of the city; you’ll be very glad you did!