Dealer Spotlight: Upscale Audio

By Michael Taylor

2Hats… “wearing many hats” is the phrase that comes to mind when we think about this month’s featured Nordost dealer, Kevin Deal, the founder of Upscale Audio.

You can actively see those hats being switched, one for the other, when you sit down and talk to Kevin.  One minute you are discussing the latest gear in his impressive demonstration room, the next he is telling you about the matched EL-34’s he has for sale; wait one more minute and the phone will ring—it’s one of his dealers of PrimaLuna, the well-known tube amplifier brand he imports and distributes in North America— and so it continues.

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Kevin (aka “Uncle Kevy”, aka “The Tube Guru”) launched Upscale Audio in 1994, providing primarily tube upgrades, while selling a select group of product lines. With a reputation forged in exceptional customer service and product knowledge, Kevin has built Upscale Audio into one of the premier retail establishments in the country, which he has recently moved from Upland to Laverne, in Southern California. It’s a beauty!

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The store is comprised of listening rooms, turntable setup and tube-testing stations, offices, and a warehouse.  If you can stay away from the tube selection (and the drooling it usually causes) you get a chance to see how amazing the demo rooms really look—and sound!

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Nordost has partnered with Upscale for over 16 years now, and considers Kevin, and all his staff, as friends.  When we asked Kevin what his philosophy at Upscale Audio was, he said, “Our philosophy is simple but rare on the retail side of this industry: create friendships”.

We couldn’t agree more!

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Dealer Spotlight: Hanson Audio Video – Cincinnati

By Mike Marko

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A world class audio video salon isn’t born every day, especially here in the heartland of Ohio.  On October 12th, 2017 that’s precisely what happened.  Hanson Audio Video officially opened their second state-of-the-art store and showroom in Cincinnati.

This brand new facility showcases high performance solutions to satisfy every aspect of home entertainment.  Hanson’s approach of offering “good” and “better” hifi, allows them to provide both affordable setups that blow away what you can find in the big-box stores, and reference systems which demonstrate what could be possible in a cost-no-object scenario.  You can experience all this and more in Hanson’s modern showcase for music and film, now open in Cincinnati.

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Hanson’s family owned and run operation first opened its Dayton location in 1999, and soon grew to be one of the premiere audio and video system providers in the nation.  The Dayton location occupies three floors of state-of-the-art systems, and will continue to serve their loyal, satisfied customers in that market as well as in Cincinnati.

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Great stores are run by great people, and Hanson is no exception.  Helmed by Troy Hanson, with help and guidance from his father, Greg Hanson, this multi-generational business excels in customer service.  Hanson employees are comprised of highly skilled professionals with many years of experience and certifications in a wide range of audio, video, automation, computer, and networking applications. They are proficient with custom room/system design and installation services, as well as with the on-going support necessary after the initial install.

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As a Nordost Supreme Reference Dealer and Certified Nordost Specialist, the staff at Hanson Audio Video has been factory trained directly by Nordost. Hanson offers all of Nordost’s available lines to their customers, including cables, from Leif to Odin 2, as well as our entire range of resonance control devices and power products.


10800 Montgomery Road
Cincinnati, OH 45242

Phone:  (513) 563-0444

Email:  sales@hansonav.com

www.hansonav.com


 

Dealer Spotlight: Target HiFi

By Bruno de Lorimier

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This month we are focusing our Dealer Spotlight on one of the first Canadian dealers to join the Nordost family: Target HiFi. Founded in 1981, Target HiFi has been the destination for all things music in London, Ontario for nearly four decades. Owner, Bil Robinson, and long-time employee, Al Matheson, got their roots in retail through the record industry, and their passion for music is still a palpable presence in their store today. Target HiFi resides in an impressive 10,000 sq. ft. building (6,000 of which is dedicated retail space), in the center of downtown London, ON. It is the perfect spot for music lovers of all kinds to converge, thanks to its diverse range of product offerings— from table top radios, DJ equipment, bluetooth speakers, Pro Audio, all the way up to esoteric high-end audio. As part of these offerings, Target HiFi boasts Nordost’s cable lines, from Leif to Valhalla 2. Bil has always been a huge believer in cables, saying, “We were a strong supporter of cabling from the earliest days of the emergence of the importance of cables in an audio system, and we were among the initial wave of Canadian Nordost retailers back in the last century.”

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Besides quality audio cabling, Bil is also a firm believer that, in order to be a serious player in the world of hifi, it is important to surround yourself with trained audio professionals. It is for that reason that since 1982, there has always been a graduate of the Music Industry Arts program at Fanshawe College on staff. These students are accomplished musicians in their own right, and undergo “Golden Ears” training, which Bil recognizes as a great asset to his company.arcamma1

Target HiFi has always been a true supporter of the ideology that, when it comes to music, every detail matters, as well as a strong advocate of Nordost products. We thank Bil for his years of great partnership, and encourage everyone in the London area, whether you are an audiophile, a musician, or simply a music lover, to stop in and see what a great establishment Target HiFi is!
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TARGET HIFI

144 Dundas St.

London, ON

N6A 1G1

Phone:  (800) 830-9730

Email:  sales@targethifi.com

www.targethifi.com

 

Dealer Spotlight: Third Dimension

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www.zurdrittendimension.de

Munich is one of those places that seems to make it on everyone’s “Top Destinations” list, and audio enthusiasts are no exemption. During the week of the High-End Show every Spring, audio rivals asparagus in popularity, and with everyone flocking to the MOC, it’s sometimes easy to overlook what is actually one of the best – and permanent – shows in town: 3. Dimension on Heimeranstrasse.

Sporting Nordost’s entire range of products, including the Odin 2, 3. Dimension has several demo rooms of different sizes in which you’re sure to be treated to excellent sound, as well as serious barista-level coffee from their own machine.

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Last time Nordost visited 3. Dimension we performed several demonstrations of our Supreme Reference range, as well as the QRT line. We talked about all the evolution that took place between the original Odin and the Odin 2 and played countless songs of all genres to illustrate the improvements. Odin 2′s musicality is something else!

As for the QRT range, we showed how our QV2, QK1 and QB8 dramatically lower electrical background noise. We also demonstrated how both Sort Kones and Sort Lifts eradicate the   internal and external vibrations that find their way into our setups, clearly smearing the sound and holding back the system’s.

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Next time you’re in Munich, make sure to stop by 3. Dimension. Ask Stefan Trog and his staff for a Nordost demo with coffee, and enjoy what is probably Munich’s – and one of Germany’s – finest audio shops.

3. DIMENSION

Heimeranstr. 68

80339 Munich

Phone 089.54034323

www.zurdrittendimension.de

 

Dealer Spotlight: TAKE 5

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Back in 1977, three young music lovers working in a local stereo shop yearned to be able to offer even better quality components to their clients—offering names like Mark Levinson, Audio Research, Magnepan and so forth.  Their love of music and their passion to provide higher grade audio components that served the music they loved, led to the formation of Take 5 Audio in New Haven, CT.  Initially working out of an apartment and running ads in the New York Times to alert hifi enthusiasts to their existence, their dedication and boundless enthusiasm was soon rewarded with a move into a fine brick and mortar retail store location where they began to flourish.

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Today, Take 5 Audio is located directly across the street from Yale University in downtown New Haven, CT.  Take 5 Audio is an audio oasis, with five dedicated sound rooms chock full of today’s very best audio and video gear.  Names like Wilson Audio, McIntosh, Audio Research, Mark Levinson, Ayre Acoustics, Audeze, Magnepan, B&W Bowers and Wilkens, Brinkmann, AMG, Aurender, Clearaudio, Dynaudio, Bryston, Linn, Harmonic Resolution Systems, Esoteric, Marantz, JL Audio, Paradigm, Zanden and, of course, Nordost, adorn their shelves.  Owner Ralph Cortigiano and lead salesman Bob Carissimi are two of the nicest and most knowledgeable audio and video aficionados you will ever have the pleasure of meeting and working with!  The store is very well appointed with ample facilities for demoing every fine brand they carry.  The foundation of this business was built upon trust — trust that is today revered by both past and present clients, further fortified with a solid confidence in the advice and service Take 5 Audio provides to all their customers.   Product recommendations are based on what is best for their customers.  They are strong adherents to the philosophy “do it right the first time” which ensures no buyer’s remorse and ends up saving you, the customer, money in the long run, by avoiding incorrect or impractical purchases.  Ralph and Bob follow a no-pressure, no-commission sales approach which ensures decisions are based on what’s best for their customers.  Their longevity in the marketplace attests to this successful and relaxing sales approach!

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Take 5 Audio has been a wonderful member of our family of Nordost authorized dealers.  They have demo product on hand for personal customer evaluation, as well as on display, and ready for demonstrations in their sound rooms.  You can audition Valhalla 2 in a highly resolving audio system as well as Heimdall 2 and, our Leif Series of cables.  They also have Nordost’s very exciting new product on demo, the QKORE grounding system!     So please, next time you are in New Haven, Connecticut, drop by and visit this very fine audio oasis.  Say hello to Ralph, Bob and Renae, and listen to some of the finest audio gear available.  They will work within your budget and make sure you leave with the utmost confidence in their ability to select the right gear to honor the music that you love!

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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