Dealer Spotlight: Audio Video Therapy

I had the great pleasure of sitting down with John Rein, owner of Audio Video Therapy in Nashua, NH.  John and his knowledgeable staff are dedicated to giving their clients a hi-fi experience tailored to their specific needs and budgets.  I hope you enjoy reading this interview with John as much as I enjoyed sitting down with him.  

– Amy Hansen


Q: What started your passion for HiFi?

A: When I was in high school, I walked into Tech HiFi in Harvard Square and, for the first time, I heard a good speaker that impressed me…and I remember there was a wall of receivers all lit up.  Everything was back-lit dials, and it was mesmerizing.  That’s when I started spending all of my money on audio.  In college, I heard a pair of early B&W 800 series driven by Audio Research monoblocks and realized, oh my god… there’s a whole other level I didn’t even know existed.

Q: How did AV Therapy come to be?

A: About 8 years ago, it was time for me to move into a different area and concentrate more on two-channel audio.  The driving force was that it seemed like everyone in audio had left the people in the middle behind.  There were no feeder systems for younger people to get into the hobby because ultra high-end products were so expensive. After places like Tweeter closed down, there was really no place for someone who had a $3-4K budget and wanted better stuff to go to in order to get started in the hobby.  My goal was to have everything from $199 to $50K speakers in the same place. To help, we even have a trade-up policy to help people gradually work towards their goal. 

But, what’s going to keep this going when we’re not here?  We have to build for the future. I want what AV Therapy is doing to continue whether I’m here or not. 

Q: How has this past year been? Has the pandemic been the most challenging thing you’ve had to face as a business owner?

A: COVID has been the weirdest time because it exploded our business! I really have to say that you are either on one side of the pandemic or the other.  You’re either a restaurant owner, or a business owner that is working in a field where people are stuck at home and need your product. We are blessed enough to be on the right side of this pandemic. I have friends who own restaurants, that have not been so fortunate. Anyone who’s in this business should be incredibly grateful.

Q: How do you incorporate music into your personal life?

A: As you know, I’m on the board of trustees for Symphony NH. But that’s only part of it. Music for me has always been an emotional switch. When the right music comes on, it can transport you into any moment of your life. Music is relaxing, invigorating, and one emotion after another. How often do you watch your favorite movie? Once in a while? Once in five years? Now, how often do you listen to your favorite music? You can do that every day and you don’t get tired of it!

I have five systems at home and a very tolerant wife. With five systems, I have obviously taken over a fair amount of real estate in our house, and she has tolerated this for over 40 years.  For me, music and quality of life are synonymous. It’s playing all the time. Whenever I can, I play with toys at work during off-business hours—that’s one of the joys of work and it’s a great thing.   

Q: Is there any genre of music you prefer?

A: I embrace every kind of music there is.  Since I went to college in Boston in the 70’s, there was always a reasonable amount of live folk music available, and I’ve always liked it because of that. I go to the Montreal Jazz Festival every year, so Jazz has always been part of it too. I grew up in the rock ‘n roll era, so there is a lot of rock ‘n roll in my background too.  When I was 13 years old, my mother bought two records: one was a Mozart record, and one was a Beatles record, so my musical taste has been diverse from the beginning. There’s beauty and complexity in classical, and modern classical has incredible diversity that pushes the envelope and is quite engaging. I like to explore everything, and I like it all. 

Q: How do you see vinyl and digital evolving in popularity?

A: I think streaming has opened the door and that digital’s quality has gone up astronomically in the last few years. The edginess of the 80’s and 90’s is well in the background if you just spend a little more money. I think you can get a more liquid sound for less money in vinyl, but you can get a lot of that same liquidity in digital, it just tends to cost a little bit more. I think that one of the things people are starting to realize is that high resolution streaming is much closer to vinyl than a lot of people actually want to admit. I love vinyl and have 6,500 records at home! So, I’m a vinyl person with turntables all over the house.  We tend to be a lazy species… so even though I have 6,500 records, 80+ percent of the time I’m playing digital because it’s convenient, and now that it’s good enough with Naim, Chord, and Linn streaming at home, I’m listening to more and more digital even though I’m a vinyl lover. I think that the whole ritual of vinyl is part of it.  I love the fact that you tend to sit down and listen for 20+ uninterrupted minutes.  When you’re doing digital, a lot of times you flip the track before the song is over. Patience is hard.

Q: What other changes are you noticing in the industry that have had an influence on your business?

A: I think “whole-house audio” and streaming has been a godsend. Not only do they allow you to spread music everywhere in the house, but it has created a category that didn’t exist years and years ago.  We sell a lot of products like Bluesound; sometimes 7 or 8 units per house to have music everywhere. It allows music to be more integrated into people’s lives when it’s everywhere. 

Q: What does a typical day look like for you at AV Therapy?

A: I see customers in-person, and I spend hours on the phone with customers.  I average 40-50 phone calls a day. Recently, especially since the start of COVID, a lot of our sales have started over the phone, in order to narrow things down for customers before they come in for a listening session. We have thousands of customers now and a lot of them will call up and say, “You know my system and I’m thinking of doing this, this, and this.  Which of these would you recommend?”. That resulted in a lot more home trials. Before the pandemic, people would just wander in and sit down, and we’d audition one thing after another. I think our focus has increased on getting things right quickly when they get here, because a lot of people don’t want to spend a lot of time in a store, where before they wouldn’t mind spending 4 or 5 hours auditioning.  In the last month or two, I am seeing a trend where people are starting to spend more hours here again. 

Q: You are one the nicest, most genuine, and trusted people in the industry.  What do you attribute to that and to your success?

We put the customer first. We try to give them the best stuff we can give them, while being fair and reasonable, and always…their needs come first, yours second.  In the end, this benefits us. I think you have to have a long-term vision.  I understood when I came into this industry from corporate life, what I had wanted as a customer forever. What did I want?  I wanted someone who looked out for what I was doing…and I didn’t see a lot of that.  I was a kid who had been thrown out of audio stores because I had no money.  We don’t do that to anybody.  Whether your 12 years old or 80, you’re going to be treated the same. This business is about enjoyment and fun.  If you’re buying toys, it should be about fun—it’s that simple.   

    

Dealer Spotlight: AudioFi

By Bruno de Lorimier

There’s a new shop in Vancouver, B.C., but the owner is far from being new to our industry.  The shop is called AudioFi and the owner is none other than industry veteran Philip Meyburgh, who I’ve known for many years.  I first met Philip about 20 years ago when he worked at a well-known specialty shop in downtown Vancouver. We share a passion for music, and have always been able to engage in interesting audio conversations. Philip worked at a number of different specialty shops over the past 50 years and it all started in his birth country of South Africa, where he had his own store that he handed over to his sister when he left for Canada in 1994. 

Philip attributes his life-long passion for hi-fi and music to his father’s influence. As a kid he watched him build Vacuum Tube amplifiers, starting with bending the sheet metal, punching holes for the tube sockets, and sourcing parts — it wasn’t so easy in those days! Face plates were made by spraying a layer of black on clear acrylic, and then using a reverse stencil to scratch out the lettering, which were then sprayed white from behind. Speakers were Klipsch Horns, on which his dad upgraded the crossovers with paper capacitors — a suitcase full were needed! In the evenings when the Earth’s ionosphere was just right, his dad would use the opportunity to connect with radio amateurs in far away places. Philip learned about antennas, wire, cable tuning, and grounding. That was the sixties, the birth of rock and the beginning of the album era.  As Philip told me:

“My seven-transistor radio made me love the music, but I needed better fidelity, so I started a lifelong program of upgrading. My motto? – With music reproduction, nothing is good enough!  The magic of science and physics was a beautiful thing and I kept studying Physics through University, trying to understand the physics of the reproduction chain. Hey, why not just read the product brochures, right? The features and benefits are right there, right? I quickly learned who the ‘White Hat’ companies were that are truthful, as opposed to the ‘Black Hat’ companies that exaggerate things a bit.” 

For him, it’s all about the music, which is great because that’s what it’s all about for us too 😊.

Philip opened Audiofi in October 2020, much to a lot of frowns, because of the uncertainty of the moment, but he didn’t want to miss out on a rare opportunity to get a cool space in a vibrant and developing area of Vancouver, near the Olympic Village. The space is Zen-like, where you step through a small inner courtyard into an oasis of calm, where clients can sit down and hear top quality audio.  The shop is one large open space of approximately 1,500 sq/ft where many quality brands are on display and ready for demonstration on a by-appointment basis. Philip is very proud of the brands he sells, which were carefully selected by him on the basis of performance, value, aesthetics, honesty, and most importantly, musicality, about which he knows a thing or two. According to Philip, Nordost checked all the boxes when it comes to his rigorous selection process. In his own words, this is what Philip had to say about Nordost:

“These are the only guys that do things right from both a physics standpoint and also a proof-in-listening standpoint.  This is why I recommend Nordost.  I’m also looking forward to getting back to a post Covid era and hosting in-store Nordost events. Bruno, of Nordost, would come along and simply do comparisons, not push or influence the audience, letting them come to their own conclusions – this is the best type of selling, because when a customer hears the magic for themselves, it is internalized — It becomes a belief. I like being in this space.”


AudioFi

127 East 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC, V5T 1G4

(604) 351-3485

audiofiinc@gmail.com


Hours:

Mon-Sat 10am-5pm

(5 pm -7 pm by appointment)

Sun        by appointment


Dealer Spotlight: Audio Connection, Sydney

By Bjorn Bengtsson

Audio Connection was founded by Josef Riediger in 1987, born out of his passion for high-end music reproduction. When he first started, Josef had a tiny shop in a the Sydney suburb, Bankstown, and sold only a handful of products (like the legendary Gryphon, to mention one brand). After seven very successful years, he had amassed enough funds and experience to move into a much larger facility in Leichhardt, where he continued to build on his earlier success. There, Josef expanded deeper and deeper into high-end HiFi and Home Cinema. Along the way, he met some amazing people from all walks of life, and built a solid reputation throughout the industry and among customers as a real stalwart of the Australian HiFi community. 

Nordost’s journey with Audio Connection started in the early 2000’s, when then-distributor Warren Stolmack brought in some earlier Nordost products for Josef to audition. Josef was so intrigued by the results he heard with Nordost in his system that he instantly signed on as a dealer and continued to spread the word about Nordost’s performance for many years to come. 

Not long after Mr. Stolmack introduced Nordost to Audio Connection, ‘yours truly’ had the opportunity to meet with the charismatic Josef, or Joe Riediger as most people referred to him. In that meeting I remember that Joe said, in his unmistakable accent, “I don’t need to hear them again, Warren already showed me. Valhalla is the best.”  This is a statement he never would have to amend.

From then on, there have been several Nordost demonstrations made in the Leichardt facility. I have had the privilege of spending several enjoyable and memorable evenings with the ever-present customer base of engaged Australian HiFi enthusiasts. One example of such a night to remember at Audio Connection you can even read about here, thanks to Soundstage Australia’s reporting.

Sadly, Josef passed away in September 2020, one week shy of his 71st birthday. His passion for hifi is upheld by the team he left behind, comprised of Janson, Jojo, Michael, Phil, Ken, and lead by his nephew, Nigel. Between this team, there’s almost 200 years of hifi experience, most of which was spent by Josef’s side, and all sharing his passion for audio. Audio Connection has recently gone through an extensive ‘face lift’ with new, superb sounding demo rooms, filled with a full range of some of the world’s most highly regarded high-end brands, as always. Including, of course, Nordost’s entire collection, all the way up to Odin 2.


Audio Connection

Address:137 Victoria Road
Drummoyne NSW
New south Wales
NSW 2025
Phone:02 9561 0788
Fax:02 97199630
Email:sales@audioconnection.com.au
Web:www.audioconnection.com.au

Dealer Spotlight: Liquid Hi-Fi

By Michael Taylor

When we last looked in on Liquid Hi-Fi, down on the edge of the Charlotte NC market, Ron was humming right along. He had some of the best brands on the market— brands like Hegel, KEF, NAD, Dynaudio, Rogue Audio, Moon, and of course, Nordost cabling to connect it all. In the past few years the owner, Ron Buffington, has followed a path similar to a few other top dealers in the country by upping the game.

When Covid-19 hit and we were all semi-forced into home quarantine, we all got bit by the audio bug again too. The more everyone sat at home and listened, the more they wanted to make some system improvements! Ron started getting calls from his clients asking for even more performance and advice on products which could make that possible.

Fast forward to today and when you walk into Ron’s place to see what treasures reside there, you will still see all the well-known and trusted brands he had before, but also some new stuff that reaches the very top end of the market. These products are game changers in performance (and honestly price) — brands like YG Acoustics, Wadax, CH Precision, Boulder, and even more.

A new location for Ron also brought even more listening space, as well as improved acoustics for his clients to hear this new level of performance.  Of course, there is also plenty of Nordost Valhalla 2 and Odin 2 being used to pull those fantastic systems together!


Liquid Hi-Fi

Address

764 Kathy Dianne Dr
Indian Land SC 29707

Contact details

Name: Ronald Buffington

ron@liquidhifi.com
Website: www.liquidhifi.com
Phone: (704) 953-6034

Hour Of Operation

Monday – Friday: 8:45 AM – 7 PM By Appointment
Saturday & Sunday: By Appointment


Dealer Spotlight: Absolute Audio/Video – Calgary, Alberta, Canada

By Bruno de Lorimier

I am very pleased to introduce you to one of Nordost’s top North American Dealers: Absolute Audio/Video

After realizing that there was a lack of quality stereo shops in Calgary, the founder Ross Sisson, who’s an avid music lover, opened the original store back in 2005. They now operate out of a newer, larger, and more sophisticated location.

The first store, which was slightly more modest than the newer more luxurious shop, was situated just a block down the same road in the Bowness Area in Calgary.  Ross, who’s a very handy guy, actually built all of the original showrooms pretty much by himself and did an amazing job.  It didn’t take long for local clients to start pouring in and be amazed by the line-up of quality brands and products on display.  What impressed clients even more was Ross’s technical expertise and, furthermore, his diverse musical knowledge.  I have always believed that the main reason Ross and Absolute AV are so successful is because of his contagious passion for music.  I have come to meet many of his patrons over the years and if there is one thing they all have in common, it’s their love of music and trust for Ross’s recommendations and advice. 

With his lifelong knowledge of music and what good sound is, Ross helps others by providing knowledgeable information on topics like room acoustical improvements and electrical upgrades for audio and video improvements. His advice scans many topics from whole house audio and video to lighting and security.

Ross was raised on good music that he was introduced to by his mom and his older brothers. Ever since he was a kid, strong audio and musical versatility was extremely important to him. He’s an LP and CD collector who spends much of his time finding rare gems in record shops around Canada.

In 2015, Ross spotted a nicer and larger location just down the road, which he envisioned as the perfect space to turn into his dream store.  In May of 2016, his dream came true and the new shop was inaugurated.  Clients and suppliers alike were delighted with the new store’s look and functionality.  In my humble opinion, the new location is truly one of the nicest stores in Canada. 

Here are some of the brands you can currently find at Absolute AV: Nordost, Bowers & Wilkins, ATC loudspeakers, Monitor Audio, Odeon Audio, Vivid Audio, Bryston, Muraudio, Neat Acoustics, Transrotor, Acoustic Solid, Oracle Audio, MOFI, NAD, VPI Industries, Dynavector, HANA, Nagoaka, Kiseki, Grado, Sorane, Jadis, MOON by Simaudio, Ayre, Rotel, Atoll, Rogue Fezz, Zesto, Dan D’Agostino, Merging Technologies, Lumin, Antipodes Audio, Roon Labs, Lindemann, etc …  What a line-up!  It’s also worth mentioning that Absolute AV was the very first Supreme Reference Dealer in Canada in 2007.

The other thing Absolute AV is really good at is organizing very popular and sought-after special events, many of which are held off-premises in glamorous settings like art galleries and famous restaurants.  Attended and hosted by famous people as well as industry specialists, these events have surely contributed to building a strong and loyal customer base which consistently continues to grow.

Then, in 2008, came along James Davies who is now the Sales Manager and Product Specialist at the shop.  James is a contemporary and avant-garde Jazz music lover of the late ’60s and early ’70s, as well as lots of other music spanning across generations. 

“For as long as I can remember, I have listened to music: from the calming effect of listening to The Moody Blues’ “Night in White Satin”, as a child, on the radio, to rhythmic complexity of electronic beat gurus Autechre and Avant-garde Jazz pioneers The Art Ensemble of Chicago – I crave music. I consume music. I believe, if there is one secret to the success of any one Hi-Fi dealer, it’s in their ability to help customers explore and consume music. And, existentially, where do we expect the music industry to be tomorrow if we aren’t supporting our favourite artists of today?

Before getting into the Hi-Fi industry (and probably the main reason I ended up in this industry), I sort of flew where the wind took me. I don’t have a background in any one thing. I’ve been in manufacturing and construction, and am a trained painter and illustrator (and I look forward to pursuing this again if I ever get to retire!). The parallel between painting and music is a fascinating one for me, as colour theory and musical harmony are really one and the same. The same is true of the technologies used to record and produce modern music. If you understand the behavior of one frequency band, the rest starts to make a lot of sense. Much of all art is simply problem solving…we just use different techniques and methodology.”

James’s primary tasks are searching for reliable brands and creating bonds with people in the community. James loves products and brands that don’t make excuses for themselves and that have an interest in not only modern relevance but progressive techniques and ideas as well, which is why he likes Nordost so much. 

“I don’t think there’s a terribly sophisticated reason for our success with Nordost. In the beginning, before my time with Absolute, I believe we chose to represent Nordost not because of its marketability or brand cache, but because of its performance and the company that stands behind the product. In my time with Absolute, I have never experienced a company more dedicated to training its dealers and willing to disclose as much of the technical aspects of their products. As you can imagine, a cable brand with no technical background is easy to label as nothing more than snake oil. So the knowledge base that Nordost brings to the table is really paramount in our success.

Secondly, Absolute AV made the investment. We do not wait around for customers to inquire about and order products on a whim; we demonstrate them in all of our systems, keep a generous amount in stock for quick turnaround, and take the time to recommend the correct Nordost cable systems to meet our customers’ needs and budgets.

Absolute AV is a performance oriented retailer. That’s not to say our focus is purely on esoteric high end. Rather, we do our best to present Hi-Fi equipment as more than an appliance simply meant as a means to an end. Working with Nordost products helps to remove some of the mysticism surrounding high end audio by being firmly rooted in science and engineering; Nordost products take the guesswork out of Hi-Fi, allowing for predictable and repeatable results.”

The entire staff at Nordost is extremely proud to count Absolute AV as part of our team, and I am personally honored to count Ross and James as personal friends of mine.

Long live Absolute AV!


ABSOLUTE AUDIO

6303 Bowness Rd NW #100
Calgary, AB T3B 0E4
Email: info@absoluteaudio.ca
Phone: (403) 202-7302


Where to find Nordost – New in 2021!

For 30 years, Nordost has been sharing transformative, high-end audio products with music lovers. In that time, we have expanded our reach throughout North America and to over 80 countries, worldwide. Today, Nordost is recognized within the hifi community as the premier manufacturer of hifi audio cables and accessories in the consumer electronics industry. However, this glowing reputation, notoriety, and global reach was not achieved alone. There is no question that the longevity and respect that we have enjoyed within this industry has been made possible, in part, by the strong partnerships that we have cultivated over the years with an exemplary group of dedicated distributors and dealers.

Now, at the beginning of 2021, we want to take the time to thank all of our partners around the world, for all that they have done for us, and for introducing Nordost products into a countless number of hifi systems over the years. We would also like to officially welcome all of the retailers that have joined the Nordost team throughout 2020. We are so happy that you have chosen to represent our brand, and we look forward to an exciting future together.

Here is our newest group of dedicated Nordost dealers and distributors:


Audio Jaya

Indonesia

www.audiojaya.com/en/


Innovaciones Acusticas

Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru

www.innovacionesacusticas.com


Audiofi Source Inc.   

Vancouver, BC Canada 

www.audiofi.ca


Massif Audio Design

Waterloo, ON Canada 

www.massifaudiodesign.com


Seattle HiFi

Redmond, WA USA

www.seattlehifi.com


Cloud M.I.S.

Brunswick, ME USA

www.cloudmis.net


Bravas OKC 

Oklahoma City, OK USA 

www.audiodimensions.net


Origin HiFi

Austin, TX USA

www.originhifi.com


For a complete list of Nordost Dealers and Distributors see the WHERE TO BUY section of the Nordost website.


Dealer Spotlight: Adirondack AV / HiFi Loft

By Amy Hansen

If you ever find yourself in the beautiful foothills of the Adirondacks, just South of Lake George, a stop at Adirondack AV in Queensbury, NY is a must.  Adirondack AV opened its doors in 2008 and initially only specialized in custom installations.  Jason Tavares came on board in 2009 while teaching at the college level and pursuing his PHD in European History. In 2010, Jason decided to become part owner and added to their already successful custom integration division, a HiFi division which he has managed to grow 20% year after year.   This success comes as no surprise, as Jason brings his passion for keeping the thrill of music alive to the business every day.  

I had the pleasure of visiting Adirondack AV recently where the peak foliage outside added to the good vibes felt on the inside.  When you step through the doors of Adirondack AV, you will find yourself immersed in a two-channel heaven with walls adorned with artwork from Jason’s talented wife.  You will find brands such as Magico, Triangle, Harbeth, Klipsch Heritage, Luxman, Clear Audio, Tsakaridis Devices, Grandinote Silva, and of course Nordost, just to name a few.  Walk through the shop to enjoy the various sound rooms with products that have synergy, but, as Jason describes, are not “all vanilla”.  Some of the brands you’ll see at Adirondack AV are a result of another one of Jason’s passions: travel.  With frequent trips to Romania to visit family, Jason has the opportunity to expand his repertoire of quality gear with brands that are not well represented outside of Europe, such as Soulines turntables which he picked up during a side-trip to Serbia.  After meeting the owner in Belgrade and listening to music, things clicked, and he became a distributor for the first time. 

Now, if you’re more of a city slicker, then you cannot miss a visit to their urban location, HiFi Loft; a true boutique experience with the same gear that offers the best in music reproduction. The NYC location started in Manhattan in 2015, moved to Brooklyn when it outgrew that space, and will soon be returning to a much larger location in Manhattan in January 2021.  Like the Brooklyn location, which was equipped with an intimate stage for live performances, Jason has every intent to keep live music a part of the mix in their new Manhattan home.

At Adirondack AV and HiFi Loft, Jason and his staff will give you an experience where the accuracy and emotion of music comes through, conveyed by their experience and love of music.  As Jason said it so very well, “in the end, it’s the music.” 

Adirondack AV

1048 State Route 9

Queensbury, NY 12804

518-792-3528

Record Store Hours:

Tuesday through Friday,

10:00 AM to 5:30 PM

Hifi Store Hours:

By Appointment Only

HiFi Loft

Opening soon in Manhattan

Dealer Spotlight: Excel Audio

By Mike Marko

Excel Audio is a Nordost Supreme Reference dealer.  There are few places in the world where you can experience the best, leading edge cables connected to some of the finest loudspeakers and electronics available anywhere, in an atmosphere of kindness and expertise hosted by Mike Rose.

Mike opened Excel Audio in Newport Beach, California, out of his deep love for vinyl and superb music reproduction. Excel is a classic gathering place, the kind of intimate retail experience that has become all too rare in the digital age. Mike’s clients love to stop by Excel, whether to peruse his vast collection of records, to listen to the latest high-end audio equipment, or just for a friendly chat. It’s a great place to enjoy Wilson Audio’s latest flagship, the Chronosonic XVX, which is now on display at Excel.

It’s also a gathering place for the Orange County Los Angeles Audio Society, LAOCAS.  As can be seen in the pictures from their last event, Mike sure knows how to throw a party!


“We’re America’s premier hi-fi audio destination, located in Orange County, CA.”


4678 Campus Drive

Newport Beach, CA 92660

949-933-1599

Open Monday through Saturday, 10AM to 6PM.

Largest Selection of Turntables in Southern California

Excel Audio offers a large selection of turntables, headphones, vinyl, and everything hi-fi for your personal sound system. We are dedicated to offering audiophiles in Southern California the best sound possible at all price points.


Contact them or visit them in their Newport Beach, CA store. They have a large selection of vinyl across all musical genres specializing in jazz, blues, and classic rock. Their wide range of audio gear includes amps, preamps, speakers, turntables, and other components from well-known brands like Nordost, Pass Labs, Burmester, dCS, TAD, D’agostino, Audio Research, Wilson Audio, KEF, Clearaudio, and AMG.


Dealer Spotlight: Sonic Artistry

By Bruno de Lorimier

Hailing from the Greater Toronto Area or “GTA”, the megatropolis just north of the US Border, Sonic Artistry is a boutique high end audio retailer catering to music lovers. With two locations in the GTA, Roncesvalles/High Park in the heart of the city and just north in Aurora, they are an appointment only establishment. The owners, Jonathan Badov and Edgar Balian made it clear to me that their credo of ‘Artistry, Integrity, Music’ is their guiding force in serving their customer base. Ed and Jonathan met in University while studying Mechanical Engineering in the mid 80’s. Their lifelong friendship and business partnership was forged in their love of music and incessant record collecting. They are both avid collectors of British Progressive Rock and Folk music from the late 60’s through the 70’s. They have a deep collection of original pressings and more recent independently produced records. Their one goal— to dig out as much information from those tiny grooves as possible. Don’t get them started on their obsessive record cleaning and archiving process.

Both Ed and Jonathan are practicing professional engineers in Ontario. Their detailed and scientific approach to selecting products and the synergies that exist between them is at the heart of the customer experience. They both believe that products made by companies with deep engineering backgrounds and manufacturing capabilities that exist in solid science and not in the hair shirt arena are typically the ones that sound the best. Finding brands that are at the apex of sonic excellence is key to producing a coherent and visceral listening experience.

Not trying to be all things to all people, they remain resilient in the fact that the only person the hobby needs to make happy is the customer. Nothing else matters. It is their escape and transcendent journey. With many trails blazed to the top of the Sound Reproduction Mountain, they are happy to share with you their own successes and failures along the journey and route to musical harmony. They believe that utilizing the full line of Nordost products in their systems ensures that they can reproduce the best musical experience they can. Teamed with other heralded products such as darTZeel, Stenheim, TechDAS, SAT, Audio Technica, and Minus K. they are focused on the details that count; power, vibration and acoustics.

An individualized customer experience is the way they chose to work with their customers. Without interruptions, the appointment process allows customers to focus on the musical experience. Time is taken to understand what the customer is hearing and their needs. The atmosphere is controlled with a system that is known and set up much like the customers’ own home experience. In-home auditions are the next part of that journey. It is important, with a sizeable investment, to ensure the purchase is what they are looking for, and make sure the customer obtains the audio experience they want to live with.

In Jonathan’s own words “The most fulfilling parts of the experience are the friendships you make over the course of 25 yrs in the business and the exchange of music— learning about new music, new artists, different pressings. Everyone brings something new into the conversation that allows all of us to grow as music lovers, consumers and retailers. We could not have found a better hobby to grow as people, transport us, and make lasting friendships.”

The entire team at Nordost is very proud to count Sonic Artistry as one of our team members.


Dealer Spotlight: 3mA Audio

Besides rodeos, Tex-Mex, BBQ, NASA, and many other things, Houston Texas is known for being one of the largest and most diverse cities in America.  With all the great things to love about Houston, 3mA Audio stands at the top of the list for audiophiles and music lovers alike. 

With a passion for music and vintage audio gear, especially tube audio, Johnny Yip first opened 3mA Audio’s doors in 2012 with just a few product lines.  Johnny’s experience and passion for tube and vintage gear gave him the reputation of being the walking encyclopedia for vintage audio.  Fast forward to today. Johnny Yip and now partner, Luis Miranda, who was once a client, have expanded the business and carry some of the highest quality audio gear and accessories in the industry, such as YG Acoustics, Vitus Audio, Bowers and Wilkins, Audio Research, Nordost and more. There is something for every taste and budget, and Johnny and Luis help their clients find what’s right for everyone.

Unlike the famous Texas barbecue restaurants, who will never reveal their secret recipe, 3mA Audio’s secret to success is no secret!  Their commitment to treating everyone who walks in the door as if they were family is what sets them apart and keeps their clients coming back. With their multiple listening rooms, events at 3mA Audio are not ones to be missed! They cater to their attendees, treating them to music, demonstrations, food, and beverages. Their expansive but cozy outdoor deck (with patio!) hosts live concerts and attracts big crowds.

For Johnny, Luis, and their staff, 3mA feels like a second home, and it will to you too! If you’re in Houston looking for the best high-end audio buying experience, look no further than the experts at 3mA Audio.