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


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.

Dealer Spotlight: BEK HI FI

By Steve Greene

Very few small to mid-size cities are fortunate enough to have both a nationally renowned record shop and a fantastic high-end audio boutique.  Allentown, Pennsylvania is one of those very lucky cities. The two stores are located adjacent to each other, so it is easy to visit both in one trip!  I’m talking about Nordost dealer, BEK Hi Fi, which shares a building with Double Decker Records, rated one of the top five pre-owned records shops in the US! 

BEK Hi Fi started out several years ago as a home-based audio boutique business. However, in 2013, after manager Erik Konigsberg graduated from college, a decision was made to open a brick-and-mortar store with Erik running the day-to-day operations of this business.  What a great decision that turned out to be! Erik’s approach has been to establish a comfortable and accommodating venue in which his customers can audition audio gear at their leisure with a “no pressure” sales approach. Potential customers travel from both the surrounding Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia, about an hour away, for the opportunity to audition BEK’s fine lines in this very comfortable setting.  His customers are very appreciative of both his expertise and accommodating demeanor, which many have related to me on my visits to this audio oasis. Erik also possesses the advantage of having well-tuned, youthful ears, which means he is quite adept at auditioning any gear he considers for display in their store. In order for any new gear to make it to the show floor it must first pass his critical audition for great sound quality and great value!  

Erik and his father, Barry, have just completed a renovation of the store, including the addition of a second, nicely appointed sound room.  This has greatly expanded their demo capabilities. Erik has utilized comforting earth tones along with some cool art to the walls and has added some tasteful mid-century modern furnishings.  The rooms have very comfortable seating so that you can audition speakers and gear in a relaxed, home-like setting. Erik has a very wide selection of music available for you to use during auditions, and you can, of course, bring your own.  Over the past seven years BEK Hi Fi has expanded their audio mix to include a wonderful assortment of premier audio gear.  This expansive list includes, among several others, Devore Fidelity, Harbeth, Sonner Audio, Oswalds Mill Speakers, Luxman, Line Magnetic, Audio Hungary, Chord Electronics, Moon by Simaudio, Brinkmann Audio, Rega, Dynavector, Kiseki, Ortofon, Innuos, and of course, Nordost!  BEK is authorized for our Leif Series, Norse 2 Series, Valhalla 2, our QRT products, and our great accessories. Make sure to ask for a demo (particularly of our new QPoints)! Please note, visiting this shop is a great opportunity to audition — and buy! — many different brands of gear.  Then you can walk next door and peruse the vast selection of pre-owned vinyl that Double Decker Records has to offer! I purchased two LPs myself on my most recent visit to call on Erik. Visit BEK Hi Fi’s website to find all their contact information, especially so you can set up a convenient audition time.  The store is open Tuesday through Saturday, so please make sure the next time you are in eastern PA, you drop by to visit Erik and his wonderful store!


808 St. John Street

Allentown, PA 18103


Dealer Spotlight: Audio21

By Alex Brady

This month’s Dealer Spotlight focuses on one of the Netherlands’ leading audio stores, Audio21, and their new location, which, it’s safe to say, does not look like your typical hifi shop!

Mark van Braam opened his high end store, Audio21, in 2012, and until six months ago, it was based in the woods of the nature park, The Veluwe. Mark’s speciality is in advising his customers on how they compose their audio systems. He has been passionate about music for his entire life. He owned a turntable from an early age, and when he turned 16 he did not ask for what the typical 16 year old Dutch boy asked for – a moped. No, Mark simply asked for a bigger audio system! Unlike his friends, Mark continued using his bicycle for the school commute!

Whilst Audio21’s original location was in a beautiful setting, the continued success of the business meant that space was at a premium. This issue was exacerbated by the size of some of the components and speakers that Mark had on demonstration. As a result, Mark started to look for larger premises that had that sense of individuality for which Audio21 was synonymous – he was not interested in Audio 21 moving into ‘a typical shop front! Happily and surprisingly, it did not take Mark long to find the perfect location for Audio 21’s new home. An original City Hall located only a few villages away became available – Mark’s dream location! As the pictures illustrate, the building was full of character, charm, history and charisma. Crucially it also had the necessary space that Audio21 required for demonstration purposes. When Mark first viewed the property, it only took him a matter of seconds to say ‘YESSS!’ to the property. Mark has since spoken with a wry smile about ‘Audio21 Mk2’.

The new location has high ceilings and comes with old ornaments, antiques, chandeliers and exudes old fashioned but tasteful ‘chic’. The building was built in 1884 and was the first City Hall of the town of Heerde. The beautiful and large entrance area is perfect for showcasing Audio21’s audio collection. There are two listening rooms (35m2 and 48m2), the larger of which was the Council Chamber of the city council from 1884.

Regarding the audio brands that are showcased in this beautiful location, Mark and Audio21have always dared to think ‘outside the box’. You will find many well known brands but also some less well known brands, which can’t easily be found in other Dutch, Belgian, and German stores. Almost all the systems are connected with Nordost – yes, Mark loves quality! Besides Nordost, brands on demonstration include Davone, Trenner & Friedl, Gold Note, Jadis, Estelon, MasterSound, Termporal Coherence, Kuzma, Pathos, and Transroter. Mark was both proud and excited in 2019 to become an exclusive retailer for Gryphon.

Audio21 is open Monday through Saturday, but only by appointment on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. This way, Mark can ensure that he gives is clients full and personal attention. And do not be surprised to find Mark’s Moto Guzzi parked in one of the listening rooms!

The word ‘Epicurean’ is applicable to Mark. He loves music, sings in a jazz choir, and regularly attends live concerts. He also loves motorcycling and traveling across Europe with his beloved wife in their vintage campervan.

Audio21’s new Heerde location is centrally situated in the Netherlands and is easily one of the most beautiful audio shops in the Benelux region. Find out for yourself by paying a visit to Audio21, where Mark will treat you to great music and delicious coffee!

Dorpsstraat 44
8181 HS  HEERDE – the Netherlands
0031 6 260 48 506

Dealer Spotlight: Quintessence Audio Ltd.

Screen Shot 2018-04-19 at 11.18.38 AM  By Mike Marko

Since 1977 Quintessence Audio has been widely known for honest, high quality Hi-Fi in Chicago.  Their commitment to customer service, top quality products and demonstration has allowed what began as a part time home business to become Chicago’s premier hi-end audio retailer.

Led by Mick Survance, their knowledge of the audio industry has only been surpassed by the personal service and trust that they have engendered to generations of music lovers in the Midwest.  Located in the northern Chicago suburb of Morton Grove, they represent some of the best, most in demand products in the Hi-Fi industry.  Here you can find a full loom of Nordost Supreme Reference Series, Odin 2 as well as QRT audio enhancers in a reference system comprised of Audio Research and Sim Audio Moon amplifiers, dCS digital products, Sonus Faber and Wilson speakers and Clear Audio reference turntables.  Beautiful sounding and looking sound rooms in their shop put components in their best light for evaluation and comparison.

Truly a family business, Mick’s son Patrick has been a fixture at the shop since he was a child and now helps his father serve aspiring music lovers to get the performance desired.  In home set-up is crucial to giving customers the best sound and they do not disappoint.  Their room tuning expertise and knowledge of setting up compatible systems based upon the customers’ taste is incomparable.  They also know that sometimes hearing components in the customer’s own home system is the best way to understand if a new product or accessory is right for them.  That’s why they encourage people to take new products home and audition them.


Give them a call or stop by when in the area for an experience you will not soon forget.



Quintessence Audio Ltd.

5701 Dempster Street

Morton Grove, IL 60053


Where to find Nordost – New in 2020!

For nearly 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 2020, 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 2019. 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 crop of dedicated Nordost dealers and distributors:


Audio 88




Bending Wave USA

Davie, Florida USA



Command Performance AV, LLC

Falls Church, Virginia USA



Element Acoustics

Richmond, British Columbia CANADA



Elusive Disc

Anderson, Indiana USA




Toronto, Ontario   



Headphone Bar

Vancouver, British Columbia CANADA



Liquid Sound, Inc

Vancouver, British Columbia CANADA



Mount Rose Music

Reno, Nevada USA



Planete Haute-Fidelite Inc.

Repentigny, Québec CANADA



Productos Exitosos SA de CV

Delegoción Cuauhtémoc, Mexico City MEXICO



Québec Acoustique

Blainville, Québec CANADA



Rich AV Design



Show & Tell AV Solutions

Bountiful, Utah



Sonic Artistry

Aurora, Ontario  



Sound Video

McGregor, Minnesota USA



Speaker Shop Inc.

Amherst, New York USA



Stereo Planet

Bucharest ROMANIA



The Cable Company

New Hope, Pennsylvania USA



Xact Audio

Boise, Idaho USA



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




Dealer Spotlight: Audio Synthèse

   By Dennis Bonotto

On the right bank of the river Seine, between the bohemian Le Marais and the large Bercy park, the Quinze-Vingts neighborhood in Paris has seen the Bastille fall and is to this day home to many great authentic French spots. It was here that Audio Synthèse settled a couple of decades ago to become the largest and most respected hifi shop in France.

Twice a year, at the beginning of the summer and at the beginning of winter, Audio Synthèse hosts a 3-day Nordost-exclusive event to an engaging audience.

Several sessions per day allow customers and hifi enthusiasts to check out for themselves both the new products and the fundamental concepts of putting together an audio system from the ground up. This year of course we focused on the new QSOURCE and QPOINT which were an immediate hit in France.

If you really needed any new reason to visit Paris, make sure to catch us next time at Audio Synthèse. Frédéric Vedel and the team will make sure you have a great time, and if you’re lucky you might even meet Michel Roger, our local distributor who seems to hang out there all the time and is an expert in the local delicatessen.


Audio Synthèse

8 Rue de Prague

75012 Paris

+33 01 43 07 07 01



Dealer Spotlight: Quebec Acoustique

 By Bruno de Lorimier

Quebec Acoustique’s history goes back to 2001 when the owner, Richard Desjardins, an audio enthusiast with a computer programming background, asked himself, ‘’Why not turn my main hobby into my everyday job?’’ So, with that in mind, out of his own home in Blainville (just north of Montreal), Quebec Acoustique was founded. At the beginning, Richard’s business focus was mainly on Home Theater. He was one of the first to develop an online business selling projectors, AV receivers, speakers, and projector screens across Canada. With its growing success, office space and warehouse capacity became an issue, so the company moved to a larger location with a bigger warehouse in an industrial area.  As a result, shipping logistics and efficiency were greatly improved. Furthermore, there was now room for a small showroom as well!  Richard would now need some help. Luckily for him, he met Martin Pelletier, who had a strong background in Home Automation— a welcomed attribute in filling the new position. Not long after, William, Richard’s son, having a strong interest in Hi-Fi audio as well, joined the company. With his addition to the team, Quebec Acoustique’s fields of expertise now covered Home Theater, Home Automation, and Hi-Fi stereo systems!

A couple of years later, Quebec Acoustique’s team moved again into another new space, still in Blainville, with a much larger warehouse for stocking a large quantity of home automation gear.  Thanks to this move, Quebec Acoustique is now able to offer multiple sound rooms that can offer more diverse demo possibilities.  Today, Quebec Acoustique is composed of a team of seven awesome guys and consummate sales and installation professionals, whose dedication is to offer the best possible personal experience, customer service, and satisfaction.

Over the past 3 to 4 years, Quebec Acoustique has brought in many well-known audio and video brands including Nordost, Naim, Rega, Dynaudio, NAD Master, Monitor Audio, SVS and many more, offering a wide price range for their customers to choose from. The staff is conscious that every home theater, home automation, and hi-fi system requires good cabling. Before adding Nordost to their offerings, I was told that everyone on the Quebec Acoustique team was familiar with Nordost’s great reputation around the world, and was excited at the prospect of carrying such a prestigious brand of cables and accessories.

Here’s what Richard, the owner said: ‘’We believe that great business comes from both the dealer and the manufacturer, and with Nordost’s incredible professionalism and knowledge, we can’t wait to introduce their products to our beloved customers! We’re looking forward on having a great relationship with Nordost!’’ … And the feeling is mutual!

The whole team at Nordost is very pleased to welcome Quebec Acoustique to the family, and we look forward to a long-lasting relationship.

Dealer Spotlight: Xact Audio

  By Amy Hansen

What does Steve Dobbins, owner of Xact Audio, do for fun?  Why, work of course, which includes listening to and sharing his love of music. Nestled amongst striking scenery in Boise, Idaho, the showroom at Xact Audio is as impressive as the stunning views of the mountains surrounding this fast-growing community.

Steve’s love of music across many genres is evident by his extensive record collection and his passion for serving it on a silver platter to anyone who wants to listen.  I was one of those lucky and willing guests treated to a goosebump inducing music performance, not quite like any other I’ve heard.

With Rockport Speakers, top of the line CH Precision electronics, a Kodo turntable with Schröder Linear-Tracking Tonearm (much more on these two below), and Nordost’s Odin 2 cabling, this world class showroom has all the right ingredients for experiencing music at its best…but these are all just components.  The key element is not something you can purchase.  It takes a passionate and knowledgeable master like Steve to know how to best marry them all together with a tweak here and a tweak there to achieve the best sound.

From design to construction, Steve also crafts his very own Kodo “The Beat” turntables and Schröder Linear-Tracking Tonearm.  Steve’s unique design philosophy for these two products is the result of knowledge that he started accumulating as early as 6 years old, when he received his first record player. Reviews have been nothing but glowing— one of which can be found HERE.

To most people’s ears, his system would seem to have no room for improvement, and yet Steve is always looking for ways to incorporate new components or make adjustments towards reaching perfection.  Maybe that is why so many of his customers from all over the country value his dedication to them when they ask him to set up their own systems.

Steve is far from a one-dimensional man.  Aside from the high art of music and its accurate reproduction, he has an array of other interests.  He and his wife Polly enjoy touring on their Harley all over the West. He also restores classic cars, and has been fascinated with anything powered by a motor since before Van Halen was cool. To quote Steve, “I’d hotrod a sewing machine if asked.”

If you’re looking for the best components money can buy, along with unmatched knowledge and service in putting together your own audio system, look no further than Steve Dobbins at Xact Audio.

You can learn more about Steve here:  More about Steve Dobbins in his own words.