Dealer Spotlight: Top Sound in Copenhagen

By Dennis Bonotto

In the heart of Østerbro, arguably Copenhagen’s most relaxed and refined neighbourhood, and only a few blocks away from the city’s largest park, Michael Winther has reshaped Top Sound into a haven for audiophiles and music enthusiasts. This renowned audio dealer has been making waves in the Danish capital, offering a splendid range of audio equipment and exceptional listening experiences. Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of coming back to Top Sound with Erik Hansen, our Danish distributor, who together with Michael invited listeners for an evening demo of Nordost’s recently launched QB8 MK3, QSine, QWave and QB10.

Top Sound is truly a hidden gem: once you go through the narrow entrance, the store unfolds into several spaces with plenty of gear to cater to all tastes, creating an environment that encourages customers to explore and appreciate the world of high-fidelity audio, most notably analogue/vinyl, clearly the local specialty, alongside some great, fresh coffee from their own machine.

Our demonstration went ahead with a full house in the main listening room, allowing clients and visitors to get up close and personal with our newest product, which played with Wilson Audio Sabrinas, powered by an Audio Analogue Absolute integrated amplifier. We streamed through an Auralic Altair and our own QNET, powered by the QSOURCE. The whole system was cabled with a Tyr 2 loom.

Danes are clearly passionate about music and sound, and very knowledgeable when it comes to HiFi, which made the experience much more interesting, as we showcased the full potential of the audio equipment on display, allowing the audience to lose themselves in the music, to experience every note, every detail, and every emotion.

Copenhagen is constantly ranked as one of the happiest cities in the world and it certainly helps when when you’re able to experience the combination of such a welcoming environment, a curated selection of top-tier audio equipment, and the great hospitality of Michael and his staff.

If you find yourself in Copenhagen and have an appreciation for good music and cutting-edge audio technology, a visit to Top Sound should be on your itinerary. It’s a testament to the power of sound and the joy it can bring to our lives. 

Dealer Spotlight: Kazoo Audio

By Mike Marko

John Ferry, of Kazoo Audio, is a true veteran of the Michigan audio scene. Kazoo is a bastion of audio bests in the suburban town of Portage, located outside of Kalamazoo, MI, which John operates alongside his business partner, Chris Zainea. Both Chris and John are dedicated to providing the perfect mix of top-tier audio equipment and service. In their search to find the best audio equipment to create the most memorable musical experiences, they found Nordost, and have been an exemplary Nordost dealer ever since.  

Before Kazoo Audio was born, John operated out of the former Classic Stereo, which served the audiophiles of Michigan until the financial crisis of 2008/2009 forced Classic out of business. However, after being brought to tears by an especially powerful musical performance in Nashville with his daughter, John realized the importance of creating an emotional, musical connection in the home. He was inspired to get back into the business, and two months later, Kazoo Audio was open!

John and Chris moved to their current location in 2016. They designed the shop around the love of music, staying true to their chosen mantra: “Where Music Matters”. 

When you enter the store, you are greeted by a beautiful selection of equipment. Not to mention, superior service and knowledge from the Kazoo Audio team. As you move through the store, you will find a wide selection in price and performance levels, with several systems on display for audition. As an added bonus, most of the systems feature Nordost cabling and power products.

At Kazzoo, they pride themselves on offering an honest and professional presentation of audio systems in both two-channel systems and home theater set-ups. Kazoo has a little something for audio enthusiasts and music lovers alike.

If you find yourself in the Kalamazoo/Portage area, be sure to stop in for an experience you won’t soon forget.

Dealer Spotlight: Suncoast Audio

By Seth Snyder

In the audiophile community, it is becoming increasingly important for the most enthusiastic of us to act as spokespeople for the pursuit of great sound. Michael Bovaird has been preaching the good word from Florida since 2015. You can find this shop in Sarasota, Florida, where he and his team have both the gear and the expertise to impress even the most ardent audiophiles. 

When you schedule an appointment to visit Suncoast Audio, you will be treated to three different, spectacularly appointed listening rooms, designed to help you choose the best components for your own personal system. Michael and his team have access to countless prestigious brands for anyone to choose from. For speakers, Mike has chosen a wide variety of technologies and prices from well-known brands like Bowers and Wilkins and Focal, to beautiful and unique brands like Clarysis Audio and Avantgarde Acoustics. When it comes to electronics, you will find gear curated to blow you away. Looking for a new processor for your theater from Trinnov? Or a new Block Audio amplifier with enough Class-A power to drive cattle? Whether it be a streamer, processor, DAC, or amp, the team at Suncoast is ready and waiting to exceed expectations with the best brands at any price. And of course… they can furnish any system with the best of Nordost’s cable and power solutions! 

For the past four years, Suncoast Audio has been giving audio enthusiasts the opportunity to experience world-renowned gear at the annual Florida Audio Expo. Shows like these are where the audio community comes to listen to both brands they already know and love, as well as the newest emerging brands breaking into the industry. It’s so important for smaller companies to prove their merit among the giants of our industry in venues like these. For “industry insiders” like us, it’s where we come to meet old friends and share stories, favorite albums, and advice about the gear that we love. Michael not only seeks to meet the expectations of his Suncoast Audio customers, he pushes our industry forward with all the work he does outside his shop as a co-owner of shows like the Florida Audio Expo. 

If you find yourself in the Sarasota, Florida, make it a point to schedule an appointment with the team at Suncoast Audio: 

7353 International Place 

Unit 309 

Sarasota, FL 34240, USA 

Monday – Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, EST 

Or visit them at the 4th annual Florida Audio Expo on February 16th-18th 2024 in Tampa, Florida. Visit their website to plan your trip! 

Dealer Spotlight: Saying farewell to Harry’s Hi-Fi

Harry’s Hi-Fi, longstanding audiophile retailer, closed March 31.  Now, we say farewell to a true Canadian Hi-Fi Institution!

By Bruno de Lorimier

We were all saddened by the loss of Harry about a year ago, and no person more than wife and co-owner Pat Sotropa.  A little over a year after this tragic and totally unexpected incident, Pat came to the heart-wrenching decision to close the store at the end of the month. Pat isn’t exiting the business for financial reasons but after 40 years, she has earned a rest and is calling it a day. 

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Harry and Pat Sotropa are owners of Harry’s Hi-Fi. PHOTO BY TROY FLEECE /Regina Leader-Post

I have personally known Pat and Harry for over 25 years and consider them friends.  In Regina, Saskatchewan, Harry’s Hi-Fi was one of the first Canadian dealers to come on board with Nordost. Like everyone, I was extremely shocked and saddened by Harry’s passing which came so suddenly as he simply didn’t wake up on the morning of April 8th, 2022. One may find comfort in that he passed away peacefully in his sleep, but that doesn’t diminish how much we’ll miss him.  Everyone who knew Harry will tell you that he was a truly unique and remarkable individual with a vibrant passion for life and for music (and gardening). Even today, we continue to love Harry! 

Now, with the permanent closure of Harry’s Hi-Fi, the audio industry will also be losing a truly special and extremely supportive dealer that was devoted to providing the most comprehensive, attentive, and caring sales advice, quality products, and support to all its patrons. 

Harry’s hi-fi obsession was rooted in his love of music “What’s better in life than music?”

The first thing you should now about Harry is that, although everyone referred to him as Harry (including himself and his wife Pat), his real name was Vern Sotropa!  Here’s the story behind the name…

Custom Stereo is the name of the store where Harry got his start in hi-fi equipment sales in 1976.  He was 26 and working the summer as a staff clerk for the Department of Labor and spending a lot of his student loan money — meant for University of Regina sociology studies — at Custom Stereo.  He was in there often enough that the owners, Tom Clelland and Richard Grassie, offered him a job which he happily took.

Fast forward six months or so: the three are sitting in the bar of the Royal International Inn — formerly the King’s Hotel, demolished along with the store in 1978 to make way for the Cornwall Centre. As Harry told it, “Tom goes, ‘Custom Stereo is a lame f—–g name.’ He goes, ‘We should change the name of that place,’”.

Pat interjects: “You know this is all going to become public knowledge.”

“I don’t care,” Harry answers. He goes on: “We should name it Tom, Dick and Harry’s.” So they had a Tom, they had a Dick, and from the time we crossed the street from the Royal International to the stereo shop, the name stuck like s–t to a Hudson Bay blanket. And that was it.”  Harry was born!

Through three Custom Stereo locations, to the founding of his own shop in 1983…Through sales of turntables, the players of those “unlistenable” early CDs, car stereos, home theatre, and the popular resurgence of record players — he’s been known as Harry. Not Harry Sotropa. “It’s like Prince or Madonna,” he says laughing. “It’s just Harry.” 

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Harry (wearing shorts) and Pat stand in one of their listening rooms. PHOTO BY TROY FLEECE /Regina Leader-Post

Harry and I also a had funny ritual.  Quite often, almost exclusively on Fridays, he would call me after 5:00 pm my time (3:00 pm for him) as sort of a joke. He would say “Am I too early to disturb you yet?  I can call you later if it further disrupts your weekend”. We would then proceed to tell each other jokes for the first few minutes (sometimes more) before moving on to more serious business.  I miss those calls.

It’s Pat who has the real Harry tales to tell. She told me: “I bought a stereo from Harry and I was married to someone else at the time. From that moment Harry and I were together for 44 years. We both listened to all different kinds of music, it was a passion for both of us that did not diminish.” Since childhood, Pat and Harry have been in love with music and it was no secret that both were huge fans of Nordost. They recommended Nordost cables to every customer who walked-in the door, and they practiced what they preached, since their entire home system was wired with Valhalla.   

As a 50th birthday present to his wife, Harry had earrings, a bracelet and pendant made from a piece of Valhalla speaker cable!

Harry was inspired by one of Pat’s stories about Valhalla Interconnect that she had been regaling a customer about the merits of Nordost cables in a system. At the end of the conversation Pat mentioned that it sounded incredible, but that it was also so beautiful and that one could wear it as a necklace.  That clearly didn’t fall on deaf ears. When Harry asked our North American V.P., Michael Taylor, for a foot of Valhalla and Michael passed it on to Nordost’s owner, Joe. At first, Joe was suspicious of Harry’s intentions. He had never heard someone make such an unusual request. However, Joe finally did agree, and Harry worked with a local custom jeweler to get it made. Pat wore the set regularly, especially when attending Hi-Fi shows. Harry always pointed out that Pat was wearing audio jewelry!

Harry’s Hi-Fi was known for creating a welcoming and inviting environment. Walking into Harry’s Hi-Fi on Rose Street, their location since they moved from 1239 Albert St. in 2000, was like walking into a music lover’s home: Brick walls, wooden floors, music-themed artwork on vibrantly coloured walls.  There’s a listening room to the right, a pseudo-living room. Comfortable leather armchairs face a window that’s flanked by awesome-sounding and expensive Bowers & Wilkins stereos wired with Nordost cables.

Adjacent to that space, there’s another similar setup.

Both rooms have stacks and stacks of vinyl records on shelves — you can’t very well test the analog players without records to play. (It’s not the 5,000-strong collection they have at home — which, according to Harry, is “not that crazy” a number.)

From Elvis Presley talking his way through a Sun Studio recording, to a British pressing (i.e. higher quality recording) of Patsy Cline, to Dave Brubeck’s smashing piano — there’s a decent array.  On rotation lately, they’ve had The Franklin Electric, The Avett Brothers, The Barr Brothers, Case Lang Veirs, The Lumineers, GoGo Penguin … The list goes on.

The point of their work was to give people a music experience as close to live as possible. According to Harry, you can’t actually have a live band in front of you…as he was known to say, “Nothing beats live music,”.

The music at Harry’s would switch from The Killers to The Band, Tracy Chapman, to Classical and Jazz as they demonstrated the equipment’s sonic diversity.

A song at a time: “It’s not the usual way someone would listen to a record. Usually you’d clean the record, clean the needle, sit down and listen until the arm lift signals Side A’s end, flip the record over, clean the record, clean the needle, sit down and listen …” Harry said.

Harry and Pat were big on vinyl.  They witnessed vinyl’s comeback in their store, and even in their own house, although they had never completely abandoned it.  They had a very strong opinion about the importance of a properly set-up, good-quality turntable, which didn’t have to cost a fortune.  At Harry’s Hi-Fi, prices ranged into the tens of thousands, but a decent turntable could be bought for only $400.

“When people say, ‘You know records are back, right?’ I’m like, ‘Man, records didn’t go anywhere.’” But for a lot of people, they did. The rebound has been strong, maybe detrimentally so.  “It’s just silly right now. Everybody has to have a turntable just cause…,” says Harry. “It’s trendy.”

Having a record player has “become a cool thing, and that doesn’t mean that it’s good,” says Pat.  One of the problems with this trend is cheap turntables.  “That’s one of the reasons why we try and tell people, ‘Don’t play your records on your great-aunt Dorothy’s console,’ ” says Pat. “You might think it’s a cool piece of furniture, but it’s not good for your records.”  Quality counts, and here’s why: Turntables need to be aligned to properly play a record.  Even an expensive turntable can ruin a record if it’s not set up right.  “We’re talking about a diamond here, and a piece of vinyl,” says Harry.  The groove of the record is engraved soundwaves, tinier than you can see. That diamond is the needle (a.k.a. stylus), which traces the groove and vibrates, making the sound when amplified.  “The information that’s in the groove of a record is smaller than the pit of a CD. It’s microscopic inside,” says Pat. “We’re still amazed that a technology that’s 130 years-plus is still the best sound quality we have.”  At least, when they’re set up for quality, which Harry estimates 99 percent aren’t.

A market full of “groove grinders,” as Harry calls them — a bad needle, improper geometry and weight — are literally chipping away at records as they play. That’s how records get a hissing and scratching sound. Like tires on a car, they’ll eventually wear out — but they wear out faster if you don’t take care of them.  When they are taken care of, they sound fantastic.  Before any turntable leaves the store, Harry makes sure it’s set up correctly: The stylus is correctly angled, right down to the micron. He uses a microscope in the process.

“Part of it has to do with a point of pride, that when every table, every cartridge walks out of here, it’s the best it could possibly be,” says Pat.

“We try really f—–g hard,” Harry says “and we will for as long as the store is open”  … and they did

Harry works on properly aligning a record player before selling it. PHOTO BY TROY FLEECE /Regina Leader-Post

In his teenage years, Harry’s parents never had a turntable; they’d borrow a neighbour’s for a few weeks at a time.

Pat and Harry bonded over their love of music more than 40 years ago. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, it’s how they met.

“It was a pair of Klipsch Heresy’s with Luxman L30 amplifier,” Pat says, remembering her first Custom Stereo purchase from Harry. She was working downtown too, a block away, managing T-Shirt City.  After seven years working for someone else, in 1983 Harry became an entrepreneur.  They remortgaged their house at an obscene 19-per-cent interest rate to make it happen.  “The economy was in the toilet and we’re opening up a new store,” says Harry.  “Not sure if we were stupid, (or) young,” says Pat. “I know it’s just what I wanted to do,” says Harry.

“I was kind of along for the ride at the beginning,” says Pat. “I didn’t sell anything, I just sat back and listened to him, and that’s the best way to learn how to sell is being mentored by somebody who’s really good at their job.”

When their son Dylan was old enough for daycare, and daughter Alicia was in Grade 3, Pat quit her jobs at Bi-Rite Drugs and the Pasqua Hospital to work alongside Harry.  “We work together extremely well,” says Pat.  Their love of music united them for 44 years.

Pat is thankful for the customers who helped put mac and cheese on the table of her Normanview bungalow for the last 40 years. She could have tried to sell the business, but as Harry once said “anybody who has the knowledge to do it has got a better paying job right now, though some of the gear is pricey, there’s little profit in hi-fi sales.”

“Selling the business to someone else isn’t an easy alternative”, Pat said. “High fidelity equipment requires a level of expertise, knowing how to put systems together, figuring out what works with what; the devil is in the details.”

That part of the job is where Pat and Harry found joy: educating customers about the products and talking about music. Through those conversations, a connection with the customers was formed.  “You have to give people a reason to buy better quality goods. Just because it’s expensive, doesn’t necessarily make it better,” said Pat.

Harry always described the business as a three-person operation run by two people. With Harry’s death, it became a one-person show and Pat is just tired.

“In addition to helping customers who walk through the doors of the Rose Street location, I was handling the books, ordering, shipping, receiving, providing technical support for customers, setting up turntables — everything.”

Throughout decades of selling sound, Pat has witnessed technological advancements in audio and entertainment, as well as changes in perception of women working in the field.  “It’s been an interesting ride. For me, as a woman, there’s very few women in our industry that are in my kind of position — way more now than when I first started,” she recalled.  “I remember when I first started on the floor selling, guys would always refer to Harry and Harry would say, ‘I don’t know. Ask her,’” Pat said with a laugh.

Looking back, she remembers feeling frustrated at points and wondering why no one would talk to her. Nowadays, she says the men who walk in do not question her knowledge or ability.  The people she did speak with over the years have made lasting memories, as customers of all ages have purchased audio equipment from Harry’s, including the children and grandchildren of customers of years past.

Although Pat recognizes that Harry’s Hi-Fi still has a lot of loyal customers — including ones from out of province, who make a shopping trip every few years, Pat says. “It’s too much. I’m going to be 68-years-old. It’s time to wind it down,” “I’m really emotional. It’s hard because I will miss the people. I won’t miss the business end of it, you know the paying of bills…”

Pat Sotropa, owner of Harry’s Hi-Fi, inside the store on Thursday, January 19, 2023 in Regina. She is retiring after the March 31 closure and has been running the business herself since her husband, Harry, passed on in 2022. PHOTO BY TROY FLEECE /Regina Leader-Post

Pat has no plans to jump into another venture any time soon. After four decades of working, she is going to do some thinking instead.

“I need to sort of figure out who I am as a human being, without my life partner, without my business partner and without my business”.  “It’s going to be an adjustment for me, but we made such good friends. Our best friends have been customers and they still continue to be.” “It’s still for me a great joy, it gives me a real giggle, when I can do a good demo for somebody and they go, ‘wow, I’ve never heard that before”.

It’s time to enter a new era for Pat and for each one of us.  It will be quite different without Pat and Harry, of that I’m certain. Thank you for your generous contribution to  the Hi-Fi world, your friendship, and for all the fond memories!

(Thank you to the Regina Leader-Post for some of the material included in this homage)

Dealer Spotlight: The Audio Store

By Amy Hansen

All of us at Nordost would like to extend our congratulations to Bernard Manocchio and his friendly, knowledgeable staff at The Audio Store of Newington, CT, for their well-deserved success, providing audiophiles and home theater lovers with world-class service and well-respected, high-quality audio equipment for 35 years!  

Bernard met what turned out to be his great friend and eventually business partner, the late Harry Misteri, in the 1970’s, while working in Newington’s Hi-Fi Stereo House. The Audio Store was soon born in Rocky Hill, CT under their mutual supervision and expertise. After promising beginnings, they moved to what is their current location in Newington, CT.  

As a passionate and affable audiophile, Bernard believes that everyone should be able to enjoy music and sound as much as he does. This passion is what drives him and his team to make sure that every product in the store provides superior performance. He and his staff, comprised of Jon, Greg, and Patrick, have helped countless people find the right equipment to bring their sound to life, earning him a much-deserved, dedicated customer base.

For audiophiles, The Audio Store offers a wide selection of some of the best audio equipment including, but not limited to, Focal, Naim, Bel Canto, Krell, Roon, Clearaudio, Paradigm, Anthem, Musical Fidelity, and, of course, Nordost!

The Audio Store is one of the best locations for music lovers. You don’t have to take my word for it, though!  Just look at the glowing Google reviews from customers who were fortunate enough to stop in.   

For those of you looking for more than a standard speaker setup, two-channel is not The Audio Store’s only specialty. Bernard and his team are equally savvy at Home theater design, custom installation, and smart home automation!

If you want a sound system that sings, head on over to The Audio Store and let Bernie and the staff show you the way. 

The Audio Store

Address:2457 Berlin Turnpike
Newington, CT 06111
Phone:(860) 666-5006

Dealer Spotlight: Excel Audio

By Mike Marko

As one enters Excel Audio in beautiful Orange County, California, near Newport Beach, all you see are records – lots of records – all audiophile quality from the best labels. The selection is updated daily with an emphasis on Jazz, Blues, Rock, and Classical all curated by the owner, Mike Rose. It’s like the record stores of yore, but with much better quality! Mike’s regular customers are always leaving with some of the best new pressings in hand. L.P.s have always been very important sources of music for Mr. Rose and his customers (but don’t worry, his selection of digital gear is still second to none). 

Look a little further and notice Southern California’s best selection of turntables and electronics, all chosen for being some of the highest-value products our industry offers at every price level. For example, Excel Audio exclusively uses Nordost cables in sound systems ranging from the simple to the sublime. dCS digital, Clearaudio reference turntables, D’Agostino amplification, and the full line-up of Wilson loudspeakers (including the Chronosonic XVS system with subs) are often on display in their reference listening room. But that’s not all! The new Klipsch Heritage series (and, yes, the Klipschorn) are on display. Line Magnetic and Luxman electronics are fully stocked as well. Nagra, a relative newcomer to Excel, is there too and its performance is impressive. What do all of these reference systems have in common? They are all wired with Nordost’s Supreme Reference, Odin 2 cabling!  

At Excel, all of Nordost’s cables are “burned-in” with the new Vidar 2 cable conditioning system, which guarantees the best results, even when cables are brand new! This level of attention shows you that Excel Audio sweats the details. Mike Rose cares deeply for the final system the customer chooses. 

Stop by Monday through Saturday and say hello to Mike and ask, “What’s new!?” You’re bound to get an earful! 

Excel Audio 

4678 Campus Drive 

Newport Beach California 


(949) 933-1599

Dealer Spotlight: HD HiFi

By Bjorn Bengtsson

Bangkok: On a warm and humid day in late August 2022, I am welcomed to HD HiFi by its owner, Noppol Teeravichayakul. 

Kris Horpaopan, from Nordost’s Thai distributor, Deco2000, safely drives me to this interesting, and relatively centrally located, Bangkok hifi shop to meet with its owner. The entrance of HD HiFi is modest—a narrow townhouse-style building with a futuristic-looking facade featuring the HD HiFi sign as its main focal point. Upon entering the ground floor of the store, one might be fooled into believing that this is simply a small store that mostly sells lifestyle products. But just like a townhouse, while it might not be very wide, it’s deep and has multiple stories full of different levels of audio goodies! 

Noppol tells me that he founded his business in 2015 in a different location and says he “wanted it all”:  home theatre, lifestyle, accessories, high-end, mid-fi, entry-level etc. However, he soon realized that he first needed solid ground – a foundation upon which to build his business, and his current building became just that…both metaphorically and in its organization.  

The ground floor, where customers enter, is for walk-in traffic. There, you find smaller, integrated electronics and all-in-one box solutions: Devialet soundbars, and KEF active speakers to give a couple of examples. However, if you happen to be interested in a more sophisticated hifi experience, Noppol is happy to take you higher. The next floor of HD HiFi houses what is often referred to as “mid-fi”. There, you are welcomed into a typical Bangkok-style living room area. During my visit, the setup was comprised of a pair of Totem bookshelf speakers, driven by an Arcam amplifier with a dCS Bartok as the source, all neatly wired with a mix of Nordost’s Leif and Norse 2 cables and a QBASE for power distribution, of course.  

After that very convincing presentation, we proceeded to the top floor where the most prestigious products that HD HiFi offers are installed in two properly set-up rooms. First, we enter the Home Theatre Room with an assortment of “intelligent room” controls—you can control lights, AC, see who’s ringing on your front door, etc. The acoustic treatments in this room are very elegantly done, efficient and stylish without overdoing it. Finally, the second room on the top floor is the High-End Room—a very large, fully-loaded room that has the “High-End Experience” as its main goal. Acoustically, this listening area was designed as a “room within a room” that uses the whole width of the building.  

The set-up of the day is Wilson Audio speakers and Nordost Tyr 2 cabling (which were standing in for Valhalla 2 cables, which were out on loan to a lucky customer) paired with a Devialet amplifier. Did that room deliver? It most certainly did! This is the type of system that produces a goosebump-inducing performance. However, HD HiFi does not limit itself to only one standout system. During my visit I was shown pictures of several past High-End systems that had been set up in that very room, proving it to be a truly versatile room in which to demonstrate High-End Audio. 

In speaking to Noppol, he told that me he chooses to run his business using a strict, dealer-only model. He doesn’t want to be involved in the challenges a distributor faces, like import duties, stock keeping, and exchange rates… instead he focuses on what he’s best at: demonstrating hand-picked brands that he can trust to never fail in presenting audio performances that exceed expectations.   

My only complaint is that we could not spend more time at HD HiFi. The musical experiences we had that day made the time pass very quickly and before I was ready, it was time to leave.  

As we leave, Noppol sends us off with a wave promising, “When you come back next time I’ll have done some big improvements” … Spoken like a true enthusiast in the pursuit of the ultimate audio experience. 

I’ll hold you to your promise, Noppol, as hard as that might be!

Dealer Spotlight: Audio Breakthroughs

By Steve Greene

With all the silly chatter about audio/hi fi specialty retailers allegedly disappearing from the marketplace, it is very refreshing to note that one Long Island, NY dealer is currently celebrating their 47th year in business!  In fact, Audio Breakthroughs of Manhasset, New York continues to flourish!  The business was initially founded by three audiophile friends, Bruce, Joel, and Dave.  Dave eventually left the business and Joel unfortunately passed away several years ago.  Overall, this family-owned business has been operated by the Clark family (Bruce as well as his son Spencer) since 1975, along with a dedicated staff of installers, front office personnel, and buyer/salesperson Stu Brustein.  We are also very proud that Audio Breakthroughs has been a very supportive and valued Authorized Nordost Dealer for nearly twenty years! 

Audio Breakthroughs offers their dedicated customer base professional and personal service and advice, ranging from affordable systems to high end audio and custom home theater installation set-ups.  Audio Breakthroughs also has a friendly non-commissioned sales staff so you will never feel pressured or rushed to make a purchase.  All your questions will be answered and your professional Audio Breakthroughs salesperson will qualify your needs by asking many pertinent questions such as the size of your room, your musical tastes, décor, and your budget.  Very important note: their installation staff is not farmed out or subcontracted (like how so many other similar organizations operate). They are all employees of Audio Breakthroughs!  Folks, this is a very big advantage, ensuring you that from start to finish, your system or installation will be expertly completed by artisans who really care about their clients, and report directly to the owners.    

While offering sophisticated audio systems, this revered retailer particularly prides themselves on being able to offer their customer base affordable stereo systems that meet any budget, no matter how small or large.  They understand the importance of connecting their customers’ selected components and speaker systems with high quality interconnects, cables, and power products, to maximize their performance.  They have been very successful, particularly with Nordost’s Leif Series and Norse 2 Series products to accomplish this goal.  Audio Breakthroughs also understands the huge benefit of demonstrating their varied lines of speakers and components in their sound rooms with Nordost cables.  You need to be able to hear components and speakers in their very best sonic light so that you will know just how good they can ultimately sound!

Audio Breakthroughs carries many fine audio (and video) lines for you to examine and listen to in one of their sound rooms.  Brands like Pass Labs, McIntosh, Focal, B&W, Mark Levinson, Marantz, Conrad Johnson, Rogue Audio, SVS, and so on.  There is plenty of free parking behind the store and you can enter the store from either the front or back just in case of inclement weather!  So, the next time you are in the metro NYC area, particularly eastern Long Island, make sure you drop in for a friendly, pressure free demo of affordable and state of the art audio gear.

Dealer Spotlight: Rhapsody.Audio

By Amy Hansen

Here at Nordost, we value the relationship we have with all our dealers.  In the fall of 2021, when my path crossed with Bob Visintainer of Rhapsody.Audio, who has the vision, passion, and knowledge for putting together incredible high-end audio systems, I instantly knew it would be the start of something special. That’s why this month, I’m putting the spotlight on a true one-of-a-kind.  It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Bob Visintainer, of Rhapsody.Audio.

After residing on 24th Street in Manhattan for 20 years, Rhapsody.Audio moved to a beautiful residential neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY in the summer of 2021.  Now in an impressive brownstone built in 1878, the move increased the number of listening rooms from one to seven, which gives every set of speakers its own space to shine.   

Thick stone walls serve as the backdrop to brands such as Pilium electronics from Greece, AlsyVox ribbon speakers from Spain, Kondo electronics from Japan, Deisis Audio speakers from Italy, Bayz Audio omnidirectional speakers from Hungary, Taiko Audio products from the Netherlands, Constellation from the USA, V.Y.G.E.R. Turntables from Italy, Magico (check out the M9’s now available for audition!) and Raidho speakers from Denmark, all wired with Nordost cables — A true feast for the eyes and ears.

During the great undertaking of relocating his business, Bob had the idea of creating Rhapsody Listening Rooms (R.L.R.’s) around the country. These listening rooms allow people across the country to now hear the exotic products that they may have only had a chance to hear at shows. 

Speaking of shows, Bob and Zoltan Bay of Bayz Audio were exhibiting on the 16th floor at Axpona 2022 with Pilium amps and Nordost Odin 2 cabling. I was not the only one who they impressed, as they were chosen to be Best of Axpona 2022 by Enjoy the and noted as one of the best by The Absolute Sound

Despite industry hurdles, like Covid, price increases, and delayed wait times, Bob continues to bring clients the magic and synergy he creates at Rhapsody.Audio in their own homes. 

Visiting Rhapsody.Audio, which is by appointment only, is an amazing musical experience I’ve been privileged to have more than once, and with only a 4-hour drive between us, I hope to have many more. 

Rhapsody Audio

1 S Portland Ave #1A, Brooklyn, NY 11217

(212) 229-1842

Dealer Spotlight: Kennedy Hi-Fi

By Bruno de Lorimier

Kennedy Hi-Fi, situated on Hwy 7 in Markham, Ontario is one of our newest partners.  Owner Markus Bundze and his staff have been helping home and business owners with their audio, video and automation needs for close to 30 years.

I met Markus as a young lad in his early twenties, back in the ’90s when he was just starting out in this industry of ours and learning the ropes at the original store.  The old store was much more modest than the current one and was located on Kennedy Road, hence the name Kennedy Hi-Fi.  Markus quickly acquired an in-depth product knowledge, as well as a passion for the AV business that I always attributed to his inquisitive nature, combined with a genuine desire to perfect his skills and to ultimately strive to deliver the best service.  He and his team are committed to providing customers with an experience they won’t soon forget.  The store is a well-oiled machine, where every detail is important and every team member ads to the overall experience. You will rarely find a system that isn’t fully wired and ready for a demo. All members of the Kennedy Hi-Fi team are consummate professionals devoted to giving the best advice, not on what they like, but more importantly on what will work best for each individual client and their respective budget.

Kennedy Hi-Fi prides itself on constantly seeking the best brands and updating their full range of products in order to offer, design, pre-wire and install systems that their customers will be proud to own and to show off. Thus the addition of Nordost, which they view as an extremely well-regarded name in the cable industry that offers unique sound and technology in contrast with the other brands of cables on display.   As Kennedy Hi-Fi puts, offering Nordost “gives the customer another degree of flexibility in pursuing their perfect sound.”  Nordost also complements very well with the impressive list of other fine brands you will find in their showrooms:  Moon by Simaudio, Focal, Audiovector, Fezz Audio, JL Audio, Klipsch, Naim, Oracle Audio, Parasound, Primaluna, PS Audio, Project, and Rega, to name a few.

If you are looking for a multi-room custom installation, their team of professionals are very well equipped to make your home entertainment dreams come true: full automation, lighting, video, audio, etc… both for indoor and outdoor. They pretty much do it all!  As Markus would say, “No job is too big or too small for Kennedy Hi-Fi.”

The many great customer reviews they continue to receive are a true testament to the kind of service you can expect to get from these guys.  Just take a few minutes to see for yourself on their social media platforms. 

Whether you’re in the market to acquire a new piece of gear in the near or distant future, I strongly encourage you to pay a visit to Kennedy Hi-Fi and let Markus, Sean, or Chris show you around, and perhaps indulge them in giving you a demo for a taste of their “savoir faire”.