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”. 

Dealer Spotlight: The Audio Solutions

By Mike Marko

Since 1995, Audio Solutions has served customers in Indianapolis. Located in the Broad Ripple community, near Butler University, this pedestrian-friendly area of town is the perfect location for a hifi shop. 

The Audio Solutions team, led by Graham Lundeen, showcases some of the finest brands in audio from their new, custom-designed building. Shoppers can be confident that they are hearing products properly by conducting auditions in one of Audio Solutions’ four sound rooms. From insulation and soundproofing to room dimensions, these sound rooms were tailored-made for critical listening. However, if you would rather hear components in your own sound system, they even offer in-home demonstrations before purchase.  

Audio Solutions is more than just a great building. The team is what makes this company special. Victor Gazorek, the store manager, has been with the company for over ten years.  Originally a customer of the store, he brings decades of experience to the team (especially in the realm of audio and digital distribution, networking, and streaming!). They even offer an on-staff service tech, Scott Gleason, to take care of any problems and to assist with warranty service, further proving that customer care is a top priority. 

Custom home installation for whole-house audio and video is a very important part of the business, but their hearts are truly rooted in high-end audio performance. Audio Solutions carries the entirety of Nordost’s extensive product range, from Leif to Odin 2. They even have the brand-new QNET Network Switch available for audition (one of our first dealers to have one). Don’t worry, cables and audio enhancers aren’t the only things on offer! From the best, new streamers and DACS, turntables and electronics, to a large selection of previously owned gear (now accepting trade-ins), you are bound to find what you are looking for, along with the service and expertise you would expect of a hi-end audio retailer. 

The Audio Solutions

6340 Ferguson St

Indianapolis, IN 46220

(317) 255-4434


Dealer Spotlight: Soundline Christchurch

By Alex Brady

Our Dealer Spotlight this month centers on Nordost’s most southerly audio store in the world, Soundline of Christchurch, New Zealand. Soundline was founded by industry legend, Frank Denson in 1979. At the time, there was very little quality HiFi equipment available in New Zealand. As a result, Frank began building his own turntables and speakers from kits. These initiatives were complemented by also building various amplifier designs under license. 

In the early 1980s import duties and tariffs began to be relaxed in New Zealand, so Frank started to attend international audio shows, such as CES in Las Vegas. He had a particular focus on wanting to import hi-end equipment and made such an impression on the likes of Accuphase, Audio Research, Kimber Kable and Meridian Audio that he began importing these brands – brands that are still part of the Soundline family some forty years later. 

By the late eighties, home theater had come along. As with the two-channel brands, Soundline were passionate about importing high-end video brands that they believed in. And so the likes of Stewart Filmscreen, Runco, Harman Kardon and Yamaha joined Soundline’s impressive portfolio. Such brands were perfect for the bespoke custom home theater designs that Soundline were now offering their customers. Soundline invested in their home automation department, and their professionalism and reputation for the high standard of install work meant that they were well placed, as this area of the business naturally expanded into distributing audio and video throughout the home. The ‘wow factor’ of integrating lighting into these installs further strengthened Soundline’s reputation across New Zealand, as clients preferred to only deal with one installer. 

These days, Soundline in Christchurch is run and co-owned by Terry Wyatt. Terry has had a long-standing interest in music and audio equipment. In his teenage years in the mid-1980s he would frequent the hi-fi shops in Wellington and read the American and British hi-fi magazines. He was in awe of all the reviews and pictures of equipment that he could not afford. Two months after Terry left college, he had scraped together enough money for a deposit on his first separates hi-fi system – a Denon CD Player and Amplifier with Acoustic Research speakers to enjoy listening to the likes of Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Dire Straits, and The Cure. He wasn’t old enough to have a line of credit, so his mother acted as his guarantor. He thanked her by playing the likes of Dark Side Of The Moon until neither she or the walls could handle it anymore. He continued to spend any spare time in music shops and hi-fi shops. He was offered a job working as an audio consultant for Absolute Audio, which he embraced with typical enthusiasm. He was conscientious enough to borrow equipment from the store and began to build up his vast knowledge of audio manufacturers and their respective sonic signatures.

In 1995, after six years working at a couple of hi-fi stores in Wellington, Frank Denson asked Terry to join his Soundline team in Christchurch. Terry didn’t need asking twice, as he had admired how Frank had built Soundline up as a company, and it was considered the premier hi-fi store in New Zealand. Frank already had enough faith in Terry to be out of the country when he joined! The faith was well placed, as Terry subsequently bought into the company in the early 2000s.

Nordost has been a feature in Soundline in Christchurch for the last three years. This came about by Terry’s tried and trusted methods of taking products home to evaluate in his own system. On this occasion, this was thanks to my friend and colleague, Bjorn Bengtsson, who had left Terry with a QB8 distribution block and a range of Nordost power cords to try, after visiting him all the way from Sweden. This was over the Christmas break of 2019/2020, so Terry had a little more time than normal to audition these items at home. Terry isn’t easily impressed but he was taken aback by the difference that the QB8 distribution block and the Nordost power cords offered over the distribution block and power cords that he was previously using.

He quickly placed two Nordost orders, firstly a QB8 and power cords for his own system, and then the same for demonstration purposes in the Soundline store for their many customers to audition in their own systems at home. Three years later, on a rare day off you will find Terry enjoying the likes of Vasily Kalinnikov’s beautiful 1st and 2nd Symphonies conducted by Neemi Jarvi through his fantastic Accuphase electronics and TAD speakers, with the veins of the system being a loom of Nordost Valhalla 2 cables. 

Soundline’s longstanding database of happy customers is a testament to the values instilled by the company’s founder, Frank Denson, and the encyclopedic knowledge that Terry and his trusted Lieutenant, James Heal, have of their customers’ systems. They are both firm advocates that you should always upgrade your power cords before interconnects and speaker cables in your system. To quote Terry, “It’s incredible what one or two power cords can do for the sound of your system and for audio components that you thought you knew well”. 

While the team at Soundline has very much embraced new technologies, they remain very much focused on their customers’ needs in buying the right system for their respective tastes and requirements.


329 Madras Street
Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm
Saturday 10am to 2pm
(03) 379 5695

Dealer Spotlight: Innovaciones Acústicas

By Dennis Bonotto

Innovaciones Acústicas is a High End Audio/Video/Automation boutique based in Quito, Ecuador.  Established in late 2009, Bryan Moyano (CEO) always focused on sound quality, whether it be for distributed audio, home theater, or, his personal favorite, two channel HiFi.  Bryan took on a difficult task when starting a high end focused company in a non-existing market, where people thought the typical commercial brands were all that existed.  Over the years, he has educated the market, creating demand, pushing to improve sound quality, and constantly raising the bar of the brands and products Innovaciones Acusticas proudly represents.  With brands like Raidho, Moon by Simaudio, VPI Industries, and Nordost, there’s no doubt that quality is the company’s main focus.

This journey has led the company to have an Experience Center with 13 different listening and viewing “areas” in Quito, partnership in Guayaquil, as well as their new Experience Center in Miami.  Bryan’s strategy of having an “Experience Center” rather than a showroom, with many different products piled on top of each other, is one of the reasons that the company has been able to flourish in an inexperienced market.  Bryan explains, “We try to avoid talking about specs. We take our customers on a tour through the 13 different areas we have, just enjoying music and some movie clips. Great sound with beautiful decoration and lighting, focused on every minimal detail. After enjoying that, we recommend the most suitable equipment for each client, depending on their taste and budget.  We have an upgrade program that permits our clients to constantly improve their systems, little by little, at their own pace, so there are no limits!” 

Innovaciones Acústicas has established itself as a HiFi pioneer in Ecuador as well as all of Latin America. And now, they have taken it to the next level, being the first in the world to purchase VPI Industries Flagship model: THE VANQUISH.  A beautiful Ruby Red (for the 40th anniversary) magnetic direct drive turntable with Nordost wiring, it’s not only arguably the best turntable in the world, it is a sculpture, a true masterpiece.

Instagram: innovaciones_acusticas

Facebook: Innovaciones Acusticas


Telephone: +593998712344

Dealer Spotlight: Woodbridge Stereo/Video

By Steve Greene

This past February, Nordost was absolutely delighted to add Woodbridge Stereo/Video to our fine roster of authorized dealers.  Located in Woodbridge, NJ, this NYC metro area dealership was established in 1971 and has grown steadily during the past 50 years.  Their longevity in the marketplace is quite admirable having faced many challenges over the years — a devastating fire in 1978, store expansion, the birth of the custom home theater industry (along with its proliferation of numerous inexperienced/unqualified “integrators” working from the trunks of their cars), as well as several US economic downturns.  However, these challenges ultimately made Woodbridge Stereo/Video stronger and more dedicated to adhering to their core, guiding philosophy: consumer electronics should be a fun labor of love, focused on the music and the technology behind it.  This was their guiding principle back in 1971 and it remains just as important to them today!  

Tom Altobelli joined this company in 1980 and began its expansion into high end audio.  He carefully brought in many high-end audio lines that met his high standards.  They were lines that paid careful allegiance to the accurate reproduction of music, and had robust build quality and longevity in the marketplace. This growth and adherence to superior music reproduction continues today!  These folks intimately know (and love) the gear they sell to their legion of dedicated customers.  In addition to their two channel audio offerings, Woodbridge offers a wonderful array of custom home theaters and home automation services.  These services run the gamut from the initial design stage all the way through installation, all done in-house.  They are dedicated to competently building robust yet easy to use systems.  Custom designed for each individual client, these services include lighting control, distributed audio, home networks, motorized window shades, HVAC and so on.

However, that does not mean they have minimized their dedication to putting together awesome home audio systems for their loyal clients.  After all, this was their first true love that guided them 50 years ago when opening this wonderful retail environment.  Woodbridge S/V has several well appointed and acoustically treated sound rooms in which to demo the fine gear they offer.  Brands like Mark Levinson, Revel, KEF, Hegel, JL Audio, Krell, Martin Logan, Moon, Prima Luna, Sony, Totem, VPI, Thorens, Music Hall and many more, now including, of course, Nordost! 

No stuffy salespeople here either!  Tom and his dedicated staff are just about the friendliest and most passionate group of folks you will ever meet.  Tom’s vast knowledge of this industry, honed over a forty year plus period, is second to none.  This passion and expertise for putting together great sounding audio systems for his clients is based on one major premise — everyone is different, so throw out the cookie cutter formula.  Getting to know each client individually is paramount to building a unique system that satisfies their needs and tastes. 

You will greatly enjoy a visit to Woodbridge Stereo/Video because they love what they do and they love their clients!  Next time you are in the area, please drop by to get a demonstration of Nordost products from a very talented group of individuals who will make you feel at home and help engage you in this wonderful hobby we call high performance audio!

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.