By Steve Greene
Whether you are a visitor or a resident of metro New York City, any trip uptown or north of the city in White Plains would be incomplete without dropping by Lyric Hi Fi to see and hear the latest high-end audio gear in some of America’s best sound rooms. Lyric was founded in 1959 by the venerable Mike Kay, an icon in the audio industry for over 40 years. When it came time for Mr. Kay to retire, the New York audio community was fortunate indeed to see him sell his business to longtime and beloved key employees Lenny Bellezza and Dan Mondoro. In fact, both gentlemen have enjoyed working with Lyric’s fine clientele for over 30 years, so the transition to new ownership was incredibly smooth! Lenny can be found at the Lexington Avenue store in the city, and Dan at the White Plains, NY store. Lenny and Dan exude the very definition of professionalism and class, making sure every customer is treated like a family member, and ensuring each customer’s experience at Lyric turns them into a lifelong client. Both stores are staffed with experienced installers and very knowledgeable sales people, including Mike Deutsch, Bob Herman and Scott Trusty.
While Lyric was a leader in early remote controlled custom audio installations, they became the leader in high-end audio in both metro New York City and the US as that industry began its formation and growth, particularly in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Lyric Hi Fi became an oasis for manufacturers to showcase their latest high end products. Music lovers, and even magazine editors and writers, flocked in to see and hear these cutting-edge hi-fi components perform in special, custom-built sound rooms— and the same remains true today! Lyric’s sound rooms are very unique for an audio store, allowing you to hear everything the selected equipment being demoed is capable of. The floors are decoupled from the walls, which are not parallel to each other, eliminating standing waves and hiding any interference from New York’s famous underground subway. The construction of all the special materials used to build these awesome sound rooms was actually done in the Lexington Avenue store’s basement level cabinet shop! In fact, some manufacturers even used these facilities to build, among other things, speaker cabinets. Industry luminaries like Rudy Bozak, Saul Marantz, Dick Sequirra, Bob Carver, Harry Pearson and so on were known to frequent Lyric Hi Fi! This continues today with the industry’s top designers and manufacturers making frequent visits.
Today, customers still reap the benefits of Lyric’s vast customer service experience and superior demo facilities perfected over the years. The product mix in both locations run the gamut from affordable but great sounding components, up to the very finest audio components that most can only aspire to buy. Brands like Wilson Audio, B&W, McIntosh, VPI, Rega, dCS, Audio Research, Marantz, GoldenEar, PrimaLuna, Dynavector, Audeze, Sonos, Magnepan, NAD, and, of course, Nordost, just to mention a few, are on display and available for demo. Both locations also offer a wide range of accessories to enhance your system, including a huge selection of Nordost cables, Sort Kones, and QRT products. It would be difficult to visit either store and not find something in your budget that you just can’t leave the store without! Parking is quite easy with spaces often available directly in front of the Lexington Ave location, or just around the corner on 83rd St, which is where I usually park during my visits. A public parking lot is directly next door to the White Plains store as well as directly in front of it. So, make sure you visit either store when uptown or north of the city; you’ll be very glad you did!