Re: Is it all bull**** now? Reply #25 – 2018-09-27 18:41:29 I recently made a trip to a town about 2 hours' drive from here in a neighboring state; I was actually going there for lunch at a small pizza restaurant which is the only one of its kind remaining. But this town used to have a number of nice high-end stereo shops back in the 70s and I was curious about what the latest incarnations were like. It's a university town so there's still some interest in tech stuff and a couple of stores remain.In the end I only found two stores which really sold stereo gear; one was a direct descendant of a store I visited in 1973 and had some sensible people running it. Like most modern stores, they had a large stock of A/V equipment, but also some more high-end stuff. In addition, they had rounded up some used electronics and speakers which were worth a look. I'd go back there more often if I lived closer - they seem to have their heads on straight.The other place - wow. Full of weird audiophile claptrap, including their pride and joy - a pair of Avantgarde horns driven by a 5-watt 10% distortion tube amp. The salesperson raved about them, and was pushing a new $2000 "budget" turntable as the perfect match (they were actually in different rooms). I noted with some amusement that among the wacky audiofool stuff there was actually a pricey digital music server. I told the guy I already had one - an Airport Express ($100) streaming from my desktop Mac. The worst thing, though (to me) was that since they were a Magnepan dealer I hoped to be able to hear one of their latest offerings... but the only pair they had was disconnected and sort of pushed to the side. Not enough profit margin, I guess. They only really had one room with semi-decent acoustics, and not the best speakers in it. The others were just places to display the gear and watch the blinky lights.A month ago I was in Philadelphia which (in the 70s as well) used to be a huge mecca for audio stores and music shops. It was home to Dynaco and IMF, a number of other well-respected companies and even some audio publications. The importer Music & Sound Ltd. had a very nice showroom with all kinds of exotic but mostly affordable gear - they carried everything from Crown to Audio Research. All of them gone today, and I didn't see a single ad for a high-end store that looked like it sold primarily audio gear. I wasn't in the mood for "audiophile" shops anyway.