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Comments on Retail and Digital Covergence

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Well, it looks like we're doing it. For years I've wondered how to tie in our Apple computer dealership to high end audio, and it looks like we now have good reason to proceed. Products aimed at the music server market are becoming more available from mainstream manufacturors like Blue Circle (USB Thingee) and Wadia (iTransport). We take inquiries every day now on the subject and audio has become a part of our business, with lines like Audioengine (amazing value) and Vuum. And so we're building a high end 2 channel section and a mid to high end video section! Both should be good sized stores in their own right, with at least 1000 square feet each. Some of the people we've talked to are Bel Canto, the afore-mentioned Blue Circle, Nuforce, PSB, Reference 3A, etc. Our focus will be exclusively on digital; we won't sell turntables, much as I like them. We will offer services around the digital lifestyle, such as LP to digital, CD to Hard Disc, HIRES download to disk, and such. We will take trade ins (happy to get them!) and sell used product as well. And of course we will sell Macs as digital music servers., not CD players. We believe we are with the trend, with media becoming more and more network sourced as opposed to physical media such as CD's and DVD's.


Some of the things I've learned on Audiogon and other audiophile oriented sites will be incorporated as well. We will have in home demo of equipment, as long as we have a demo product to offer. To avoid any complications with this policy we will charge a minimal fee for the trial, fully refundable with any purchase of audio hardware anytime. This allows us to offer the home trials, but covers us from abuse if the customer is one of those 'borrow from a dealer and buy online' types.


We will demo pretty much everything we sell, just as we do now with Macs.


We will work with our customers to maximize value. IMHO, there is just way too much overpriced audio gear in the marketplace. Primarily this is a result, I believe, of less sales volume coupled to a diminishing customer base as one result of the pricing, with growth taking a hit as well. Representing value will likely be a difficult sell to our existing customers, so we intend to attach a lot of service to the products. As well, we will seriously look at products from companies coming out of the computer audio crossover space, such as Audioengine. We believe we will find value there as the computer industry is well known for the tiny margins we nessessarily have to deal with. The idea of selling any larger product with a 20% profit margin or higher almost feels larcenous to us! Hello cables!


Because of our financial resources and the existence of a functioning and profitable existing business with systems infrastructure in place, we will be able to provide more service and resources to our clientele for audio and video. We have a lot of experience as retailers and will be professional in our dealings with customers. Indeed, one of the reasons we are expanding into this space is the perceived lack of these services from many existing high end retailers, which, in our region anyway, tend to be smaller, marginalized dealers with limited resources.


I welcome comments on our new undertaking, and specifically request that you help provide a road map that would meet your needs from a store such as I've outlined above.


I thank you in advance and greatly look forward to your perspective!




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Hey brimac - Nice to talk to here! Thanks for the details in your post. I really hope the CA readers get in on this opportunity to offer you opinions on what they think and would like to see etc...


Since we have discussed some of this in previous offline conversations I won't go over it again. But I've been thinking a little more about your store and what to offer. Have you looked at the Apogee products, specifically the Duet? Also the benchmark DACs are a great value that your customers would really like. There are some other great value products written about around the site here such as the KingRex DAC and the Cayin products.


Have you looked into Bryston? They are coming out with a very nice USB DAC pretty soon (BDA-1). James Tanner up there is a great guy.


I am very interested to hear what is selling well at your place once you have it all rolling with a full selection. I'd love to help tailor systems for you, if you want any help just give me a holler.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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I have to tell you that I think this is a very, very bad idea. Actually I think it is doomed to failure and has the potential to ruin your life as well as that of your children's. This, of course, has nothing to do with the fact that I own a high end store (we do handle turntables) and am interested in approaching the same market you are after. I am joking, of course, as long as you are in a different city.


Actually it is kind of interesting; our local Apple store has no interest in high performance audio at all. I would love to have a working relationship with them and be able to send my clients to them for the server part of the system while I handle the high end audio and video products for them. We have done that for 25 years and are very good at it. It seems like it would be a win/win but they don't see any reason to do anything more than provide lossy, compressed signals to their clients. We have a Microcenter 5 minutes from our store but I picked up a Mac mini for one of our demo rooms a few weeks ago and it did not have the Leopard OS on it or included, which makes me think it was on their shelf for six months or more.


At any rate, good luck and feel free to share anything you feel like on the forum. The server part is pretty well covered by others, I am quite comfortable with high end audio and the products we provide, it is the user interface that is still the weak link, at least in my opinion. That and high quality downloads for mainstream musical tastes. I wish that Apple would step up to the plate there.


Best regards



Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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...was FUNNY, Rick. .....just a sec. .....still giggling.....


Apple, or at least more of their retailers, really SHOULD be stepping up to the 'high-end' of audio here. I suppose we have more work to do.



Welcome to Computer Audiophile Brimac!





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Hey Mark - I saw one of your postings the other day and can't find it now. Just wanted to mention that we have more than music reproduction and playing in common. Last fall marked 28 for me.


Keep doin' the next right thing.


Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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Brothers under the skin we must be then, Rick. I think you are referring to the article @ http://www.computeraudiophile.com/node/401. I really like some of those songs. I'm going to get the book soon.


One day, one hour, one second at a time (if need be). Life-events are really bringing that home for me presently.


"Hi. My name is Mark, and I am a horn speaker lover. It is very nice to be at this meeting tonight." (from: http://www.computeraudiophile.com/node/77)





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