Having topped our high-end knob-twiddling category for six years straight, this longtime audiophile fave (est. 1951) continues to distinguish itself through its smart and friendly salespeople and its highly discerning manner of maintaining an upscale inventory. Brands of choice include Pass Labs, VTL, B&W, Lexicon, and Proton--none to be found at the corporate warehouses. If you come in seeking the best balance of price and performance (and who doesn't?), this classy playroom's paid perfectionists won't simply push their midrange product. They'll ask the size of your room, what kind of music you listen to, what components you're using, and which others you might add in the future. As manufacturing standards continue to deteriorate according to what's lightweight and easy to mass-produce (and -market), much of Hi-Fi's equipment actually consists of old technology refined for the new age. Which is to say that this is your grandfather's electronics store, and that's a good thing.


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