BEST ELECTRONICS (AUDIOPHILE) (2001)
This endearingly unpretentious haven for high-end knob-twiddlers proves that "audiophile" needn't mean "for snobs only." On the afternoon we visited, one of several listening rooms was populated by two young men in college sweatshirts lingering before a cranked CD of Schubert's Death and the Maiden. While it's highly doubtful they could afford the top-of-the-line Wilson Audio speakers that go for $175,000 a pair (not even college costs that much, does it?), they looked ready to take the plunge for a $250 set by NHT. In any case, both options are available here, and, just as important, we got the message that grown kids are thoroughly welcome to hang out and lend an ear without breaking the piggy bank. In business for 25 years, Audio Perfection remains unique among elite electronics stores for favoring sound over sight: The interior of its bland, brown-brick corner building is charmingly laden with empty electric sockets; and pieces of footprint-covered cardboard are taped over the glass-block windows, so that pesky daylight won't interfere with the picture on a top-quality TV by Loews or Proton. Owner Mark Balkowitsch puts his energy into providing the best components at any price point (affordable brands on the floor include Rotel and Denon). And, of course, if you're the rare sort to drop $10K on a turntable cartridge, the friendly folks at Audio Perfection will be glad to oblige.
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