A big thank you to Dominic of StudioAV, Eton & about dealers in general
Popped in a month ago - asking about suitable replacements for my Totem Arros - they suggested I listened to the Totem Sttafs. My girlfriend & I returned yestereday for a listen. StudioAV is a small shop down Eton High St with a suite of listening rooms across the road where we heard the speakers on a Nain system with Tellurium Q Ultra Black cable.
Armed with a handful of CDs we listened. Came to a decision regarding the Sttafs very quickly - everything sounded way too bassy whether or not the music had much or not (they were a good metre away from the rear wall). I'm not a fan of bass-light systems but honking fat bass is not my scene either. The Focal Electra 1008s stand mounts with their Berylium tweeters sounded a hell of a lot better: tight, if a little dry in the bass & detailed highs without being "explicit". Still not going to show my Arros a clean pair of heels though. They have an unopended pair of Naim Ovator 400s - a model I've heard elsewhere so will return for a listen probably carting my Primare with me.
This is not the 1st demo I've been to at this shop & one aspect I like that others may not is the sales staff stay with you throughout the demo. Most other shops setup the gear, hand you the remotes & beat a retreat & possibly stick their heads round the lintel at some point. Although I'm pretty capable of making up my own mind unaided, some feedback from the sales team & convesation is something I prefer.
I used to drop into Reading Cassette & Hi Fi when they had a small shop in Harris Arcade. They would play stuff - some in my price range, some not but I'd get to hear equipment, some of which I bought. They moved into bigger premises where you would be asked if you had an appointment. OK, they'd be happy to book you in at a later date but I rarely bothered. It felt like walking into a near empty restaurant where you are asked if you've booked a table or not: "no matter, I'm sure we can find you a table" as if some businesses don't want spontaneous custom or just want to wrong-foot you!
Although I'm inclinded to take my time when buying Hi Fi or photo gear, I have spent £100s on the spur of the moment - no appointment & only a very few duff decisions (buying a Canon G10 camera was). One thing you should never ask a punter is whether or not they are going to buy anything unless you are trying to get rid of them, especially when you've bought off them in the past.