The linestage with built-in phono project is just about ready to get a first listen and testing. At this point all that’s left is chassis assembly and wiring the in/out/switching. Builds always take longer than expected, usually because I can’t stand doing the same thing the same way more than once. There are a couple of new circuits, PCBs, and approaches in this one that will be detailed in the full write-up as soon as I’m satisfied with the sound.
On another topic, I read an interesting article in the New York Times the other day about Japanese-style listening bars popping up in Los Angeles and New York. These are “cafes with high-end audio equipment, where patrons listen to vinyl records, carefully selected by a bartender, from a record library behind the bar.”
High-end audio showrooms must be suffering the pinch of online retail, making it more difficult for enthusiasts to find a place to experience equipment that they, often as not, don’t intend to purchase in the first place. So why not tap into the same kind of clientele in a no-sales-pressure environment and make your money on drinks instead of cables? The fact that vinyl is up and product ownership is down helps make the case.
This would potentially require a substantial investment in equipment (I’m assuming more expensive or esoteric systems draw more people in), but clever manufacturers might be keen on the advertising potential of getting their product/brand in front of consumers who appreciate listening and quality audio. If you’ve got a regular crowd, they might even appreciate regular changes to the system.
I’ve personally been on the casual look-out for an opportunity to build a system for a local brewery. People who appreciate local beer might appreciate other local products (I mean, I like local beer and the farmer’s market). Putting a visually interesting amplifier in a setting that it would be used and seen by the right kind of customer sounds to me like an excellent marketing investment/experiment. The brewery gets both good sound and a unique/local touch to their atmosphere.
If only I could find the time to build more than one amp every couple months…