Talk Shop: In Living Stereo

Good things come in pairs

Ahh, that musty smell of dusty, disorganized vintage record shops. Or how about the high-pressure unapproachability of hi-fi audio retailers? Instant turn-off, right?

Not so fast. The crew at In Living Stereo prove that purveying fine audio gear and records can indeed live in harmony. With a recent move from deep in the East Village to their new digs in NoHo, we decided to make a short trip down to 2 Great Jones Street to check out ILS’s wares and chat with devoted proprietor, Steve Mishoe, about hi-fi audio, his new location, and of course sit in their massive new demo room for an extended listening session.

Our shop tour continues after the jump.

It’s immediately apparent that In Living Stereo aims to make vinyl approachable, quite the opposite of the beau monde effect that plagues so many hi-fi stores. A friendly and knowledgeable staff mans the record shop area where a counter full of vinyl accessories and headphones sits beneath a loft of vinyl. Unlike so many record stores, ILS keeps their new and used selection tightly curated. No digging through boxes and floor racks full of obscure plates. And, gasp (or sneeze), there’s hardly a bit of dust in sight. The staff, or Mishoe himself, are also happy to help you find some new gems for your collection. Offering more than a nice modicum of perusing privacy, the loft is enveloped with music from a pair of Dynaudio speakers. It’s all together an entirely refreshing experience.

Take a left past the record shop through the plate-glass wall and you’ll find a tight selection of audio gear that Mishoe describes as “the type of audio gear I love.” What that translates to is an inventory of gear the uninitiated might not recognize, but should: Shindo Laboratory, Music Hall, Dynaudio, Prima Luna, NAIM Audio, Brooklyn-based DeVore Fidelity, along with other more recognizable stalwarts like Grado, Rega and Creek. Two listening rooms (one that can really only be described as art deco meets audiophile heaven meets living room) and a mezzanine make up the vaulted hi-fi shop. With our penchant for desktop audio, we also found ourselves pleasantly surprised to learn of Mishoe’s wide breadth of knowledge, and applicable offerings, for digital/iTunes based hi-fi.

Details matter, and In Living Stereo’s passion for audio gear is evident — even the sound-dampening panels in the demo rooms are handmade by Mishoe himself. Whether you love hi-fi or vinyl or just have an appreciation for incredibly well-built gear, be sure to give ILS a visit. You might walk out with a few new vinyl gems, your first foray of hi-fi gear, or just a newfound love of hi-fi. Either way, In Living Stereo is perfectly happy helping you with all three.

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