For true audiophiles, sound from the best speakers is all in the ear of the listener. When shopping for audio speakers, most consumers are looking for a particular kind of sound they prefer, which is why it’s important to find a store that offers a range of options in both quality and price. While large retail chain stores might offer the most popular brands, there are still a number of independent stores in the Bay Area that carry a variety of different speaker models. They also offer a more personalized sales experience, with knowledgeable experts available to help and, in one case, even a coffee bar to sip your favorite beverage while you shop.
2116 Blake St.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Music Lovers started as a small, boutique-style shop in 1989 and became one of the first to embrace the notion of the home theater. They pride themselves in building an expertise around the quality of sound rather than the dominance of popular brand names. Their Berkeley location (and another in San Francisco) features several rooms with displays of two channel stereo and home theater systems. This store regularly holds launch parties and events for new products throughout the year and opened a remodeled listening room six months ago.
450 El Paseo de Saratoga
San Jose, CA 95130
There aren’t many high-fidelity equipment stores that have been in business since Harry Truman was President, but this is one of them. Since 1950, Century Stereo has successfully transitioned from the days of tube amps and reel-to-reel tape decks to the current technophile world of digital media streaming. Their extensive speaker line includes models from GoldenEar, Bowers & Wilkins, Leon and Paradigm, plus many others on display in their 10,000-square-foot showroom. The store completes over two hundred sound system installations each year in Silicon Valley and has an extensive, knowledgeable staff.
820 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
A newer entry to the Bay Area sound equipment scene, Dijital Fix actually got their start in Brooklyn ten years ago and then opened their San Francisco location on hip Valencia Street in 2012. They offer an unusual mix of products from hundreds of designers around the world in their 1500-square-foot location. Don’t be deceived by the odd variety of items you will find here (including Polaroid film and decks of cards made of balsa wood). They have an extensive catalog of speakers and headphones for all audio tastes.
1301 Palmetto Ave., Suite A
Pacifica, CA 94044
If you are looking for a specialist offering quality audio sound in either new or used gear, Blue Moon Audio would be an excellent place to start. They are the largest West Coast dealer for the highly-regarded PMC speaker line and they also carry Audia Flight as well. Blue Moon Audio has earned a reputation for inspecting and testing used speakers thoroughly, which can be an attractive option for audiophiles seeking value in the higher-end equipment market. Consumers gravitate to this shop for its personalized, non-pushy service, and the sound of the crashing waves and scent of the salt air from the Pacific Ocean two blocks away doesn’t hurt either.
893A Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
Locally roasted coffee, fresh artisanal pastries and great music…what’s not to like about that? This unique audio and coffee specialty shop was started by Michael Woods, who left his job in the financial industry to create a place that combined his two favorite things. Located in San Francisco’s vibrant SoMa district, Elite Audio combines an industrial-chic sound system showroom with a coffee bar. They offer a wide range of speaker systems from around the world including Burmester, Kharma, Meridian and Revox. You can listen to all of them and more while sipping a great hot beverage.