Being very connected to music from a young age, I was lucky enough to wander into my local HiFi shop in 1986. There, I found the wizards who could bring me closer to what I heard at live concerts than I ever thought possible from mere speakers. This experience is what sparked started my 35-year journey, both as an audiophile and as a part of this industry that I love.
That shop created from scratch, in many of us, all kinds of passion for 2-channel audio. It was a place we could freely go and learn. We were never pressured or rushed, and our purchases came with the confidence that we were making informed decisions and that our ears would agree with those decisions. The words they used gave us a framework to begin the process of figuring out our preferences, and the knowledge they showed us made it clear that the physical gear could only take us so far. We found that part of the joy of our hobby is our influence over the sound.
I use the word “hobby” because better 2 channel audio is exactly that, a hobby that you constantly work on. Like a horse in the 19th century, 2 channel audio was the “way we got around” in 1986. Everyone I knew had a turntable, there was no better TV sound. And very often the stereo and TV were in different rooms. However, having a quality 2 channel system in 2021 means that you care about a very particular kind of difference, and are willing to go through considerable trouble and expense to make that difference happen. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a hobby to me. Through knowledge, creativity, trial and error (and some budget) our systems can get closer and closer to our mind’s vision of what is possible.
After working for large and small HiFi shops and spending a few years as a “company guy” in the AV industry, the stars have aligned, and I have decided to open a new (old?) kind of HiFi shop. A place where music lovers can visit and hear how close you can get to a live show. A place where ideas about music, physics, and emotion are eagerly discussed and everyone is treated with kindness and respect. I am honored to be introducing Boca Tech HiFi, a brand-new division of Boca Tech and Automation.
BTA is an audio/video integrator with a 25-year track record and a fabulous showroom capable of showcasing the benefits of all our core technologies to their fullest. Boca Tech HiFi will add quality 2 channel audio to this impressive facility. It is also my hope that, over the next year or so, I can give you a glimpse of what we are doing and why. I want Boca Tech HiFi to be a destination for local music lovers and audio geeks alike. A place where music is the focus and everyone who stops by is greeted with a patient smile.
We plan on being open on Saturday and Sunday, treating the weekends like a kind of “audio show”. We will post a schedule of what speakers will be up each day and anyone who shows up that is polite and pleasant will have an opportunity to listen to very special speaker pairs (some costing a quarter million dollars!). We will be open during the week by appointment, either in the shop or in your personal listening room.
There are places in the country where people can still walk into an audio shop and have a similar experience to mine, 35 years ago. Audio geeks are being hatched every day and lives are enriched. Unfortunately, there are many “audio deserts” where even the HiFi shops have lost sight of the fact that this is a hobby, and it should be fun. My vision for Boca Tech HiFi is that it becomes one of these storied places. Stay tuned. Many colleagues have said things along the lines of “are you crazy”? I think not.
I see many young (and old) people that are passionate about 2 channel music and are hungry for knowledge and an inviting place to get it. It is my hope and sincere wish to create a place like this for budding audiophiles or current audiophiles like myself. I do, however, have a small secret to help me out, a pair of secret weapons, their names? Ron and Jeff.
I am going to start with Ron since he hates it when I talk about him. Ron has been in the industry longer than I have. Ron’s motto is “saving people from bad HiFi” and for 40 years he’s endeavored to do just that. He has owned shops, regularly consults with speaker manufacturers, and he loves music as much as I do. Honestly, if I were hiring someone to run a 2-channel shop and Ron and I were the candidates, I don’t know that I would give me the job! Also, one of the nicest people I know. A gentle giant.
So, Jeff… What can I say about Jeff? He owns and runs Boca Tech and Automation, an AV systems integrator located in Boca Raton, Florida. Our shop will be tucked in the corner of his magnificent AV showroom, and will become one of the technologies that BTA showcases to its fullest. Jeff (and BTA) have sold a major system a week for 25 years, creating over 1250 happy clients. Jeff cares just as much about HiFi audio as he does about reference home theaters and the whole home automation infrastructure. Also, one of the nicest guys that you will ever meet… BTA is really just full of nice guys!