The definitive guide to audio stores across India
Eight specialist stores, with well-equipped listening rooms, that promise to be an audiophile's delight
Searching for the perfect high-fidelity system in India?
The easiest way to dip your toes into the world of hi-fi systems is through word of mouth. “Evangelists", as Aniruddha Ghotge of Clove Audio jokingly calls them, will point one in the right direction in terms of the best stores and brands available. Or one can turn to the Internet, and the hi-fi forums there. This is the one area where Amazon doesn’t quite work though—the main problem with buying hi-fi systems online is that you don’t really get to test the equipment before buying it which is of paramount importance; you need to spend time with the gear. Most specialist audio stores have well-equipped listening rooms where you can discuss your requirements and test the equipment before making the final choice.
Bang & Olufsen
B&O needs very little introduction. The Danish electronics company founded in 1925 is one of the biggest names in the audio industry, with a focus on high-quality audio and video. In 2015, the company opened up a BeoWorld experience store in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area which showcases a range of its design-forward products across audio and multimedia. The BeoLab series feature speakers that fuse futuristic design with high-quality sound. The Beoplay line is all about portability, durability and great audio while the BeoSound series is more about incorporating the wireless aesthetic at home.
Shyam Bajaj, founder of Norge Audio, was one of the pioneers of the hi-fi business in India. After falling in love with Norwegian radio and interning at the Tandberg factory in Oslo, he finally set up Norge Audio in Mahim, Mumbai, in 1967 with the objective of delivering high-quality sound systems. They started out selling amplifiers, expanding gradually to a full range of speakers as well. Although they advertise largely through word-of-mouth, they have a clientele from around the world.
Formerly known as Lithos Audio, Clove started out as an Indian hi-fi brand in 1995, when there wasn’t much competition. The store, based in DLF Phase II, Gurugram, stocks a range of products across price points. For instance, they have satellite speakers from the entry-level brand One to the current flagship line, Kontra. These can be paired with its range of subwoofers. Clove’s sound design combines Russian audio precision with American design. Contact the store at 09899319731.
Established in 1995 with the aim of becoming a one-stop shop for the best products in the audio industry, Lakozy deals in some of the biggest names in the industry, like Bluesound, PSB and NAD Electronics. Its exhaustive list of products includes speakers, amplifiers, turntables, AV receivers and DACs. Lakozy Mansion, the brand’s flagship store in Mumbai’s Chowpatty area, is paradise for those looking for an exceptional audiovisual experience, with a plush listening room and customized audio solutions.
Before establishing The Shop in Mumbai’s Andheri (West) area around 15 years ago, Jignesh Patel used to sell one-off speaker systems through word-of-mouth marketing. A self-proclaimed hi-fi enthusiast, he stocks home theatre systems, amps, turntables and a range of speakers like Dali and Paradigm. Their store offers consultancies in home automation and entertainment systems.
Bengaluru-based Audio Planet has a very different approach towards home hi-fi systems. It started in 1999 by Palini Loganathan, offering both home and pro audio solutions, but abandoned the pro market some 10 years ago. It currently deals in 16 different brands from around the world. It auditions products to customers after educating them on the basics of audio. They also consult in room-shaping and acoustics and offer consultancies from their Koramangala outlet in Bengaluru.
Abhishek Gupta’s Listening Room, in Delhi’s Defence Colony, is unlike any other hi-fi experience store. As a designer, he has created a state-of-the-art experience centre to introduce the customer to a world-class music experience. Gupta started off his career in audio by putting together a sound system for a friend. Word spread, and eventually he started consulting professionally and creating high-end sound systems.
The Headphone Zone
In 2011, Raghav Somani started The Headphone Zone in Bengaluru when he realized that Indian retailers didn’t pay much attention to headphones and personal audio. It later expanded to Mumbai. It retails some of the biggest brands in personal audio like Audeze, V-MODA, Astell&Kern and Meze. It also deals in amplifiers and Digital-to-Analogue Converters (DACs) from brands like Fiio, Oppo and Schiit and can be contacted directly at 07506646988.