For the Record

Get a fresh spin on vinyl and go analog at these sound emporiums.

By Paul Fontana December 28, 2008 Published in the June 2008 issue of Seattle Met

Round and Round
They’ll sell you a cool, compact Cambridge Audio CD player at Hawthorne Stereo, sure, but these old-school music geeks are even happier to turn you on to the newest turntable from England’s sleek Rega, a vintage cassette deck by Nakamichi, and the tony Tannoy speakers that’ll bring them both to life. Not sure what “two-channel” audio means or why it beats your mini iPod? Don’t be afraid to ask. Hawthorne Stereo, 6303 Roosevelt Way NE, Roosevelt, 206-522-9609;

Home Show
Concerned that the ultra gorgeous English-engineered system you’re considering won’t sound ultra sharp in your high-ceilinged, colossal condo? Connon Price and the hi-fi experts at Tune will bring Naim Audio’s full multiroom system from their house to yours, where you can try it on for size. Systems take prominence over individual components at this design-conscious Belltown shop, but they offer top-of-the-line turntables—try the beautiful Wilson Benesch models—to satisfy discerning à la carte shoppers. Tune, 2121 First Ave, Belltown, 206-283-8863;


Listening 101
When you walk in and spy manager John Zimmerman or one of his techs fiddling with turntable tonearms near the no-frills showroom, you may correctly infer that The Audio Connection, a University District hit for over 25 years, is a high-end audio demystification zone. In addition to repairs, tune-ups, and setup services, there’s a stack of mostly classical records on offer along with a fine selection of new two-channel equipment, with Rega and Project turntables spotlighted. The Audio Connection, 5621A University Way NE, University District, 206-524-7251;


Needle Knows
If a new needle or belt is the only thing preventing you from resurrecting your parent’s old hi-fi and their vintage LP collection, head directly to JNS. While service, phonograph needles, and vinyl cleaning supplies are in frequent rotation at this mom-and-pop shop, the excellent collection of soundtracks and picture discs demands to be browsed. Affordable Audio-Technica turntables—one equipped with USB ports for digital conversions—are also available. JNS Phonograph Needles, 1028 NE 65th St, Roosevelt, 206-524-2933


Plastic Passion
Seattle spins many fine record shops but none jumps back to the analog age as comfortably as Golden Oldies. Inside the hulking yellow building in Wallingford, rows of neatly organized 45s lure a clientele composed equally of old-timers who’ve never gone digital and youngsters hip to vintage vinyl’s warm, crackling charm. Scout out “Strychnine” by ’60s Tacoma garage rockers the Sonics, or go for a ’40s-era full-length of bebop and swing. Golden Oldies, 201 NE 45th St, Wallingford, 206-547-2260;

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