Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gary Reiser: Sounds Good To Me!

Nestled near the front of the Traders Village on Eldridge Rd., Houston, in space 249, is the brick and mortar incarnation of Sounds Good to Me. Click the link for the web incarnation! Gary Reiser is the proprietor of both and is a 16 year veteran of the hifi wars. I would say 'grizzled veteran', but I am in no position to cast grizzly aspersions. But Gary can be accurately described as the go-to guy in the Houston area for great deals on vintage stereo gear. He also dresses like an Austinite:

I met Gary a number of years ago via a purchase of pair of L. W. Erath speakers. I stumbled onto his very nice web site, made the purchase via Paypal and then made the trek to Houston to pick them up.

Gary's space at the Traders Village is a flea market anomaly: no heaps of scrufty, unconnected gear here. His philosophy is based on a level of attention to detail that he thought was missing from the typical flea market experience. Every piece has been cosmetically detailed and verified as electronically sound. All components are connected in working systems for instant evaluation. All the tuners dialed in to the same station for convenient comparison. (Really. No, I am not kidding.) No vague assertions that something works, or that it would look great with a little elbow grease. Everything works and looks great, and best of all, is very reasonably priced. Visiting Gary's space in north Houston is like taking a quick trip back in time to my favorite parts of 1975. If this were a just universe Gary would be outselling Best Buy.

Here is Gary’s philosophy in his own words:

When I started this audio resale business, I saw others doing similar things on a smaller (and less organized) scale. Due to the nature of the vintage (and not so vintage) electronics, I knew that it was really not feasible to offer warranties on the items that I'd be selling. After seeing how most people that are selling this type of equipment have stacks of dirty pieces of gear piled on shelves ... not hooked up to demonstrate that they are working ... no prices marked on the items, etc, I decided that I would take a different approach. All items that we sell are tested, cleaned (repaired if necessary), priced and displayed in a working environment. Since a warranty is not offered, this is the next best thing ... the customer buys a product that they can see/hear is working properly, and in the case of items that have "glitches or tics" I am always up-front about any anomalies that I am aware of with pieces of equipment . I try to treat people the way that I want to be treated ... the simple Golden Rule.

Gary tends to reserve his more meat and potatoes systems for his Traders Village store front, but meat and potatoes can be choice: on my recent visit he had a very tasty Sansui AU 717 amp for sale. I left with a very nice Amber 50B integrated amp and a Harmon Kardon Award series tube receiver, both slated for this blog now that the workbench has been reopened.

And don’t forget to flip through Gary’s bin of dollar vinyl. You know you can never have too many records.

Gary tends to sell his more esoteric, expensive items for his web site. His web presence is as tidy as the brick and mortar site, nicely organized by component type. Turnover can be quick so be warned: he who hesitates is lost. As for esoteric: currently he has a very sweet looking JBL Metregon speaker system for sale, and he recently sold a massive pair of VTL Deluxe 600 tube monoblock amps. Not too shabby, eh?

Gary also provides a number of audio related services, including:

Speaker refoaming (no reconing). Transfers from LP's, cassettes and reel tapes to CD's. I just added a 1/2" 8 track reel to reel deck to transfer 1/2" tapes to CD's. A recent search of the web indicated that this is a rare service offering, so I hope that I can find a small niche with that odd service. Pricing on our refoaming and analog/digital transfer services are well below the majority of businesses that offer these services, with quality that rivals the best.

Gary is open for business at Traders Village roughly 50 weeks of the year. He takes a bit of time off in the heat of summer and confesses to closing a bit early when the Houston monsoons hit. But even Hurricane Ike met its match last year: Gary’s space was unscathed.

So, next time you wander close to the northwest side of Houston on a weekend, check out Sounds Good to Me in the Trader’s Village, space 249. It located just west of 290 on Eldridge Rd. For those of you so inclined, Gary can also be reached at (713) 385-4933. Go early and avoid the considerable crowds and the screaming Texas sun.

So check it out!

1 comment:

virtul.kity said...

I visited this shop for the first time in late October 2010. I wanted a reel-to-reel audio recorder for my father. I saw one that was perfect buuuut a bit out of my price range. I asked Mr. Reiser if I could purchase it on layaway and he agreed. Come Christmas my dad will have a great AKAI reel-to-reel that he has been wanting for years.

Thank you Mr. Reiser!!