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Meet Your Dealer: GTT Audio

Meet Your Dealer: GTT Audio

GTT Audio is not your average high-end audio store, and Bill Parish is not your average high-end audio retailer. His work space is his home; not a converted living room, but a dedicated centre of audio excellence within a well-appointed building in America’s East Coast.

In truth, we’ve concentrated greatly on ‘locally grown’ audio dealers in recent months, highlighting the best of British in terms of good audio dealers, and we are intent to continue that. But we’ve consciously decided to expand our remit somewhat, to include the best wherever we encounter it.

We’d love to make this an excuse for constant international travel, but in reality such a travelogue would be prohibitively expensive, so when time and space permits, we will continue to look to the best around the world.

Bill Parish and GTT Audio sets a very high bar for that international dealer network, making some of the best sounds with some of the very best systems money can buy. Little wonder then that his store was the first place outside of the YG factory to host the awesome Sonja XV twin-tower floorstanders we were so impressed by last issue. And that’s where we made the connection!

HF+: What brands/products do you stock?

BP: We usually play an important part of building the brands we represent. A complete line card can be seen on our website but we have a major (I like to think ‘laser-guided’) focus on six brands. We are the US and Canada distributor for Audionet, Mola-Mola, Kii, and the US distributor for Kronos. In the North East and where we don’t have a dealer covering the area we also retail these four brands. The other two brands, for which we are dealers and which we have helped to succeed in the marketplace, are Kubala•Sosna and YG Acoustics.

What inspired you to get into the industry?

It was more of a hobby turned business. I was in a business that had some national laws change, which changed that business to the point that I was looking for something else to do. To clarify that, even though music was and still is a hobby, selling audio gear the right way is a business and GTT runs it as such. We can still get excited about latest piece of gear like the next guy but remembering that the equipment is a tool ultimately to get us closer to the music. A system approach should always be in mind and should be consulted with a professional guide. We certainly feel that by choosing us as your guide, you will achieve your goal quicker and ultimately save lots of time and money. The result is a lot more fun.

Who has been your biggest influence?

I have met many great people along the way and have learned invaluable things from them. It has been quite a journey and to name a single person my biggest influence wouldn’t be fair. If the question were what has influenced me most the answer would be Carnegie Hall. This is such a historic place where the world’s greatest musicians come to play. Sitting in that hall and letting the music fall over you with a great soloist or orchestra playing is just a mind and body altering experience. To me it is the ultimate reference point. It teaches proper tone, dynamics, and scale, and is also very enlightening on volume and loudness. A Beethoven Trio is not presented at the same volume as the 5th Symphony – though some audiophiles think otherwise. Similarly, Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin is not at the same level as Mahler’s 2nd Symphony.


What music do you listen to when doing a demonstration?

We demonstrate the music that the client picks as that is who the demonstration is for. It makes no sense for us to pick music that the client is unfamiliar with. We always encourage the client to bring music in for the demo. We can play to his musical taste and possibly suggest a great piece within the genre they are listening to. However, to play Heifetz or Bill Evans for a guy who only listens to Pop or Metal isn’t going to get us anywhere. We learn about great music and recordings from our clients. This is what makes Roon with our 17,000 albums and subscription to TIDAL so valuable. If a client forgets his music we can still do a rewarding demonstration.

What is the best piece of advice you can give to someone who is looking to improve/upgrade their system?

As I said above, pick a professional guide who you can trust and relate to and then travel the journey together.

Which do you prefer: Vinyl, CD/SACD, or downloading … and why?

I obviously have and sell all. CD has come such a long way and sounds so good today through the right player. SACD also is very good. Downloading has its advantages too, especially in regard to high resolution. Vinyl, though, always has been and remains my reference. Kronos has elevated the record playback to a level I never thought would exist. Audibly it can be just as ‘hi-res’ as the best DSD256 or DXD; it can have the same dynamics, if not more. Vinyl playback though allows the body to relax in the same way as it does in Carnegie Hall and allows the music to flow over you. There is no greater experience.  

Is streaming taking over from downloading?

I don’t know if it is taking over for the clients into high performance audio and can hear the difference but it certainly is a great supplement. In the last year or so our clients are raving about TIDAL and their instant access to over 30 million songs.

How do you see the industry in five years from now?

I can only comment on what we are seeing now. Who would have thought five years ago that most high end systems would incorporate a computer of some type? Now we see most systems have a computer or streamer as a source getting files from a hard drive over a network. We also see a turntable in about half the systems as vinyl has had a huge resurgence. We hear that vinyl is the preferred medium of the younger crowd and on the College Campus. If I had a crystal ball, I would bet on more turntables and more integrated systems. For example, the Kii Three we carry. It is a 3,000 watt full range system that connects via Ethernet cable and has a control for switching sources and volume. It uses a cardioid bass array and can be placed against a wall for space savings and aesthetic reasons without sacrificing quality. It is a full system without compromise at a very reasonable price.

Do you sell mostly tube or solid-state electronics?

We do sell some tube-based components but mostly solid-state. Around 20 years ago, we saw a convergence happening where the euphonic tube coloration components started coming more towards the neutral and the same thing happening with the sharp shrill solid state colorations warming up and coming towards neutral. I think the gap has narrowed significantly where most of the gear today is striving for neutrality. Obviously, we feel some components are more there than others, but the great solid-state gear that we carry can convey music in a way that lets the listener forget about the technology and listen to the music. This gear allows the clients hobby of listening to music to be more about the music and less about the maintenance of the gear. 


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