In the Trenches: Sound Hounds, Victoria, BC

by admin on August 17, 2009 · 19 comments

in Audiophilia Visits/Show Reports

I have just spent five wonderful days in Victoria, BC. A gorgeous little city, with a Mediterranean climate, fine restaurants, excellent nightlife, the Olympic Mountains across the Strait and, of course, the Pacific Ocean. One day, I’d like to live there. Other than no snow and good wine stores, the only other two prerequisites for a big Audiophilia move are a BMW dealership and a good high end audio store. Happily, Victoria hits on all counts.

Which brings me to Sound Hounds, Victoria’s home of high end audio. Founded in the early 70s (the store seems to have kept the original style), the store is a feast of high end goodies. It is a dealer for Audio Note, Quad, Magneplanar, and many other high end lines. They boast good sound rooms, a healthy trade in room, and a repair centre. Nice.

But best of all are the sales team. The latest hire is from 1993, with the owners and other salespeople from the store beginnings. And they still have smiles on their faces and lots of trusted experience.

If you are an audio fan and have some time in Canada’s paradise, drop in for a visit.


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Roger Kershaw 08.17.09 at 8:12 pm

I will!

dusty akers 08.19.09 at 5:00 pm

howdy fellow audio dudes…i’ve been an audioaddict for 40 years…i’m seemingly the only audio dude in the okanagan valley…are there any of you out there….send me an e till then audios

admin 08.20.09 at 12:26 am

Welcome, Dusty. Love your part of the world. Cheers, a

Russ 11.22.09 at 5:55 pm

I couldn’t agree more about the sales staff. One of the best services they provide is warning you what NOT to buy. You may (or may not) find cheaper prices at the chain or online stores, where accurate knowledge is often non-existent, but Sound Hounds has already saved me a fortune by pointing me towards the right products–and away from others. What good is a low price on the wrong product?

One other thing: The sounds from a given piece of equipment are highly determined by the room. By providing loaners to take home, you have the chance of making sure that you’re getting the right stuff.

On top of everything else, they’re just great people to deal with.

admin 11.22.09 at 6:01 pm

Sounds perfect. Great staff. Looking forward to working with them.

Thanks, Russ. And a warm welcome to you.

Cheers, a

ken mailey 01.07.10 at 8:41 pm

Hi ,
Someone told me you might sell items on consignment.I have a pair of IMF speakers,15 yrs old,too large for my new place,high quality when new,any chance.


admin 01.07.10 at 8:48 pm

Maybe contact them directly, Ken?

Cheers, a

Greg Lazin 01.08.10 at 5:58 pm

With all due respect, I must disagree about thee knowledge displayed at Sound Hounds. I visited over the last week, for the first time, on a visit to Victoria, having heard many good things about Sound Hounds.

The sales people seemed disinterested in moving from the couch to speak with me, and when I was able to get some attention, I inquired about “the price of a CCR”, while standing in from of the Magnepans on display. The salesman did not know what a CCR was…maybe he thought I was speaking about Creedence…

Then I asked about the price of a REL Studio III…The salesman did not know what that model was.

He asked if that was the new line being introduced at CES… I responded that the new line being introduced was the Gibralter line. The salesman knew nothing about the Studio III, indicating they don’t do much with the more expensive RELs…

I think that Sumiko would be interested in how their products are being represented…

I am just a consumer; (an avid consumer, admittedly) but I really find it frustrating when salespersons do not know their stuff…

wonton 06.18.10 at 1:45 pm

I agree with the last review, the guys are very hard to get off the couch..
They only speak to their friends and rich ass dummies who have ridiculous cash to blow,, otherwise you should go to best buy, (their attitude)

I love audio, but im not a rich dude,,, so I guess Ill be ordering from online..


Joe Jubb 11.23.10 at 5:26 pm

Well, well. At last a forum on the Hound. Right off, I might remind Greg Lazin and “Wonton” that the Hound has survived and thrived the Victoria audio market for 40 years !! Survived all the ‘discount’, low price, big box, and any other competitor during this time by getting the basics right. Product knowledge, fair dealing, no bullshit ever ( and no patience for it) , genuine high fidelity products that are a joy to buy and to own. If you want to ‘deal’ with a 19 year-old know-nothing flogging the latest piece of audio shit, I suggest that Best Buy/Future Shop/ad nauseam is the (only) place for you. As to their attitude, just remember that you a) take it home and try it, b) use a trade in and c) know that they stand behind their products unconditionally. Worth a few couch sessions I’d say. Paul is the last word in turntable mechanics, Don is the guru of damn near everything audio (ask him about radio…) and as plain dealing a person you will ever meet. Terry can talk seriously and knowledgeably on whatever topic, besides audio, you might dream up, Kerry is all about the customers needs. These are serious audio people for serious audio people. That’s it. And it works. Hurrah.

P.G. 11.30.10 at 8:50 pm

I’ve shopped at Sound Hounds for over 20 years, I drive by a dozen audio retailers to get there. I appreciate is the relaxed atmosphere, great value and expertise they offer. Keep up the great job guy’s.

Best Buy? Are you serious? lol

D.T. 06.16.11 at 2:24 pm

Only been a customer for about 10 yrs but father in law was one 15 years before that for an in built in system when built his new house. When he passed away a few years ago we took some of his old equipment in and they recognized the install without mentioning his name. The shop is definitely quaint, give them a hard time about the couches. They look about as old as the shop but they assure me they have been replaced once. Great staff and yes they never seem to change. Willing to chat even if you are just looking and never pushy. Don did not even flinch when my wife, who thinks MP3 is an audio innovation, went on about how ugly some of the speakers were. On an up note, she made me return the 700 series B & W for the 800’s because they looked better. Great place, highly recommended but it can turn into an expensive addiction.

WS 08.16.12 at 11:03 am

I have been buying from Soundhounds for the past 12 years and have always found the staff to be friendly, knowledgable and that they take the time to make sure you make the right purchase that fit your need and your budget. Its almost like going back to the corner grocery store in the neighbourhood you grew up as a kid.

Paul 09.08.12 at 11:52 am

The team at Sound Hounds is outstanding! I appreciate their openness to questions and there welcome. There is a relaxing positive atmosphere and the passion for music and experimenting to achieve impeccable sound production for the customer is First Class. I have been a long term patron and every piece of gear purchased has been outstanding and fabulous! If you want an exceptional audiophile experience, time to listen and a refreshing perspective on Audio gear and music, Sound Hounds is the destination.

Marko 02.16.14 at 12:42 pm

Sound Hounds’ approach is relationship based, and this is a big part of why the Store endures. They take the time to get to know you, and earn your business by sharing their experience with you, to help you find what you like. I’ve been a customer for almost 30 years, and this has been constant the whole time. The staff are first class, and helped me build a system I love.

I’m not surprised by the two grumbles above. If you walk into Sound Hounds all about price, you’re not getting it. You need to hang awhile, smell the Audio and have a coffee. They’ll quietly sell you whatever you like, but if ya just want to shop price, their happy to leave you with your computer for that. Most of us really like this about the store.

admin 06.14.14 at 6:01 pm

Just had another visit 5 years later. Just as wonderful with the same caring staff.

Worth your time, BC audiophiles.

Cheers, a

Chuck Ferguson 01.03.15 at 8:01 pm

Great to read so many wonderful reviews and experiences. I grew up in Victoria, and started dealing with Sound Hounds when I was a student at UVic, more than 30 years ago. Even though I now live in Vancouver, I still deal with Sound Hounds. Sound Hounds is one of the very best things about Victoria, and that is saying something.

Dallas Sandvik 01.25.15 at 1:05 am

I have always been very impressed with the selection of high end audio gear at Sound Hounds. The staff is very helpful. I have made several purchases in the last couple months and hope to make many more. Truly a shop worth the trip to the island!

Gilbert F 04.21.15 at 9:07 pm

I acquired some decent audio equipment from my father when he was downsizing and went in to make some very small purchases to make the equipment work in my home. Don and Paul have been very helpful and always treat me very well, especially considering how little I’ve spent in the store.
Don’t expect staff to jump up and ask to help you. It’s just not their style. They’ll help if you ask for it.

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