New Soundcenter: A Small Hifi Shop in a Small Village

I can’t really say that I’ve listened to every audio component or combination of components on the market. Nevertheless, the fact that some of the jobs I’ve had required me to travel abroad gave me the opportunity to visit any audio or high-end-audio shop within manageable distance and listen not to what the people there were trying to sell, but to the sound of any source they had available and in any combination of components they cared to set up.

The shops to look out for and not to take for granted are those offering a wide selection and willing, on request, to set up combinations of what they have (there is really little point in lingering in shops that can offer only a single set-up to listen to).

Whatever one has sampled in various cities around the world, though, my experience is that, for some reason – I’ll leave it to you to figure out what – one finds oneself in abundant company treading a well-worn path to a shop in the middle of nowhere.

That middle of nowhere is the small town of Ninove, Belgium. If you hadn’t been invited, been told or hinted to about, driven by or stood in front of that shop, you’d have no idea of what lies behind the admittedly intriguing window display.

Once you have listened to what’s inside, no longer will you speak – even momentarily – of stereo sound, of very bad recordings, of systems that just don’t do it for you. The feeling one has inside the shop reminds me of a line in a song we all know: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”.[Unknown A1]

The shop is unique, there really is only one such place. But don’t take my word for it, let your own ears be the judge.

And what can one hear there? Well, I’d say “nothing less than sheer MUSICAL LIVE SOUND”.

On first hearing, it’s almost too much – certainly so for the uninitiated. There’s absolutely no hiding from the sound.

Importantly, the experience is the same right across the board from ‘start-up’ systems to the more adventurous, and the same whether the music is a studio recording or a recording of a live concert.

Once one is initiated into the virtual world of Musical Live Sound, there is no way back, believe me (I dare you not to!). I have failed to find one, though whether I would want actually to take one is another question!

Here, then, is an opportunity to experience the magic – the true magic – of sound, to be transported into a world one wouldn’t imagine existed, let alone easily accessible.

Try it, then, if you dare (be warned, it’s not for the faint-hearted!) …… you’ll be hooked within less than ten seconds, drawn in a flash into a heaven on earth (if you believe in the hereafter) or (if you don’t) into another dimension with its portal here in the out-of-the-way small town of Ninove, Belgium.

The name of that portal? Oh, yes ….

NEW SOUND CENTER

PS: In fact, that line in the song Hotel California comes nowhere close to expressing the magical experience of the (new) sound to be heard here.

“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”- nor would you want to!

J.