The big box stores are great when you want a friendly little speaker straight out of the box. But when you’re ready to shop for a whole-house sound system, a home theater installation, or a serious sound system for your car, it’s time to shop where the city’s audiophiles go. These locally-owned vendors can cater to your every need and help you find the system that’s perfect for you.
The Sound Room
1661 Clarkson Road
Chesterfield, MO 63017
(636) 537-0404
www.thesoundroom.com

The Sound Room is synonymous with home audio and home theater equipment in the STL. Their showroom is where electronics lovers go to relax and daydream among shiny woofers and tweeters. Beside a brilliant shopping experience and state-of-the-art equipment, The Sound Room offers knowledgeable staff who can answer your questions, install your system components, and make repairs when necessary. The Sound Room specializes in custom HD and 3D home theater systems, high-performance audio equipment, home automation and smart technology, and in-home consultations for whole-house systems of all kinds.

Alpha Tech Electronics
1502 S. Big Bend Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63117
(314) 645-5250
www.alphatechstl.com

Alpha Tech offers a retro audio experience for vintage equipment buffs. Here you’ll find not only speakers but turntables, receivers, and other components, with a staff that knows how to wire it all together. Alpha also offers repairs and installation on sound systems and home theater electronics. Alpha Tech has been in the home audio and video business since 1974, and they know their way around a speaker.

Rich’s Record Emporium
131 W. Main St.
Collinsville, IL 62234
(618) 200-9287
www.richsrecordemporium.com

It’s well worth the trip across the river to visit Rich’s. The Record Emporium is a vinyl connoisseur’s paradise, featuring mostly new vinyl records along with vintage, with an especially delicious assortment of jazz albums and a selection of audiophile label and local artist recordings. While the Record Emporium focuses on vinyl (including turntables and accessories), the new Audio Emporium annex carries amps, speakers, headphones, audio racks and more. Their focus is on personal audio gear and fine audio equipment for intimate listening in “near field” situations (a single room, an apartment, a dorm) rather than whole-house systems.

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Audio Ace
11832 Dorsett Road
Maryland Heights, MO 63043
(314) 720-1143
www.car-audio-st-louis.missouri-biz.com

If you’re looking for a mobile audio (or video) system for your car, Audio Ace in Maryland Heights is a local favorite. The owners have built a reputation for listening to their customers’ needs, giving trustworthy recommendations, and doing high-quality work with a quick turnaround, with no hard sales pitch or attempts to upsell. What more could you really want? They do both installation and repairs, and they also install and service marine electronics, car alarms, and navigation systems.

Tocco’s Custom Sound Stereo Shop
900 First Capitol Drive
St. Charles, MO 63301
(314) 831-1200
www.toccos.com

In the northwestern ‘burbs and St. Charles area, Tocco’s has been the place to go for sound systems for your home or auto since the 1970s. The systems have changed a lot, and the business has grown quite a bit, but it still has the personal touch that audiophiles demand. Whether you want a home theater system, an outdoor audio setup by your pool, or a banging bass in your vehicle, the experts at Tocco’s stand ready to help. Hours are by appointment only.

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Lauren Haas is a nomadic freelance writer who travels the world, using St. Louis as her base. Visit her blog at http://www.thesoulofajourney.com.