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An Audio Walkabout in ChicagoLand – Part One

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Weather you find yourself traveling in a new city with a little time to shop or just want to keep tabs on your local audio scene, it’s always nice to know where you can find good hifi. This is the first part in a series of posts that explores the various places you can find high fidelity audio equipment in Chicago, IL USA.  There is a good chance we will make it to every place in the area, so hold on to your hats (it’s the windy city) and let the good times flow.

One of the newcomers to the Chicago audiophile scene is Tweak Studios.  With a soft open of August 8th , owner and operator Arnold is fine tuning his showroom on the bronze level of the Hyatt Riverwalk east tower.

His enthusiasm for the hobby is infectious, and I’m looking forward to big things from his side of town.  One of the highlights for me was his work-in-progress headphone room, which not only offers a promise of isolation and privacy for auditions, but also makes Tweak Studios one of the very few places to sample headphones before you buy in Chicago period.  While the final lineup of headphones is still TBD, Arnold let me know that the first cans should be ready to listen to in the next few weeks.

A fan of Jazz and House music, Arnold carries a fairly wide variety of products for the budding audiophile as well as the seasoned veteran.  The central setup he had on display consisted of a Burmester 061 CD player ($14,000) into a Hegel H200 integrated ($5,000) filtered though an Isotek Titan power conditioner ($4500).  The first speakers we auditioned were a pair of Legacy Focus SE ($9,500).  The ribbon tweeters took a little bit to loosen up, but in the end the system delivered excellent transparency with a nice airy top end.  The Legacys where then swapped out for a pair of Burmester B30s ($16,000) which clearly displayed an even fuller and more defined low end than it’s predecessor.  Dire Straights on vinyl (fed through a Burmester Phono 100) displayed a very wide soundstage and excellent instrument separation.

The Tweak Studios showroom is currently by appointment only, but should be moving to more regular floor hours in the weeks to come.

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