Talking Shop: CSA Audio Design

Now nestled in a converted gas station, CSA Audio Design (csaaudiodesign.com; 973-744-0600) has built a name for itself over the past 30 years as a custom-installation resource and retail store in Upper Montclair, New Jersey.

The CSA team makes it simple for customers to navigate all the A/V possibilities with four demonstration rooms. "One of the biggest questions we get is, Plasma or LCD?" says owner Ralph Fonte (below, far left, with sales consultant Lloyd Reinhardt and partner Michael O'Keefe). "We bring them into our flat-panel demo room [right] and show them the differences, the old-fashioned way. They can A/B the sets right next to each other."

A surround sound room includes components from Marantz, Rotel, and Arcam. A third room is dedicated to true two-channel audio, with speakers from B&W, Piega, and Wilson Audio. Not to mention the gorgeous turntables - yes, turntables (an SME model caught my eye). And the home theater room features projectors from Runco and Marantz and a 125-inch screen by Stewart Filmscreen. "The new hot thing is the Runco 2.35:1 format. No black bars," Fonte explains. "When people see it, they like it and want to buy it."

CSA prides itself on not only sales and installation but service. "Once the job is done . . . it still isn't done," chuckles Fonte. "People need TLC because they want to make changes after they've had the system in their home and they've lived with it."

Fonte has six dedicated installers and five trucks. And a huge warehouse of stock. "If something breaks, we give a loaner. We don't want anyone to be without a system."

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