In a basement in 1975, back when turntables were big business and Linda Ronstadt ruled the airwaves, three friends started Definitive Audio (definitive.com, 206-524-6633). In its early days, the high-end store sold two-channel gear by the likes of Mark Levinson and Magnepan. There was no video.
"X-Factors" probably aren't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a place to buy a home theater. But for Jared Lewis, founder of Homewood, Alabama-based Audio Video Excellence (www.avxinc.com; 205-871-7289), they set his custom installation business apart from the competition.
After honing his business chops at Denon, John Hunter was hired as sales manager for the acclaimed audiophile brand Sumiko, where he has since become president. He's grown the company substantially since he started there in 1988, creating affordable products with impeccable high-end pedigree, starting with the legendary Blue Point phono cartridge.
There's no shortage of camcorders or portable navigation devices out there, but here are a few that offer the basics plus a few unique perks. Available in surf-inspired colors like yellow, white, and a turquoise-blue, SANYO's Xacti E1 camcorder (right, $500; us.sanyo.com) is truly waterproof - and minus any bulky casing.
Jeff Hoover is the president of Audio Advisors in West Palm Beach, Florida (audioadvisors.com; 561-478-3100) - and everyone thought he was, well, a little crazy when he built the Design Center, a $2 million showcase of rooms outfitted with the latest gear. But Hoover knew better.
With summer just around the corner, there's no better time to upgrade your digital camera. CASIO's Exilim EX-Z75 ($230; casio.com) is perfect for a day trip or an extended vacation. I used mine for some basic around-the-house stuff, but this 7.2 megapixel would be a great travel companion.