In the Pursuit of Great Sound
Kane Kintzle’s profile on Instagram tells us that he’s is “The CEO, Director of Sales and New Development for The HIFI Attic. Creator of TubeTeknik. Visionary. CEDIA. MECP. Mad Scientist. Fabricator and Animal Lover.”
Let’s dig a little deeper. HiFi Attic is the place where more serious audiophiles in the Okanagan visit when they’re looking to upgrade their system or just feast their eyes and ears on the various new and vintage components. I’ll admit, i was originally hesitant to visit HiFi Attic… Although I didn’t know anything about it, it just seemed “not for me”… BUT an accident with a stylus over Thanksgiving forced me to reconsider. And, I’m sure glad I did! Kane and Malcolm are great guys. They’ve been nothing but helpful…And effective. After a quick lesson on styluses (and some cross-checking with my audio buddies across the province) they helped me made the right decision, for a reasonable price. So, who wouldn’t like that?! Let’s get to it.
And Now… Our Interview
VP: So, Hifi Attic has two locations, one in Kelowna and the other in Vernon. How are they different?
Kane: Our Vernon location has been around for more than 45 years. It is the oldest electronics/HiFi store that's always been locally owned. Our Kelowna store is about 7 years old and has been a successful expansion with in the company. Both stores carry the same product and have well over 40 years experience.
VP: Tell us about a couple of your more extreme, i.e., expensive pieces....
Kane: We represent and sell many levels of audio to suit every budget but we do have extreme products such as the 800 Series from Bowers & Wilkens, hand-built amplifiers from Leema Acoustics and gorgeous speakers from Kudos.
HiFi Attic carries a variety of tube amplifiers for the dedicated audiophile
VP: What are the biggest trends in local audio right now?
Kane: We find the biggest trend in the industry is streaming music, home automation and of course, vinyl. Turntable sales are steady from all levels, even up to $20,000 tables. People also ask about how to get back into listening music with a purpose.
A highly-prized vintage table during restoration
VP: Has Covid affected your business, and if so, how?
Kane: The landscape of retail has changed as a whole. Our commercial division (installation of audio systems in commercial and residential spaces) has been very busy and steady regardless of Covid. Our online sales have been steadily increasing monthly which is a part of our business we've had to focus on. Traffic in the store has been hit and miss bit we've had some amazing support from long-time customers and new ones that have been an asset to our success in 2020.
VP: On VinylPursuit.com, we recently released an article about helping people get the best from the audio gear they've got, or how to make it better with just a few adjustments. I was surprised when you mentioned that HiFi Attic also offers this service. What can you tell our readers about that?
Kane: We are very passionate about what we do here at the HiFi Attic. We tend to slow the process and experience down so our clients fully understand why they came into the store. The HiFi Attic is a believer of spending time listening to the product you choose at home in your environment before the purchase. We offer services that can help with your existing system. Placement, environment and set-up are all key regardless of the quality. Having the turntable properly set-up and balanced is everything. Placement of the table in relation to the amplifiers, speakers, etc., play a critical role in maximizing the potential.
VP: What's the hottest selling item right now at HiFi Attic?
Kane: Currently in our stores, we are experiencing lots of business in turntable servicing, new carts and maintenance on clients products. As for new product, streamers from BlueSound and Lemma tend to be purchased daily. We are also finding CD players are on the rise again with the new technology in DACs (Digital-to-Analog Converters) and the buzz around MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) CD's - Something to watch out for.
VP: Give us a quick overview of your own personal stereo.
Kane: Currently my personal stereo consists of a heavily modified Teac X200r (tee-to-reel) Oracle Delphi 5 (turntable), electronics by Leema and Chord along with my favourite speakers, my lovely Martin Logan 13a Electrostats. All wiring is Audio Quest, through and through.
VP: Beauty! Word on the street is that you don't actually prefer vinyl. What do you choose to listen to instead and why?
Kane: Ha, ya well to be honest, I don’t have a favourite. I don’t find one format is better than the other. For myself, it all depends on the mood I'm in and how I want to listen to my system. But… if I had to pick a source, it would be reel-to-reel. One you experience a real deck it's really hard to beat.
VP: Do you get strange requests from customers? Is there anything customer do or ask for that surprises you?
Kane: We’ve had some odd requests but nothing we couldn’t handle. We do have some clients ask us to not tell their wives what they paid. It’s quite comical.
So many great parts to chose from..Shh!
VP: What's something you want people to know about Hifi Attic that they can't find out on the website?
Kane: At the HiFi Attic, we make sure the client gets exactly what they want and need. We also enjoy educating the client on the products and the industry we are so passionate about. All of us here pick this career because we love what we do and want to share our love for music. I personally believe it's the best way to make a friend.
And there you have it. A man and his love for the sound that’s truest to him… And he just happens to be the head a great, local audio shop. If you haven’t been, we highly recommend a visit to the HiFi Attic. It’s a treat for the senses…. So much to see and hear. If you’ve already been to either location, tell us about it in Comments below. In the meantime, stop by, say Hi and let Kane know you read about him here, on Vinyl Pursuit.
HiFi Attic, Kelowna
1292 Ellis St, Kelowna, BC V1Y 1Z4
HiFi Attic, Vernon
3108 30th Ave, Vernon, BC V1T 2C2