Design District's Deja Vu Audio South, a Listener's Paradise, Sells a $90,000 Turntable

"If you wanted to buy a nice car, you wouldn't want to buy it off Amazon." Eric Gould, owner of Deja Vu Audio South, has a point. "You'd want to test drive it. It's the same with audio equipment; you should spend time with it before you buy it." Gould opened his high-end audio store in the Design District last month. The showroom, which specializes in both modern and vintage audio equipment, is as close to paradise as a South Florida audiophile could ask for. 

"Most people listen to music, whether in their car or on headphones, for four hours a day without really paying attention to the quality of how they're listening to it," Gould says. Deja Vu Audio South is Gould's attempt to remedy this. The Miami store is the second Deja Vu location — the other is in McLean, Virginia, owned and operated by Gould's friend Vu Hoang. Deja Vu South is available to potential customers by appointment only so the store can maintain a realistic living room environment. It has four different listening rooms where you can check out the sound quality of the store's lengthy vinyl collection, or you can bring your own records and give them a spin. "You can hear your records on a correct system and the vinyl speaks for itself." Those who have embraced the future and gone digital need not worry, as each system is set up to be accessible to your sound system.Gould says he is conscious of his customer's budgets when custom building a sound system, and offers systems starting at a thousand dollars. Though, it's not hard at all to blow tens of thousands of dollars in Deja Vu. High-end audio equipment has a notoriously heavy price tag. The most expensive item at Deja Vu is the Da Vinci Audio Gabriel Turntable, which will run you $90,000. Gould's store carries a handful of companies including Audionote, Synthesis, and Harbeth, which is a British speaker company that all your favorite classic UK bands from the Beatles to the Who to Led Zeppelin had their music mastered with.

Beyond the modern equipment, Deja Vu has a room dedicated to the ghosts of listening past. "Our vintage collection looks like something out of Frankenstein's laboratory. But the stuff made pre-1950 are the best parts ever made for audio equipment. They were created by incredible engineers who didn't spare any expense," Gould explains. The equipment back then was made for movie theaters and radio stations and made everything sound so real. You always think technology improves, but after 1950 audio systems were made for home audiences and they used much cheaper equipment."Gould is able to lecture impressively on the nuances of listening equipment, explaining subtle differences in technology like a scientist, but he seems most intent on making sure music can now be heard the way musicians intended. "It's been my lifelong interest — listening to good music. Until now, I don't believe there was a place in Miami that allowed you to properly do so."

Deja Vu Audio South, 4040 NE Second Ave., Suite 412, Miami; 305-306-7249;
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David Rolland is a freelance music writer for Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland