ELITE AUDIO SYSTEMS + COFFEE BAR
SYSTEMS COFFEE BAR
Locally roasted coffee, fresh artisanal pastries and great music…what’s not to like about that? This unique audio and coffee specialty shop was started by Michael Woods, who left his job in the financial industry to create a place that combined his two favorite things. Located in San Francisco’s vibrant SoMa district, Elite Audio combines an industrial-chic sound system showroom with a coffee bar.
It’s never a good idea to begin a show in the Elite Audio Systems-sponsored exhibit—the superb sound will spoil your ears for the rest of the show. Cued up in this banquet room was the gentle duet album featuring Sammy Davis Jr. and Antonio Carlos Jobim...In the expansive space the system almost sounded modest at first glance, but it had one of the purest and most transparent midranges, well-defined mid-basses, and highly dimensional sound stages I’ve experienced at a show.
On a CD of the Manhattan Jazz Quartet playing “Autumn Leaves”—perfect for the backdrop, you must admit—the trumpet had just the right amount of bite, and everything else sounded, to quote my notes, ‘just gorgeous, with a warm mellow midrange and great air around instruments. Gets all the tonalities. Best depiction of a horn at the whole damn show. Just perfect.’
Elite Audio Systems in San Francisco had CH Precision and Viola gear on active display. The sound was very good the first day of the show and coming back on the last day it sounded even more impressive. Very wide soundstage and relaxing sound. All day listenable, with the smooth sultry signature that makes me wants to start here all day long. Tonal textures were a bit lean yet non-fatiguing in the upper range.
Décor carries equal import with sound in what surely must be the most stylish and sophisticated high performance audio/video retail outlet in the United States, if not beyond.
Although these electronics are new age in nature, the futuristic atmosphere is carefully balanced with retro accessories like rotary phones, leather-bound books, and a vintage Silvertone floor radio, in homage to the roots of sound systems. Mike and his team bottle big sound into tiny packages, and the end result comes across crystal clear.