A few years ago, Marc Campbell decided to return to a classic way of listening to music—vinyl records.
After 25 years of listening to CDs, he had forgotten how music was supposed to sound, he said.
In February 2014 Campbell and his wife, Mirgun Akyavas, opened The Sound Gallery, which specializes in analog stereo equipment—both new and vintage—as well as new and used vinyl records from myriad artists and time periods.
Visitors to the store can also purchase coffee, music accessories and unique items such as restored typewriters for sale. But Campbell said there is more to the store than the merchandise—there is a political and social aspect to its offerings as well. A coffee bar and seating at the South Congress Avenue store, along with the overall decor and atmosphere, enable customers to congregate, have conversations, and feel comfortable sharing their stories about their product preferences and life experiences, Akyavas said.
Mirgun Akyavas and her husband, Marc Campbell, opened The Sound Gallery in 2014.[/caption]
The tangible disc and the act of going to a record store can provide a more personal experience than merely downloading a digital file, Campbell said.
There is something about taking a record out of its sleeve, placing it gently on the record player, and listening as it hisses into high-quality sound that is satisfying and soulful, according to Campbell.
Placing the needle of a Pioneer direct drive turntable onto an album, he said: “This is what music is supposed to sound like.”
The Sound Gallery is located near SoCo Homebrew and a few other businesses in a retail center on South Congress Avenue between Ben White Boulevard and Stassney Lane.
Co-owner Marc Campbell said he hopes the vacant space in the shopping center adjacent to The Sound Gallery is filled by a locally owned small business.
There has been a resurgence of vinyl during the past few years, Campbell said, adding the store has gained new and regular customers since its debut. The Sound Gallery has been considering opening a second location in the Austin area, he said.
New and refurbished analog stereo equipment is for sale at The Sound Gallery.[/caption]
The atmosphere of the The Sound Gallery is inspired by the mod decor of the ’60s, co-owner Marc Campbell said.
“It’s a little bit of Jetsons, a little bit of Vegas,” Campbell said.
Stereo equipment and music-related posters line the walls, and a few areas of the store are designed for customers to sit together, talk and listen to music.
Records by Nick Cave, The Clash, Miles Davis and Pink Floyd are part of the selection.[/caption]
Something for everyone
Genres offered include classic rock, punk, reggae and jazz as well as soundtracks, co-owner Marc Campbell said.
Staffers each have different areas of expertise to help shoppers find what they need.
Most of the vinyl the store sells is new. Record prices vary depending on condition and range from $12 to $35, Campbell said.