Being There & the Summer of Love

Peter Wolter, owner of a hi-fi shop in the town of Orangeville, Ontario—about an hour's drive from Toronto—in another life worked in marketing for a major pharmaceutical company. This marketing experience undoubtedly informs Wolter's approach to audio retailing, and, while his approach could not be further from hard sell, Wolter has a knack for attracting the attention of audio journalists. I first wrote about the opening of his store, then named Aardvark Boutique Audio, and the evening of vinyl playback that Wolter presented to mark this event in July 2015. Six months later, Wolter announced a kind of "strategic alliance" with Orangeville's Broken Boards Skate and Bike shop, which prompted another visit.

This time, the event was another vinyl playback evening, celebrating (a little early) the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Summer of Love, and, coincidentally, the renaming of Wolter's store. (The pieces of strudel in the picture came from Peter Wolter's family's bakery. And, yes, they were as delicious as they look.)

As with the event announcing the opening of the store, the venue was the Orangeville Opera House, which has an auditorium with a capacity of about 300. It was a good three-quarters full, at least double the attendance of the store's opening event. The word seems to be spreading . . .

The hi-fi system for vinyl playback consisted of an Acoustic Signature turntable, Grado Black cartridge, Triode Lab Au Pre preamp, Finale Audio F-120 monoblock power amps, Triangle Signature Delta loudspeakers, Furutech cables, Funk Achromat and "Boing Balls" turntable isolation devices, and Pro Design Audio stand. The preamp and power amps (tube based) are Made in Canada.

The program consisted of psychedelic rock and "classics that defined the era." Each selection was introduced by Peter Wolter (on the right in the photo), with Rainhard Goerner (on the left in the photo), who is the distributor for Acoustic Signature, Funk Firm, and other audiophile goodies, assisting with the setup.

As for the sound—well, a system designed for playback in the home, such as what we heard at this event, is severely challenged by having to produce sound to fill an auditorium, and, to be effective, rock has to be played LOUD. The Triangle Signature Delta's sensitivity is on the high side (John Atkinson measured 91.8dB in his review of the speaker), so the choice of this speaker was a good one, but the sound was still not loud enough to please hard-core rock fans. (At one point, someone called out "Turn it up!") Perhaps for the next vinyl playback event, Peter Wolter will consider featuring recordings of acoustical folk music or string quartet.

As well as LP playback (and no digital in any form), the evening featured a live segment: Southern Ontario songwriter/singer/musician Jay Pollmann, playing what he calls "foot stompin' rootsy blues." This is not really my kind of music, but I must admit that I enjoyed Jay Pollmann's performance a lot. (He can be heard here.) Pollman brought his own pro-type sound system, and he also had a bass drum, so that the music was presented at an appropriate level.

And what about the name of the store? Well, it started out as Aardvark Boutique Audio, the Aardvark name borrowed from Aardvark Music and Culture, a local music store, and was thought to benefit from the musical association. However, in time, Wolter came to feel that, since both stores are in Orangeville, there was some confusion on the part of customers about a link between the two stores (other than the name, there wasn't any), and, in any case, he wanted his store to have a more unique identity.

Eschewing predictable (and perhaps boring) names like "Orangeville Audio," the name he came up with was Being There. According to the blurb, this refers to "A (re) discovery of hi-fi's potential...and when we get it, the spine-tingling illusion of . . . being there." The name change also dropped "boutique." Wolter originally thought about it as just referring to a small shop (from the French word for shopping), but later realized that there is also an implication of the shop being expensive, and that was antithetical to his concept of what the store was about. So "boutique" is gone, leaving Being There, and (so that you know what they're selling) Audio. The new website is

Allen Fant's picture

Looks like a fun event- RD.
Those Triangle speakers are beautiful. The strudel looks yummy as well.