A Friendly, relaxed, unpressured atmosphere.
Don't worry! You won't be intimidated at Goodwin's High End. Yes, we might have sophisticated products that are unfamiliar to you. But please relax. Our utmost priority is to make you comfortable and satisfied. Our low-key, friendly staff will start by carefully listening to your needs.
Perhaps you know exactly what you want—great! We'll set it up for your evaluation, show you how to use the equipment, and periodically check back to see if you need anything. Or perhaps you'd like a guided demonstration. We'll sit down with you while you listen (or watch, in the case of Home Theater). If you'd like an in-depth explanation of a product or a technology, we'll provide a little tutorial. During the demonstration, we can point out relevant performance characteristics. When solicited, we offer opinions and recommendations. And all during this evaluation you'll have exclusive use of the room.
Goodwin's High End doesn't have "static displays." Instead, we can setup a complete demonstration system that is specifically tailored to your requirements. Our rooms have different sizes and acoustic properties. We can pick a room that simulates your room at home. We can also select electronics, speakers, and cables to suit your individual preferences. Our clients tell us that they haven't experienced this type of environment or level of service elsewhere.
For complex projects, we also offer complete design services. We can work with your interior designer, architect, contractor, builder, electrician, carpenter, HVAC contractor, wallboard crew, and painter. You can off-load product details and project coordination — we'll make sure that everything goes smoothly.
And while we are happy to sell you something, what we are most interested in is building long-term relationships based upon mutual respect and trust. Our staff is not compensated on a commission basis. While we encourage you to develop an individual relationship with one system designer, anyone else can always help you.
Acoustically-neutral showrooms & properly setup video
Our Waltham facility was specifically constructed out of raw open space. We built each demonstration room to exacting standards with special materials. Our acoustically-neutral listening rooms let you perform valid product comparisons, without having to listen through lots of room coloration, as is typically found elsewhere. If you are planning a construction project, we can help you duplicate the performance of our rooms in your home.
We chose each room's dimensions (height, width, and ceiling) in order to distribute the room resonances over a broad range of frequencies. The prevents an excess or scarcity of music at certain particular frequencies.
The floors are concrete and the walls are specially constructed to be extra rigid and internally damped. And the electrical service was designed to provide the high-current, superior shielding, and proper grounding that today's electronics and amplifiers require.
Exceptionally high-performance equipment
While most stores profess to carry the best equipment, we believe that a brief perusal of this web site or a quick stop by our store will speak for itself. We continuously evaluate the best products and choose those that:
Often we are fortunate in that the very best products are tops in all four of the criteria. When that's not the case, we usually value performance over packaging ("function over form"). For example, we would rather carry a superior-sounding amplifier with a ho-hum front panel than a stunning-looking amplifier with ho-hum sonics.
We also won't compromise on reliability. All products must be relatively low maintenance. For example, all tube amplifiers will eventually require re-tubing. However, our Audio Research amplifiers are self-biasing and gentle on their tubes. We do not sell finicky or temperamental products; we want you to be happy, not irritated.
And last, we try very hard to select products that will be available for a long time. That doesn't necessarily mean that we select large manufacturers. Many of our best products are made by smaller companies that have combined passion with solid business practices. As a result, the system that we design sound great, look stunning, work reliably, and retain its value.
In 1995, Goodwin's High End moved to a 6500 square foot facility devoted entirely to high end. Co-designed by architects Mark Hammer of Hammer Architects and Jeffrey Baron of Baron+Associates — this is the largest high end facility in New England. From a technical viewpoint, our facility achieves a level of acoustic excellence rarely, if ever, found in a retail audio facility. The reason we say that is not because we've been to every other high end store, but because high end clients and manufacturers from all over the US and other countries who are extensively traveled extensively and have visited collectively probably all of the top facilities in the world have told us so repeatedly. We have six custom designed sound rooms on premises: two smaller-sized ones, three medium-sized ones, and a large one. All of them have been treated to some degree with acoustic treatment so that the sound is relatively neutral in them. Over the years each of them has been treated numerous times with different amounts and types of room treatments. In essence this new facility has been our acoustics laboratory as we have continued to learn more about room acoustics over the years by trying different approaches.
The three medium-sized rooms are all identical in terms of size, shape, and construction techniques. Presently, each of them has a different room treatment, so that one can walk from room to room and immediately sense the different acoustical properties.
The reason we have spent so much time on our listening room design and acoustics is three-fold:
Our listening rooms were constructed out of raw open space. This freed us from any design constraints that would have been imposed by reusing existing space. And our listening rooms are actually free-standing structures; they don't touch the exterior walls, the roof, or each other. We used computer modeling to carefully choose the room dimensions in order to distribute the room resonances for smoother bass response. The walls and ceilings were constructed using special anti-resonant techniques. We isolated the rooms both from each other and from exterior noise. The doors are exterior grade with special non-resonant glass and tight seals, the ventilation ducts have "mufflers", and the electrical outlets are made airtight with acoustical caulk. Our AC power is distributed on shielded cable, with "home runs" back to our industrial-sized electrical service.
Our most sophisticated listening room also doubles as a recording studio. (See below for more about recording in this room.) We have treated the walls and ceiling with a novel configuration of deflective baffles and absorbtive sections. The floor is hardwood over concrete, and is usually treated with a heavy ornamental carpet. We can tune the extensive bass trapping to adjust the room to a variety of acoustic profiles.
If you would like to visit us and hear a demonstration in our rooms we are just 2 minutes off Rt. 128 (I-95) on Rt. 20 (see detailed directions). Or if you are flying into Boston, we are only 20-30 minutes from Boston's Logan airport. We think you will enjoy what you hear here—as we have put a lot of effort into making this a top-level facility.
● About our Home Theaters
We currently have three home theater rooms in our facility.
The small room has a Pioneer Elite KURO PRO-111FD 50" 1080P plasma screen with Sonance Silhouette speakers installed in the walls. The rack of equipment for this room is located in our main hallway and currently contains sources such as a Pioneer Bluray player, a Kaliedescape movie server, a ReQuest music server, and a HD satellite receiver along with HD broadcast TV. Everything is remoted-controlled using a Crestron touchpanel with custom user interface customized for this system.
In the medium-sized room, we have a Runco RS-1100 single chip 1080P front projection systems in this room as well. We recently upgraded the screen to a Stewart using their Snowmatte. This room actually has a few different systems which can be configured at will.
In the largest room we have a Wolf Cinema DCX-500i 3-chip, 1080P DLP Xenon video front screen projector with a Wolf video processor. The screen is a 10.5' wide constant height Stewart Snowmatte with continuously variable motorized side screen masking covering all aspect ratios from 4:3 to 2.40:1. With a Pioneer Elite BDP-09 Blu Ray player showing BluRay movies as a source, or with HDTV from a satellite source, we think that you will see unparalleled image quality here!
In terms of surround sound processors, the Theta Casablanca has certainly been our most popular. The Casablanca is a mainframe into which different modules can be inserted. It is very flexible and the sound quality is the best we've heard from any processor. It can even be configured as a two-channel preamp with both digital and analog inputs, letting you add surround sound later, if you wish. We also just received the Simaudio CP-8 7.1 HD Surround Preamp/Processor and the MC-8 250 watt 2-7 channel balanced amplifier. We also offer several receivers and processors from manufacturers such as Pioneer, Linn and Arcam.
As far as speakers go, we offer many possible configurations. We can set-up a whole home theater using the equipment you are considering. If you are interested in having us do a home theater for you, we would spend time with you to really listen to your needs and then design just the right system for you and your room.
We think that you would find it quite educational to pay us a visit and see the kind of image quality and hear the level of sound quality that is possible with proper system design, product selection, and meticulous setup.
● About the Recording Studio
In 1995 Goodwin's High End moved to a new 6500 square foot facility that was custom-designed and built with six dedicated soundrooms. The largest was designed to be both a listening room and, for special projects, a recording room. The room was completely done over internally with three different kinds of acoustic treatments from 1995-1997. The latest is the most sophisticated because it has adjustable acoustics—from quite reverberant for live recording to modestly live for listening to playback of recordings. The particular approach taken to the acoustical design is the first of its kind in the world. In essence this was a prototype—and it has worked out really well! Having a live recording studio on premises gives us a true reference back to live music—which is the ultimate reference!
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