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Best Keyboard stores in Toronto?


Yu

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Hi,

 

I'm shopping around for a keyboard and I was wondering which stores people will recommend? I like both Steve's and L&M, however, if there are any other stores out there, I would definitely like to check 'em out.

 

Yu

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Originally posted by GuestUser@GuestUser.com:

 

I haven't been there in years, but as I recall, it wasn't particularly keyboard-oriented - not a big selection. Maybe things have changed.

 

It's been three or four years for me as well; however, I did two keyboard clinics there during the late '90s, and it was pretty darn keyboard friendly, IIRC... :D

 

It may have changed - I dunno...

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

Affiliations: Cloud Microphones • Music Player Network 

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Hi Yu,

 

The problem with Steve's and L&M is that they're both very big stores, especially L&M. They're always crowded, support isn't very good and prices tend to be high, especially at L&M. Saved By Technology is still around, but I can't offer an opinion since I've never actually made a purchase there. I do know that they have a sale on CS6x's right now, for $999 with a free plugin board. Not a bad deal if you ask me. The web address is www.savedbytechnology.com

 

I highly recommend Kaos Music Centre (at Bloor & Royal York Road). I bought my Triton there and I've been really happy with the support. It's a small store, and you can just go in and try out a keyboard for hours on end. Their support is great and they will beat any competitor's price. They also double the manufacturer's warranty. For example, my Triton is covered by a one year warranty by Korg. After the first year expires, I'm still covered for another year by Kaos. And no, I don't work for Kaos. their website is www.kaos.on.ca

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Originally posted by Chris100:

The problem with Steve's and L&M is that they're both very big stores, especially L&M. They're always crowded, support isn't very good and prices tend to be high, especially at L&M.

 

Prices may be a couple bucks higher at L&M, but it's my favourite TO store, because of their rental policy. You can rent anything there. This gives you the chance to take it home, and live with it for a while before you take the plunge into a purchase. And you can apply some of your rental to the purchase. No other TO store has this service, and it's why most of my keyboard bucks go there. No, I don't work for L&M.

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Originally posted by Yu:

Can't believe Steve's raised the price on the P80. doh.

 

I get the impression that your only criteria right now is the lowest price you can get. If you're on a really tight budget, I can understand that. But in the long run, what's really important is A) selection B) being able to rent before you buy C) longevity D) service

 

Sorry if this sounds like an L&M plug, I just want to explain why I personally like that store: A) biggest selection in TO, or if not biggest, than as big as anyone else. B) best rental dept. Some other stores have rental depts but their choice of keyboards is limited. C) it's nice to know the place you deal with will probably still be there for the foreseeable future. D) they have their own service dept. I suppose lots of stores have that, but you want the best service dept you can get. Also, personal service - I find the staff at L&M to be friendly and pleasant to deal with. As for knowledgeable staff, I think that's a dangerous game to get into in any store. The best course of action is to do your homework and make your own decisions, even if you make some bad decisions, in the long run, you have to live with your own choices. Salesmen are there to sell stuff, it's their job. Don't expect them to have your best interests at heart.

 

Imagine a world where there are no more brick and mortar music stores, because everyone shops mailorder to get the lowest price. Where would you go to audition gear?

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Originally posted by GuestUser@GuestUser.com:

Imagine a world where there are no more brick and mortar music stores, because everyone shops mailorder to get the lowest price. Where would you go to audition gear?

 

I'm not sure that I see the L&M rental thing as such an advantage for anyone but them. Basically, I view it similarly to how I look at extended warranties - extra profit dollars for the store. Pretty smart on their part.

 

Unless I'm missing something (which is always possible ;) ), it seems to me that a comprehensive return policy would achieve the same result, except that you wouldn't have to pay a rental fee. Many brick and mortar stores as well as mail-order operations allow for that.

 

There was a period where going to a music store meant that you could talk to someone who was well informed about the products. By and large, it is my opinion that between the lack of salesperson experience/turnover ratio at the superstores and the amazingly huge increase in the complexity and learning curves of today's equipment, this is now mostly a thing of the past.

 

To me, the main advantage of going to a dealer these days is that you can compare competing products side by side. Besides that, gimme a good return policy and let me try it out in my studio.

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

Affiliations: Cloud Microphones • Music Player Network 

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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

I'm not sure that I see the L&M rental thing as such an advantage for anyone but them. Basically, I view it similarly to how I look at extended warranties - extra profit dollars for the store. Pretty smart on their part. Unless I'm missing something (which is always possible ;) ), it seems to me that a comprehensive return policy would achieve the same result, except that you wouldn't have to pay a rental fee. Many brick and mortar stores as well as mail-order operations allow for that.

 

For me, I see it as a valuable service. It's grief-free. You don't have to worry about anything (except returning it in good condition, naturally). Sure, some stores will have a return policy, but it usually involves strict time limits (like two weeks or thirty days), and often involves restocking fees. When you add up the shipping, insurance and restocking fee, and the grief, are you ahead? Some places will let you return, but only for store credit, not a full refund. Not to mention that buying something with the goal of trying it out, knowing that you might return it, seems slightly shady to me.

 

Renting, on the other hand, is up front and fair. You can rent for as long as you want, and when you're done you're done. There are no free lunches. Why shouldn't they make a profit from it? Think of it like renting a car. It's a convenience for the consumer.

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For me, I see it as a valuable service. It's grief-free. You don't have to worry about anything (except returning it in good condition, naturally).

 

I'm confused - how does that differ from a return policy, except for that one costs money and the other doesn't? It's been my experience that it's pretty grief-free as well, as long as you return the product in the condition that it was in when you bought it.

 

Sure, some stores will have a return policy

 

Actually, most stores that I've been in do.

 

but it usually involves strict time limits (like two weeks or thirty days)

 

14-30 days isn't enough time? How long do you rent stuff for to try it out? I can't help but wonder what it would cost to rent a keyboard for over a month...

 

and often involves restocking fees

 

It has been my experience that most stores that offer return policies only charge restocking fees when the gear is returned in less than the condition in which it left. You'd encounter something similar if that happened with a rental as well, right?

 

When you add up the shipping, insurance and restocking fee, and the grief, are you ahead?

 

Hard to say - I think it depends on the degree to which each of those factors is present, and how much you saved on the original purchase.

 

Some places will let you return, but only for store credit, not a full refund.

 

If you say so, but I'll bet there's not many of them. These days, without a return policy, you're losing business. Even Guitar Center and the other chains have them. So do the mail order houses. They have to.

 

Not to mention that buying something with the goal of trying it out, knowing that you might return it, seems slightly shady to me.

 

It doesn't to me. If they didn't want you to take them up on something, it shouldn't be offered. Personally, I think the idea of charging for something when your competitors are basically giving away the exact same thing for free is a bit questionable. To each his/her own...

 

Do stores allowing returns get burned by people looking for a free rental? Sure. However, in the long run, it certainly benefits them much more than it hurts them.

 

Renting, on the other hand, is up front and fair.

 

So is taking someone up on a posted policy, Richard. Believe me, the stores understand the ramifications of what they do. As I said above - if they don't want people to take them up on it, they shouldn't offer it.

 

Besides, sales staffs should ideally be qualifying people before selling them stuff. If they do a good job matching someone up with a product, most of the time, it won't come back; and, if it does, most of the time it's just to exchange it for something that suits the customer's needs better. Everybody wins.

 

You can rent for as long as you want, and when you're done you're done.

 

You know, everyone shops differently. I usually get a pretty good idea about whether I want something or not relatively quickly. From there, it's really a matter of research, and I have found that I frequently do not have to have the actual product in order to do that.

 

Why shouldn't they make a profit from it?

 

If they can, good for them. Their competitors aren't. Doesn't L&M have a return policy? Personally, I do not believe that I would patronize a store that didn't have one. I tend to view it as kind of a security blanket - it means that they stand behind their products and their sales staff. It's like comanies such as Crown, who offer 3 year no-fault warranties (including them paying for any shipping!) on their amps. It's because most of the time, they don't break. However, it's a pretty nice feeling to know that if it does, you're covered. I used Crown amps for years because of it. None of them ever broke. Like I said - security blanket.

 

Question: If you buy the product that you're renting, do they credit the rental fees towards the purchase? That would make some difference to me...

 

Think of it like renting a car. It's a convenience for the consumer.

 

As I see it, the return policy is more convenient - I get to keep the extra cash. ;):D I'm not saying that you're wrong - I'm glad that L&Ms policy works for you. I just look at it differently. Everyone has different needs. There's nothing wrong with that.

 

That having been said, let me now say that as far as I can remember, I have never returned anything to a music store. I shop pretty well before I buy.

 

Let me also say that as someone who spent years working MI retail that I believe firmly in patronizing your local retailer if you need the services that they provide. Otherwise, it is basically all about price.

 

Between forums, newsgroups and manufacturer's web sites, these days a great deal of the information required to help make a decision on gear purchases is quite readily available. If I go someplace to try a product, I will frequently buy it there. if I already know that I want it, or try it at a friend's place or at a trade show, then for me it's all about price.

 

Just my view,

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

Affiliations: Cloud Microphones • Music Player Network 

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Hi,

 

I wholeheartedly agree with you Dave. Anyway, L+M do have a "apply rental to purchase" option. At least they used to (the Vancouver store anyhow). I used it once. There are some restrictions but nothing too terribly restricting. Something like you must decide to buy within 6 months or something like that.

 

They also have a return policy as well. I typically research very well myself (as you found out on the S2-A's :D ) but there have been a few occasions where I needed something quick and it was less than $500 (Cdn). I don't know if they've changed policies lately or not but I remember that it was quite painless at the time. Mind you, I was sort of trading up in value within a 2-week period so I was not asking to refund my money - simply to apply it to the new purchase.

 

I'll only add that, if I bust someone's chops trying out gear at their store and asking questions, theirs will be the store I try to buy from first. It's only fair since someone spent time with me that they could have spent with someone else who will buy from them. I also tend to stick with one dealer. While you can sometimes get cheaper prices mail-order or over the internet, nothing beats having a relationship with your dealer. You get better service (since you're a good customer), support, and a better deal than if they've never seen your face before.

 

Anyway, I don't want to rent something that I know I'll probably buy. I'd prefer to buy it knowing that I can return it (even one week is typically enough but most offer at least 14 days) and only needing to drive down to the store once rather than paying a rental and then driving down again to buy it.

 

That's it. You are entitled to your opinion though. :)

 

Best regards,

fv

 

[ 02-19-2002: Message edited by: fv ]

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I've lived in TO. for 5 years and I bought gear from Steve's, L&M, Saved by Technology and Kaos.

 

I was well served at all stores but of course Steve's is always very busy. I wouldn't suggest to go there to try gear, that would be a pain...But they have a big selection and I found them to have good prices.

 

I bought a MIDI Sport MIDI interface once at L&M and returned it without any problem. I went back a few weeks later to buy a Emagic AMT 8 and as they didn't have it in stock, let me have the smaller MT 4 until the AMT 8 arrived. I thought that was pretty nice of them.

 

I really liked their rental dept. As I couldn't afford high end Mic pres and Lexicon processors it allowed me to use and try them in my studio. Their rental selection is awesome.

 

And Saved By Tech. would be the place to by ProTools gear. Their staff is very knowledgeble technically and they have a lot of stuff jammed in that little store!

 

As far as I can remember Steve's had the biggest keyboard selection but then again...

 

There's also Mirriam's in Mississauga/Oakville and Remenyi House Of Music on Bloor Street.They sell acoustic and electric pianos and maybe some keyboards as well but I'm not sure.

 

Well hope this helps.

 

Jean Claude

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I like using local stores. XYZ, YOU KNOW THE STOP. If you need something in a pinch, you can get it. Mail order doesn't allow this. Also the store I use let's me take stuff home or to a gig to try it, gratis. Although I should be able to make my mind up quicker, I've had stuff out for 2 weeks for evaluation. Every purchase is important to me. Any good store should allow this with a major credit card. But you have to be honest & fair. Only take out gear which you are really considering purchasing & return it when you say. Don't be like the women who buy a great outfit, wear it to an event, & return it the next day. I will keep things out longer if I'm definitely going to buy. Don't try it out from a store & buy from the place with the lowest price. Give them the opportunity to match the price, the store I use does.

 

Buy local because if you don't, all of a sudden their doors will be closed & you'll be wondering why.

Steve

 

www.seagullphotodesign.com

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When shopping for gear in TO, check out the buy and sell. This is a weekly newspaper with among other things, lots of used gear. There is also an online version, although the free stuff (without subscription) is one week old. www.buysellzone.com

 

All the dealers mentioned will offer more than just a box on the counter if you make sure you're dealing with a salesperson who's in it for the long run. Ask questions, if they're just filling in over a flat period between tours, chances are they won't care if you need some after sales support in a few months. The seasoned pros know how to treat customers and will make an effort to keep their clients coming back.

 

Another great place that hasn't been mentioned yet(although it's now part of the L&M chain) is Lakeshore Music in Burlington.

 

Happy Shopping

 

Andy

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Originally posted by sysexguy:

Another great place that hasn't been mentioned yet(although it's now part of the L&M chain) is Lakeshore Music in Burlington.

Ahhh yes - another fine establishment that you and I visited a few moons back. I did a clinic there, if memory serves...

 

I liked that place a lot as well...L&M store now, ay?

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

Affiliations: Cloud Microphones • Music Player Network 

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