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About Jim


A Life for the Love of Music

Jim Smith embarked on his career in high performance audio in the late 1960s.  It all started when he and his wife bought their first audio component system.

When the system kept breaking, out of frustration and a determination to “get it right,” Jim began what became a lifelong career search into the mysteries of audio systems and sound reproduction.

The Sound Shop (1970-75)

In 1970, while still in college in Virginia, Jim took a part-time job in audio sales. In the early 70s, as he became assistant manager and then manager at a nearby shop, he and a co-worker shifted the image and the direction for that shop to where it became one of the top Audio Research, Magnepan, Dahlquist, Advent, etc. shops in the nation.

Minnesota Journeyman (1975-79)

One day in 1975, Bill Johnson from Audio Research Corporation dropped in unexpectedly and offered Jim a chance to move to Minneapolis and work with ARC.

Having accepted the offer, in 1976 Jim served as ARC’s Customer Service Manager and he also worked in Sales & Marketing.  While at ARC, he wrote the installation manual for the famous Tympani 1D Magneplanar loudspeakers.

In 1977, Jim accepted the position of National Sales Manager for Magnepan (a short move from Minneapolis to White Bear Lake).  While at Magnepan, he developed dealer training and installation techniques that enhanced the knowledge base of the high-end dealers of the time.  He also wrote the installation/owner’s manuals for various Magneplanars such as the original MG-1s & MG-2s.

In 1979, Jim, his wife Pam, and their three children relocated back to the US Southeast. They opened their own high-end audio shop in Birmingham, Al.  Audition went on to become one of the nation’s top-echelon high-end audio shops, featuring products from such industry leaders as Mark Levinson, Goldmund, Quad, Linn, Thiel, Magnepan, etc.


Although Audition was not in one of the larger markets, it became one of the top 10 stores nationwide for most of its high-end audio vendors. Jim’s client base grew and grew, based on his highly effective installations in client’s homes.


Meanwhile, Jim became deeply involved in the concert music scene, and recorded major events and top performers for Public Radio affiliates on a freelance basis, as well as producing recordings for a variety of organizations.

Live from Birmingham (1979-93)
Departure, New Beginnings and Return (1999-present)

In 1993, unhappy with recent events and trends in retail high-end audio, Jim left the industry.  He returned in 1999 as the US distributor of Avantgarde Acoustic Hornspeakers, which were relatively unknown at the time. As an aid to audiophiles, in 2000 he produced a 16-page booklet, 31 Secrets to Better Sound.  A FREE offer, it was limited to 16 pages to reduce printing and mailing costs.

Getting Better Sound Today

After countless positive comments from around the world, Jim (at the urging of various reviewers, industry leaders, and music lovers just like you) decided to present the whole package – Get Better Sound!  This book comes directly from over ten thousand hours of hard-fought experience gained by Jim Smith. These insights came during 35+ years of installing and voicing sound systems - for audiophile/music lovers, high-end audio shops, and at the largest high-end audio shows.

The bottom line? Jim discovered that most audiophiles are only getting about half of the performance potential from their systems.  Buying the best components but not getting the critical other half of their available performance is such a waste.  Here’s the good news – when you buy Get Better Sound, you can use the very same techniques that Jim used to win “Best Sound of Show” comments and consistent acclaim from his clients for over 35 years.  It will transform your music system, and make a difference in how you feel about listening.  In fact, Jim guarantees it.

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