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by Gary Pearce

7 months ago

1516 readers

It’s not every day that HiFi/AV retailers build swanky new showrooms, so when this rare phenomenon occurs; it’s a pretty big deal.

Rapallo AV has just opened its doors for business at a new location, and the new building is an absolute belter.

The company first breathed life in 2005 and since then has gone from strength to strength. Many of us fanatics will know them for their years as NZ’s OPPO specialists along with an increasing stable of quality cables, HT projectors and HT amplifiers.

Rapallo AV is busy taking the plastic wrap off their brand new retail showroom in Auckland prior to the official launch event in September. I popped in for a sneak preview and a catch up with Rapallo’s MD Bart Brichau and General Manager Deano Lambert.

Bart and Deano explained that Rapallo had seriously outgrown their previous location in East Tamaki. They’d only been at the building since 2014, and they desperately needed more space for a fully-fledged retail showroom, along with enough space for a purpose-built Home Theatre demonstration room. Add a new Head-Fi area, more space for soundbars, speakers, custom install products (in-wall/ceiling amplifiers and speakers, amplifiers and receivers and the guys quickly realised they had a problem on their hands.

The hunt was on for suitable premises, but they finally found a new building with the required floor area nearby at 11A Allens Road. The property was secured and once designed and planned, and the fit-out began in earnest.

Over 200m2 of floor area means the new Rapallo is now the largest dedicated AV store in Auckland, and it’s here you’ll find SVS, ELAC, Yamaha (including the Aventage series), Sony, JVC, Cambridge Audio, Chord, Arcam, Focal, Onkyo, Pioneer, Audeze, Dali, Philips, Sanus, Topping, Klipsch, Optoma, Avantree, KEF, Perreaux, FiiO, Edwards Audio, Panasonic, Speakercraft, Axium, Emotiva, RIVA, Beyerdynamic, Epson, Sennheiser, Audio-Technica, Russound along with many more brands.

Rapallo AV Home Theatre Room

During my visit I was particularly impressed with the Home Theatre room, literally dripping with projectors from Epson, Viewsonic and Optoma (JVC’s IDLA and Sony’s SXRD 4K units are also available), along with the excellent Head-Fi area which features Beyerdynamic, Aune, Topping, FiiO, Klipsch and more.

Rapallo AV Head-Fi, Auckland New Zealand

What I didn’t get a sense of while talking with Bart and Deano was any expectation of the dreaded ‘hard sell’. Both guys are affable, knowledgeable and friendly, with a clear vision of customer satisfaction. Customers that are treated well come back for more later on, and they also tell their friends about great service and products.

Bart told StereoNET:

Many Kiwi’s have a passion for movies and music. Whether it is a dedicated home theatre space completely fit out with a 4K home theatre projector, a school hall that needs updating, or whether you want to be able to play music throughout your newly built house; Rapallo makes it their mission to find a solution for every customer, no matter what their needs or budgets. What’s more, we’ll do it with a smile.

Rapallo also offers custom design and installation services if required so customers shouldn’t feel abandoned as they walk out the door.

With easy access to the southern motorway and easy parking, my visit to Rapallo was definitely a pleasant experience.

It is best to phone them prior to visiting to make sure the products you’re interested in looking at or auditioning are in stock – especially on Saturdays which can become quite hectic.

Of course, Rapallo still has a very successful online presence (including online ordering/payment facilities) for those out of town, but anyone in Auckland or visiting with a penchant for fine HiFi and Home Theatre gear should take time out for a visit.

You won’t be disappointed!

For more information visit Rapallo AV.


Gary Pearce's avatar

Written by:

Gary Pearce

Addicted to music from a very early age, Gary built his first pair of loudspeakers at the tender age of 12. Since then he has contributed to a plethora of publications/websites and has even been heard on Newstalk 1ZB as the stations ‘gadget man’. Technically proficient in both analogue and digital, he feels the road ahead is just as exciting as the road already traveled - and he can't wait to tell you about it.

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