Acoustic Sounds
Andrew Singer passes away
By: Michael Fremer

April 23rd, 2024



Andrew Singer, Legendary NYC Audio Retailer Dies

beneath the bluster sound by singer store owner was a sweet man

Andrew Singer, New York City audio retailing legend, passed away this past Sunday April 21st at age 73, succumbing to pancreatic cancer after a prolonged battle that for a while he seemed to be winning. Singer was opinionated, gruff, didn't suffer fools and could be very difficult to deal with but beneath all of that he did have the proverbial heart of gold as anyone who dealt with him over time and got to really know him can attest. He also knew the equipment and the business, was a good listener who truly loved music and so, for many years was a very successful retailer. (I borrowed the photo from an overseas website that I trust will not object).

Singer was a musician, a Civil War buff and an attorney before settling into a highly successful career as a high-end audio dealer on 17th street in lower Manhattan. It was a career launching pad for salespeople, some of whom entered the business and others who became equipment reviewers. As the retail business changed and real estate values spiked, Singer closed the store, later opening a second floor retailing location across from the Fashion Institute of Technology, which remained open until his passing. The store's future has yet to be disclosed.

In a 2017 column I wrote, "The week Stereophile featured an iPod on the cover, I was thrown out of a well-known New York City audio salon. "Get out!" the owner yelled at me. "I don't sell iPods! I don't want you in here!"

That of course was Andy Singer. He threw me out. I'd gone there at the behest of an individual working for either the first or second organization that bought Stereophile, who was attempting to start a new luxury goods magazine and wanted me to pose next to pair of B&W loudspeakers. This would take but a few minutes so he didn't feel it was necessary to clear it first with Singer. We walked in, I stood next to the speaker but before the photograph could be taken, Andy yelled "Get out!" He meant it. So we left.

Of course Andy got over that and I was welcome in his old store and in the new second floor one he opened after closing the street level one. After he bought the SAT turntable and SAT tonearm (I think it was the unit I reviewed), he asked me to drive up to his Westchester home and set up a costly Analog Relax cartridge. By then Andy was receiving chemo for his cancer but he appeared strong. It was my first visit to his home. He had a Civiil War miniature enactment on a table in the listening room.

We sat around talking for a while following the set-up work. It was the first opportunity I had to really get to know him. He was truly a warm, thoughtful soul. A real mensch. Next visit up was to replace the Analog Relax cartridge that needed to be returned to Japan for a rebuild. Andy was considerably weaker at that point.

About a month later, not having heard from him, I called to see how he was doing and to inquire about the cartridge's whereabouts. He was grateful for the phone call, he told me, and said he was still waiting for the cartridge and would call when it arrived.

He didn't sound at all well so this news was hardly a surprise. I'm sorry I missed his best retailing years, most of which were when i was living on the west coast. I'm sure the others will have great stories to tell.

Rest in peace, Andy, glad I finally got to know you better. Singer leaves a wife, a daughter a fine sounding audio system and a large record collection. I think he'd find that funny so don't comment to complain.


  • 2024-04-23 06:47:52 PM

    Zaphod wrote:

    I did not know Singer nor have I ever been to any of his Audio Salons. However, it is a sad day with the passing of ones with so much Analog Knowledge. Our thought & prayers go out to his family and friends.

  • 2024-04-24 01:15:02 AM

    Paul Faughnan wrote:

    floated $o many NYC audio shows. an original us LInn sondek dealer. also sold the STD.. Later the BASIS-Vendetta Research combo.

  • 2024-04-24 01:18:56 AM

    Jim Reiter wrote:

    Only knew him from my decades of reading his ads in stereophile and wondering if a visitor of my income level would be welcome. Never got around to finding out but yes it's a shame when knowledgeable and experienced pros are lost. Hope the store continues and thrives.

    • 2024-04-24 02:59:03 AM

      Willie Luncheonette wrote:

      My high end audio life began in his 17th St store. I purchased a Rega turntable and Sumiko cartridge. His assistant set up everything for me without charge. I think I also purchased a NAD integrated amp and Marantz CD player there. Nothing to put me in the poorhouse so I think you would have been welcome there. Mr. Singer was always nice to me. I have good memories of him and his store.

  • 2024-04-24 12:10:15 PM

    Tom wrote:

    I first went there in the late eighties when I was in my mid thirties. I was treated badly by the sales staff, obviously I was not their preferred type of customer. The next time was in the late nineties when a friend wanted to audition a certain speaker. We even called and setup an appointment. The sales representative did everything possible to force his preferred speaker on us. When we said that we really want to hear the speakers that we were interested in, he did everything possible to sabotage the demo even wiring the speakers out of phase. Sorry there is no excuse in treating customers badly.

  • 2024-04-24 12:16:30 PM

    otaku wrote:

    I had met Andy only once, when he was having a demo of an AMG turntable. I noticed that there were some Stein Harmonizers in the back of the room. He got angry when I asked if they were turned on. I guess that I was supposed to know by the sound.

    • 2024-04-24 04:04:24 PM

      Eugene Harrington wrote:

      Ah, that is sad. After my first trip Stateside in 1995, I subscribed to Stereophile. Andy Singer and his Sounds By Singer audio store, was a staple amongst the businesses advertising monthly on the magazine. Some time into my subscription, the notion was put about that if you visited Andy's store and didn't 'measure up' visually, in terms of income etc., you would not be welcome there. I found that rather amusing, but perhaps Andy had too many time wasters visiting his store? In 2005, a bunch of friends and I visited New York City to catch an Allman Brothers Band show during the band's Beacon Theatre run in March of that year. But as an audiophile, I felt that I just could not resist the opportunity of visiting Sounds By Singer. So on a Saturday, I headed off on the subway system alone to Union Square (I think) and visited a few record stores in the vicinity. I finally ended up at Sounds By Singer. Wow, the place was busy and I was very conscious that maybe my presence would not be appreciated given what I had heard before. I had a look around and was greatly impressed. Oh, to have a store like that in my city, Cork, in Southern Ireland, I thought! I visit Stereo Exchange earlier on the same trip and that store was also very impressive. It is always sad when somebody from the extended high end audio 'family' passes on. I hope Andy is enjoying perfect (analogue) sound forever in another dimension. Nice tribute, Michael! RIP Andy Singer.

  • 2024-04-24 06:15:38 PM

    NLak wrote:

    I never had an issue with the gentleman. I was a grad student and had no intention of buying anything, but I would walk in regularly in the '90s just to take a peek. Most of the time, Mr. Singer never said a word to me. One day, I asked if it was ok to look around, and he said, "Just don't touch." it goes without saying I said. Sound by Singer around Union Square always brings back great memories for me—my condolences to his family.

  • 2024-04-25 11:04:52 PM

    John Romano wrote:

    Being a frequent loiter at the store, Andy was always chatty and never chased me out. When I would get off my lunch shift at Union Square Cafe, I would venture across the street and listen to whatever was playing at the time. Bought my first new speakers there (KEF 103) and was forever hooked. I do remember the store being on 16th Street though.