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Top 5 Places to Listen to Music Before You Buy

It’s happened a thousand times: You hear a song, you buy the album, and the other eleven tracks are duds. At these accommodating CD shops, however, you can try before you buy. Listen up.


1. Halcyon

227 Smith Street, Brooklyn
Give the jazz, soul, funk, and electronic music a spin, on vinyl or CD -- and down an espresso milkshake at the bar or browse the impressive display of mid-century-modern collectibles at this cozy Cobble Hill hotspot.

2. Barnes & Noble Booksellers

33 East 17th Street; 212-253-0810
675 Sixth Avenue, near 21st Street; 212-727-1227
1972 Broadway, at 66th Street; 212-595-6859
Surprising but true: From Mahler to the Magnetic Fields, if the CD has a barcode on it, you can scan it at a listening station and preview to your ears’ content.

3. Academy LPs

77 East 10th Street

This used-vinyl dealer specializes in jazz and soul. Customers may sample up to five records at a time -- or more, if there’s no line.

4. Throb

47 Orchard Street

A paradise for D.J.’s and obsessive record collectors alike, Throb -- recently relocated from its East 14th Street location -- offers five turntables for sampling its huge array of electronica, as well as the enticement of regular sales.

5. Sonic Groove Records

41 Carmine Street

The electronic-dance-music purveyor has plentiful turntables and even more plentiful listening rules that come with a warning to would-be shoplifters: “We are from Brooklyn, and we know the drill.”


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