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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.

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1. Halcyon

227 Smith Street, Brooklyn
718-260-9299
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
212-780-9166

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
212-925-6069

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
212-675-5284

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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