Dubai and Abu Dhabi, UAE

Discussion in 'Music, Movie and Hardware Store Guide' started by Fauxhall, Mar 26, 2024.

  1. Fauxhall

    Fauxhall Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Abu Dhabi, UAE
    For brick-and-mortar stores, most of the malls in the country have a Virgin Megastore, a UK-based retailers. I fished out their selections early on as they market trendy stuff mostly. They stock a lot of the EU reissue labels like DOL that use the EU's more relaxed copyright laws to remaster a CD onto vinyl. Some CDs and even cassettes. All new product. Some entry-level TTs, carts, accessories in most stores too.

    Best is RAW Music in Dubai's Oud Metha neighborhood. He stocks some great lines of equipment like Thorens, Nagaoki, MoFi, and Luxman and has a significant business in new and used vinyl. The owner is a vintage gear buff too and has an on-staff technician for repairs.

    For the carriage trade, there's Dubai Audio, across the freeway (E11) from Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa. They stock flashier brands like McIntosh and Sonus Faber and have a limited assortment of audiophile vinyl. I got my Klipsch Fortes there.

    Lastly, there's an on-line local "ebay" clone called Dubizzle for used gear and even vinyl. A mixed bag of rich kid rejects and third world hustle,

    Note that courier services are very common and cheap so you can pick out vinyl or gear and have it delivered within hours in the city.

    I get most of my content media shipped from the UK (Presto Music) or the EU. Shipping is not too bad.
    zphage likes this.
  2. RichardChaney

    RichardChaney Member

    It is very interesting to learn about the variety of offers from Virgin Megastore to specialist stores like RAW Music. Plus, information about Dubizzle as a local equivalent to eBay is very useful for finding used equipment. Could you share your experience buying from the UK or EU? It's important to know that shipping isn't all that bad, especially when it comes to something valuable to an audiophile.
  3. Jgirar01

    Jgirar01 Forum Resident

    Dallas, Texas
    I bought my system from Dubai Audio when we lived there 2014-2017. Cool guy into the Pink Floyd Storm Thorgerson artwork if the same folks still own it. A lot of listening sessions there while I made my decision.
    Musil_2003 likes this.
  4. Fauxhall

    Fauxhall Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Abu Dhabi, UAE
    Shipping prices have been volatile over the years, what with Covid and competition. They are currently slumping so that's good.

    One caution is that some shipping rates are a bit opaque when it comes to how and when. Too many offer low rates but only deliver to the local Emirates Post. Home delivery is not assured. Most expats rent a PO Box and for an extra charge can get home delivery from Emirates Post. That is seldom a daily home delivery but maybe once a week as it is here where my apartment is out in the boondocks, 250 km from Abu Dhabi.

    However FedEx and DHL also have delivery to your door but you can't always tell what you're paying for.

    It also means that your shipment could be transferred to Emirates Post and they reject it because they need your PO Box number. But if you put your PO Box only the “last mile” delivery guy rejects it because you don’t have a street address.

    That means you need to order giving your address as a both a PO box and as a street/apartment#.

    Presto Music offers Royal Mail which is fine until they turn over to Emirates Post which has the above problem. Their rates are reasonable but it takes about two weeks to get here. I’ve an order with Presto I’m working up now for 4 SACDs and a single vinyl album – they want $17.50 via tracked air mail on my PO box and twice that for FedEx with direct home deliver.

    From the US, FedEx is offering good rates to the UAE. Acoustic Sounds just sent 4 vinyl albums and 2 SACDs for home delivery at $40. Tube Depot sent me 4 power tubes and 4 signal tubes via “FedEx CrossBorder” for $14 – we’ll see how that works. I ordered some interconnects and a double vinyl album from Dubai Audio and they couriered it to me free and it took 2 days to my door. Ordered last week from RAW some accessories and a couple of albums and it took 2 days via courier and it was free too.

    Shipping methods and costs have been changing rapidly. However, Dubai is developing into a major air freight hub both East and West. Even shipping costs to and from Australia are reasonable!

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