In Los Angeles for the long weekend on a project, I finally had a chance to visit Perfect Circuit for the first time. Perfect Circuit is one of the best synthesizer (and related) retail outfits in America, with superior mail-order service, excellent videos (on YouTube, where they blessedly employ limited voiceovers, letting the music do the talking), and most importantly a wide-ranging and deep stock of equipment (plus books and other merchandise). Much of that equipment is on view and available for fiddling with inside the nondescript corner storefront operation (which doubles as a warehouse) in Burbank. There are large table tops loaded with gadgets, a small wall of effects pedals, and several massive (well, massive to me with my modest little rig) modular-synth setups. And that’s just the main room. There’s a smaller secondary room of equipment, and another room dedicated to vinyl releases. The place is also deceptively quiet, because everyone walks around with a pair of headphones, jacks in, and plays.
But before you get to turn any of those knobs, or slide any of those faders, or push any of those buttons, there is a more important button you need to push: The door to Perfect Circuit is locked during business hours. There’s a doorbell out front that you need to press. And for all the noise you may generate once you’ve entered, the single sweetest sequence of sounds you are likely to experience during your visit is the combination of that doorbell registering your presence, followed by the click of the door when it is unlocked.
(Side note: If you’re in the area, the carnitas at Taqueria El Tapatio on W Victory Blvd are smoky and delicious.)