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Best Flea Market Stereo Equipment 

Mission Village Market

2955 18th St. (at Alabama)

Maybe it's an addiction to high-volume Supertramp, or perhaps the habit of falling asleep with the stereo on, but in the last few years we've worn out one piece of rinky-dink, Third World audio equipment after the next. It's a budget audiophile's cruel chicken-and-egg situation: We buy cheap gear because we're broke, and the new gear breaks because it's cheap. But we finally interrupted the cycle after happening upon Mission Village Market. Hoity-toity antique hunters won't find much within the maze of booths on the asphalt, but for big, ugly, and delightfully warm-sounding tube-powered audio equipment, the place is a gold mine. On any given Saturday patrons can find stainless-steel Kenwood, Panasonic, and Pioneer monsters for under $20. You can barter for Nixon-era amps, cassette decks, and wood-cased speakers galore. Regarding both the gear and the shopping experience itself, they just don't make 'em like they used to.

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