Q. Could you post a list of speaker brands to look for when thrift store/garage sale hunting? As a "not an audiophile" musician, I know there are quality brands I have never heard of.

A. You are exactly right about quality speaker brands that exist below most people's radar. The very best speakers tend to not be mass-market names, and if a layperson went to an audio show they would be unfamiliar with most of the speakers there. Throw in the dizzying array of vintage and defunct brands, and there are a lot of choices to sort through.

Some of these brands are exotic, but you might find them for sale somewhere. I have read reports of rare and valuable vintage speakers in perfect working order left out for trash pickup because someone inherited them and did not know what they had or how to use them.

However, not every speaker from these elite brands is necessarily good-sounding, and some of the companies have changed ownership several times over the years with corresponding improvements or drops in quality. Still, it is worth investigating if you find any of these names when bargain hunting.

The brands: Acoustat, ADS or a/d/s, AR/Acoustic Research, Acoustic Energy, Acculine, Advent, Altec Lansing, American Acoustics, Apogee, Arx, ATC, Axiom, Bang & Olufsen, Boston Acoustics, B&W, Cambridge Audio, Carver, Celestion, Chane, Harman Kardon Citation Series, Dahlquist, DCM, Definitive Technology, Design Acoustics, Dynaudio, ESS, Focal, Genesis, Harbeth, Hsu, Infinity, JBL, KEF, KLH, Klipsch, Legacy Audio, Linn, Magnat, Magnepan, Martin Logan, MB Quart, Mirage, Mission, MoFi, Monitor Audio, Mordaunt Short, Naim, Nestorovic, NHT, Ohm, Paradigm, Phase Technology, Pinnacle, Polk, PSB, Pyramid, Q Acoustics, Quad, Rega, REL, Revel, Rogers, Snell, Sonus Faber, Spendor, Spica, SVS, Tannoy, Thiel, The Speaker Company/TSC, Vandersteen, Waveform and Wharfedale.

With some of these, it would be an extreme long shot to find them in a thrift store, but who am I to say what might be out there? After all, two years ago I found a pair of Linn bookshelf speakers for $50 at a Goodwill. I consider Linn the Aston Martin of audio (they actually supplied audio systems for Aston Martin automobiles for a time), and the top-of-the-line Linn turntable currently retails for over $30,000.

Interestingly enough, I was specifically looking for speakers that day. When I saw the speakers sitting in a corner, I started laughing, and my girlfriend was confused as to what had gotten into me. When I told her about the significance of the brand, she asked, "So, you are buying those?" I laughed again and said, "Oh, yeah — we are taking them." Later that day I connected them to her old amplifier and said, "If they work, you are going to be very, very happy with the sound." I put in a CD, pushed play, and magnificent sound filled the room. I will never forget the way she smiled when she heard it, music lover that she is.

Send questions to Don Lindich at donlindich@gmail.com. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.