Over the past few months, I've been auditioning headphones in the German-speaking part of Switzerland (especially around Zurich). It took some time and effort, but I do believe that I've found some great headphone stores that some people aren't necessarily aware of. So for those of you looking for good headphone stores in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, I hope this helps:
A superb online store, offering Audez'e, Grado and Sennheiser headphones. Importantly, they also have a show/auditioning room in Uster, ZH. The guy who runs stereotec, Ralph, is just great. He is extremely friendly and very knowledgeable. He was willing to help me out in any way that he could. He's a true class act. If you're looking into the Audez'e LCD 2 or 3 headphones, products Ralph is most passionate about himself, this is without a doubt the number 1 address in Switzerland. Concerning headphone amplifiers, he sells the Lehmann Linear and the Cayin HA-1A. He also sells a number of DAC/amp combos as well as pure DACs.
Update: Stereotec now sells HiFiMAN planar magnetic headphones (HE-400/500/6) as well as Burson amps and amp/DACs (Conductor, Soloist, Soloist SL). All of the above can be auditioned in Uster.
A very high-end Hi-Fi store located in Spreitenbach, ZH. In terms of headphones, they only sell headphones made by Ultrasone. You can audition Ed. 8 & 10, etc, there. They also sell two headphone amplifier brands: Transrotor and Lehmann. The owner was very professional and really seemed to be a true Hi-Fi freak. For Ultrasone headphones, this is the best place to go in Switzerland.
I have somewhat mixed feelings about this store located in the city of Zurich. On the plus side, and this is a BIG plus, they have the best selection of headphones in Switzerland, e.g. Sennheiser HD 800, 700, 650, 600, Beyerdynamic T1, Audez'e LCD2/3, Shure 1840, AKG Q701, Ultrasone Ed 8 & 12 and many more. On the down side, the store is small, and it can be rather loud in there with people coming and going. Because of this, I found auditioning open headphones there to be somewhat difficult (I would definitely go there during off-hours). I also found that the staff, although very friendly, was not the most knowledgeable. In my opinion, their headphone amplifier section is also rather weak, especially considering the number and quality of headphones that they sell. They could only offer me a Nuforce Icon HDP for the auditioning process. I did see that another customer was auditioning a number of headphones on a Peachtree DAC/amplifier.
Extremely professional, but not the friendliest, aimed at the very high-end spectrum of the Hi-Fi market. They're located in Altwis, LU (they also have a store location in Volketswil, but they don't have any headphones there). They sell all Stax headphones and amplifiers as well the Sennheiser HD 800 and a very high-end headphone amplifier specifically made for the HD 800 made by EternalArts. One can audition all these products at their store in Altwis.
muller & spring ag
Located in Brugg, AG, they sell almost all the headphones, including all flagships, made by Beyerdynamic, Sennheiser, Denon and AKG. It's a rather large store that sells all kinds of AV/Hi-Fi gear, which can make the auditioning process difficult as other people are testing loudspeakers, etc. at the same time (Again, I suggest that you go there during off-hours). The employees are friendly, but as is the case with K55, they’re not the most knowledgeable. In addition, they don't have many good headphone amplifiers, Beyerdynamic A1 and Vincent KHV-1 really being the only two.
Violectric is a German company that produces high quality headphone amplifiers. They are located in Konstanz, Germany, which is right on the border to Switzerland. They have an auditioning room where you can audition all of their amplifiers in combination with a number of headphones: Sennheiser HD 800 & 600, Beyerdynamic T1, Audeze LCD2 and AKG K 701. If you're potentially interested in a Violectric amplifier, this is a very good place to audition both a wide variety of very good headphones as well as all the headphone amplifiers made by Violectric. Everybody there was extremely friendly. I was able to audition all the equipment in peace and quiet in a room by myself. The sales manager would occasionally stop by and chat with me. He was very friendly and extremely knowledgeable.
Dietiker & Humbel Multimedia
Located in Winterthur, ZH, this store sells headphones, including most flagships, made by Sennheiser, Grado and Denon. I talked to them a number of times over the phone but never actually went to their store. My father did go there recently and told me that they were professional, friendly and knowledgeable. Unfortunately, I can't give you any more details than that.
Best non-headphone Hi-Fi Store in Switzerland:
This store is located in the city of Zurich. In my opinion, this is the best all-round Hi-Fi store in Switzerland. The owner, Herr Gratz, is the most knowledgeable man I've ever met when it comes to Hi-Fi. His employees are all very professional and most polite. I just love this place! If you ever get the chance, you should definitely stop by this store.
One caveat, although they do sell headphones, it really isn't their forte (they sell Grado headphones and Lehmann and Cayin headphone amplifiers). I don't recommend that you go there for your headphone needs, but when it comes to loudspeakers, amplifiers, DACs, CD-players, etc., this is without a doubt the best place to go.
Audio Bauer Pro AG (http://www.audio-bauerpro.ch/) is Switzerland's general importer for Fostex headphones and amp/DACs. They're currently having delivery issues but are expecting the next shipment of TH-900/600s to arrive in September, 2013. At that point, they're going to get back to me about possible auditioning locations.
What about headphone accessories?
There are no places to audition headphone aftermarket cables in Switzerland. Absolutely none. There aren't even any places where you can buy them, except possibly in the case of Cardas, where you could order them through a Cardas dealer; you won't be able to directly purchase them because they don't have them in stock anywhere. Basically, you have no choice but to order aftermarket headphone cables directly from another country.
For power cables and interconnects, I recommend Erni Hifi. He has a large selection of cables and is very knowledgeable on the subject. Audiovinyl is another great choice.
My take on the headphone situation in Switzerland
What strikes me most about the situation in Switzerland is that one can buy almost every flagship headphone, yet when it comes to dedicated headphone amplifiers, one has very few options, and the options that one does have are far from ideal. Stores basically only sell either Lehmann, Cayin, Beyerdynamic or Vincent headphone amplifiers. That's it. If one wants something better, one is forced to order a product from another country without being able to audition it beforehand. None of the headphone/amplifier combinations that I initially auditioned convinced me, so I had no other choice but to order a headphone amplifier from abroad. I ended up ordering what is generally considered by the Head-Fi community to be a great all-round headphone amplifier, the Woo Audio WA6SE. Given the ample number of headphone choices compared to the number of available headphone amplifiers, the only thing that made sense to me was to build my system from the bottom up. Fortunately, the WA6SE ended up being all I could ever ask for and more. Once I received my WA6SE, I went on a headphone auditioning tour, taking my own source and amplifier to almost every store mentioned above (I highly recommend that whenever possible you bring your own gear to a store as well. This will give you a MUCH better sense of how your system will actually sound at home). I ended up purchasing the Sennheiser HD 800s and couldn't be any happier with my system.
Please feel free to send me a message concerning anything that I have mentioned above (Also, feel free to write to me in German if that's easier for you).
Edited by avrosse - 8/20/13 at 10:01am
-Edit (August, 2013): I updated the stereotec and Fostex sections and made a few other minor tweaks. The only other thing I'd like to point out is that thanks to the release of Sennheiser's HDVD 800 and HDVA 600, a larger number of headphone stores now carry high-quality amplifiers; these two products can be auditioned at stereotec, K55, Fischer Hi-Fi, muller & spring ag and Dietiker & Humbel Multimedia.