When I proclaim that Sound Exchange is unequivocally the best record store in Houston, I am taking into consideration that not everyone is interested in obtaining the newest addition to their championed vinyl collection(hence the bad reviews you see here). This place is, simply-stated, great for two reasons: Sound Exchange carries an excellent, unrivaled assortment of vinyl records that are candy to the ears(and eyes) of the collector and the vinyl debutante alike, and the CD section of the store is great for those who are simply interested in hearing some new music; though their CD section is small, it's solid and thorough and organized in a quite self-explanatory way. They also have a very nice selection of local music that they barely even markup; these guys are really committed to our city and its musicians!
Sound Exchange is NOT where you should go if you want to buy the new Kanye West CD or Keith Urban or anything Billboard Top 40. Sound Exchange IS the place to find good quality vinyl-rare, eclectic, vintage et al. Sound Exchange IS the place to find good jazz, psychedelic/prog-rock, underground hip-hop, independent, classic rock(yes, Sound Exchange isn't just a bunch of obscure post-punk and free jazz selections) and various collectibles(7"" too!). They have an ""odd"" vinyl selection where I found a record that featured the sounds of various couples having sex which was fun. They even have a metal room with all metal cds and vinyl and those black metal-head teeshirts. They're probably the only place in Houston that exchanges and fixes record players too.
I've never really had a problem with the guys who run the shop either. They aren't the types of folks to act elated to see you come in, but any time I've ever had any questions(even stupid ones), they've been happy to answer-and they always have an answer. The reason the staff here is excellent is because they know literally every single piece in the store. They price everything accurately, make recommendations, and know which issue each record is. The place is loud, usually, but it's a goddamned record store!
Finally, I will mention that Sound Exchange has a large ""Bargain Basement"" in the back with clearance CDs and vinyl. Everyone should check this place out at least once and support the one record store in Houston that know's its stuff and doesn't try to tear money out of your pockets.