Buyer's Remorse at the High End - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 44 Old 10-03-2002, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
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This is my excuse for not buying equipment that retails for over $20K: Fear of making a mistake. I was shopping around for a controller, and considered some of the brands mentioned in TPV. The Lexicon MC-12 seemed like the ideal choice- under 10 grand, and rated very highly. Then I paused when I saw two other controllers that were rated above this. Decisions, decisions.

For the very same reason, I have avoided buying Krell, Meridian, Revel Ultima, or Wilson speakers. Or Runco, Vidikron, Barco, or Zenith CRTs. At any given time, on Audiogon, you will find people dumping high end gear. It isn't always for financial reasons. If you probe deeply enough, you may find that the equipment did not meet the buyer's expectations. Love at first sight may turn out to be distaste/incompatibility at second consideration. Thus the equipment goes up for sale, or it gets packed up and stored in a closet. I have lots of equipment in the closet that I have just grown tired of listening to or viewing.

OK, now we need the truth from you other AV enthusiasts.
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post #2 of 44 Old 10-03-2002, 06:27 PM
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Ollie,
I think this may well be the whole problem when buying equipment at that level. It is a ton of money so you want to make sure that it is the best so that it will be right up there for a while and in many of the categories (certainly projectors) the whole concept of the best isn't real meaningful. Some may be the best at one thing and not another. This leads to real opportunities for unrealized expectations. I'm there myself with wanting a new FP set up.
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post #3 of 44 Old 10-04-2002, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Art Sonneborn
Ollie,
I think this may well be the whole problem when buying equipment at that level. .... This leads to real opportunities for unrealized expectations.
This statement is the key to the madness. Determining and managing expectations, and insuring those expectations are met is precisely why a skilled designer/consultant should be hired by someone hesitant in making such an investment without taking the time to become an "expert" on everything.

Like in almost any aspect of life and selections, if you actually lay out a criteria of what you prioritize in performance, real use, and the limitations of your environment, the solutions quickly make themselves apparent. Planning is key in a system which will provide serious enjoyment, and the entire project and goals must be kept in mind. It becomes all to easy to isolate one component and forget the limitations and constraints dictated by the rest of the system. There is a reason that designers like Tony Grimani (PMI Ltd.), Keith Yates (KYDG), or Russ Herschellmann are held in such high regard. It is not because of their specialization in one aspect, but rather the ability to bring together an entire project and solution.

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post #4 of 44 Old 10-04-2002, 01:33 PM
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As a frequent buyer of high end gear, like every thing else I do I sometimes feel buyers remorse, especilally when I drop a "BIG WAD" of $$ on equipment, and on cars (540i with M kit, which I just sold). It used to be the ol' typical buy on the spot cause it sounded so good and looked even better. I am now more careful and make sure I buy carefully. Espcially at that level. I often negotiate a good price that I know if the product does not work out or after a certain amount of time I can sell it and not loose my pants in the process. I also include in the purchase price, the price to go demo the gear if it is out of the province/state or have it shipped all expenses paid so I can demo the gear at home in my own enviroment.

Due to the recent stock and high tech trend, people are dumping, and a very good opportunity for other to pick up some good deals.

But one has to admit, well I do, you buy quality (re:expensive) and you usually get excellent returns on investments (re: happiness and expectations)

Hey Mark :, did I not sit by you or Brad and spoke to me about Servodrive at the AVS dinner at CES....did you ever put out your Subs ??

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Thanks.....Matt Nalbandian

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post #5 of 44 Old 10-04-2002, 02:39 PM
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Hi Matt,

Indeed, I remember we did sit next to eachother at the CES AVS Forum Dinner. The Theater Calibrated ContraBass has been completed but without internal power yet. The newer, 1/2 size monster is still in development, but still coming and plenty interesting.

Regards,

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post #6 of 44 Old 10-04-2002, 03:31 PM
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I feel the need to chip in here. I am only in this category because of very careful and thoroughly researched deals. I find a technology that will enhance my system and search for a bargain. I still spend a lot of money on equipment, but not on any single item. I don't feel remorse for any of my purchases.

Being in the computer industry has helped my appreciation and patients with audio and video technology. Basically no matter what you get, something better will be out the next day. So I look for features that fit with my immediate needs, not some marketing driven desire. (Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just can't afford it personally.)

To bad you gentlemen are up north, it would be good to meet some of you.

Later, LordHz
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post #7 of 44 Old 10-05-2002, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Art Sonneborn
This leads to real opportunities for unrealized expectations. I'm there myself with wanting a new FP set up.
Art
This begs the question...

Art, what is available for you to upgrade to? Dual 9" NEC CRTs...what's above that? Quad stacked 9" CRTS?
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post #8 of 44 Old 10-05-2002, 09:22 PM
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Chris,
I've looked at 9" CRTs stacked. I saw an over and under but don't want my theater torn up and all the best seats taken out to give the floor PJ a seat. I looked at a 3 chip DLP with nearly 5000 ANSI, great color and no black. I've learned a lot lately and still have a long way to go. I really do love the system I have and have had since 1997. I just hang out here too much and hear about how great this is and that and wonder if I should move to one of these other PJs. My reluctance is that they may have advantages but for the grotesque amount of money are those advantages really worth it?
Art

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post #9 of 44 Old 10-05-2002, 09:44 PM
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The same principals apply whether we're talking Boulder 2050 X Gr slams with all Dominus wires or much lower level equipment. (BTW The wires alone will be well over 20k)

In my case doing this thing in small steps over a long period of time has taught me something about my likes and dislikes. Borrowing from the title of a Pretenders' album"Learning to Crawl"I started slow (cheap) moved up slow. Eventually you get to the piont where you are pretty happy with your pieces. Sure,there is always going to be more/better. You can't use an advisor. They will always have there own set of biases. You want what sounds good to you / not to him. How you gonna know--small steps. HINT: you have to be in love with music,/ not equipment. Geo
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post #10 of 44 Old 10-05-2002, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Art Sonneborn
Chris,
I've looked at 9" CRTs stacked.
My mistake. I thought your projectors were 9" CRTs, stacked side-by-side.

Quote:

I saw an over and under but don't want my theater torn up and all the best seats taken out to give the floor PJ a seat. I looked at a 3 chip DLP with nearly 5000 ANSI, great color and no black.
The desire for 5000 ANSI lumens is completely understandable...if one planned to watch movies in a room with sunlight pouring in from windows on all sides (and a skylight).

Quote:
I've learned a lot lately and still have a long way to go. I really do love the system I have and have had since 1997. I just hang out here too much and hear about how great this is and that and wonder if I should move to one of these other PJs.
Sounds like you need to have a bunch of AVS members over to assure you that you have an amazing home theater. :)
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post #11 of 44 Old 10-06-2002, 08:53 AM
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Ollie:

Do you have a specific project in mind? If so, perhaps you can "team up" with forum members with experience in the similar price range and with similar tastes/preferences.

You are correct that it is very difficult to select high end equipment. In my own situation, the fault was all mine - being that I really did not know good from not so good. Here is my own experience:

For example, I started out with a Sony 7" CRT, Bose Cubes, Onkyo etc., 7 years ago. For about 6 months to a year or so, I thought it was quite good! Bose? Really! Tells you how little I know about Audio or Video!

Next step was to improve on the Audio. I purchased the JBL Synthesis (I think list was around $35,000 at that time) - which I thought was great and the best value for an "affordable" amount of money! It came with a Fossgate processor (great). When Dolby Digital Came out, I bought the Lexicon DC1. By then I was smart enough to realize that DC1 had bad sound Vs Fossgate. Subsequently, when the DC2 came out, I traded up and felt that it was very good. I gave up after the MC1 and the MC-12. I can't help but feel that I am missing out on something but I simply gave up! There has got to be a limit to this maddness - I felt!

When I heard some pro speakers, I realize that my synthesis speakers were not as good. Here we go again to pro speakers.. The high end Synthesis now searve as my rear speakers! Since I put in the pro - horn based speakers (5 years ago), I have been quite happy. In fact, recently, I compared them again to the high end all horn german speakers (forgot the name) and pleasantly reassured myself that I preferred my speakers. I have now concluded that I am all set with my audio system and have reached a point of diminishing returns. How ever, if some one offers a good deal on a Lexicon MC12, well may be?.. No, I really don't need it! How about that TACT processor with built in digital room correction? Well...
Honestly, I am very happy with my audio system - even after hearing the high end ones at the prior Cedia. Realistically I felt that only the Merridian system was probably better (but not much) than mine.

I went from Sony 7" to DILA G10 (when it came out 3 years ago) and recently to 9500lc Ultra. I now realize that the G90 is a much better projector compared to the 9500lc. oops! that was an expensive mistake or Was it?

Anyway, I think it is pretty much impossible to avoid mistakes or even keep up with changing technology. This forum is helpful but it too did not save me from buying the 9500lc as compared to the G90. I read often as to how great the 9500lc + Faroudja would be and how I should get one of the high end installers flown in to set it up. They also talked about how great the DILA would be if properly calibrated by the best. I did both but am still left with a not so great video system! But then, I cannot afford the JVC QX1!

The bottom line, it took years for me to actually learn as to what my own preferences are. It is even more difficult as those preferences are evolutionary.

If you have specific plans, I would be happy to share with you as to what NOT to buy.


My Theater
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post #12 of 44 Old 10-06-2002, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
I now realize that the G90 is a much better projector compared to the 9500lc. oops! that was an expensive mistake!
How did you come to that conclusion?

Mark.
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post #13 of 44 Old 10-06-2002, 01:33 PM
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It is very difficult to judge between two such high end projectors unless they are set up perfectly with same screen size etc. and preferably at the same venue. Seemingly small variations would cause undue interpretations.

I have a friend who is the perfect source to evaluate this. He owned a Vision one. He had used it with both the Fadourja 400A and subsequently, the Snell Wilcox processors ($33,000) with a Merridian DVD player ($12,000). More importantly, he is very familiar with Video, colorimetry and such. In fact, I consider him to be among the experts in Video.

He made some interesting observations.

1. Outside the scope of our question: His HTPC was almost as good as his $12,000 DVD Player + $33,000 Snell Wilcox processor. The key word was "almost".

2. He had recently changed his projector from Vision One to G90. He felt that the G90 was clearly superior. Since he is using the same set up - I felt that his observations would be even more valuable. Of course, they both have been properly set up and calibrated. In fact, he liked the G90 so much that he bought a 2nd G90 and stored it for future (since they are now discontinued).

Since I truly value his knowledge and opinion in video (and audio too as matter of fact but he politely discounts his audio expertise), I have come to the conclusion that a G90 was better.

More reasons:

Another forum member was upgrading from 8500 to 9500lc. He too was very familiar with the Marquee line and Video in general. I suggested that he should at least audition the G90. Once he did so, he was convinced that it was better and he too went with a G90. He seems pleased with his selection.

Just last week, my local dealer made the same comment. He has another client with a G90. He said that while the proper color correction etc. were subject to debate and interpretation between my projector and his client's G90, the superior brightness of the G90 was clearly evident in the picture and it was his conclusion that his other clients G90 looked superior to my 9500lc because of G90's superior brighness.

It is too late anyway because it is my understanding that the G90s are not available anymore.
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post #14 of 44 Old 10-18-2002, 07:49 PM
 
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you said your friend made some very interesting observations. what were they? you say only that he feels the g90 is clearly superior. the only difference you note is brightness. have you personally seen any specific differences besides brightness that make the g90 superior to the marquee?
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post #15 of 44 Old 10-18-2002, 09:48 PM
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I did see the G90's picture quite some time before I bought the 9500lc. I have not spent suficient time with a G90 or with a 9500 or any 9" CRT until that time. At the shows, the 9500 and the G90 look equally good. There are so many variables while comparing the projectors at such venues. To begin with, different souces, processors, screen sizes etc.

For example, I would probably like my 9500's picture much better if its picture width were to be 80 or 85" Vs 95". I tried to plan for 85" width but it ended up at 95" - since it is very difficult to determine the distance properly (long story) for a ceiling mount. Actually, you too tried to help at that time (about a year ago). You had graciously sent me pictures of your mounting system and tried to help with the distance selection.

Picture size is a personal preference of course.

Due to the preceding reasons, I feel that I am personally not qualified to state, just using my own [lack of] experience, with the G90.

How ever, based on several detailed discussions I have had with the three people, who are much better qualified than I am to make a proper comparision and also on the personal discussion I have had with one of the "recognized experts on this forum", I have come to a conclusion that the G90 is a superior projector, compared to my 9500lc Ultra.

By the way, I have an older 7" Sony CRT, that I use on the same screen but with a 70" width picture. Even after thousands of hours and many years, its picture is excellent. Considering the limitations of age and price of my Sony, its picture far exceeds my expectations - perhaps the Sony tubes are superior? Actually, for the money, the picture is outstanding (subject to certain limitations of course) - long story that I would prefer not get into right now. Frankly, I use it about 90% of the time, even now - mainly because I don't want to waste the 9" tubes for watching "Satellite TV" (which is 90% of my viewing). I feel that the picture with the 9" CRT (with Faroudja DILA NR) is not that great for DSS viewing at 95" wdith. The picture is lacks clarity and depth. I think it is mainly due to the compression/quality of the DSS because pay per view picture is much nicer.

Of course, 9500 is very good for DVD viewing and the 95" width does help - due to the larger size/distance ratio for watching movies. After I got the 9500, I don't use my DILA much anymore - except for very bright movies where I can enjoy the 154" picture. The 9500 is clearly much more superior to the G10 DILA (calibrated) even at the same picture size. This I can state categorically because all three of my projectors are for the same screen.

As I wrote before, all this is moot because the G90 is no longer availalbe anyway. I don't know how 9" Barco compares with the 9500.
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post #16 of 44 Old 10-19-2002, 12:56 PM
 
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i don't mean to be a pest, but you didn't answer the main question. What did these experts say to change your mind? At this level of expense and excellance i assume it was something pretty important. The reason i ask is that many on this forum seem to make expensive decisions this way. With out actually personally demoing the equipment. Instead relying on trying to take the pulse of the experts on the forum. A good example would be pre-buying a $3,500 scaler before it even hits the street. So, when you make a statement like "The G90 is clearly superior", i would like to see specific reasons why it's superior. Someone trying to make a buying decision may get the impression that it's an open and shut case. I don't think it is and it's hard to discuss such a general opinion. i have seen both and owned both the 8" versions and i think it is more like a toss up than one being clearly better than another.

P.S. i think i saw a thread were they are putting the g90 back in production.
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post #17 of 44 Old 10-19-2002, 03:27 PM
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007, No you are not being a pest. As I recall, you were equally energetic in trying to help me when I was installing my 9500. YOu emailed me several times with photos etc. to help out.

I am happy to respond either here or if you would like, via email: audvid@ameritech.net. Further discussion on this subject might be out of the scope of the intent of the poster of this topic. Please email me and we can chat.

I too agree with you that some people might be making decisions based on the "expert advice" whether from the forum or else where. I cannot make a general comment as to whether that is good or bad. Such advise does have its own merits.

One of my points was that I myself did not know what I really want. Buying equipment and learing ones own preferences is evelutionary. Experts can help only so much - until the next greatest technology is released!

Coming back to G90, the bottom line is: If I were in the market for a 9" projector, I am 100% convinced that I would buy the G90 even if it were 20% to 25% more expensive than the 9500.

Regarding my friend who had the Videkron Vision One and the basis for my comments:

1. He used Vision one it for 3 years and had a reasonable time to "tweak" and understand it.
2. He is an expert at Video - as good as the "high end" experts appearing on the forum.
3. He performed most known tweaking to the vision one excluding DVI and color filters.
4. He spent about $14,000 (not sure of the actual amount) for various video and optical measurement equipment and he knows how to use them - to measure gamma, colorimetry, contrast, etc.
5. He installed the G90 in the same room. The G90 offers superior brightness which in turn and among other things gives a superior picture.
6. It is very stable - not that the Vision one was very unstable.
7. Does not require color correction filters. He is using it with a $30,000 Snell & Wilcox processor.
8. Most of all, a thorough gentlemen who makes comments only after careful thought and evaluation. He would not make a remark like this lightly.
9. He has not vested interest on this subject.

It was his opinion that the G90 is clearly a better projector and to me, those would be the words in stone. I can certainly understand and appreciate if you or others disagree with my belief. I have to re-iterate that I am personally not an expert on Video (or Audio for that matter). I am still learning!
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post #18 of 44 Old 10-23-2002, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ollie W. Holmes
[b]This is my excuse for not buying equipment that retails for over $20K: Fear of making a mistake. I was shopping around for a controller, and considered some of the brands mentioned in TPV. The Lexicon MC-12 seemed like the ideal choice- under 10 grand, and rated very highly. Then I paused when I saw two other controllers that were rated above this. Decisions, decisions.
If at all possible, borrow the kit you are interested in and live with it for a "while" - that is often the only way you can decide whether something is right for you... never buy something just because a review says you should ;-)

When demoing my current speakers, Revel Ultima Salons, I also brought in a number of speakers costing twice as much (and therefore surely better?). At first, because I equated cost with performance, I couldn't understand why speakers costing twice as much as the Salons sounded worse; finally I understood, bought the Salons, and have had much pleasure from them ever since.

Mark.

My cinema: The Cave!

My kit: 15' 2.35:1 Screen Research CP2 4-way mask, Sony vw1000es, Lumagen 2144, Meridian 861/621/7x5500/2xSW5500

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post #19 of 44 Old 10-23-2002, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Ah, but what dealer would let you borrow Revel Ultima's for a week. Or B&W Nautilus 800's? These speakers weigh a ton, and could easily be damaged just hauling them in your wagon.

BTW, Holst's The Planets, Respighi's Pines of Rome, Mussorgky's Pictures at an Exhibition, and other showcase classical pieces must sound like a blast through your system, as in awesome. Very high SPL and limitless front-to-back soundstage. Poor old me, I have to settle for my humble Quads.
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post #20 of 44 Old 10-24-2002, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ollie W. Holmes
Ah, but what dealer would let you borrow Revel Ultima's for a week. Or B&W Nautilus 800's? These speakers weigh a ton, and could easily be damaged just hauling them in your wagon.


Any dealer serious enough about getting hold of my money! :D

Maybe things are different here in the UK, but I was able to spend almost two months demoing kit from different manufacturers, in my home, before making my final selection.

Probably worth asking around to see if any dealers can arrange this sort of thing for you.

And get the dealer/supplier to install the kit, that way, if they damage it, they are liable...

Quote:
BTW, Holst's The Planets, Respighi's Pines of Rome, Mussorgky's Pictures at an Exhibition, and other showcase classical pieces must sound like a blast through your system, as in awesome. Very high SPL and limitless front-to-back soundstage. Poor old me, I have to settle for my humble Quads.
Thanks for the recommendations.

Mark

My cinema: The Cave!

My kit: 15' 2.35:1 Screen Research CP2 4-way mask, Sony vw1000es, Lumagen 2144, Meridian 861/621/7x5500/2xSW5500

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post #21 of 44 Old 11-03-2002, 07:05 AM
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Well, just three comments:

1. A the top end, expectations are often raised so high, especially if you're not normally a top end player (i.e., your house is modest, your car is less than $100K, you stay in Marriotts and the like pretty much, you upgrade to fly first class...you get the idea), that it becomes impossible to satisfy the buyer. No product is perfect, no matter the cost, and some are decidedly less than, despite the enormous asking price.

2. Knowing yourself and your true preferences (which for some are unfortunately not discovered without the experience of making a big purchase) is the biggest insurance one has against making a poor high end product decision.

3. If you can truly afford what you're purchasing (a big "if"), the good news is that it is hard to make a true mistake at the top level. The products are so good that whatever compromises or disappointments you may ultimately discover, OVERALL there's usually much that immensely satisfies.

Finally, let me add one more thing: I once read an interview of a top-level corporate decision-maker who was asked just how it was that he made so many good ones. His reply was that they key to ultimately making good decisions, was to have learned the hard way by making lots and lots of them. Fence-sitters, take note!
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post #22 of 44 Old 11-17-2002, 09:31 PM
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The problem is many people blow big wads on hardware without understanding how the Amp,speakers,room will interact sonically and what sounded great in the demo room sounds like expensive crap. Its silly to see people invest big dollars on hardware and fail to have a engineer/consultant build you a proper system that will satisfy you for years to come.
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post #23 of 44 Old 11-23-2002, 01:47 PM
 
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Buyer's remorse....WHY?
Very simple:
1. Possessions do not correlate with happiness....in fact more often than not we end up slaves to our stuff.
2. Today's best is tomorrow's junk....and tomorrow is getting here sooner with the rapid advances in technology.
Possible
Solutions:
1. Don't buy anything......be content with what ya got.......or rent....once you have the item for a month most of the time you decide you could do quite well without it......this especially applies to vehicles
2. Buy old stuff.....nostalgia can be a good deal.
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post #24 of 44 Old 11-23-2002, 03:42 PM
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Nah .. I want the baddest, best sounding, most up to date product I can find ..hehe

Seriously, its often said, you pay for what you get.. take for example.. Mark Levinson.. expensive .. but peices will last 10-20 yrs !!....

Sure its also great to buy second hand or used.. but that is if you have time to look for it and all the hassels that go with it....Nothing like when the dealer stops in and setups everything.. yes ..you pay .. but you pay once and rarely have headaches !!

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post #25 of 44 Old 11-23-2002, 09:49 PM
 
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I have an old kenwood that's lasted 30 years......price does not equate to longevity.......and I had MORE fun with that amp than the rest of these over priced ego-boosters
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post #26 of 44 Old 11-23-2002, 10:38 PM
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Oh, I see. We descended from, "Possessions do not correlate with happiness..." which is quite true and something to always bear in mind when contemplating any purchase, to "...over-priced ego boosters," which is a generalization that isn't worth much at all as advice. But as a commentary, it does serve to expose the chip that is apparently on your shoulder toward high end, ultra expensive goods.
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post #27 of 44 Old 11-24-2002, 08:23 AM
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Hi PF .. I agree with your comments.. certain comments are unfounded ..like the one above

But I want to add.. when you do find that piece and sometimes it does cost lots.. there is nothing like coming home from a bizness trip or vacation to enjoy and run to your gear that you enjoy so much.. beit a 30yr kenwood amp or a Levinson No40. To each his own .. I never quite understood why people can't accept that some folks do enjoy a $30K peice of equipment.. it all in the value one put with that item.. same goes for paintings/art/cars !!

Unfortunatly.. I love expensive cars/art/audio..
maybe they are ego-boosters .. but damm if it makes me feel good and I enjoy them ..why not ..!!

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post #28 of 44 Old 11-28-2002, 12:37 AM
 
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No chip here......high end doesn't always have to be ultra-expensive.
Of course price is one of those intangibles that provide some sort of satisfaction outside of the actual performance. The feeling that "I can afford this X dollar piece of equipment" provides what I call the ego boost factor. Some in here wouldn't be happy with a $300 scaler that performs like a $20000 unit.....lack of exclusivity.
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post #29 of 44 Old 11-28-2002, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by BadgermanII
Some in here wouldn't be happy with a $300 scaler that performs like a $20000 unit.....lack of exclusivity.
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro. No problem with performance and exclusivity isn't an issue. For many people, the issue would be sound (HTPC is louder than a scaler) and ease of use.

I think that the look does add to the value. Dunlavy speakers sounded great, but were flat out ugly. Looks do matter and even if the beauty is only skin deep, at least put some bucks into that skin.
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post #30 of 44 Old 11-29-2002, 07:21 AM
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In this (audio) industry getting what one pays for is very true. I have been in the audio hobby for about 30 years and have owned many components at all price points (except the ultra high-end) and have come to realize that better components cost more (there are genuine values out there, Vandersteen 2-C's, Adcom amps come to mind). The return for the dollar plummets as the price soars but the differences still exist. I say IF one can easilly afford the ultra high-end then let's be happy for them, and we bottom feeders can continue to enjoy the trickle down of technology that these fortunate individuals finance.

Mitch
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Closed Thread Ultra Hi-End HT Gear ($20,000+)

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