so many internet speaker companies.... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 04-06-2013, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
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i've been shopping around for a set of theater speakers lately.. and it seems everybody with electronic meters is self proclaming itself the best high fidelity speaker selling directly to the consumer and you get amazing speakers for so much less... of course, you get a 30 day refund warranty because you can't listen before you buy... but beleive me you gotta be pretty pissed to put 4 speakers and a sub back in a dam box and ship it back to another country so we all know that ain't happening... plus, now with internet, just a few clicks and you can find or even create rave reviews for the product so anybody that looks it up is gonna find some good reviews... and don't think i never buy on the internet... you should see my eBay acount.... and i also bought Axioms last set... but now, it just seems everybody is the best but you can't listen to any demos first, plus they are all new or recent companies..... is it me or is this getting out of hand? how many good speakers are only internet virtual companies now a days?? its getting to a point where i can't beileive everything i see because everybody is the best ... even if i never heard of them!!. am i being paranoiac that much (of course this is a forum so it lives because of internet direct information)... but when anybody can affirm anything.. it's hard to know what is the truth... so is it gonna be Ascend... NHT... Axioms... etc... or good old KEF or Klipsch???

i guess i need to go to bed now...eek.gif
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post #2 of 19 Old 04-07-2013, 01:31 AM
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Perhaps for you it would be best to go to all of your local audio stores & shop til you drop. That way you can at least try them out first.& purchasing locally also supports your regional economy.

The trouble is, there is so much product out there that it can take a lot of time, effort & can drive you crazy as well, trying to choose the ideal setup.

Good luck in your quest...

TAM
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post #3 of 19 Old 04-07-2013, 06:15 AM
 
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Unfortunately, in this business truth is hard to find. There is great research in the audio and video world but marketing has a greater impact. I'm a calibrator and an engineer and I like to deal in facts and not great stories. A good salesman will tell you that a good story helps sell a product. The internet direct (ID) companies have a great story. We cut out the middle man and you save money. It sounds great but isn't always true. With the consumer market being so price competitive some Internet direct companies have found a way to put more money in their pocket and ride the wave of the consumer that thinks most traditional retailers are ripping them off.

When someone has the ability to test these products, they will see some ID companies offer a decent value and others are no better than the retail counterparts (sometimes worse) and just putting more money in their pockets. And some you can tell have no engineering staff and just spec'd stuff from China. No matter which way you buy internet or traditional retailer, Caveat Emptor applies more now than ever!

Good luck in your search!
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post #4 of 19 Old 04-07-2013, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by ex-labdriver View Post

Perhaps for you it would be best to go to all of your local audio stores & shop til you drop. That way you can at least try them out first.& purchasing locally also supports your regional economy.

The sound quality of loudspeakers are profoundly affected by the rooms that they are in. That makes showroom demos highly questionable at best.

These days most speakers will be used with AVRs with built in automated system tuning facilities like Audyssey that will change how the speakers sound anyhow.

The properties of loudspeakers that automated system tuning facilities can't help include dispersion, dynamic range, and smoothness of response.

The most obvious audible property of loudspeakers which is on-axis octave-to-octave balance is what they target and adjust most effectively.
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post #5 of 19 Old 04-07-2013, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Well i guess, it is a little difficult to make a decision..and in my area there is just monitor audio , Kef, Martin logan, and Klipsch... and for having good demo rooms, well, most don't have any high end stuff in theyre store, so i can't listen to them anyway.. so its getting hard to know what is best.. at least i get a lof of information here, and it helps. but so many companies are there.. difficult knowing what is really good...

anyway, i'm just moving in 3 months (new house construction,) so i still have a little time to shop... maybe too long...
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post #6 of 19 Old 04-07-2013, 06:47 PM
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Probably one of the best ways to audition speakers is to pick up several bookshelfs for example and listen to them during the trial periods. Arx (The Audio Insider), Aperion Audio, HSU Research, Ascend Acoustics, HTD (hometheaterdirect), SVS, NHT, all make some of the highest quality "bang for the buck" speakers for internet direct companies. All have generous return policies and offer 30-45 day in home trials. Some you pay shipping back and others its free.

Next theres brick and mortar brands, Paradigm, Monitor Audio, Klipsch, PSB, Martin Logan, KEF, Boston Acoustics, ect.... Find dealers and find out what kind of return policy them have. Pick up a few of the brands small bookshelfs and a few of the ID brands and live with them a few weeks and see what you like and don't.

I did something similar a little over a year ago. I had owned Axiom at the time and decided to try something else out, ordered Arx, HSU, Aperion, and picked up some Boston Acoustics, Paradigm and Polk RTi. After it was done and I finally decided, I kept the Arx, sent the others back (almost kept the HSUs) and ended up selling the Axiom setup I had for 4 yrs and ended up with cheaper speakers that sounded better.

Doing a quick 30min listening session at a dealer showroom isn't going to tell you anything other than it sounds nice in the showroom. Its unfair and biased to have speakers at home and then judge them against other speakers that you listen to at a showroom for a few minutes.
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post #7 of 19 Old 04-07-2013, 07:54 PM
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If you spend a couple hours surfing forums you can weed out most of the chaff. Look online for some reviews and you can narrow down your preference to 3-4. High sensativity , great bass , strong mids , price , etc. At that point toy would best to order 3-4 types and demo all at once . You might end up out a bit in shipping but if you are going to have the speakers for years ,then you have peace of mind knowing you got your favorite .
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post #8 of 19 Old 04-07-2013, 08:39 PM
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Of course they won't sound exactly the same in the showroom as in your own room at home, but you may be able to narrow your choices somewhat.

I can't imagine going to a local shop & just taking home a bunch of unopened boxes of new speakers that were available to demo in-store without at least giving them a quick listen to before they went out the door with me...

TAM
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post #9 of 19 Old 04-08-2013, 07:36 AM
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Mass Market companies benefit from economies of scale, etc.
ID companies benefit from cutting out a lot of managerial expenses, and retailer expenses, etc.

A lot of ID companies seem to be tweaking and tuning and customizing parts that are commonly used in the DIY community.
Mass Market companies seem to be using totally proprietary stuff often times.
Of course the ID stuff may also be proprietary. And the Mass Market stuff may be tweaked and tuned and customized versions of something else.

You see a lot of ID companies claiming to be offering you incredible value over retail. A $10,000 speaker for a $1,000, a $100,000 speaker for $3,000 etc.
You may read articles claiming that these companies could be selling these speakers for tons more, but they don't just because they have "principles" against overcharging like the big box retailers do... I am a sceptic. None of these companies are working as a charity.

Many speaker companies produce speakers which have their own "sound" that is identifiable. Other speaker companies claim to produce "neutral" speakers.

The only way to tell what you will like the best is to listen to them yourself in your home for a period of time and decide for yourself.
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post #10 of 19 Old 04-08-2013, 07:53 AM
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To be honest this website was BY FAR the greatest help when I was speaker searching. Prior to this website I was looking ONLY at Klipsch and B&W speakers, like in the $3k/pair (retail) price range. I went and listened to them and liked them, and nearly pulled the plug on some B&W after initially wanting Klipsch.

But before I spent $5k on a full system I decided to do more research and asked about what people recommend for HT primarily.

To make a long story short, I was pointed to JTR and after hearing all the rave about it I blind purchased $4k worth of speakers. I had listened to Klipsch, B&W, Paradigm, Monitor, Golden Ear, Salk, and a few others. My research pointed that the JTR would sound better than all of those, and with such a loyal following and recommendations from people I trusted I went with JTR Triple 12's without ever hearing them prior.

Now that I have my full 5.2 setup with all JTR stuff, I can gladly say that I made the right decision and am more than happy with what I have. It blows the B&W and Klipsch full 5.1 and 7.2 setups that I had heard out of the water. Like it is on a totally different level.

The information here and reputation/word of mouth of some of the internet direct dealers is what lead me to purchase my stuff as opposed to purchasing what I had heard in a store in a demo room.
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post #11 of 19 Old 04-08-2013, 08:01 AM
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Another thing to point out is that if you ever want to upgrade and/or change your system then keep in mind that most ID brands retain much less of their value on the resale market than do many retail brands.
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post #12 of 19 Old 04-08-2013, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-labdriver View Post


I can't imagine going to a local shop & just taking home a bunch of unopened boxes of new speakers that were available to demo in-store without at least giving them a quick listen to before they went out the door with me...

Well of course you want to listen to them to narrow down your choices. But you still want to take a few home and try them out for the trial period. Don't compare IDs at home and B&Ms in the showroom.

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Another thing to point out is that if you ever want to upgrade and/or change your system then keep in mind that most ID brands retain much less of their value on the resale market than do many retail brands.

Yeah some have almost no resale value like EMP (which puts stuff on crazy sales) and others like Ascend, Aperion, SVS, HSU hold there value much better. SVS is one that really hold there value, even discontinued models have very high resale percentage. Axiom I don't think is one that holds resale very good either, I see alot of towers with 50% resale and sometimes less, I sold all my Axiom speaker at 70-75% off so I only got 30% value on them. SVS though I see older Ultras or PB12/2 models going and asking over 50% resale.
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post #13 of 19 Old 04-08-2013, 11:47 AM
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Call me old fashioned, but I would not take home brand new speakers in unopened boxes from a local vendor just for a trial where it is questionable whether or not that I would actually buy something - same for ID. For me taking/sending them back now leaves the vendor with 'open box stock' that normally are not sold as 'new' pricing thus cutting into their bottom line that is tenuous at best with the present economy. Even big box stores are struggling & we've had several local audio stores go under in the past couple of years.

I would, however, take a 'demo' set from their sound room overnight if they were available though.

When I purchase something that I really like, I keep my stuff for a long time. Therefore, resale value is not a big deal if one remains with the same gear for an extended period. It is a factor for those who like to like to change often...

TAM
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post #14 of 19 Old 04-08-2013, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-labdriver View Post

Call me old fashioned, but I would not take home brand new speakers in unopened boxes from a local vendor just for a trial where it is questionable whether or not that I would actually buy something - same for ID. For me taking/sending them back now leaves the vendor with 'open box stock' that normally are not sold as 'new' pricing thus cutting into their bottom line that is tenuous at best with the present economy. Even big box stores are struggling & we've had several local audio stores go under in the past couple of years.

I would, however, take a 'demo' set from their sound room overnight if they were available though.

When I purchase something that I really like, I keep my stuff for a long time. Therefore, resale value is not a big deal if one remains with the same gear for an extended period. It is a factor for those who like to like to change often...

TAM

Its not unquestionable. You don't just walk in and buy every bookshelf insight, you sit back and listen to bookshelfs/speakers in your budget, looks, size, ect.... Example you Axiom M3s, you decided you want to try something else out to see whats out there for whatever reason(s). You pick up a pair of Paradigm Mini Monitors, Klipsch RB61, Aperion 5B, Arx A1b, Monitor Audio RX1 ect... Doesn't have to be those exact ones but similar bookshelfs to you M3s.

You take them home/wait for delivery. You move you old speakers out of the way and begin demo'ing for whatever lenght of time is allowed (days, weeks, month) Live with them for that time period.

I don't demo something from a company if I have no intentions of purchasing. I don't care if they are struggling (well I do cause I won't even consider them, long term issues) I don't care if it cuts into their bottom line. They have a trial period for a reason.

Its not for people who change often, who would go through the hassle for just a quick period. You keep stuff a long time right? So wouldn't it make sense to go through a list of brands and really take time to listen and exam them?
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post #15 of 19 Old 04-08-2013, 02:50 PM
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Demo'ing some ID speakers costs both ways shipping in some cases. That can really add up if you do it several times.
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post #16 of 19 Old 04-08-2013, 03:35 PM
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Some shops are much more open to you bringing speakers in to demo against what they sell. While it is better to compare in your own room, this is a great alternative.

If you are local to an ID speaker company, even some of them will welcome you to bring something in to compare.

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post #17 of 19 Old 04-08-2013, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, thanks for inputs.. i don't hate the bookshelf tryout thing, but it 'll run pretty expensive with shipping costs because up here in Canada, most companies will not pay shipping and it isn't cheap with customs and so forth... so i don't think i can do that.. i might find a big specialized store in MOntreal (1h30 from here) and see if they have 2-3 démos.. but problem is i'm sitll leaning towards internet direct speakers... actually, i'm still debating if i need towers if i get a sub.. or just good small speakers.. thats another debate in itself.. and as some of you said.. this forum IS one of the best source of information around so keep it coming..

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post #18 of 19 Old 04-08-2013, 06:11 PM
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Well, thanks for inputs.. i don't hate the bookshelf tryout thing, but it 'll run pretty expensive with shipping costs because up here in Canada, most companies will not pay shipping and it isn't cheap with customs and so forth... so i don't think i can do that.. i might find a big specialized store in MOntreal (1h30 from here) and see if they have 2-3 démos.. but problem is i'm sitll leaning towards internet direct speakers... actually, i'm still debating if i need towers if i get a sub.. or just good small speakers.. thats another debate in itself.. and as some of you said.. this forum IS one of the best source of information around so keep it coming..

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post #19 of 19 Old 04-08-2013, 09:04 PM
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I don't demo something from a company if I have no intentions of purchasing. I don't care if they are struggling (well I do cause I won't even consider them, long term issues) I don't care if it cuts into their bottom line. They have a trial period for a reason.

Brick and mortar and ID companies would never offer the trial period if it hurt their business significantly, and frankly, companies like HSU Research sell their b-stock items out fast. I doubt that they're taking a loss on the b-stock items.
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Its not for people who change often, who would go through the hassle for just a quick period. You keep stuff a long time right? So wouldn't it make sense to go through a list of brands and really take time to listen and exam them?

This is probably one of the biggest reasons to demo. If you're going to invest heavy dough, and have speakers for a long time, check out as much as you can.
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