Details on the kit can be found here
. At this point I have not yet dug deep into the details, so anyone please correct me if any of my understandings are incorrect:
Running an Audyssey Pro calibration requires a compatible receiver/processor, a $150 license to use the software on that device, a computer to run the software on, and the pro kit, which includes the software, a microphone (calibrated to tighter specs than the typical Audyssey mics that come with Audyssey equipped receivers), and some accessories to be able to connect and use it. The kit itself typically runs $550, plus the $150 license fee per device it's being used on. Therefore, everyone who participates would have to pay $150 per device they want to calibrate, plus their share of the cost of the kit. Someone would have to be an administrator, who would manage the group, coordinate getting and updating all the licenses linked to this kit, and be the point of contact for any support that may be needed.
The obvious first concern would be how relative strangers from the internet can share the cost of an item while being fairly protected from risk. These are my initial thoughts on how something like this could work:
Someone would need to purchase the kit. Once they use it, it will be available to someone else in the group. This second in line person will then need to accept responsibility for the kit. They will pay the first person his cost, less a depreciation fee to account for the fact that the kit will lose value as it ages. Once they are done with the kit, the 3rd person in line pays the 2nd person what HIS cost was (the initial cost, less the previous depreciation fee), less another depreciation fee. Essentially, as the kit passes hands, every person is basically paying deposit on the kit, which they get most of back when it moves to the next person. The difference can be viewed similar to paying a rental fee. In my example, I am suggesting an initial depreciation fee of $25, which would go down $1 every time it changes hands, until the depreciation fee hits $1. At some point, the fee might need to go to $0 to prevent the deposit from becoming $0.
This can easily be administered through an online Google Spreadsheet. When a group member has a need for the kit, they add their name to the waiting list. When the person ahead of them in the list is done with it, they contact the next person in line who then arranges (and pays for) shipping. I would suggest that while there is a waiting list, a time limit (perhaps 1 week) be established from the date of receipt of the kit, until it's shipped to the next person. I would also suggest that insurance on shipments be mandatory, and each member covers the cost to get it to them (I expect this may need to be limited to US residents, unless we come up with ideas on how to deal with disproportionate shipping costs and possibly even customs issues). An example of how this list could work can be viewed here
This plan protects members from buying in to a shared kit that could get lost, damaged, or stolen. Anyone who has the kit in their possession has invested a deposit that should roughly cover the current value of the kit, and they are responsible for it while it's in their possession. If something happens to it, the other members are only out whatever depreciation fees they may have previously paid (but that means they already got use of it for a relatively low cost). They will also have paid $150 for a license which they can't use without the kit, but the group could choose to replace the kit, users could choose to buy their own, or just stick with the calibration they've already done, or hire a pro to make any changes in the future. The person who has the kit in their possession is at risk equal to the current deposit they paid to get it. If suddenly no one else in the group wants to use the kit any more, they could get stuck with it, at the cost of their deposit. The intent of the depreciation fee is to hopefully keep the deposit relatively in line with the kit's value. If someone were to somehow get stuck with it (in the unusual circumstance that the entire group suddenly decides they aren't interested any more), they could keep it for what is hopefully a fair value, or sell it if desired. Though ideally, I think the administrator should be someone who is willing to be the one who gets stuck with it if the group were to collapse.
The biggest opening for risk that I can think of at this time is someone intentionally defrauding the group. If the current holder of the kit doesn't ship it until receiver payment from the next, he could not ship it (or ship a rock). If the next in line doesn't pay until they receive it, they could not pay once they got it. I'm interested in ideas as to how this risk could be reduced without paying unnecessary fees to a third party.
These are my initial thoughts on how this could work. This can evolve if anyone has interest and better ideas.