Should I be worried about my CI? (long) - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 16 Old 03-17-2008, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all.

I need some opinions. I'm working with a CI to design and install my home theater and I've gotten some answers that make me a little nervous. If this isn't the right area, mods please move.

First, this isn't about DIY vs. CI. I'm just getting a little nervous with my specific CI. I want to give a few examples and see what your thoughts are on whether I should bolt or confront. Second, I'm not rich, but I do work very hard and don't have time to do it myself, so I want to make sure I get a good system for my money. Finally, this is the 2nd of 3 phases (1st was whole house audio - a Nuvo GC system put in by a different installer last year), Home Theater is phase 2 (this year), with Lighting and Automation phase 3 (next year).

Mine is not an extravagant theater, but it IS going to be a nice one. During the first discussion with the guy, I made a comment that I knew it would cost more than $X, but that I would be pretty uncomfortable if it cost more than $Y. The very first proposal he gives me comes back at $Y+$28k (fyi, this is all in the 5 digits, we aren't in 6 figure theater territory). Why does someone give me a proposal that's 50% more than my top end budget? I made it clear that I had a strict limit and that I wouldn't look at anything over that. If they aren't in the market for that price range, then why not tell me on day one and I'll go elsewhere rather than waste your and my time.

When he came to look at the room and present a rough draft of the quote (the one above that sent me reeling), he tried to sell me on satellite and made a comment that I'm probably only getting 480p out of my HD cable box from Comcast. At that point, alarm bells started sounding all throughout my head.

So, now I've gotten a more reasonable quote (which is still OVER my limit). We've discussed where to make cuts here and there on THIS quote, and while he is willing to cut the audio section to the bones, he won't budge on the Runco projector he spec'd. I'm guessing they either need to meet their Runco sales quota and/or this is where the profit in the job is. I'm not comfortable giving up my audio that I want, but don't care to pay for the Runco name and would gladly take a projector that is half that cost at 95% (or more) of the quality.

I also specified that I was planning a Homeworks wireless install in phase 3, and that whatever lighting control was put in the theater should be Homeworks compatible. I found out reading the Grafikeye thread on here that the one he spec'd is NOT compatible (now the alarm bells are getting louder).

Finally, I've given him a very detailed spreadsheet of all the other equipment that is in rack 1 that must be tied into the preamp and programmed into the remote. There is nothing in the quote for the additional cables to tie the equipment in rack 1 to pre-amp in rack 2, and his response was oh the guys will figure that out when they get there to install and tell me how much and I'll go over with you. Is it me, or at that point, would it not be equivalent to holding a gun to my head? I'm wondering if there's anything else I missed in the quote that is going to be a last minute add-on. . .

At this point, I'm hearing warp core breach on deck 15 in my head. Am I being paranoid? Does everyone go through this? Is this normal? Or should I bolt and look for someone else? My only issue is these guys are the only Anthem dealers around and I've got my heart set on the AVM50 (and with that vp horsepower, why would I need a Runco?)
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post #2 of 16 Old 03-17-2008, 03:21 PM
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In my opinion, as someone who does this for a living, you need to find someone else. This person is clearly not listening to anything you are telling him, and you have given him plenty of chances. he is way over your budget, not willing to move on the product you want to move, and won't consider your existing equipment as part of their quote, only a t&m after the fact.

i am sure with a little research you can find someone who will actually listen to you, and help you get the theater you are looking for

Hey, I'm a reasonable guy. But I've just experienced some very unreasonable things
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post #3 of 16 Old 03-17-2008, 03:43 PM
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I think you've already answered your own question: if this CI has you nervous enough that you've posted a thread here....bye-bye, CI.

Look for another dealer in your area. Like this one:
http://www.audio-concepts.com/

Check out their showroom, and take a look at "Area 51"

Dan

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post #4 of 16 Old 03-17-2008, 06:11 PM
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Run!, run like the wind and get at least two other quotes. I never contract anything without getting competitive bids/quotes, and as others have mentioned, the fact you identifed he is not being straight with you should be reason enough to dump him.

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post #5 of 16 Old 03-17-2008, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, I really just needed the confirmation. There's just too many stupid statements he's made that make me uncomfortable, to the point that I wonder if I could do as well or better on the design (and I'm an accountant, not an a/v guy!).

Dan, I'm very familiar with Audio-Concepts. Area 51 is awesome, but again, I'm staying in the mid 5 figures area. I did visit them a while back and the guy sat me in a room with $50,000 speakers in a 2 channel config and played some LP's to "show me what was possible". Well, yeah, duh, I know what the h*ll is possible if I had a few hundred thousand to spend. I really don't have a feeling these guys would want to do something with my budget. I'm going to talk to my original CI from last year (nice guys, great install, just felt they were too new to the biz and didn't carry Anthem, but hey, maybe they CAN do a good job) and also to a CI who's about 2 miles from me on the south side of town. I know the original guys LISTEN to me, hopefully the ones close to me will as well. Seems to be a lot of deaf CI's in the Houston area.
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post #6 of 16 Old 03-17-2008, 07:09 PM
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You already had your answer when you felt like you needed to post here...

John
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post #7 of 16 Old 03-17-2008, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike1812 View Post

Dan, I'm very familiar with Audio-Concepts. Area 51 is awesome, but again, I'm staying in the mid 5 figures area. I did visit them a while back and the guy sat me in a room with $50,000 speakers in a 2 channel config and played some LP's to "show me what was possible". Well, yeah, duh, I know what the h*ll is possible if I had a few hundred thousand to spend.

Too funny. When I used to work in high-end, that was the "genius" strategy of the owner. We were supposed to walk everyone into the highest end room to "show them what was possible". That was also supposed to give us credibility because if we sold hundred thousand dollar systems, well surely we were the supreme experts when it came to buying a $2500 system . Of course what it actually did was make the guy looking for a $2500 system feel like we were letting him know how insignificant his purchase was, and cause him to leave the store thinking "what a bunch of arrogant pricks".
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post #8 of 16 Old 03-18-2008, 09:18 AM
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Hell-everything is bigger in Texas, including his quote. Run...run away...fast.

HT is not really that difficult, why are you not tackling this yourself? You made it to this site and this site has some of the best HT talent on the planet.

Understanding the unexplainable"
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post #9 of 16 Old 03-18-2008, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ View Post

Too funny. When I used to work in high-end, that was the "genius" strategy of the owner. We were supposed to walk everyone into the highest end room to "show them what was possible". That was also supposed to give us credibility because if we sold hundred thousand dollar systems, well surely we were the supreme experts when it came to buying a $2500 system . Of course what it actually did was make the guy looking for a $2500 system feel like we were letting him know how insignificant his purchase was, and cause him to leave the store thinking "what a bunch of arrogant pricks".

bingo!!
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post #10 of 16 Old 03-18-2008, 10:14 AM
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Ever thought of managing the project yourself? I'm hiring out most of my work, but basically acting as the general contractor. It will save you a ton of money, and you can jump in and do some of the work at stages where you feel comfortable.
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post #11 of 16 Old 03-18-2008, 10:50 AM
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I agree with others, find someone else. My experience is it can be difficult to find someone good to work with.

All I'm looking for is plans and I can't find anybody to work with. Of course it doesn't help that I'm in the middle of Iowa. I spoke with one HT guy in town and he seemed like he would be great to work with. He spent almost an hour and a half with me and sounded like he was interested in doing just my plans. Its been almost 3 weeks now and I haven't heard anything from him since even though I've tried calling an emailing him a few times.

My build thread:
The Maple Street Theater
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post #12 of 16 Old 03-18-2008, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, in a perfect world, I would DIY, because I love this stuff and like to learn. I grew up repairing electronics with my dad (old tube tvs and transistor radios) and I'm addicted to a/v. My problem is that I work on average 55-60 hour weeks, and I'm also a single guy with a girlfriend. So. . .let's see. . .see the gf or build a HT?

As for self-managing as a GC, I've thought about it, and I do have good sources for carpentry, electrical/low-voltage, and paint. What I lack is the "tie it all together" though I suppose I could do that. However, I still need to work, and that's the problem. Shoot, I've got three changers and a whole house a/v distribution system in rack 1 that's been sitting there since last summer because I can't find time to fix my RF device (interference) to control it all!!! And to think I'm planning to do my own automation with CQC or ML. . .maybe I should give up sleep!!!
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post #13 of 16 Old 03-18-2008, 01:29 PM
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Let the girlfriend help with the paint colors. That and a couple of chick flicks on opening night should make it easier for you.

As far as GC-ing the project, it's not that tough. There are plenty of people here to help guide you through what needs to be done when as well.
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post #14 of 16 Old 03-18-2008, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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My g/f has the decorating sense of a guy - she thought I did a better job with my house then she ever would (all I did was copy model homes!), and as for the chick flicks, well. . .she's an Indiana Jones fan, so the premier will be Raiders of the Lost Ark (I need to marry this woman!).
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post #15 of 16 Old 03-18-2008, 02:55 PM
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Yes. Do it and do it soon My wife likes a lot of those movies as well, which I found super cool.
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post #16 of 16 Old 03-18-2008, 04:12 PM
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Those area 51 pictures are great. I love the idea of the modern chairs (I think these may be Ekornes brand - many similar style 'danish' chairs out there) with custom tables in-between. Nice.

db
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