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I don't frequent this forum but I though this would be a good place to post an experience I had.


About 6 months ago I visited a "Home Theater" store. I don't consider myself an expert in any ways, but these guys entire job is dealing with high end HT gear and they were not up to the level I had expected. Ill give you some examples.


I was trying to demo a nice elite pioneer rptv. The first issue was the lack of any decent test material. I actually had to go into my car and grab the recently purchase terminator dvd, which is not very good I may add. The image was SO badly calibrated I thought someone must have reset it to defaults or that they never adjusted it. I started to try to make some improvements and the guy told me not to change the settings. I was shocked and I asked why. He said the image had been adjusted by one of the other guys using test material. I tried to show him the errors in color and brightness and he pretty much had the attitude that I was some loser spouting technical terms I had no understanding of. Finally I convinced him that I would write down the settings and change them back when I was done. RIIIGGHTT


Unfortunately the room they were using to demo the display devices was not large enough. What i mean is that for all the sets they were selling (50+ inches) you were sitting too close. The room was long and narrow, but had the seating and view position on the short portion duhhh. There were also boxes of audio equipment stacked all over so I was distracted the entire time.


I can understand what the problem with these guys are now. They are strictly Audio Elitists. You would not believe the resources they dedicatd to audio equipment. It really gave it away when most of what I saw was all two channel. They had a dedicated room just for burning in speakers! They would let the speakers play at high volume for days before installing it in a persons home. I had never seen this type of equipment up close. Mono block amps that were so nice it was like a piece of art. Polished metal, glowing orange tubes, analog needles displaying all the vitals. Speaker cables that looked as if they were made by hand by some former watch maker. Serious stuff.


I was no dealing with another sales guy. I let him know that I didnt have plans to purchase anything but was curious. He told me all about these crazy installs they did, like for the ceo of all those famous dot coms. Thousands of amps per channel into speakers that separately cost 5 times the value of my car :) . Even about celebrities had been serviced by them. The demos he had sounded like nothing I had heard before. One room was so audically perfect (is that a word) I had goose bumps while listening.


For this place to label themselves as home theater really bugs me. Video is a very important if not the most important part of HT. For them to be so lopsided bugged me but either way I have never shopped in that place since.
 

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Hmm sound like Mcintosh mono blocks... I think they retail about 10k each if not more but i dunno. Prolly more than one mono block that has analog needles up front. :) Hmm oh well you know you can always go to another shop and see if they "know better". =/
 

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I don't understand your point at all.


They like audio equipment, and hi end equipment at that. You don't. Why should they change for you?


And your ignorance about tubes, vinyl, cables etc. is your fault not their's. They may laugh at you for purchasing a processor for 10k that will last 3 years, vs. an amp that lasts 20. You may laugh at a 10k monoblock. Big deal....most of these stores started as audio stores anyway and are much more versed on that side, so of course that is what they promote.
 

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All of this stems from the fact that most of the boutique Audio shops have had to adapt to home theater just to survive. We have a wonderful AV store in town named the Phonograph. Excellent lineup and staff, but I think they have one turntable in stock. It's evolve or die.
 

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Jerks is probably a bit harsh. Sounds like a high-end audio boutique that happens to carry some TVs. The worst thing you described was their objection to you exploring the TV settings. I know it's hard to find the right combination of store, salesperson and product. Many salespeople at high-end stores have some attitude, but most turn out to be okay. The audio/video hobby is full of big egos and testosterone on both the customer and salesperson sides. The opportunity for not getting along is certainly there. I think it's important for both sides to be polite, respectful, and mindful of the fact there are more knowledgable people out there and you just might meet one. I know I spent some time scouting for the right combination of store, salesperson and product before I purchased the bulk of my home theater system. It's definitely worthwhile. Well, just my two cents... I hope you have a better experience on your next shopping trip.
 

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KeithR..


First off how dare you even start calling people ignorant. Who the hell are you to even decide that? Just cuz we don't have your knowledge? Gimmmie a break. That like me calling you ingorant because don't know crap about computers or electronics or Mechanics or physics. So before you start FLAMING people revise your statements.


"Why should they change for you?"


Simple. If they don't that means they don't like change. No change that the end of them. Businness HAVE TO adapt. Otherwise they are gone. Look at the dot coms. Oh great idea but nothing concrete. They didn't change. They go buhbye.

Your statement is singular but how many OTHER people have they done this to?
 

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Well, it's pretty unfortunate that there are many stores, many not as good as the one you described, which aren't very knowledgeable about the equipment they are selling.


I expect that people in a store such as circuit city and best buy not to have a complete knowledge of the systems they sell since ,it's just one of their many products, but I expect more from these guys which present themselves as specialty stores. I believe they should have a competent sales staff which could explain what they are selling and why one product may be superior to another. For example, I recently demoed some equipment at the "Home Theatre Store", but was sorely disappointed because there was no way for me to compare the two products I was auditioning. Denon 3801 vs. Denon 5800. The entire playback chain was different so I couldn't judge how this particular component contributed to the sound.


Yeah, I know they usually pair up like level equipment, but how is anyone to tell how a particular piece of equipment performs if all other variables are changed? In any event, the sales person rattled off some reasons as to why one receiver was vastly superior to the other, stating thing such as the Denon 5800 has 160 watts of power vs. the 3801 105 watts. Well it is true the 5800 has more power and better sound, but I wouldn't attribute this to the 55 watt difference, not to mention the rated power numbers usually aren't very indicative of true performance. Furthermore he felt that the 5800 in the setup he was demoing sounded better than the 3801 that it was clearly superior. He couldn't understand my difficulty in assesing sonic differences and grew frustrated with my indescision, I listened for about 40 minutes. In the end he looked to be really frustrated because I didn't buy either piece of equipment, he had the opinion that I had heard the two and should be willing to part with my money after this demo. This was the final straw, these guys act as if making a $1000.00 to $2500.00 investment in audio equipment is something done on a whim or something. He had a look on his face insinuating that I had wasted his time. I really find this to be a shame since I find myself not wanting to audition equipment for the fear these guys will look at me like I'm some sort of nuisance.


When I initially read the title to this thread, I thought this was the type of message I would find. My response would be that if a store is going to represent themselves as HT or high end audio, they should have knowledgeable staff, with decent demo room, and first and foremost they shouldn't look down on their customers just because they have a budget and are shopping.
 

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PanamaMike


Sorry to hear about the foul taste left in your mouth. You would think that companies (not all of them) would get a clue on CUSTOMER SERVICE. But I guess when it comes to Audio/HT it don't matter since one sale of a 10k amp or whatever they retail it at (And those markups remeind me of jewlery) and they prolly are set for that WHOLE week. Don't you know that if you don't have the 10K-20k to go to one of this snoby places that they won't even give ya the time of day (Again not all). It almost running in parallel to car sales :eek:
 

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I believe I have been to the store in question in SF, and have had a similar experience. They seem to cater to the more-money-than-sense crowd; given the kinds of customers they seem to be oriented toward, its not surprising that their salespeople aren't knowledgeable or helpful. All they have to do is be slick and convincing to the uninformed, uncritical customer who just wants a "top of the line" system. With all the dotcom money dried up, I wouldn't be surprised to see this store go belly-up.
 

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figgie,

I think KeithR was kindda rude also, but I think Keith was just ticked off (as I am) that this post made so very little sense.


Before he even gets to the point, 'ciper' says that he doesn't 'frequent this forum', then I glance over and see he's got about 65 posts!? Like he's only been here a few times or something??


His first point is about how the salesguy wouldn't let him mess with the tv...


Ok, the salesguy sounds like a jerk, but I bet they get a LOT of idiots off the street who screw up their equiptment worth thousands of dollars.

It's like having the keys in all the cars at new car lots so people can hop in, rev the engines, mess with the stereo, drive around the block a little, etc...

Hard to blame them for not knowing a stranger's technical capabilities, but they SHOULD have worked with 'ciper' to change the settings since that's their job.


A lot of people complain (including 'ciper' here) about how horrible tvs are set up at most a/v shops, but maybe it's (at least to some extent) customers screwing them up, and salesguys are trying to work and can't babysit all the shmucks who wanna 'mess' with all the equiptment. Not calling 'ciper' a shmuck, but we all know shmucks do exists. Try to find a speaker in Best Buy that has the dome tweeter mashed in. I bet EVERY store has at least one.


Then he mentions how all the RPTVs are set up facing the short end of the room rather than the long end. LOTS of places do this. He also didn't mention even ABOUT how short the 'short distance' was, so what can anyone say about agreeing with him, or saying that it actually 'is' enough space in their opinion?


One, it's a 'showroom' not a 'single screen' home theater room. They probably just have a lot of tvs and that's the only way to show them all.

Second, technically, the viewing distance of an HDTV (shown with an actual HDTV content) is drastically shorter then an old analog tv.

You should be able to walk right up to the ~50' tvs he describes (if HD) before you see the pixels.

A ~50 HDTV from the typical ~8-10' distance many people use is too far away for the human 20/20 eye to see all the pixels. It does make the picture look incredibly solid though, but the room of tv's he descibes would have to be about a 4' wide hallway to be as bad as he makes it sound.


"There were also boxes of audio equipment stacked all over so I was distracted the entire time." So the store was messy. That makes them "elitists"?? There's zero logic there.


Another point -"They had a dedicated room just for burning in speakers!"

Hmmm, I doubt it. They probably do all sorts of things in that room, but even if that's what it's exclusively used for.. so what? Maybe they've just got an 'extra' room and're using it!?


'ciper' seems to think it's "elitist" to 'burn in' speakers. I call it 'breaking in', but either way, it's just a FACT that new speakers need to be softened up quite a bit (by being played) before they can sound as open and transparent as they should.

Some people even believe that the new wire in the speakers (and other assorted audio equip.) needs to have current pass through it for a while to allign the copper/silver molecules to let the signal pass through it better (more commonly called 'burn in').

I can't say I belive that, but I don't have the knowledge (and obviously neither does this 'ciper') to disagree with it.


'ciper' tries to make his point about these 'audio elitists" by describing the fact that they have a lot of 2 channel set ups, and lots of very beautiful looking obviously high end gear. This IS, without a doubt, an ignorant point. He's flat out insulting everyone who owns equiptment like this (who I hope to be one of someday -heh) for no apparent reason. 'figgie', why would you defend that??


'ciper' say the salesguy told him "-all about these crazy installs they did, like for "the" (as in singular) CEO of "all those" (as in plural) famous dot coms. What the heck are you talking about 'ciper'?


He follows with ,"-Thousands of amps per channel into speakers that separately cost 5 times the value of my car". 'ciper' do you have any idea how confusing these two remarks are?


The demos he had (as in he played something for you on one of these "elitist" systems?) sounded like nothing I had heard before. One room was so audically perfect (is that a word) I had goose bumps while listening.


Sounds like you LOVED IT!?, yet you say these guys shouldn't be allowed to call their shop 'home theater'?

I bet they had surround sound systems there, and they obviously had great audio in general, and big screens tvs. That's home theater 'ciper'.

He calls this place's audio to video ratio 'lopsided' yet doesn't mention what they DON'T HAVE for video that he thinks they should??

Video tends take up quite a bit less 'volume-wise' than audio since a 5.1 set up, with amps, prosessors, diff. types of cables, etc. take up much more room than the video section of a HT which is at most places a few rows of TVs, maybe a few vid. processors, and one or two front projection systems at any HT store.

DVD players I ignore as they're both ment for audio and video, but even those have more audio than video options (CD, CD changers, DVD-A, SACD vs. progressive/interlaced video) regardless of what store they're in.


I think the main thing that I'm ticked off about is that after all this he says he thinks video is more important than audio, and posts this in the AUDIO section of the avsforum?
 

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Before this out of line even more, I will now close this thread.
 
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