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Discussion Starter #1
Just some observations. I have heard a lot of folks say they wouldn't buy speakers they hadn't heard. I can't say that will be true for me as the Internet speakers are hard to find sometimes.


Anyway, I got all fired up because I thought I wanted to get some lower costing speakers that some folks lke (JBL E80). I found them and some Klipsch (F-1,F-2,F-3) speakers at a BB demo stand with various types of music. I'm not trying to offend anyone with my findings, and I'm not saying that the BB setup is the best acoustic setup either.


I couldn't believe how much I disliked the JBL. They didn't have any bass sounding to them at all. The bookshelf JBL, on the other hand, did. They sounded really nice for $175 a pair (haven't checked the Internet). I then heard the Klipsch. I didn't like the F-1, but wasn't sure if I liked the bass/treble combo I heard in the F-2 or the F-3. It was close.


I then heard some Inifinity speakers at CC. I really liiked them better than all of them. Couldn't stand a lot of other ones they had. They were $354 each.


Here is my point. Listening is really important. I couldn't believe how much difference there was between all the speakers. If you can do so, then listen before you buy. My guess is that there are a lot of people who like the JBL not because of price but because they like the sound. They may hate the Klipsch, Inifinity or whatever. Each person is different and while price is important, you don't want to buy something your ear's hate. I have a Klipsch KV3 and am starting to think it may sound too high/bright for me, but I digress.


Just some thoughts....
 

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Of course your point is absolutely valid -- listening is the most important aspect of choosing a speaker.


Couple of points you might keep in mind though. First, the stuff you're listening to so far is all low-fi mass-market big box store ... well you can insert your own descriptive term here. ;) I know many people enjoy their JBLs and Klipsch speakers, but I personally am not a fan of their low end consumer lines that are sold at BB and CC.


Second, next time you're at BB have a peek behind the speakers. You'll notice they're using speaker wires so thin, they look like fishing line. Their in-store setups are just plain WRONG. So yeah I don't like the consumer JBL or Klipsch lines, but in fairness you should remember that you're not really even hearing what they're supposed to sound like at BB due to their awful setups. Not to mention, the few times I bothered poking around at BB in the speaker section, I usually find some of the wires aren't even hooked up properly! The subs in particular, the wires are often hanging off the back and not inserted fully.


And a point I really think you should keep in mind is, don't discount internet direct brands just because you can't go to a store to hear them. In fact I'd say you have a much better opportunity to listen to ID brands than most B&M because you can listen to them in your own home for 30 days and return them if you don't like them. Consider it a very cheap 30-day rental. All it costs you is shipping! And you better believe that almost any ID brand will sound way better than anything they carry at the box stores for the same or better price.


You can definitely get a better price online for the JBLs than you will at BB, but for around $200 a pair why not get the SVS SBS-01s or the Ascend HTM-200s or something from Axiom, and try them in your home for a month? For the price of those Infinitys, around $350 a pair I think you said, you can afford a nice set of Ascend CBM-170s, which will certainly blow them away (though you might want to wait a few weeks for the new SE versions), or even try the Axiom M3s.


Just some thoughts. :)
 

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Another thought -


It doesn't mean diddly until you get them in your room. Listen at home before you commit.


I have some older JBL's in my weight room (okay, it's the corner of the basement by the furnace, but I digress...). Sitting on the bench, in the sweet spot, there really isn't much bass. I'm sure youd say the system was weak and fizzy-sounding, and you'd be right.


But go about 4 feet back towards the washing machine and the bass blooms - it gets downright Rave-party-like.


So don't automatically reject a speaker based on how it sounds in a store. Look at the things you can truly consider - build quality, looks and reputation. Buy and try, even if you have to buy both - and return the loser.


Or, shop where you can set them up singly, and be free to fiddle with the upstream electronics.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clmrt
Another thought -


It doesn't mean diddly until you get them in your room. Listen at home before you commit.


I have some older JBL's in my weight room (okay, it's the corner of the basement by the furnace, but I digress...). Sitting on the bench, in the sweet spot, there really isn't much bass. I'm sure youd say the system was weak and fizzy-sounding, and you'd be right.


But go about 4 feet back towards the washing machine and the bass blooms - it gets downright Rave-party-like.


So don't automatically reject a speaker based on how it sounds in a store. Look at the things you can truly consider - build quality, looks and reputation. Buy and try, even if you have to buy both - and return the loser.


Or, shop where you can set them up singly, and be free to fiddle with the upstream electronics.
Well, I wanted the JBL because I have a harman kardon receiver. I liked the receiver and thought they might make good speakers (JBL is Harman isn't it?). It's probably just the store setup, but I can't buy every set f speakers out there and keep taking them back. After a while, the store wouldn't let me have any returns...I think.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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Originally Posted by einsteinjb
Of course your point is absolutely valid -- listening is the most important aspect of choosing a speaker.


Couple of points you might keep in mind though. First, the stuff you're listening to so far is all low-fi mass-market big box store ... well you can insert your own descriptive term here. ;) I know many people enjoy their JBLs and Klipsch speakers, but I personally am not a fan of their low end consumer lines that are sold at BB and CC.


Second, next time you're at BB have a peek behind the speakers. You'll notice they're using speaker wires so thin, they look like fishing line. Their in-store setups are just plain WRONG. So yeah I don't like the consumer JBL or Klipsch lines, but in fairness you should remember that you're not really even hearing what they're supposed to sound like at BB due to their awful setups. Not to mention, the few times I bothered poking around at BB in the speaker section, I usually find some of the wires aren't even hooked up properly! The subs in particular, the wires are often hanging off the back and not inserted fully.


And a point I really think you should keep in mind is, don't discount internet direct brands just because you can't go to a store to hear them. In fact I'd say you have a much better opportunity to listen to ID brands than most B&M because you can listen to them in your own home for 30 days and return them if you don't like them. Consider it a very cheap 30-day rental. All it costs you is shipping! And you better believe that almost any ID brand will sound way better than anything they carry at the box stores for the same or better price.


You can definitely get a better price online for the JBLs than you will at BB, but for around $200 a pair why not get the SVS SBS-01s or the Ascend HTM-200s or something from Axiom, and try them in your home for a month? For the price of those Infinitys, around $350 a pair I think you said, you can afford a nice set of Ascend CBM-170s, which will certainly blow them away (though you might want to wait a few weeks for the new SE versions), or even try the Axiom M3s.


Just some thoughts. :)
The only problems I have with the 30 return is one the shipping back. I haven't checked enough to see if anyone will pay the shipping back. Second, I know this sounds silly, but I don't like the idea of buying from two different sources, knowing I am gonna return one of them. Maybe I am just hypersenstive. It didn't sound right to do that to a business. I don't know what choice I have though with Internet companies.
 

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Most of the ID's have a forum on their website. You can post there and ask if anyone in your location would be willing to let you audition them in their home. Many times, you'll find folks are eager to let others hear their systems.


I also agree *completely* that auditioning speakers in stores (or in someone else's home) doesn't tell the whole story. The sound you hear when listening to a speaker is a combination of the speaker and the room it's in. It will sound different in another room -- *any* other room, including *your* room. Therefore, take auditions with a grain of salt and, if you make a purchase based on an audition, be sure the store has a return policy.


Also, if you get a speaker and decide you don't like it, take a look at your room. Is it highly refelective? Totally absorptive? Are the speakers placed next to glass windows or bare walls? These can all make speakers sound less than optimal.


Yeah, it's important to listen to speakers. Just be sure you're actually *hearing* the speaker, not the room.


Craig
 

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Man, keep listening. You can do better than BB's selection.


Some JBLs sound pretty good but in my humble opinion most Klipsch speakers are an ice pick in the ear (sorry Klipsch fans)


I agree that some of the better Infinities sound much better than current JBL offerings.
 

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I share the sentiment that BB or CC is not the best place to conduct a meaningful listening session. Inadequate setup, background noise, and pesky salesmen all add up to undermine whatever you had hoped to accomplish by listening to the speakers.


While I do agree that all speakers sound different, I also believe that you can more or less be satisfied with any speaker that falls into your sphere of preference. By this I mean your preferences are likely not absolute but rather flexible and dependant on various environmental factors. For example, I like accurate speakers that does not over accentuate any part of the spectrum. There is a wide range of speakers that are designed to do just this, though to varying degrees of success based on constraints and design trade offs. Nevertheless, I am fairly certain that I'd be happy with some Ascend, B&W, or SVS speakers which have reputations for being fairly accurate speakers. I've only heard B&Ws but I wouldn't hesitate at all to order Ascend or SVS speakers if I so desired.


I guess what I am saying is that having a chance to listen to a pair of speakers is great. But once you've nailed down what you like and have abundant third party references, buying speakers that you've not heard is not as big a gamble as it may seem to be.
 

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I guess what I am saying is that having a chance to listen to a pair of speakers is great. But once you've nailed down what you like and have abundant third party references, buying speakers that you've not heard is not as big a gamble as it may seem to be.
I only partially agree. If you know what you like and are pretty confident from others impressions that a certain speaker does what you like, if you buy it and listen to it by itself, I'm pretty certain you will like it. But who's to say that any number of speakers in the same price range that also do what you like may not do it much better? What I'm saying is you may be satisfied, but perhaps there is something that you would like even more for the same or less money - the only way to know is to listen to as many speakers in your price range as you can.


Of course I realize that it is impossible to listen to everything out there, but the more effort that is made, the more confident one will be in their decision.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHinge
Second, I know this sounds silly, but I don't like the idea of buying from two different sources, knowing I am gonna return one of them. Maybe I am just hypersenstive. It didn't sound right to do that to a business. .
That's exactly on what they are counting. They know that the likelihood of receiving the speaker back is slim to none, for a variety of reasons. People generally feel embarrassed or guilty returning something unless they really dislike it. Even then, I've known people who wouldn't do it even then. Almost like they feel suckered and don't want to admit it, or feel like it's their fault that they ordered the product, so why should the company suffer for it. Amazing, but true.
 

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Originally Posted by Alimentall
That's exactly on what they are counting. They know that the likelihood of receiving the speaker back is slim to none, for a variety of reasons. People generally feel embarrassed or guilty returning something unless they really dislike it. Even then, I've known people who wouldn't do it even then. Almost like they feel suckered and don't want to admit it, or feel like it's their fault that they ordered the product, so why should the company suffer for it. Amazing, but true.
John, while what you say is probably true to a small degree, I feel that as more and more people become internet savvy and purchase more things on line, I think this will diminish.


I mean the absolute SAME thing could be said for those that come into your store, get absorbed by your sales pitch and once at home, not really like their product and feel "suckered" by a slick salesman and not return it because they are too embarrassed that they "got snookered."


Now, BELIEVE me, I'm NOT saying that you "push" things on people.... quite the opposite in fact. I'm SURE you try to put their best interests and preferences first in your recommendation process.


However, as buyers remorse sets in (like it does on MANY major purchases) one tends to always question "could I have done better?" No matter how well they do or don't like something.


Even IF you have given them a 30 day return window like an ID brand.... they (just like your ID analogy) might feel too embarrassed that they got talked into a bad decision or don't want to "admit" to you that THEY made a wrong decision or choice. ESPECIALLY if they "liked" you. Where as a voice over the phone or via an email conversation wouldn't necessarily have the same "personal" feelings associated with it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHinge
The only problems I have with the 30 return is one the shipping back. I haven't checked enough to see if anyone will pay the shipping back. Second, I know this sounds silly, but I don't like the idea of buying from two different sources, knowing I am gonna return one of them. Maybe I am just hypersenstive. It didn't sound right to do that to a business. I don't know what choice I have though with Internet companies.
In my experience, one of the only vendors to cover the shipping back to them, if you decide to return the speaker is Home Theater Direct. Lots of companies can offer some pretty good tech support, but HTD really shined in this area.


In regards to feeling a bit guilty about buying two pair of speakers with the intentions of returning one of the pair, don't feel this way. If you take care of the speakers during the listning session/evaluation period, there should not be any problem with the return. Plus, the vendors have an opportunity to see the item as "B" stock.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHinge
The only problems I have with the 30 return is one the shipping back.
WHY would you have a problem with that? You've had the speakers for (at least) 30 days to audition. It would be no different than a B & M store charging you a re-stock fee (and the shipping would most likely be less $$ than a 10 to 15 percent re-stock charge). And that's if they will even give you a 30 day window which most will not do.


I can't understand why people get so hung up on the shipping. First.... it isn't that much money (you'll spend as much or more with todys gas prices driving around to just a FEW B & M's), second, you have had the speakers in your posession for a period of time (hey, consider it a rental fee or loaner fee :p ), and finally.... it seems such a small price to pay for the opportunity to audition different brands of speakers in MY home on MY gear for a longer period of time than I could spend in a B & M store.
 

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Originally Posted by quadriverfalls
second, you have had the speakers in your posession for a period of time (hey, consider it a rental fee or loaner fee
I think this is often overlooked. You can't rent quality speakers for the price of return shipping. And some companies will extend the time frame beyond 30 days if you tell them you're auditioning other speakers and need a bit more time to come to a decesion. And the customer service from some of these companies is at the highest level. That's the trump card in my estimation. Better service.

A few years ago, one poster blasted AV123 for their service and they bent over backwards trying to find a way to make things right. Turned out, he had never bought anything from them in the first place.

A dissatisfied customer can harm a retail business, no question. But they aren't going to take out a full page newspaper add or rent billboard space to vent their dissatisfaction. On the internet, the damage one can cause to a companie's reputation is almost boundless. Great customer service isn't universal on the internet, but it is for the companies that get talked about almost daily around here.


David
 

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Well, I wanted the JBL because I have a harman kardon receiver. I liked the receiver and thought they might make good speakers (JBL is Harman isn't it?).
Those Infinity speakers that you did like are Harman's too. JBL and Infinity are both under the Harman International umbrella. JBL does make good speakers, their line goes from budget speakers all the way up to professional recording studio, concert and theater speakers. Its an extremely wide range.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by quadriverfalls
I mean the absolute SAME thing could be said for those that come into your store, get absorbed by your sales pitch and once at home, not really like their product and feel "suckered" by a slick salesman and not return it because they are too embarrassed that they "got snookered."
Well, that's why I sell what I sell. Gotta *keep* that smile!!! But it is one of the big power plays in audio for one of my competitors. They buy an overhyped, underperforming, overpriced "high-end" speaker. Then they eventually become unhappy, then the same people drag them through an *expensive* replacement of everything they own, probably averaging about $20K in gear. And the sound still is the same, but by this time, they've spent over $30K and go into deep denial - "My system DOES sound great, damnit!!!" So, yeah, it's not just an ID thing. BS abounds. I have to say, if you do an affordable system right, however, you don't get people going crazy on high-end stuff, which makes it hard to pay the bills. But money isn't everything.
 

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Speaking of home auditions, I now have (
 

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WHY would you have a problem with that? You've had the speakers for (at least) 30 days to audition. It would be no different than a B & M store charging you a re-stock fee (and the shipping would most likely be less $$ than a 10 to 15 percent re-stock charge). And that's if they will even give you a 30 day window which most will not do.


I can't understand why people get so hung up on the shipping. First.... it isn't that much money (you'll spend as much or more with todys gas prices driving around to just a FEW B & M's), second, you have had the speakers in your posession for a period of time (hey, consider it a rental fee or loaner fee ), and finally.... it seems such a small price to pay for the opportunity to audition different brands of speakers in MY home on MY gear for a longer period of time than I could spend in a B & M store.
Exactly. They offer these 30 day return periods because they have enough confidence in their speakers for you to go ahead and compare them to what else is out there. If they didn't offer these return periods, and people didn't take advantage of them, then buying speakers from the internet would be the absolute worst idea ever.


As for the cost of shipping, if something like $45 total is going to prevent one from trying out internet speakers, then they first need to re-evaluate their budget, and then question whether or not they really are interested in getting the best speakers for their money.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveCallas
Exactly. They offer these 30 day return periods because they have enough confidence in their speakers for you to go ahead and compare them to what else is out there. If they didn't offer these return periods, and people didn't take advantage of them, then buying speakers from the internet would be the absolute worst idea ever.


As for the cost of shipping, if something like $45 total is going to prevent one from trying out internet speakers, then they first need to re-evaluate their budget, and then question whether or not they really are interested in getting the best speakers for their money.
I use jbl myself the E Northridge series and I think they are awesome. I don't rely on them to give bass, but when they do bass, from a range that's when they truly shine. Maybe has something to do with the sound field. But close range you'd think the bass was lacking. I mostly rely on the subwoofer for my bass as it does a good job in a small room. I've had no complaints. It outputs video game sound good and also does amazing things in movies. If you want speakers for bass look to others, but if you already have a subwoofer and want nice mids and highs, jbl's are great. I'm satisfied. personally I give it 4/5 stars. only star is lack of bass in clos range.


I used to be 100% toward JBL but there are other great brands out there to. Infinity are great, my current JBL are great to. JBL does make good speakers and their speaker lineup ranges from budget to home theater to professional, to cinema. It's a huge range.
 
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