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minor rant...

1343 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  tscoff
Yeah, yeah, "this" has been covered before...but...

When you consumers hire "us" to install/help with room designs/whole home audio, don't take what we say...shrug your shoulders then decide to take the "cheaper route", then call us back to complain about what you did to attempt to save money...when we told you the most economical way to do it in the first place.

Economical does not mean CHEAP.

Today, I head out to a customers house(who took my plan, with instructions...and did it themselves) for the last time.

My plan...

Denon AVR 3311

Emotiva XPA3

In-ceiling bathroom speakers. Outdoor patio speakers. Walk in closet speakers. Sitting room speakers.

Niles remote controlled speaker switch with impedance matching.

This room is a "bedroom". Top level of a 3 story house where the entire top floor is a 1800sf "bedroom".

I chose the XPA3 to alleviate the 3311 of the burden of trying to power the front channels and run 4 speaker zones at the same time.

What they buy...(keep in mind they paid me $1400 for the room plan, which included the bed, the furniture plan, lighting controls and even the hardwood flooring...)

Elite VSX31(yep the Costco golden child)

Audiosource 2 channel amp(cause instead of going where I said to go...they went to a different store and the guy there said "Audiosource is better than Emotiva")

A 2 pair speaker selector cause "this store" also said...we can wire your in ceiling speakers in series and the VSX 31 will handle that.

Customer calls me back almost a month after buying my room plan to say they want a partial refund cause the "room plan" isn't working. (not getting into the flooring problems...cause this isn't the forum for that)

I go to the house(that is in my contract cause I do offer partial refunds if my plan does not live up to expectations) and see this travesty. Told them too bad, this is no longer my plan...have a great day.

I have since been back twice to help fix their goofs. Each time charging them more money.

Listen to us the first time.
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I'm not in "the business", but I understand your "rant". I hope your contract has a clause that ends any further consideration or responsibility for the "plan" when the client chooses to change the recommended solution.
Audiosource? Seriously? I wanna have salesman skills like that guy.
While I am no longer in the business, I too echo your rant. What I wish everyone would do (people on this forum as well) is budget for the entire system. I spent the beginning of my time working with audio gear doing car audio installations. That was even worse as many of the customers were young, and did not have any concept that a large part of the price of a system was the installation cost. If your budget is $2000, then dont spend it all on an amp and speakers. You need to leave enough to supply the same quality of all supporting equipment, room treatment, interconnects, etc.

There is a big stretch between designing a system that includes speakers on either side of a screen, and just putting any old speakers on either side of your screen, but customers are not able to figure that out. If you are in a business of providing a documented system design, your designs should include disclaimers that making substitutions and changes may negatively impact the end results and that it effectively voids your warranty. The other thing to do would be to specify that if you are recommending certain gear, that you provide some level of explanation of your rationale. In this case, enough power to run multiple zones simultaneously was a design consideration, but it was ignored by the customer. The last thing that customers dont know, so please tell your friends, is that follow up visits and consultation is a cost to the designer. If you have to keep going to check things out, this should also be billable time. Take a page from the auto mechanic book, they charge for every little thing they look at. I had my vehicle serviced recently, and the shop charged me $100 for the mechanic to adjust the length of the clutch control rod. I found afterward that meant the mechanic had to turn it by hand 2 or 3 turns, and it takes about 10 seconds to do.
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If they have 4 PAIR of speakers, why did you recommend a 3 channel amp?

Also, with the Niles impedence matching switch, I don't see why they needed an amp at all. Seperates for closet, patio, and bathroom speakers? I'd want a refund too.
In my plan the Denon ran the 2 surround speakers and provided the actual power for Zone 2(the XPA ran the LCR).

Asking a receiver to run 4 pairs of speakers, even through an impedance matching switch, is a daunting task. Asking it to also power 5.0 at the same time is asking for constant overload protection.

Either way, they needed an outboard amp. Considering his front speakers are 4ohm Totems...the Emotiva was a great choice.

The URC remote(that I also spec'd) had zone on/off and the Niles remote controlled speaker selector would switch on/off the appropriate speakers.

They purchased the VSX 31, then went to a store that proceeded to sell them an Audiosource 2 channel amp and a 2 pair speaker selector. Problem became...the Pioneer has no volume control over the pre-out for zone 2(meaning the nimrods who did the install, put in volume attenuators after the fact*). They called me to complain that their zones weren't working as promised and that the Totems didn't sound like they used to(he had a Denon AVR from the late 80's).

*Add to that stupidity, they ran 4 pairs of speakers in series(2 pairs each) and put a volume attenuator in EACH pair....(you can imagine how hot the Audiosource was getting)
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Schan, you seem to know your stuff and I don't think knowledgeable consumers would criticize your recommendations. The problem is, there are a bunch of cowboys out there calling themselves "consultants" when they plainly don't know much about it (recently there was a thread about some guy who was planning a 40 foot run of 18 AWG based on his consultant's recommendation). So, if the doubtful consumer does a bit of basic research (like here, for example) he soon finds out that his "consultant" isn't really very good. The downside for someone like yourself who knows his stuff is that you're goiing to get lumped in with the cowboys, and the "semi-informed" consumer will think he can do it better/cheaper/etc. because he has come to distrust consultants in general.

I am guilty of this as well, although for a different situation. I have a leaky pool which I need to fix. A few experts have been over, and so far I have heard some incredible BS. Obviously I search through internet forums etc. for similar siituations, so I have a reasonably good idea of what needs to be done. But I have grown to mistrust so-called pool "experts" (simply because the experts I have spoken with were not in agreement with my basic research). IF I found a genuine expert, I would gladly hand over the problem to him, and gladly pay his fee, and I'm sure the problem would be resolved satisfactorily. But as of now, I am suspicious of someone claiming to be an expert, and therefore might not recognize one when I find him. You see the problem?

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

Sorry about the long-winded reply, but I guess you have to be open to this sort of thing if the word "rant" appears in the thread title.
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In your case, I would hand the problem off to a general contractor. Yes, you'll pay him more money than contracting straight to a "pool fixer"...but problems are on him...let him call the real experts.
There's a described psychological phenomenon that absolutely describes what you're complaining about, especially bbrio's post.

After a bit of brain-squeezing I remembered the name:

That said, I unfortunately have encountered the same thing in entirely different industries with entirely different circumstances. Incompetence truly knows no boundaries. At least I'm not among bad company while beating my head against the wall.
"Never underestimate the power of human stupidity." -- Heinlein
I feel your pain. I'm the tech coordinator for a school district and an "expert" came in and told the athletic director that he can fix the echo problem that we're having with the sound system at our stadium by adding a delay to the speakers. I did the math and fixing the delay for the people sitting in the middle of the bleachers will make the echo worse everywhere else.

I typed up what the problem really is and gave the AD and the superintendent the name of two local vendors who can really fix the problem for the entire stadium. I also told them that it will be expensive because it will require moving the speakers and burying the speaker cables to get to the correct locations as opposed to the cheap quick fix that the "expert" is proposing.
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