AVS Forum banner
1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,


I am in the market looking for a new home theater system. I am trying to do some research on whether to go with a Pioneer Elite SC-07 receiver OR a Rotel RSX-1550 receiver.


I first listened to the SC-07 driving a pair of Vienna Acoustics Mozart speakers and I was impressed.


I then listened to a pair of B&Ws 704 and a pair of Dynaudio Contour s1.4 speakers driven by a Rotel RSX-1550 and I found myself pulled towards the DynAudio speakers. I think the B&Ws were a little too bright and lacked a few of the undertone bass that either the VAs or the DAs offered.


So anyways it looks like it is going to be either the VAs or the DAs as far as speakers are concerned. So now the question is what receiver? The SC07 is rated at 140x7 and the Rotel's are 100x5. I will be only going with a 5.1 speaker configuration for my room.


The Rotel dealer was telling me that the Rotel is a true A/B class amp vs the Pioneer which is a D class amp. On the other hand, the Pioneer dealer was telling me that the new ICE technology which makes them very efficient and powerful.


It appears that the Pioneer has more bells & whistles to it, but the question is are all of them really useful and do I lose sound quality because of that?


Any feedback is greatly appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,923 Posts
Not sure what the dealer means by "true" class AB amp. Class AB amps are by far the most common design. There's nothing special about them.


ICE is a design (by Beng and Olufsen I think) for class D amps. Class D amplifiers are interesting. They work by sampling the audio signal at a very high rate, and using that to turn on and off the power transistors very quickly. Transistors work efficiently when they are fully on or fully off vs. they way they work in class AB operation.


As you mentioned, class D amps have some advantages. Being efficient, they require smaller power supplies and likely use much less heat sinking. If they have a downside, it's that they are difficult to design. If you read the review of the SC over at Audioholics, you will note that Gene found an unusual frequency response limitation. Some questioned whether this was important in real world usage. I suggest you read the review.


Both technologies are very capable of producing good sound by most accounts. In fact, ICE designs are used in some very pricey amps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
BTW, Since you are running a 5.1, the extra 2 channel can be used to bi-amp your front L&R channels if you choose the Pioneer Elite SC-07's. You will definitely notice the improvement (I say 20% as I had an older pioneer with the same feature) on CDs (or any stereo signal for that matter), as the amps will control the speakers better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,696 Posts
paramr....I've got the Elite SC 05, the brother to the SC 07. I've heard it with Vienna speakers in a showroom. Impressive, as you pointed out. I've never listened to Dynaudio speakers, so I can't comment.


It's been years since I've heard any Rotel gear, so I can't help you there, either.


Michael's post is correct regarding AB operation vs Class D. AB is a much more common design for AVRs and amps. They run hotter than Class D and do need more heat dissipation (via heat sinks, and/or fans). That said, a well designed AB amp section can be very good.


Class D had been around awhile. Up until recently, they were mainly used by car audio and subwoofer manufacturers. They're capable of large amounts of power, very efficiently, in smaller packages, putting out less heat. Panasonic has been using them for awhile, but it's their own design (and from what I've gathered, not implemented very well for anything but HTIB applications).


Also as Michael points out, Bang & Olufson (Dannish company) came up with a design specifically for audio enthusiasts. Pioneer licensed that technology, and refined it for their SC series of AVRs. There are a few amplifier only companies using it for the same application. Because Class D runs cooler and is generally twice as efficient as AB type amps, I expect them to be more widely adopted in the future.


There were several discrepancies in the Audioholics review of the SC 07. First, while the reviewer had expensive testing equipment, it wasn't clear to me that it was the "right tool for the job" when testing Class D amps with heavy loads. The reviewer found that the SC 07 did a very good job in the real world with highly resistive 4 Ohm speakers of low efficiency....saying it came very close to the performance of his reference gear costing 7X the price of the SC 07.


But, on the test bench, the tester couldn't quite explain why what he was hearing didn't translate to the tests he ran. I'm of the opinion that something was amiss, and that the implementation of the Class D amps in the SC 07 wasn't entirely understood by the reviewer.


There are plenty of people in the SC05/SC07 thread that are running very difficult loads in the real world with great results.


The other curious thing about the Audioholic tests came about when we questioned the reviewer about trying to run power tests at higher frequencies that only involved a speaker's tweeter. The frequencies that require the highest power are situated well below that.


A speaker's high frequency capability (or tweeter) takes much, much less power than the lower frequencies (midrange and/or woofer). Feed a tweeter much more than a few watts and you'll fry it. Curiously, this fact seemed to be lost on the reviewer.


I don't test equipment for a living, nor do I sell Pioneer Elite's competition (both of which the reviewer does...Audioholics is a Yamaha and Marantz dealer). I have been an AV enthusiast for awhile though....with lots of equipment in and out of my stereo and HT set ups.


You might also want to look at another review that UltimateAV Mag (run by Stereophile Mag) did in the SC 07's sibling. It's generally believed that the only difference between the SC 05 and the SC 07 is an extra HDMI out in the latter.

http://www.guidetohometheater.com/av...5_av_receiver/


Again, I can't comment with any sort of authority on the Rotel or Dyanuadio pieces.


As an SC 05 owner, I can say I'm extremely pleased.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The Rotel dealer was claiming that AB class amps are the more traditional amps and are truer "audiophile" amps compared to class D amps. Whether there is any truth in that statement I dont know, but I do know that he also carried the pioneer elite line as well and so I would imagine he wouldnt care that much as far as the sale goes given that the Rotel he quoted me is only marginally more than the pioneer. That being said I do know that the Rotel has a 7.1 processor, but only a 5.1 amp. Not that it is a big deal for me since I am only getting 5 speakers.


Here are the specs of the speakers I am looking at:

http://www.sumikoaudio.net/va/prod_mozart.htm#spec

http://www.dynaudio.com/eng/systems/...ntour_data.php (Contour s1.4 & s3.4)


From the reading I have done on the VAs, every post out there says you really need to provide ample power to these speakers to truly make them shine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,696 Posts
paramr.....either AVR will drive those speakers.


I don't necessarily agree that AB amps are " more audiophile" (whatever that is) quality. AB amps are much more common, however. Their design is relatively simple. The really good ones have Toroidal power transformers. So, you might want to look at that.


I've owned both types of amplifier technology. To describe the sound of one to be better than the other is a slippery slope.


I guess the real questions to ask are as follows....


How big is your HT set up (meaning the dimensions)?

What associated source equipment will you be using (DVD player, BD player, TV)?

Is your HT filled with carpet, wall coverings, heavy upholstery? Or, does it have bare floors, high ceilings, sparse furnishings?


Just took a gander at the Rotel WEB site. Looks like the 1550 was the older model? It does use AB amps. Also looks like the newer model, the 1560, uses Class D amps, too. So, even Rotel is putting their stake in by using Class D amps in their newer, higher end models (which they are also claiming "audiophile quality").


I see the 1550 includes HDMI 1.3. That's good. Didn't see any mention of any room/speaker correction technology. Not good.


On paper, the Elite SC 07 looks like the better value. More power. A very good speaker/room correction scheme (MCACC). Internet connectivity (handy for Media Gallery operation).


My guess (and it's just that, a guess), is the dealer makes more money on Rotel gear than they do on Elite gear. That would explain a lot in his recommendation.


Plus, I wouldn't limit myself to a 5.1 AVR. While you won't use 7.1 now. I'd bet that sometime in the future, you'll want to look into that option.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
Rotel's been into the B&O class D stuff for years.

The 1550 isn't older.

It was released at the same time the 1560 was and it gives potential buyers a choice between integrated Amp classifications. I know each will have their own strengths.

I'm struggling between the SC07 and some kinda rotel combo this week.

Not sure which to go for.

I've been checking over at Club Rotel for some reviews on the RSP-1570, RMB-1565 (100w) and the RMB-1575 (250w). I have another 2 weeks off for vacation so I guess it's time to go do some auditioning.


Btw, the SC07 I heard last month was nICE.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
90 Posts
I recently purchased the sc07 as the rotel rcvr. was also on my short list.


Having auditioned an older Rotel rsx 1057 rcvr I was left wanting more,especially in the 2 channel stereo playback. My stereo preamp/amp embarrased the rotel as I virtually gave up on rcvrs.


I'm not sure how much better the new 15 series would be in comparison to the 1057.


When I compare my sc07 to my stereo pair, the difference is very close perhaps losing a bit in ultimate grunt(although I have not bi-amped the 07yet)

and the Pioneer has the edge in upper frequency detail especially in pure direct mode.


And one more thing as I think Graphicguy mentioned,the mccac eq, if your room is less than ideal will amaze you.


Go visit the sc05/07 forum and see the positive feedback these units are getting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Ive had 2 Pioneer Elites in the past, one still powering some speakers upstairs. My brother in law currently has the sc05, very nice receivers. If I had to pick just a receiver, it would be an sc05 or sc07. But after hearing my new Rotel rsp-1570 with the rmb-1095 and rb-1050 power my speakers for the last month Im never going back, maybe not never, back from separates. That Rotel set up just blows me away every time i pop in a movie. Mind you I havent stolen my brother in laws sc05 to compare to at my house yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
GraphigGuy....


To answer your question, my family room is around 17' x 20'. 1 whole side of the room is glass doors that open out to the backyard. Opposite to that wall is doors to the laundry room and doors to a 1/2 bath. In between the laundry room and bath is a niche where I plan on putting the cabinets/racks to house the equipment. Adjacent to the 1/2 bath is a fireplace. My contractor is going to be framing it & the TV will go on top of it. The center channel will go on top of the TV mounted on the frame and the front 2 speakers will sit on either side of the TV on the floor. For rear speakers, I will be going with in ceiling speakers (both the dealers came by and checked out the room and recommended that). Finally, the room itself is over slab and has hardwood floors.


The VA dealer (Magnolia) told me that hardwood floors tend to make the sound a little brighter. So if I audition speakers that tend to be brighter in the showroom, then they will definitely be brighter in my room. He strongly recommends the VAs with the SC07.


The other dealer (rotel/dynaudio) didnt talk about how the floors affect the sound quality. I am guessing the MCACC of the SC07 will greatly help my room?


As far as sources go, I will be having a BlueRay player, comcast HD cable box. I also have an Olive music server (250GB) that I plan on using as well.


Hope that helps answer some of your questions...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here is an email response from the Rotel dealer:


"RSX-1550; I was wrong, it's 75 w/ch... But don't be tricked by the oldest game in the book- while the pioneer elite says it can do 145w/ch, it is not as powerful as a class A/B amplifier. The Rotel is one of the beefiest receivers around- even the sunfire at 200w/channel is only slightly more powerful. Class D technology, or ICE, or whatever they want to call it is very noisy, so the power going to the speakers is part noise. A true audiophile amp, whether it is class a, or a/b is putting out significantly more current to drive the wattage. The other thing you should know about wattage (assuming you don't already)- If you have a speaker that is 86db rated, it would require 1 watt of power to get 86db out of it. To get 3 db more, you must double the power, so 6db gets 89db and so on- because you have to double the power just to get 3db more on the top end, a 45w/ch amp will play 3db louder than a 90w/ch amp, a 180w/ ch amp will play 3db louder than a 90w/ channel amp, and so on. Basically, unless you are looking to get ear-bleading sound out of you system, wattage has only something to do with how good the speakers will sound, but not everything. Japanese receivers have had many issues with sound quality since they have gone to cheaper chips to store the power, instead of very heavy-duty capacitors, but I will give credit to Pioneer to taking a step in the right direction- This new generation of receivers will be very loud and have incredible dynamics for movies. Unfortunately what you lose is musicality because there has to be a tradeoff somewhere. I hope this help, or maybe I just confused you! In any event, please feel free to email me with any questions you have."


Any thoughts/comments/feedback anyone?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,470 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by paramr /forum/post/15456862



Any thoughts/comments/feedback anyone?

Ask him why Rotel is using ICE modules in their latest amps, if they are so inferior. Then find another dealer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,696 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by paramr /forum/post/15456782


GraphigGuy....


To answer your question, my family room is around 17' x 20'. 1 whole side of the room is glass doors that open out to the backyard. Opposite to that wall is doors to the laundry room and doors to a 1/2 bath. In between the laundry room and bath is a niche where I plan on putting the cabinets/racks to house the equipment. Adjacent to the 1/2 bath is a fireplace. My contractor is going to be framing it & the TV will go on top of it. The center channel will go on top of the TV mounted on the frame and the front 2 speakers will sit on either side of the TV on the floor. For rear speakers, I will be going with in ceiling speakers (both the dealers came by and checked out the room and recommended that). Finally, the room itself is over slab and has hardwood floors.


The VA dealer (Magnolia) told me that hardwood floors tend to make the sound a little brighter. So if I audition speakers that tend to be brighter in the showroom, then they will definitely be brighter in my room. He strongly recommends the VAs with the SC07.


The other dealer (rotel/dynaudio) didnt talk about how the floors affect the sound quality. I am guessing the MCACC of the SC07 will greatly help my room?


As far as sources go, I will be having a BlueRay player, comcast HD cable box. I also have an Olive music server (250GB) that I plan on using as well.


Hope that helps answer some of your questions...

That helps a lot. Your Magnolia person is right. Hard wood floors (or lots or other hard surfaces) will indeed tend to make your HT sound "bright". VA speakers are on the "warm" side of things. So, I agree again.


MCACC with the Elite will definitely benefit you.


Your sources are all HD capable, so you don't need any sort of video processing.


I'm kind of surprised your Rotel dealer didn't ask you these questions. Your room has as much affect on the sound as any piece of electronics.


Personally, given my experience, I'd go with the SC 07. What speakers you use with it is entirely up to you. Magnolia handles Definitive Technology speakers that are very good, too. You might want to give them a listen.


They'll be easier to drive. And, they are very highly thought of.


Based on what you've said about the Rotel dealer, I agree with William. You may want to look for someone who really had a better handle on what you need, and what's best. He/She is wrong on much of their assessment. As William pointed out, Rotel is using Class D amplification in their higher priced AVR (over the 1050). Using that reasoning, I guess the higher powered Rotel 1060 will introduce more "noise"? Sorry, that's tough to swallow.


As far as using better components in the AVR, I dare your Rotel dealer to specifically point out where this is the case between any of the Japanese manufacturer's "premium" lines compared to Rotel (regardless of whether it's Pioneer, Denon, Yamaha, etc). Clearly, this person doesn't know his technology. This definitely leads me to believe more commission dollars are made on Rotel over Pioneer Elite at this person's store.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah, I am leaning towards going with Magnolia and the SC-07 with the VAs. One of their guys came by today to checkout the room and give a final quote. Lets see how they price compared to the Rotel dealer. The funny thing is that the Rotel dealer actually also sent someone out to inspect the room. Maybe what threw him off was there is carpet currently, but that will soon be gone in lieu of hardwood. I had mentioned that to him though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,696 Posts
paramr....I'd be interested in hearing about what you decide on.


Based on your post, are you going to have the place you purchase from install your system?


Before you go that route, you might want to post what they're doing here before writing that check.


Even though I do my own installations, every time I've bought gear from any of the HT stores, they were always pushing way overpriced peripherals, like cables. There are lots of good (if not better) options available when it comes to peripherals from the B&M stores.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,697 Posts
paramr, spoon feeding you stuff you could find with a forum or Google search is more than you can reasonably ask.


Read the SC07 owners thread some. ICE amps are among the best, and more so if heat or power consumption is a factor.


Google for the review on the SC07 at audioholics and whatever else you can find.
http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/r.../pioneer-sc-07


There are some wattage measurements there that would give some answers on that point.


FWIW as otherse have said, that email response from the Rotel dealer is full of inaccuracies, so get your info somewhere else. This should go into the Amazingly Stupid Hall of Fame: "A true audiophile amp, whether it is class a, or a/b is putting out significantly more current to drive the wattage. "
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here is what Magnolia has speced out for me so far. I think I may end up going with them, but would appreciate any feedback anyone has on the components, cabling etc.


Pro141fd Pioneer Signature Series 60 Elite 1080p

Mozartgrros Vienna Acoustic Tower Speakers ( Grnd Rose)

Maestrogrbla Vienna Acoustic Center( Maestro series)

Helos100 Martin Logan

T1bla Rel 12" T series powered sub wofer

SC07TX Elite DD Dts Tru/hd Multi-Zone Rec/amp "ICE"

8527esp BDI Custom Espresso Rack

Bdp05fd Pioneer Elite Bluray/dvd Player

Airport Extreme Airport wireless dual band router(no charge)

ISF Calibration Calibration of Pro141 Service calibration st(4)

HC300 Control 4 Master Control/integration system

Vmpl3bla Wall mount/tilt/flat for Pro141fd

Custprog Programming & Integration of Control 4

Hdmix12m Audioquest Hdmi in wall ul from Sc07 to Pro141

Hdmix2m Audioquest Hdmi Intelink for Comcast/Bdp05

Ola2m Fiber optic interconnect for Media server

ESC1 Zfan Cooling System for Components


I dont think he has speaker cable included here. Any recommendations?


Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,696 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by paramr /forum/post/15462602


Here is what Magnolia has speced out for me so far. I think I may end up going with them, but would appreciate any feedback anyone has on the components, cabling etc.


Pro141fd Pioneer Signature Series 60 Elite 1080p

Mozartgrros Vienna Acoustic Tower Speakers ( Grnd Rose)

Maestrogrbla Vienna Acoustic Center( Maestro series)

Helos100 Martin Logan

T1bla Rel 12" T series powered sub wofer

SC07TX Elite DD Dts Tru/hd Multi-Zone Rec/amp "ICE"

8527esp BDI Custom Espresso Rack

Bdp05fd Pioneer Elite Bluray/dvd Player

Airport Extreme Airport wireless dual band router(no charge)

ISF Calibration Calibration of Pro141 Service calibration st(4)

HC300 Control 4 Master Control/integration system

Vmpl3bla Wall mount/tilt/flat for Pro141fd

Custprog Programming & Integration of Control 4

Hdmix12m Audioquest Hdmi in wall ul from Sc07 to Pro141

Hdmix2m Audioquest Hdmi Intelink for Comcast/Bdp05

Ola2m Fiber optic interconnect for Media server

ESC1 Zfan Cooling System for Components


I dont think he has speaker cable included here. Any recommendations?


Thanks!

They've speced out some very nice gear. No issues with the KURO Elite TV. I've got the KRUO 6020.....these are one of the best, if not THE BEST TVs on the market.


That brings up some questions to ask Magnolia, though.


-Why are they "mixing/matching" different speakers from different manufacturers? Or, are the ML Helos in wall/ceiling speakers being used as a separate "music only" source in another room?


-I certainly understand the benefits of going all Pioneer Elite. But, the Elite BDP05 could probably be bettered by using a less expensive Panasonic BD 35, which could yield better results for hundreds less.


-Not familiar with the HC300. Is this a total home automation controller? If so, what are you trying to accomplish?


-BDI makes nice racks. A little pricey (what are they charging.....~$900?). The rack I'm thinking of is open to the back and the front. If this is the case, I'm not so certain you need any extra "cooling" fans for your setup.


-I understand that they're going to calibrate everything for you. I'm assuming they're doing the install, too?


-Speaker cables (as well as any other cabling needs) can be achieved with less expensive options from either of these places...

http://www.bluejeanscable.com/
http://www.monoprice.com/home


Long and short of it, depending on if you want to do some of the legwork and installation yourself, you can probably shave a considerable amount of $$$$ off the installation.


However, if you just want someone to come in, deliver your system, install it, calibrate it, program it, and all you have to do is sit back and enjoy it, I can't find fault with anything they've quoted.


Mind if I ask what their price is for all of this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
855 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by paramr /forum/post/15462602


Here is what Magnolia has speced out for me so far. I think I may end up going with them, but would appreciate any feedback anyone has on the components, cabling etc.


Pro141fd Pioneer Signature Series 60 Elite 1080p

Mozartgrros Vienna Acoustic Tower Speakers ( Grnd Rose)

Maestrogrbla Vienna Acoustic Center( Maestro series)

Helos100 Martin Logan

T1bla Rel 12" T series powered sub wofer

SC07TX Elite DD Dts Tru/hd Multi-Zone Rec/amp "ICE"

8527esp BDI Custom Espresso Rack

Bdp05fd Pioneer Elite Bluray/dvd Player

Airport Extreme Airport wireless dual band router(no charge)

ISF Calibration Calibration of Pro141 Service calibration st(4)

HC300 Control 4 Master Control/integration system

Vmpl3bla Wall mount/tilt/flat for Pro141fd

Custprog Programming & Integration of Control 4

Hdmix12m Audioquest Hdmi in wall ul from Sc07 to Pro141

Hdmix2m Audioquest Hdmi Intelink for Comcast/Bdp05

Ola2m Fiber optic interconnect for Media server

ESC1 Zfan Cooling System for Components


I dont think he has speaker cable included here. Any recommendations?


Thanks!

Paramr,


I noticed you are from the Bay Area. I have been in this hobby a loooong time. Just recently I started working for a very small Custom A/V installer in the North Bay (though they have done some jobs as far away as Piedmont).


Just so you know this is not a "Sales pitch" per say. Just wanted to share some "inside information" about dealing with Magnolia Hi-Fi. For years I have questioned the cost benefit of dealing with Mag. Hi-Fi. Being a "do it your selfer" for many years, I have bought a few things from them over the years, but have never really looked to them for advice or installations services. I have purposely went in with some technical questions to see if they could guide me in the right direction. For the most part, most of the salesmen I talked too were relatively clueless when it came to the inner technical details of what certain equipment could do, and for instance how speaker placement effects sound.

However, that is not even the worst part. Not only will they act as if they know certain things when they don't, in the end all they are interested is in the "sale". Their service (especially after the install) leaves A LOT to be desired. From what I understand from the owner of the company I just started to work for, they get a lot of business from Magnolia customers because of their lack of service after installation. Just as an example, I went on a service call with our lead Tech. a few weeks ago. The customer had bought a complete system from Magnolia (including Bose In-walls no less!). She was having problems with her DirecTV which was not working at all (not receiving any channels). She called Magnolia, and they told her to call DirecTV. Which is fine but they wanted her to troubleshoot it over the phone, which she did. In doing so DirecTV advised her that the receiver had probably over-heated because her equipment was basically enclosed in a cabinet with no ventilation holes and/or fans. Needless to say she got very mad that Magnolia would have installed all this equipment in a cabinet without suggesting better ventilation (ie: cutting some holes in the back of the cabinet and suggesting the use of small ventilation fans). So she called us to fix everything for her, which we did. Another interesting note is what we found in terms of how they ran their cables. Nothing was zip tied off and all the cables were labeled with hand written, blue painters tape. It was really a joke. They also sold her a bunch of extra cables (over priced Monster), that she did not even need or use and were "just in case" she was told. My boss says that happens ALL the time with customers he has gotten from Magnolia. That kind of stuff just really bothers me!


On another more personal Magnolia story, before I started working for this custom A/V installer, a friend of ours was in the market to get a modest system for their living room. A 5.1 system, a 37" HDTV, (and two outdoor speakers). Just for kicks she wanted to see what Magnolia would charge her, including installation. They quoted her over $10,000. I did some research on the net for her and suggested to her where and what to buy. I think it ran her a total of about $2,500 including the couple of dinners she made for my girl friend and I (that and she slipped a $100 bill in my truck at the end because she knew I would not take it voluntarily) for me to install it for her. Granted, that installation usually is not free. Even so, it was so small, even at say $120 hour, it took me a total of about 12 hours (including the product research). Even if I charged her that, she still would have gotten it for around $4,000!


Anyway, I think you get my point. I would just say you may want to look at other options, or at the very least have an "eagle eye" on Magnolia and what they bill you for. Keep in mind, even though most custom installers don't like to do it, they will install equipment that you supply them with. So you can always try to save yourself some money bargain hunting for deals on speakers, AVR's HDTV's, subwoofers, etc. Then having someone else install them for you!


Most important of all, try to find an installer who really concerns himself with service, especially after the initial installation. A lot of us do-it yourselfers don't require it, but for those who do, it is really worth it!


Best of Luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,696 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicFirst /forum/post/15463687


Paramr,


I noticed you are from the Bay Area. I have been in this hobby a loooong time. Just recently I started working for a very small Custom A/V installer in the North Bay (though they have done some jobs as far away as Piedmont).


Just so you know this is not a "Sales pitch" per say. Just wanted to share some "inside information" about dealing with Magnolia Hi-Fi. For years I have questioned the cost benefit of dealing with Mag. Hi-Fi. Being a "do it your selfer" for many years, I have bought a few things from them over the years, but have never really looked to them for advice or installations services. I have purposely went in with some technical questions to see if they could guide me in the right direction. For the most part, most of the salesmen I talked too were relatively clueless when it came to the inner technical details of what certain equipment could do, and for instance how speaker placement effects sound.

However, that is not even the worst part. Not only will they act as if they know certain things when they don't, in the end all they are interested is in the "sale". Their service (especially after the install) leaves A LOT to be desired. From what I understand from the owner of the company I just started to work for, they get a lot of business from Magnolia customers because of their lack of service after installation. Just as an example, I went on a service call with our lead Tech. a few weeks ago. The customer had bought a complete system from Magnolia (including Bose In-walls no less!). She was having problems with her DirecTV which was not working at all (not receiving any channels). She called Magnolia, and they told her to call DirecTV. Which is fine but they wanted her to troubleshoot it over the phone, which she did. In doing so DirecTV advised her that the receiver had probably over-heated because her equipment was basically enclosed in a cabinet with no ventilation holes and/or fans. Needless to say she got very mad that Magnolia would have installed all this equipment in a cabinet without suggesting better ventilation (ie: cutting some holes in the back of the cabinet and suggesting the use of small ventilation fans). So she called us to fix everything for her, which we did. Another interesting note is what we found in terms of how they ran their cables. Nothing was zip tied off and all the cables were labeled with hand written, blue painters tape. It was really a joke. They also sold her a bunch of extra cables (over priced Monster), that she did not even need or use and were "just in case" she was told. My boss says that happens ALL the time with customers he has gotten from Magnolia. That kind of stuff just really bothers me!


On another more personal Magnolia story, before I started working for this custom A/V installer, a friend of ours was in the market to get a modest system for their living room. A 5.1 system, a 37" HDTV, (and two outdoor speakers). Just for kicks she wanted to see what Magnolia would charge her, including installation. They quoted her over $10,000. I did some research on the net for her suggested where and what to buy. I think it ran her a total of about $2,500 including the couple of dinners she made for my girl friend and I (that and she slipped a $100 bill in my truck at the end because she knew I would not take it voluntarily) for me to install it for her. Granted, that installation usually is not free. Even so, it was so small, even at say $120 hour, it took me a total of about 12 hours (including the product research). Even if I charged her that, she still would have gotten it for around $4,000!


Anyway, I think you get my point. I would just say you may want to look at other options, or at the very least have an "eagle eye" on Magnolia and what they bill you for. Keep in mind, even though most custom installers don't like to do it, they will install equipment that you supply them with. So you can always try to save yourself some money bargain hunting for deals on speakers, AVR's HDTV's, subwoofers, etc. Then having someone else install them for you!


Most important of all, try to find an installer who really concerns himself with service, especially after the initial installation. A lot of us do-it yourselfers don't require it, but for those who do, it is really worth it!


Best of Luck!

MusicFirst....thanks for sharing that experience. Very interesting.


Kind of reminds me of an old joke....


Question:


"What do you call the person who finished last in the class at Med School?"


Answer:


"Doctor"


Point being, like anywhere else, there are going to be both good and bad "authorities". That's true in the AV field, too.


Clearly, the Rotel sales person isn't all that knowledgeable. At least the Magnolia sales person asked some of the right questions.


Most who hang around AVS are AV enthusiasts. As such, we can put up or tear down an entire installation in our sleep. Personally, I've run so much cabling in and out of my walls/ceiling that I'd bet there's still some sweat in there that hasn't evaporated.


Not only with HT/Audio set ups, but any project that's sizable, the DIY-er will save gobs of money over the person who pays for the privilege of having someone else do it for them. A long time ago, I used to change my own brakes on my car at about $60 for materials. I choose not to do that anymore, and I pay $250 to have someone else do it. I can do it. I know how to do it. I just don't want to do it.


Setting up a HT system from scratch can be a daunting task...even just setting up a single component for a complete HT. For the longest time, I had wanted a Pioneer KURO TV. For the longest time (since the first ones were introduced a few years ago), they hovered in the $6,500-$9,000 range.


When I spied the newest models (6020) at Costco, for $4,000, I jumped on the deal (especially since by using my AMEX card, the warranty strung out to 3 years). Sounds easy enough. But, I had to get the thing loaded, transport it home, unloaded, and set it up. What would happen if I broke it while loading it? Or, while transporting it? Or, unloading it? Or, unpacking it? Or, setting it up? They aren't small, and they aren't light. They're mostly made of glass, too.


With a measuring tape, a hammer, a few screws and a screwdriver, I could wall mount the KURO in less than 30 minutes. I can run speaker or AV cable through my entire HT in less than an hour. Give me a few hours on a dreary winter afternoon, and I can totally tear down my entire system, and replace every piece in it, connected, and have it calibrated.


You get my drift here. I feel like I know what I'm doing. So, it was no "big deal" to me.


However, I certainly understand one's belief that it's just too much of a job for them to handle.


Set up has become much, much easier in recent years. One HDMI cable has replaced 3 component cables and one digital audio cable. Auto room/speaker correction has replaced analyzers and SPL meters (to good effect).


Even ISF calibration may or may not yield better results than what I can do on my own. I know I can get mighty close to what an ISF calibration will yield.


My installation will yield better results than even the best installer. But, that's because I've done so many of them, for myself and others (for little more than the price of a few beers).


I may not agree with the set up Magnolia has speced for paramr. But, it looks fairly good. I noticed one glaring omission...that is a power conditioner/surge protector. I have no issue with paramr letting them do his entire installation. There may be better installers out there (or maybe not). But, the installation either works, or it doesn't. If it doesn't, I'm of the mind that Magnolia will fix it.


I wouldn't let them do my installation, for no other reason than I trust my work more than theirs (or anyone else's).


As a side note regarding Direct TV. That company is one of the most underhanded, "Non-customer friendly", bordering on unethical, establishments I've ever come across.
 
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
Top