After reading the thread about the Denon 3803 being available online for under $650 shipped, and since I am considering getting Paradigm speakers which have no online buying option, I thought I would go back to a well respected B&M in the local area to see what the extra money I would spend there would buy me. 1st the set-up: 24x24 room w/high open beam ceilings, carpet, 12x8 opening on one side wall, windows on the other, w/ couch in middle of the room facing HTS on front wall. AVR: Denon 3803/Pioneer 45-5x/Yamaha 2400 Speakers: Paradigm Monitor 9/11 mains, cc370 center and maybe Monitor 3 rears and ps1200 sub - OR - Axiom Epic 80 system. Here's the results of my evening: 1. Service: Free pre-sale talk/listening, some help with placement ideas, don't really want to let you demo equip at home, installation help only for extra fees ($30-60/hr), would help with spl'ing after install (me or them), and no migration/upgrade path/program. 2. Products: Claimed that previous problems with Denon receivers (3802 etc. ?) caused them to drop them, wouldn't/couldn't discuss merits of Pioneer since they don't carry - likewise with Axiom, said they wouldn't advise anyone to buy from "an internet only company that couldn't get anyone to carry their gear - doesn't that tell you something? There's lots of people buying equipment and assembling speakers in some warehouse!". They then suggested that Paradigm-wise I get into the Studio line with 20's for mains, cc 570 center and (non timbre matched) mini's for rears + sub - saying "you'll be amazed at the difference and the sub will make up for the lack of full range mains". When I wanted to hear this and wasn't that impressed, they blamed it on a poor dts demo DVD. The upshot appears to be that although I would like to support my local B&M, there just may be way to many people out here with so much more money laying around that unless you're willing to lay out $10-50k for a system, you don't get the extra service some of you in other areas are getting. The same happens at the car dealerships in the LA area. Now maybe I'm considering just buying both the Denon and the Axioms online and doing all the rest myself. BTW, on my motorcycle online board, locals get together to help each other out and socialize/ride - would some of you out there like to start some local groups get-togethers to do the same with HTS? I'll pony up the beer to get things rolling here in the SFV/LA area!