Brick&Mortar experience - minor rant!

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Paul Fa, Dec 4, 2003.

  1. Paul Fa

    Paul Fa Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2001
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    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!
     
  2. John S

    John S Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Messages:
    5,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    The biggest thing I have found anymore, is there is no such thing as exprtise at any B&M stores anymore, whatsoever. Even higher end ones.

    It has been more than 10 years since I have held a decent intellegent conversation with any employee of any home / professional electronics retailer.

    And my recent trips concerning my upgrade to HDTV has only solidified my feelings on them. So much so, I even bought that online, something I initialy said I would not do.

    PS: I think there are HT groups in the LA area.. Do a search see what you come up with.
     
  3. PaulT

    PaulT Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2002
    Messages:
    932
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't think you can wash out the B&M stores based on one poor salesman (crap salesman, actually, from your comments).

    In my experience the local Big Box stores have young kids working there who generally don't have a clue.

    In my area at the 'Mom & Pop' or smaller retail outlets, I have dealt with a few salesman who are not only knowledgeable, but willing to let me test drive gear at home, provide after sales service, don't sh*t on equipment you are looking for if they don't carry it, and have been more than willing to cut their prices to make sales. Listening Rooms are set up for various levels of price range, and they are more than happy to haul other gear in and out to let you hear what you are considering to buy.

    In 2 of the shops I have had full run of the listening rooms for as long as required with test CD'd and DVD's and SPL meter in hand. The one store I have not yet purchased anything in, so it is not a case of me spending big bucks to get good service.

    Perhaps I am lucky to live in a small area (the 'city' I live in has 50 thousand people, and the next 'city' 30 miles away I do business in has 100 thousand).
     
  4. Ernest Yee

    Ernest Yee Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Messages:
    539
    Likes Received:
    0
    His arguments on that equipment is just ridiculous. The Denon is a well respected unit - just as the Pioneer. His argument over the Axiom is just ridiculous b/c their business model is just to be an online online retailer to skip out on the middleman costs - such as your uninformed dealer.
     
  5. Mike Veroukis

    Mike Veroukis Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 8, 2001
    Messages:
    455
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Canada
    Real Name:
    Michael
    I wouldn't base my opinion on that class of store from just one visit. I've been to many different stores. Some are great, some are wieird and bizzare, others are just down right bad. I would imagine that we could easily collect a long list of on-line purchase horror stories as well.

    - Mike
     
  6. BrianTIR

    BrianTIR Extra

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2002
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    My biggest problem with the whole B&M store is the Manufacturer's telling us that we can only buy from them, that they offer excellent service and are approved to sell their great items and so on. When you finally arrive at the store if it's a good one, all is well but if it's not...
    Even if the store has snotty salesman at least have a good area for demonstrations and actual equipment in stock.

    My personal pet peeves with B&M stores:

    "We used to sell that line but we had to drop them to major quality issues" When saying you looked at brand that store doesn't sell it's always they dropped that line due to major problems with it. That could be true but it also could be true that the manufacturer dropped them or the store just choose not to carry that line for other reasons.

    "The brand is good but you really should go for this, it's so much better" When the salesman seems overly enthustiastic about a certain manufacturer's line of goods even though the store sells others. Sometimes it could be true, other times it's probably due to a bit more comission from the sale, but usually it just seems the guy's trying to convert you to what he thinks regardless of the truth.

    "No we don't have any of the new models in since we haven't sold out of last years model yet" Boy great so I can't hear the new models until the old ones sell out?

    "No we don't have any of last year models setup so you can at least listen to them" This speaks for itself.
     
  7. Marty M

    Marty M Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 1998
    Messages:
    2,917
    Likes Received:
    11
    I have had some bad experiences at one local store that I will not purchase from anymore. They had a serious issue of staff training and their knowledge was not any better than at Best Buy.

    At another store I have had nothing but great service. Yes they will tell you the virtues of the equipment they sell, but don't "bad mouth" the competition. This is going to happen everywhere, whether you buy locally or on the internet.
     
  8. JackS

    JackS Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Messages:
    634
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you know what you want and are ready to buy, ask if there any salesmen who own the receiver you are interested in. This may take a little luck but it can lead to some very livly and informative conversation. Personally I feel receivers nowa-days are a little to complicated to expect all sales persons to have a full understanding of major and minor differences between brands. Do your own research and form a few opinions of your own before hand. Opinions by sales people can be honest or dishonest, informed or un-informed, objective, subjective and even intentionly mis-leading. Trust your self to make decisions, not them to make decisions for you. If I make a mistake on a purchase, I will live with it and learn. If someone else makes a decision for me and it turns out bad, thats a bitter pill to swallow.
     
  9. Jonty Rees

    Jonty Rees Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    0
    I wouldn't be too hard on those B&M salesmen - they're just trying to make a crust. Let's face it, they get paid next to nothing, and if they were more capable, they would most likely be in a better job. (No offence to any capable, conscientious hifi salesmen out there). Add to this the problem of people coming in, demo'ing like crazy and then ordering off the web, and you have a recipe for disappointment. I guess it's just a matter of expectations.
     
  10. Dan Halchak

    Dan Halchak Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think it all depends on the people that own and run the store...

    I bought my B&Ws from a B&M (DM604s3, LCR600s3, DM602s3, DM601s3). I originally went between 2 stores until I felt comfortable buying from one of them. The one I went with was 24 miles further than the closer one. But what really sold me was the guy I worked with. He was very nice and decently knowledgeable. We demoed both Paradigm & the B&Ws and I chose what I chose. The best part of it, was he wasn't trying to force me to buy anything and kept saying that once you get them at home (he thought) either series I picked up I'd be pleased with. I definitely respected the guy when I told him I was getting the SVS PCi 20-39 and he said that it's a great subwoofer and for what they carried, he wouldn't try to sell me one (and couldn't match the price per peformance) with the models he carried. So right there when he basically flat out said, "you know what you're doing and what you're looking for, and we won't try to say you're wrong, but help you get what you want." I was sold. He said that he would demo both lines in my home, but they require a sale afterwards or I had to pay a fee (Can't remember what the cost was). I told him there was no need I already knew what both sets (paradigm & B&W) sounded like at friend's houses. He also (not that big of a deal) but hooked me up with over 100ft. of Monster Cable 12guage) for free - since I was buying the whole set 7.1 setup (minus the .1). Well it took me exactly 14 hours after leaving before I put my order in (went home to sleep on it just to make sure I wasn't rushing anything). Three days later I picked up everything but the 602s because he had to order them in the black ash for me because he didn't have them in stock.

    Needless to say I'm a very happy owner of an upgraded HT! Worked out quite nice when 5 days later a co-worker bought my old home theater off of me! [​IMG]
     
  11. John S

    John S Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Messages:
    5,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dan, that is a great experience, you have convinced me, I would buy from them as well, but alas, I am in the Denver area.

    There are no more audio places like that in this state, as far as I know of anyways. The last great one, closed shop quite a few years ago now.

    PS: If anybody knows of a retailer in Colorado, with that level of products, and that level of service, please let me know!!!!
     
  12. Alex Prosak

    Alex Prosak Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2001
    Messages:
    773
    Likes Received:
    1
    John,

    There is one place in CO that will give you good products and the best customer service I've ever had. They typically sell over the net only but some people do go to their offices to demo and pick things up...av123. They're pretty close to you too, check out their website and give them a call.
     
  13. John S

    John S Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Messages:
    5,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well next time I am out near Louisville, I will have to stop in for sure....

    I think, maybe they are to high end for me though...

    Good to know you have had great experiences with them though for sure.

    Ever since Listen Up home audio went south, I just have not found any good place to demo stuff.
     
  14. RobertJP

    RobertJP Auditioning

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    John,
    I purchased my B&Ws from ListenUp (here in Denver) 4 years ago from a guy that was very helpful. He has since moved to Commercial side. He recommended a guy to me that was supposed to be very good.

    I want to purchase my B&W rears from him, but so far he has come across as a person I don't want to do business with.

    I told him of my $648 3803 purchase and told me that wasn't a good investment - I should of bought a Rotel. ListenUp carries the full line of Denons. I'm sure Rotel is a decent product, but for my budget, I can't go that high right now. I told him that my sub died, he recommended a SPL1000. I mentioned SVS subs, and he said "Sounds like an internet special to me". In this day and age with the Internet so available to so many people, I'm surprised that salespeople don't do more research on the internet so that they are more informed.

    I too would like a new place to shop here in Denver area.
     
  15. Kenneth Harden

    Kenneth Harden Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Messages:
    1,365
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have yet to go to the local places in Reno, NV.

    There are three or four good ones (stuff they carry), and one near me specializes in Paradigm (including the Reference line), so it could be good.

    I know one place sells the JM Lab Utopia line!!!
     
  16. John Robert

    John Robert Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2003
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    0
    Kenneth:

    Hard to believe that Reno, "The Biggest Little City in the World", has so many good choices when Las Vegas is a mid to high end wasteland! I have to go to LA or Phoenix to see anything interesting. I go through Reno on my way to Tahoe, I'll have to check it out next time...
     
  17. Paul Fa

    Paul Fa Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2001
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nice input and experiences from all. I guess my main heartburn was that this particular B&M in Woodland Hills has been in business for many years and has a good rep - was an audio speciality store before video came along. I think it was more this one guy than the whole store, so maybe I'll give them a 3rd chance at my business, but will also visit a couple of other paradigm dealers in the LA area. For any of you who live in megopolis's like LA, you can appreciate what fun that will be this time of year - 2 hour drive to go 50 miles! Oh, well, tis the season!

    On another note, what do you think of the options I'm looking at? I'm leaning towards direct radiating rears since side placement of bi/dipoles will not be as easy in my room (would need to be above windows and openings at around 9'). The Axiom system I have no experience with and don't know anyone who has - but they are advertised on this and Audioholics, and have gotten great reviews. The Epic 80 system includes non direct radiating rears/sides - I would appreciate anyone with real world experience with paradigms and the Axioms to chime in!

    Thanks, and happy Holidays!
     
  18. AndrewKC

    AndrewKC Agent

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Paul, what store was this? I haven't been to too many stores down here in LA, but I did go to Shelley's stereo in the valley once, and I experienced the trashing of products that were not sold at the store. I also walked into a Ken Crane's also; the salesman I talked to wasn't very knowledgeable and was trying to convince me that the B&W 804's were the greatest speakers available, and he was doing me a huge favor letting me listen to them.
     
  19. Kenneth Harden

    Kenneth Harden Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Messages:
    1,365
    Likes Received:
    0


    From what I know:

    -Wild West - they just restructured and moved. They used to be a big screen place for blue collar workers (from what I gathered, just a place to blow your bonus), now they are in a much SMALLER building and look like a boutique HT place.

    -HT Electronics - they look like a pretty serious outfit. JM Labs Utopia, front projectors, etc.

    -Some place near Costco (Airport Square shopping center) - they have about a 200' front, are are very shallow (as in, like 6 stores merged together) and they have lots of hi-end Marantz TV's and such.

    I am a wuss and have yet to check them out, but I will VERY soon (after finals)
     
  20. Bill Polley

    Bill Polley Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2002
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    0
    twenty years ago (I was young and perhaps naive) I got into this hobby. At first it was "American TV" which around here is like Best Buy. Then I moved up to B&M stores such as Sound World and the Happy Medium. Over the years the B&Ms have changed. The ones around here have moved more into custom installations and whole house service, and really don't seem to care about "browsers" who come in to check out the latest and greatest.

    When I graduated from college, I drew up a business plan for a B&M A/V store. As I began to call mid-fi manufacturers (NAD, Klipsch-at that time they were more highly respected, B&W, HK, Rotel, Denon, Proton, etc) I found out about the protectionist territories. A B&M store has free reign on products within a certain radius. Markups are high. At the same time, while attempting to figure out a way to enter the arena of Mid-fi retail, I watched as mom and pop stores went under while mid-fi chains popped up, and eventually brands like Klipsch, Denon, Sony ES and HK began to migrate to the Best Buys of the world.

    At that point I gave up my ambitions to own a shop, and became less interested in what I saw as lower quality products. Gone were the great NAD classics with fantastic amps and FM tuners, quiet phono sections and preamps. In were 50 button neon AV recievers with hiss and hum and underpowered amps.

    Now we see a turnaround. Companies like SVS, Outlaw, Rocket, Axiom, ATI, and Ascend are offering better products at decent prices. They offer great customer service, in home trial periods, and fantastic warranties. Now instead of walking into a B&M and bullshitting with a sales guy for an hour twice a week while we listen to great music on great systems, I get on forums like this and discuss my needs, concerns, and desires, and buy from an internet only company. Then I try it out and either sing its praises to others on these forums, or send it back. (only sent one product back...and that for an upgrade!)

    Times have changed. You owe it to yourself to check out e-tailers...some of these firms are the new virtual B&Ms of our day.
     

Share This Page