General traps to avoid!!???

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rod Melotte, Jan 14, 2002.

  1. Rod Melotte

    Rod Melotte Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 7, 2002
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    I'm looking into buying a digital reciever and 3 speakers to compleat my HT.

    Anything the salesmen might tell me that wil be unneeded? Buzz words that mean nothing and so forth.

    I'm HOPING to spend 7-800 bucks 300 on a reciever and 4-500 on the middle and L/R Speakers.
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Aug 5, 1999
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    Katy, TX
    Real Name:
    FIrst, welcome to the Forum!
    It helps to be educated going into these situations. What I usually do when shopping for something new and unfamiliar is do some research first. It’s better to be educated and have some idea of what you are looking for before going in; then you won’t have to worry about “buzz words.”
    For instance, you see some headphones with “DIGITAL” emblazoned on the box or display. “Digital” is a common buzzword these days. If you’re uneducated you’ll see these headphones and say, “Ooh, must be good.” However, those who know better will know that “digital” has nothing to do with headphones, cassette tapes or fast-food burgers, and immediately recognize those headphones for what they probably are, i.e., junk.
    At any price range there are products that put a preference on performance at the expense of some features, products that sacrifice performance to deliver the most features, as well as anything in between. Take a look at manufacturer’s web sites for the equipment. Check on-line reviews. If you don’t understand some of the features or technicalities you can post questions here on the Forum and get some answers (people do it all the time).
    Decide what is important to you, then narrow your field to something like two to four items. Post questions on this Forum asking for feedback from owners. Then go to the store and get some hands-on time. Things like the way it looks, the way the controls feel and how well you like the remote will help make a final decision.
    Good Luck,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
  3. Ron Eastman

    Ron Eastman Second Unit

    Aug 10, 2000
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    Wayne's points are very good ones. In addition to that I would warn you to watch out when the salesman tries to push the accessories or extended warranties on you since those are the most common tactics they employ.

    The markup on accessories is huge and companies like Monster Cable have built a huge following for their overpriced wares. Make sure to check out the lower priced competition such as Accoustic Research (generally regarded as equal to or better than Monster) or the somewhat higher price (but higher quality) that are offered by Better Cables and other online companies. Many get great results from cabling offered by Radio Shack or Home Depot. Don't fall prey to snake-oil sales tactics in this area.

    As you may know, extended warranties are huge moneymakers for electronics stores. Since consumers usually notice manufacturing defects right away, it is rare for electronics to fail (except due to misuse) between the time the warranty expires and the 3-5 years that an extended warranty would be in effect. It's best to take your chances rather than gamble with their insurance.
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    May 22, 1999
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    Rod: take a look at this that another member is considering:
    The Receiver is Onkyo with Dolby Digital, DTS and Dolby ProLogic II. Binding posts all around. Onkyo is a respected name brand.
    The JBL speaker package and Sony SWMA sub is also a set that has a good reputation around here.
    Not a bad system at all.
  5. John Sully

    John Sully Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 25, 1999
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    Most everyone here will disagree with me, but I would recommend checking out the yearly buying guide issue of Consumer Reports. They generally provide a fairly concise overview of the marketplace and explain most of the buzzwords which actually mean anything. You might also check out the primer at They generally have pretty good advice, but take their recommendations on cables and interconnects with a grain of salt.
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    May 8, 2001
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    hmm...too much to discuss. please allow me to ramble:
    Watts Per Channel
    for receivers, this is a BIGGIE. try to remember that just because a receiver says 100w/ch it is not necessarily better than a receiver running 75w/ch. a better performing receiver will sound better at lower watts. kind of like a porsche and a honda: both have 6-cylinders, but which one do you think will do better. if you have to go with watts, try to get a "standard" reading. it'll look something like:
    105 watts x5 channels into 8 ohms from 20 Hz to 20 kHz with 0.05%thd.
    that usually gives us a pretty accurate measurement. watts per channel, into how many channels, into what speaker load, across what frequency response, with what thd (total harmonic distortion).
    DSP (Digital Sound Processing)
    a lot of salespeople (for whatever reason) like to show off these fancy sound modes: church, hall, opera, etc. in my opinion, none of these ever sound any good. don't factor that in when making your purchase unless you like these things. as long as it has dd/dts/dpl2 you should be fine.
    Extended Warranties
    well, just like any other warranty, you hate to pay for it but sure are glad if you end up needing it. generally i don't buy warranties, but there are some benefits. my favorite benefit is the "no lemon" policy: if the same thing breaks three times, on the fourth you automatically get a new one. this is a pretty typical feature. some people have definitely found this advantageous
    Interconncts & Wire
    this is another very subjective area. you can spend tons of money here and when you read the packaging, you'll think you're buying something used on the space shuttle. i absolutely recommend you buy some "decent" quality cabling: rat-shack or acoustic research come to mind. then buy yourself some "hi-end" cable (that you can return) and see for yourself if you hear a difference.
    imo, the other BIGGIE. completely subjective here. if you hear it and like it, then that's all that matters. don't worry about any buzz-words here. buy from a reputable company and you'll be fine.
    okay...i'm done rambling...thanks for listening! [​IMG]

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