HIgher education.

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by SteveMetcalf, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. SteveMetcalf

    SteveMetcalf Agent

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    I'm new to HTF, so I'm unsure as to whether or not this is the right place to post.
    I've recently changed careers. I was formerly an audio engineer working in recording and live sound re-enforcement. I am now working for a local(Kitchener-Waterloo region)independent home theater retailer. At work we have been toying around with the idea of holding some seminars to help educate consumers, and to help the more technically oriented customer achieve goals through better understanding of audio and video.
    I was wondering if anyone from this area would find this sort of thing helpful. In the audio realm, I was thinking about covering all aspects of the electronic process and the acoustic environment. One of our video experts is currently working on topics.
    If anyone is interested, please let met know. Also if there are specific areas of interest, that would also be very helpful as I consider what to teach, and when.
     
  2. Brad E

    Brad E Second Unit

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    That's a good idea, but my initial thought is what can you teach me that I can't readily find on this site, or one of the many other sites?
     
  3. Allen Ross

    Allen Ross Supporting Actor

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    the average person isn't gonna spend the time jumping from site to site covering the vast majority of information, plus if the salesman knows what he is talking about, he will make the sale rather then saying, this one will sound great.
     
  4. Brad E

    Brad E Second Unit

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    The average person won't spend time going to a seminar either. He's not looking to strictly educate the average person anyway.
     
  5. Patrick D

    Patrick D Stunt Coordinator

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    It would be nice to put real sound and video to what is discussed. For instance:

    - What is the difference between 720p and 1080i, and upscaled 480p? With real demo displays.

    - How do cables impact a system? With a few identical systems present to blind-test and demo.

    - How does volume impact the perception of sound? Again with a demo of two identical systems set up somewhat differently.

    - What is the best way to cable manage?

    - What is the difference between bookshelves and full range speakers? How does the sub impact? What crossover would you prefer, and how deep does the sub need to go? With demos of all this of course, so they can decide for themselves.

    - How far back from the screen should you sit? How high should the screen be?

    - DLP versus LCD versus etc... with samples.
     
  6. SteveMetcalf

    SteveMetcalf Agent

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    Brad E: You wrote:"That's a good idea, but my initial thought is what can you teach me that I can't readily find on this site, or one of the many other sites?"


    I don't know how to respond to this, since I don't know what your current level of knowledge is. I may not be acle to teach you anything at all. I don't know everything, but the information I have to offer is correct and that may be worth something to you. Why don't you let me know what sort of things you are curious about and I'll let you know if I can help, and how.

    Alan Ross You wrote: "the average person isn't gonna spend the time jumping from site to site covering the vast majority of information, plus if the salesman knows what he is talking about, he will make the sale rather then saying, this one will sound great."

    This is partly where I'm coming from. In the world of consumer advertising there are lots of claims being made that are directly converse to the laws of physics. These claims are misleading for the customer and fill peoples heads with ideas about what they want and oftentimes the features they are looking for will offer no real benefit to them. I think it's a shame that marketers treat the intellegence of a customer with such disrespect. One of my goals is to help educate my customers so they are confident that they have made the right decision. This is better for them, and for me since they will keep coming back.

    Brad E again: "The average person won't spend time going to a seminar either. He's not looking to strictly educate the average person anyway."

    I am looking for both they average Joe AND the audio/videophiles. I hope to review tha basics briefly using examples and demonstrations. This is to help the average Joe wrap his/her head around the tech stuff. Once the basics are understood, I would like to use them to illustrate the goals of designers when manufacturing audio gear - and how that relates to someones needs. Ultimately to progress into high fidelity equipment, meanings of specifications and the way they relate, acoustics and acoustic correction etc. etc.
    I have been told I'm a good teacher, and even the basics section will not be boring for a knowledgable individual.

    Patrick D: Good suggestions. Most of this is along the lines of what I was thinking. Including real demos & such. Thanks! Are you local? would you be interested in coming?
     
  7. Brad E

    Brad E Second Unit

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    Steve, the point I'm trying to make is that every topic imaginable (and then some) has already been discussed multiple times on this forum and many others.

    A quick search will usually bring up answers to even the most complicated of questions.
    Many experts from various fields are members of this forum and frequently post very enlightening info. Roger Dressler from Dolby laboratories comes to mind.

    I started out in this hobby a year and a half ago knowing just the very basics. I've learned a lot since then without hardly ever having to ask a question because all this info is already archived here.

    I'm not trying to discourage you, I think what you're doing is a great idea.

    Really the only thing that I would be interested in is what Patrick suggested. Real world demonstrations. A-B comparisons between cables, pj screens, displays, speakers, dvd players, etc.
    I already have a pretty good idea from my own tests and reading. But I would like to hear/see everything for myself and I don't have access to all these things.

    Of course I live in Alberta so it doesn't matter anyway.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. SteveMetcalf

    SteveMetcalf Agent

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    Brad, I agree with your points, they are valid. I suppose I should have clarified more clearly what my objectives were, and how I wish to accomplish them. I primarily want to help educate the consumer. People of all levels of knowledge. For this I need to consider a complete explaination of terms, and a basic understanding of the applicable laws of physics. I intend to do this by using correct terms and languages, explaining them clearly and by offering examples and demonstrations to make this information real to everyone.

    After doing this I think that looking at features, specifications, examples and live demonstrations will again make the differences between products more tangible. The intention here is to help those who are interested in new products make a confident decision because they now fully understand what all the features and specs are, and what it means to them when buying.

    For the more knowlegable participants, we will get into any topic that comes up. Cable properties, acoustic engineering, speaker design, amplifier classes, impedance issues, slew rate, filter types psychoacoustics, you name it, we'll get into it.

    The overall result will be (hopefully) everyone comes away having fun, feeling good about the experience, and also about our company.

    I also want consumers in the Kitchener Waterloo region to know what my company has to offer them. I want people to know that we care before and after the sale is made, I want them to know that we have the most knowlegable sales team around, the best service department and that we will give them accurate and clear information about a purchase so that they are confident the right purchase has been made.

    In a nutshell, this will not be for HTF members only, but for everyone who is interested in learing something new about a/v technology.

    If anyone (not from alberta [​IMG])is interested in attending please let me know, I will r.s.v.p you and arrange for a special discount on any a/v purchases you might want to make. Also if you would like to see comparisons between specific products I would be happy to arrange it.

    Cheers.
     
  9. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Since I am an electrical engineer I tend to get a lot of questions from family and friends.
    Since info hits them from all sides I try to clear it up.
    I ask them why would they want something....most of the time they want it for all the wrong reasons.
    Can they or should they try xxxxxxx.Some friends can barely plug in a phone but they think they should be on wireless internet or something.
    HT and whole house audio or 2 subjects many would like a little education in.
    Price range, how to hook it up. Why their $2k Bose sounds like crappy $59 Chinese knock off.
    What a good system should sound like and how much.
    I find most people are blown away by my system.
    Last week I showed off Goodbye Yellow Brick Road SACD to some friends.
    My buddies girlfriend was so impressed she went out and bought a bunch of DTS CDs @$20 a piece and then was pissed she only heard static because she couldn't decode them.
    Never asked me so I couldn't tell her but High End 5.1 Music is another good class.
    I was told many times by friends HDTV is a waste and they dont care.
    The moment they see it the jaw drops and they retract their statements. Most box stores have HDTV looking like crap so that's all they know...
    Good Luck
     
  10. MarkRoberts

    MarkRoberts Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree with Grant B. Your biggest problem is pre-concieved notions and the big "chain stores".
    Everyone that knows me knows Im really into my HT. So I am constantly asked how does this work? What about that? etc.
    One thing that most people who "jump" into HT and such don't know is how to properly set-up the system (audio or video) to begin with. They put the speakers where its appealing visually or out of the way and don't know why the imaging is all screwed up.
    My GF's brother-in law for example. He asked what system could he get for XXX amount of money. I recomended the best one I could which was a Onkyo HTinabox, but it actually had a seperate reciever so he could upgrade. I spent the time to calibrate the sytem with a spl meter.It sounded pretty darn good for what it cost. Not a week goes by and he cranks up the surrounds, sub and totally screws it up. He thinks he has a 5.1 set-up they should all be playing all the time. I tried to explain that isn't how most movie soundtracks are mastered. He was actually watching movies in 5 ch. stereo "cause it sounds better".Then he gets pissed cause mine sounds better, but he wont listen to me.
    The two most helpful things I have come across is a article descibing the proper way to set-up a 5.1/7.1 system speaker placement and calibration with a spl meter. Then another on how to properly calibrate your display using avia or video essentials.
    I already had a 5.1 system when I read the spl calibration so I ran out and go the meter and when I was done I couldn't believe how much better the modest system I had sounded. It was like I upgraded my entire system for $30.00.
    The same with the video essentials.
    I am stunned at how most people don't undetstand on how to hook up the htib's they buy and the wires are color coded! Or they take them back cause its too complicated two people I know did that!
    -Good luck
     
  11. SteveMetcalf

    SteveMetcalf Agent

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    Grant!...."Why their $2k Bose sounds like crappy $59 Chinese knock off."[​IMG]
    I don't think I'm allowed to comment on this, since we sell bose at our store.:b
    What I can say is: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA....
    For the record, I don't sell a lot of bose product(personally).

    What you guys are talking about is exactly the thing I'm trying to accomplish. People know what they wan't, but they can't articulate it, and there's so much marketing B ull and misinf O rmation S out th E re that no one knows which side is up. Especially the box stores! I am hoping that this project will benefit everyone in some way. Newbies can get solid basics, intermediates can expand knowledge, experts can have a discussion and share opinions(maybe we will all learn something new), and hopefully the store will get some business out of it.
     
  12. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Cinematographer

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    Steve, go for it. People are woefully uneducated about A/V. You'll make them more confident and hopefully more resistant to advertising and pushy salespeople in the big box stores.

    One thing people are really clueless about is acoustic room treatment. For relatively little money, they can improve the "sound" of a room far more than moving up the cost scale for any piece of gear. Teach them about room treatments and think about selling some of the products at your store.
     

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