Home Theatre Auditioning

Discussion in 'Displays' started by OwenF, Feb 17, 2006.

  1. OwenF

    OwenF Auditioning

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    I have a quick question:

    I could potentially drop $15K - $20K on a home theatre system and have quotes from a number of different shops.

    With different shops carrying different products, I have quotes on a number of different packages. Obviously I would only buy one package, and if they were smart would realize that I am talking with a number of dealers.

    Knowing this, is it innapropriate to have a number of dealers go through the time and trouble to create a home theatre system for me to audition prior to commiting to a purchase. Would they refuse or be accomodating given the amount of money I could potentially contribute to their shop, given your previous experiences.

    I would like to audition any setup I have been recommended to assist in allowing me to get the most bang for my buck. I don't mind the shops making a profit off of me, but I do not want to get hosed in the process.

    Any advice is appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Charlie Campisi

    Charlie Campisi Screenwriter

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    First, if you are spending that kind of money, I don't think you should worry about taking up too much of their time. Be respectful and be clear you are auditioning, but that's enough to buy a fairly well equipped Civic, they should put some effort into it.

    Second, let them know you want to see examples of their work. They could likely steer you to demos in their store, or even better to customers with good installs. Most people that have a nice HT love to show them off. Talking to those customers without your salesmen around would give you very valuable information about the work they did, their professionalism, whether they stood behind any problems after they were paid.

    Third, and probably most important, you need to do research on this site and others to learn something about what you are buying. There are lots of technical terms that bad salesmen will throw out just to pretend they are important. There are also places where they build in higher profit margins.

    You're at the beginning of the process. I'll bet that if you spend that kind of money, you'll be happy regardless. But if you want to do some homework first, you can make an informed purchase.
     
  3. Oren Paul

    Oren Paul Stunt Coordinator

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    Questions

    1.) Are you buying equipment and setting it up yourself for the amount mentioned or, on the other extreme, are you having a theater built from scratch, or something in between?

    2.) Do you intend to use any equipment you already own?
     
  4. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    15-20K is a lot for gear spending....perhaps / sometimes.

    If you are including installation / wiring etc etc....you are very likely a lower end client.

    A higher end PJ is still 7-14K, plus screen at 1-3K, plus speakers $$$$, wires etc etc.

    Custom remotes can run you 1-4K by them selves.

    Enough of my ramblings....

    15-20K can get you a very nice theater...but be prepared for the sales people (the custom guys...not Tweeter) to NOT jump all over for you.
     
  5. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Yeah, basically what gregg said.

    Yeah it sounds like a lot of money, but that is a budget that is easy to burn through VERY fast indeed for a custom, high-end type install shop. That being said, they may be able to provide the best system for this budget, but I wouldn't be expecting them to spend huge amounts of time doing a complete design for you in competition with other dealers. I don't think it would be unreasonable for them to give you an idea of what components they might think of using in a system at your budget, with whatever your main priorities are, and do some demos for you of what they have set up in their store (if applicable). But I don't think it would be reasonable for them to set up exactly what they are proposing, in a room exactly like yours.

    This all being said, make sure you don't forget about acoustics!!!
     
  6. Oren Paul

    Oren Paul Stunt Coordinator

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    If you are buying the parts and intergrating them into your theater yourself you can put together a "kick-ass" system you will enjoy for years. You don't have to spend over your budget for a great theater.

    Once you get started it is not as hard as it seems at first glance.
     
  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Let's break this down:

    Most places would NOT setup the exact equipment they want to sell you unless they only sell perhaps one or two brands of equipment and they sell you exactly what they have as a demo.

    Video: They SHOULD be able to show you the video display and let you see the difference between how the display handles DVD video and HD video. You might also want to look at how the display handles ordinary 1940's CATV video if you plan to watch any of this. Some displays do a better job with this than others.

    Speakers: Your room, and the placement of the speakers in your room - have a large effect on the sound. Even if they un-packed the exact equipment they would sell you and set it up in a demo room, it wont sound the same in your home. This is why having a exact demo is hard.

    What you can do is walk in with a favorite DVD and audio CD and listen. Speakers all have 'flavor' and this will give you a chance to experience how different speakers flavor the sound with material you are familar with. When in doubt - use the audio CD to pick your favorite speakers (music will show things about a speaker that a dialog-heavy movie will not).

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. PatWahlquist

    PatWahlquist Supporting Actor

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    Depending on your level of technical ability, as well as how much "construction" needs to be done, you should look at doing it yourself. I did most of mine myself (you can see my pictures by clicking on my signature or in the HTF toolbar in this message) and I found it much easier than I anticipated. I also spent a ton of time at HTF and other HT websites for info and tips. By the time I was done, I saved probably another 50% or more over my equipment budget.

    The only thing I couldn't do was the electrical wiring for power to the PJ, and while that was being done, I had the electrician run the video cables and speaker wires. The extra $100 for him running the wires saved me several hours of time and aggrivation.

    Save what you can for video and audio calibration, which may prove to be far more important to the final result than anything else.
     

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