How do you proceed when you go out to buy speakers?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Guillaume H, Feb 11, 2003.

  1. Guillaume H

    Guillaume H Auditioning

    Jan 28, 2003
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    Like I said in another post, I went to listen to a couple of speakers while I was at the mall the other day, but I wasn't too sure how to proceed and I was still a bit intimidated by everything. I'm young (20) and I feel like salesmen look "down" on me because at first sight, I'm sure they don't expect me to buy anything.

    When you go to the specialised store, how do you do it?

    How long to you listen to each set of speakers? 1 min? 5 mins? 15 mins?

    Do you listen to very high volumes?

    Do you listen for anything in particular or simply for the "feeling" they give?

    I guess it makes a lot of sense to bring your own music, but is there a style of music that exploits lows and highs at the same time (I would guess Classical... like orchestras)?

    Any additionnal details you want to mention?

    I hope this can help other people too
  2. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

    Sep 23, 2002
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    Basically, you need to find a store that will let you A/B two pairs of speakers in which you are interested. Give the salesperson your CD and tell them the speakers you want to hear. Naturally, they have to both be fed from the same switch (everything running out of the same disc player, same amplification).

    You do not need to listen to each speaker for an extremely long period of time for an A/B comparison. The idea is to just hear the speaker long enough to get an impression of its sound. Thirty seconds will usually do it. Then ask the salesperson to play the same passage again from your CD (it's easiest to make it the first 30 seconds of the track) for the second speaker.

    When you narrow the choice down to a few finalists, you might want to spend a little more time listening in the store.

    But it's better to hear the speaker at home, getting an idea of how it sounds with your gear and in your listening room. Most good specialty audio shops will allow you to return a speaker for exchange credit if you are not happy with the sound when you get it home.

    Because they have better service, and usually sell the better brands of speakers, it is best to stick with a store that sells only audio or A/V gear rather than buying from a large electronics chain store.
  3. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    May 8, 2001
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    iver nailed all the good points, so i'll just ramble a little.

    bring music that you're very familiar with. i created a mix cd with lots of different styles of music that i know to take with me when i audition speakers. the music is across the board, with all sorts of styles. i did this because some speakers are better at one thing (like bass) but lousy at another (like female vocals).

    make sure you listen to as many speakers as you can - whether it's in your price range or not. that way you'll have something to gauge your experience on.

    remember that no matter what the speaker sounded like in the showroom, it will sound different at home. i'll bet iver's paycheck on that! [​IMG] make sure the store offers a no-hassle return policy. if they offer a upgrade policy all the better. make sure there are no b.s. restocking fees.

    if you forget everything that i've typed, don't forget this: sound is subjective - all that matters is that the speakers sound good to you!

    how many speakers are you buying? just the mains or a whole 5.1 setup? keep the concept of timbre matching in mind. if possible you want to choose speakers from the same line - that way they'll all sound the same. so the motorcycle in the left speaker won't sound like a moped in the center speaker.
  4. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

    Apr 9, 2000
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    Portland, OR
    Real Name:
    The HTF FAQ has a few answers to that question...
  5. TylerZ

    TylerZ Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 3, 2001
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    As far as being intimidated by the salesperson your homework. Look up the speakers that interest you on the manufacturers website, almost every speaker manufacturer has one. Get to know the type of speaker (woofer/tweeter/crossover) used by the manufacturers in their respective lines, the size of the drivers, crossover frequencies, etc. Buy now you probably know more about the product than salespeople at places like BB & CC.
    Take some notes and bring them along, add to them while auditioning. Make sure you let the salesperson know you're serious about buying. Ask for his/her business card. Remember, it's your money. If they treat you with no respect go elsewhere. Or go find the manager and ask them if they could find you a salesperson that will treat you better. It's been said before, but I'll repeat it - trust your ears. A salesperson may stear you toward one particular make because of their commision. Don't buy on your first visit, go back and listen a couple times. You'll spend some time shopping, but remember, you'll spend alot more time listening to them in your house so get you money and efforts worth.
  6. Ottis Fletcher

    Ottis Fletcher Stunt Coordinator

    May 16, 2002
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    Im all so young (22) but I look like Im 16, so right away I get no respect, expect for a few. They stop looking down on me the second the I show them up at their own game. I got offered a job at Best Buy selling home audio and video equipment on the spot after BS with a sales guy for about 2 hours. So pretty much try to know your stuff before going in and thats all it really takes.

    First do your research on all the different kinds of speakers your looking at, visiting home theater forums and review sites, %99 of the time everyone will agree on one of them being the best.

    Listening at a electronics store or the mall does not give a good representation of what it will sound like in a smaller environment with low gage speaker wires properly set up.

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