How to politely tell people that they need to match their 5(6,7) speakers?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MatthewJ S, Jan 20, 2002.

  1. MatthewJ S

    MatthewJ S Supporting Actor

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    I work selling A/V equipment and since dd and dts (as well as other discrete, multi-channel formats) have become the standard (as opposed to the old dsp and dpl days)I am often faced with customers that have good (even great)gear that is un-balanced(ie; Kef referance fronts, a Sonus Faber center, and B&W surrounds possibly with 2 or more types of amps running them!). Now, I'm not talking about the few customers that are 95% two channel music with a small side of surround, or the guy who only owns these because they were hand-me-downs, but rather, I'M curious about how to politely adress the guy who thinks he has a great system because, individually, he has made good purchases.I went to tour my local competitor(a little higher-end than I)with a man whose name is well known nationally in the buisness(though whose face is not) and after listening to a mismatched system in one of their "higher-end" rooms he said to me (privately) " WHAT A SHAME THEY DIDN'T MATCH UP THE WHOLE 'BRAND X' SYSTEM, I'VE HEARD THAT AND IT SOUNDS GREAT". So, I asked him what I should do when confronted with a customer who wishes to use 'brand x' mains, 'brand y' ceneter, etc..His response was,"Tell them NO"....

    He is not involved in the retail sales end of the buisness, so I'm looking for better ideas......
     
  2. Sean M

    Sean M Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I would start by getting them to match the front 3 speakers properly. It's really far less important to match fronts to surrounds, unless they want to listen to multi-channel music. I worked in retail sales for 4 years (Best Buy), and I still offer advice to random people walking around there and in high end shops too. Start by asking them why they made the choices that they made and then ask them if they are aware that the uniformity of the soundfield would be greatly improved by matching the speakers correctly. Before that, you may want to ask if they've noticed a shift in timbre as sound move across the front three speakers or from front to back. If they say "no", ask them to listen for it the next time they play their system and explain the concept of matching speakers. I find that once you ask people the correct questions and then offer suggestions based on their answers, they are far more likely to listen to you.
     
  3. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    Honestly it all comes down to luck. You really got to earn the customer's trust. If the customer thinks you know nothing then no matter what you say they'll take it a bit offensive. Sometimes all it takes is one mistake before a customer tunes you out. I know because I tend to do that. There are lots of salespeople who are only good for getting the price.

    I think the best way is to be honest and say what you think. Ie. that you think he/she made great individual choices but for HT purposes he/she might want to think about getting a center speaker that matches his mains in timbre.
     
  4. MatthewJ S

    MatthewJ S Supporting Actor

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    Maybe I should clarify,,, I KNOW WHY ALL THE SPEAKERS IN THE SYSTEM SHOULD BE MATCHED, and how to explain it. The problem comes when I try to delicately tell people that their (otherwise) good (or great ) speakers, while seperately acceptable, combine to make a very bad system!The problem is their ego ,sensibilities and inability to have sought out good advice BEFORE spending a lot of money poorly......I am an extremely competent salesperson, but it is not easy telling people that they have made a mistake that may have cost them a lot of money....HELP!!!!
     
  5. Steve Zimmerman

    Steve Zimmerman Second Unit

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    Matthew, why on earth would you tell someone he has "a very bad system" or that he has made a past mistake? Once he's spent the money there's really nothing to be gained by making him feel bad about his decision.

    If you feel that there are speaker-matching problems, you could politely say the following:

    "Y'know, I'm sure you are already aware of this, but ideally all of your speakers would be timbre matched. Some people notice the difference and others do not. I'll leave it up to you. Here are your options as I see it: (1) upgrade all five speakers simultaneously, (2) try to match the speakers you are about to buy with ones you already have--I'd be happy to make some suggestions--or (3) choose the speakers you like best and try them at home to make sure you find the match to your liking. Which approach would you prefer to take?"

    --Steve
     
  6. Richard O

    Richard O Auditioning

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    I'd like to jump into the middle of this as a customer looking for a center speaker to match up with some old, but I don't want to give 'em up because they sound great to me speakers (JBL's with a 15" woofer and a mid-range horn) from the 60's. My first try was a Technics, but I apparently put too much power into them and broke it. Now I have a slightly more expensive Technics center speaker, but I can't get the level balanced. When you get voice volume up to an acceptable level out of the center speaker, the left & right JBL's play the "ambient" sounds way too loudly. It was so bad that I disconnected the center speaker and reset up my Sony DE445 Receiver accordingly. I think it has something to do with the relative efficiencies of the center versus the left and rights. I'm thinking I need to find a center with the same efficiency as the left and right. I'm probably not defining my problem as specifically as I should, but I need to start somewhere. Any thoughts/suggestions will be appreciated.
     
  7. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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  8. Bill Leber

    Bill Leber Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark is absolutly right, no one needs unsolicited advice, but if they ask you your opinion of their system...
    Richard: I think you answered your own question. Sensitivity makes a huge difference when it comes to horn loaded speakers. You should try a horn loaded center channel like a Klipsch. Not only will the sensitivity be higher it's more likely to soud like the JBLs than a direct radiator.
    I'd go to www.klipsch.com and ask on their forum which center channel to consider. Many of those guys are also big fans of JBL and Altec.
     
  9. Terry Wysocki

    Terry Wysocki Stunt Coordinator

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    Now I'm really puzzled about what to do for a center channel. I bought a house with speakers built into the wall. The "Sonance Cinema system two.lcr" (see the specs) speakers are about a grand each so I'd like to NOT throw them out. I wanted a center channel that could sit on top of my base cabinet below the screen and would take up a little vertical space as possible (6"-10" hopefully). I'm driving it with a Denon 5800. Any suggestions on a speaker and a place with a good price?
     
  10. MatthewJ S

    MatthewJ S Supporting Actor

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    Clearly, I don't hand out unsolicited advice,and I would never tell a customer that their system is bad. I wouldn't make a customer with the worst possible equipment think that I believed that their system is "bad"!!!My problem is that my advice is solicited all the time,not just at work ,but also at the homes of friends and relatives and I always find ways of offering helpful suggestions on how to make things "a little" better(usually without indicating that anything is wrong).The problem is SPECIFICALLY with people who have spent money on good equipment,who were either misguided by someone else or didn't look at the system as a whole, who can afford to fix the problem if they could do so without feeling like they had exercised anything other than perfect judgement in the first place...

    ie; I often say "well sir as I'm sure your aware with your older pro-logic pre-amp that you are replacing, voice matching your surrounds to your main speakers was not as imperative as it will be with your new pre-amp.If you like I can show you surrounds that are matched to your front speakers."...But what to tell the nice guy who has a good amp already but wants to audition others because he wants a better sound out of his (grossly mis-matched,albieted, expensive) system?--------- Specifically , I want them to have a good system without ever having to think that they perhaps, purchased the wrong speakers (especially when the purchase was recent ,from another retailer) without looking like I'm just trying to sell them something they already have. -- "sir , maybe you should try the speakers that the manufacture makes to match your mains, that might give you the more deep soundstage and full sound you've said you're looking for."......"NO, son I've listened to a lot of surround speakers and the guy at store "x" showed me how the ones he had were the best in their class...I don't need other surrounds, the $900 speakers I just bought are not why my system doesn't sound right"---That's my dilemma!!--Imagine the statement we've all heard before..."I bought the best speakers their are... I bought Bose..."---Delicately respond...
     

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