Technophobe learns to stop worrying and love home theater. Dave gets an audio system.

Jack Briggs

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Jun 3, 1999
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Brief update:

Dave now has a home theater. And those Energy sats have an impressively transparent midrange, with good dispersion and minimal beaming (if any).

Thing is, Dave is one of those sorts of people for whom what would normally be an afternoon-long project becomes a marathon. Didn't get home until 8:30 last night and I was exhausted. Screened a movie in my bedroom system and could barely keep my eyes open.

So, frankly, I'm just scanning the boards today. A detailed account of this adventure — and "adventure" is an accurate description — is forthcoming. Perhaps tomorrow.

One brief note: Given the pathetic level of knowledge by clerks at a number of big-box stores in the San Fernando Valley and given where Dave is in his home-theater quest, there's no way he or any other beginner to this hobby would ever be able to get it right. As Dave noted yesterday, "You're on your own."

He really needed me. I can't believe what I saw at the Radio Shack, good guys!, Best Buy, and even Frye's in the Valley.

How do newbies get started in home theater if they have no prior knowledge of consumer audio electronics? Amazing that this hobby survives.

As I said, full report coming.
 
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Unfortunately, Sam's Club Bose Demonstrations. Or Walmart's Home Theater in a Box (whatever brand).

There's one thing that really gets me going. We have a new Fry's here in Atlanta. Nice store. But the high end room is all bose and the demo room is the Denon's, onkyo's and harmon - Kardon stuff. WTH? I asked the sales guys what the deal was and he claimed that the rooms got all mixed up and they just never moved the name plates. uhh, huh. Let's see, the H-K high end goes for what? $1200? The medium Bose goes for what? $3000? Yea, right, the rooms got mixed up. Show the high priced, err, crap, in the high end room. What is the average Joe or Jane gonna think? I ended up walking out with the H-K AVR-630 for a pretty good price, but there were ALOT of people in the "high end" room. heard alot of oohs and ahhs. **shudder**
 

Jack Briggs

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Jun 3, 1999
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Thanks, Matt. I'll provide the complete update sometime tomorrow afternoon. Utterly inundated with work. Last time Dave called, though, he's very happy with his system. I'm amazed he can even operate it, though.
 

Jack Briggs

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"So is DTS better than Dolby?" Dave asked at the end of a long, long day.

And with that, five and a half years of HTF life flashed before my eyes. "Dave," I said, "that's something you're going to have to decide. Some DTS tracks sound better than Dolby Digital, while some Dolby tracks sound better than DTS. It's a raging debate with no winner. And, man, it's past 8 and I want to go home."

Talk about an odyssey. Despite an early start, I was unable to begin hooking up Dave's new system until well after 2 in the afternoon. All because the San Fernando Valley's big-box stores do not stock even the most basic items.

A Radio Shack manager of questionable intellectual capacity informs me that, no, they do not stock 14-gauge wire. No 14-gauge? Nor did this same store even have a male-to-male audio cable for connecting a powered subwoofer to a receiver.

The awful Good Guys! store only had Monster Cable. For $50 in a 40-foot run. And pathetic service. We left.

It was Frye's that offered hope. This store, too, had a $50, 40-foot run of Monster. But sitting next to it was a Philips-branded 50-foot run of 14-gauge wire. Price? $11.95.

"Which do you prefer, Dave?"

No-brainer.

And this is how the day went.

In times past, I've cringed when seeing yet another thread here at HTF decrying the competence of clerks in such stores. Yet, last Saturday brought it all home to me.

As I said earlier, one really has to wonder how people are able to get into home theater correctly. I've never seen such rampant ignorance in stores.

Some of Dave's co-workers have not helped. When he told them about the equipment he purchased the previous weekend, they ridiculed him by noting that all he had to do was go to Target or some other store and, as Dave told it, "get a complete system for only $300 or $400."

We have seen the much-maligned "Joe Six-Pack," and he is all around us. Everywhere. Selling audio equipment at Best Buy to people who know even less than he.

Dave is very lucky.

"You know, Dave," I pointed out after his copy of Moulin Rouge had been running for ten minutes, "the sound you're hearing now -- in what easily is an entry-level but legitimate home-theater system -- blows away anything you will hear in one of your co-workers' homes. Be proud. But also read these manuals." I stuck the Denon's poorly written owner's manual in his hands.

"Learn about what I've shown you today."

For his part, Dave did help in the assemby process by putting together the (quite nice) speaker stands himself and by stripping some of the speaker wire terminators. He even watched as I methodically went about connecting everything (this puppy only needed to consult the manuals when it came time to set up the receiver and assign the inputs, as well as getting the eight-inch woofer set up properly).

In a rare act of kindness, Dave bought me a 30-pack of Tecate.

Now the lunk is in bliss, calling me sporadically as he rediscovers his DVDs ("Jack, Saving Private Ryan is awesome!").

And I have to say it: Those Energy Take 5.2s and the S8 really work nicely with the Denon 1705. That midrange is remarkably transparent.

So the DVD-a-phobic Luddite who so angered me a year and a half ago now is pondering the differences between DTS and Dolby Digital.

Who woulda thunk?
 

EugeneR

Second Unit
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Mar 9, 2000
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263
quote:We have seen the much-maligned "Joe Six-Pack," and he is all around us. Everywhere. Selling audio equipment at Best Buy to people who know even less than he.




I think most of the guys selling at Best Buy are actually "one beer short of a six-pack" types.
 

Zen Butler

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Jan 24, 2002
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Zen K. Butler
quote:So the DVD-a-phobic Luddite who so angered me a year and a half ago now is pondering the differences between DTS and Dolby Digital.




Brilliant, mission accomplished.



Is this The Dave Chronicles coda? If so, a great series finale.
 

Carlo Medina

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Oct 31, 1997
Messages
12,004
Just wanted to chime in on how impressed I was with those Energy 5.2s as well. I helped a friend about a year ago build a $1000 HT (audio side limit, he bought a $2K 65" Sony HDTV) and he chose those as the speakers for it

Of course, having a fairly mid to hi-mid-fi system myself, I was really dubious about it, but hey, for $1K amp included, what could you expect

After setting it up (me and Jack have to be in the running for "best HT friend to have") over a Saturday, I was actually impressed. No, they're not going to replace your B&Ws, Paradigms, NHTs or Axioms, and the "sub" isn't going to scare an SVS, but I'd be damned if for $1K that isn't a nice sounding system.

Now I have a baseline for when my parents want to move up next year (having just bought a 65" Tosh themselves). Of course, I'll have to drive 330 miles to set it up for them, but hey, they did raise me...
 

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