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#391004 - 03/15/13 03:10 PM Idiots are abound...
nickbuol Offline

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 5393
Loc: Marion, IA
Some of you may remember that a few months back, I offered a coworker to not only select quality home theater equipment, but to also install it all, and provide both audio and video calibration.

Well, I was never taken up on the offer, and today I visited his house over lunch while the installers were finishing up.

I really wish that I could tell him how screwed over he got, but at this point, the money is paid and the dead is done. No sense in making him feel bad since he is pretty excited about it.

However, I felt the need to come here and gripe of course. At least (most of) you will understand.

He got a kick butt Sony projector, but paid MSRP for it (ouch).

He received crappy in-ceiling "whole house audio" level speakers for his fronts and 4 surround channels (the surrounds are all on the ceiling and the speakers aren't tilt-able even). YUCK!

He got a 1 year old model Integra (Onkyo's "installer" brand) receiver that doesn't even have any built in Audyssey calibration, and has very few internet audio options which brings me to....

They added a $900 package to get the overprices, 1 year old model Integra to have better internet connectivity. Ouch again.

They also put in a nice, but super pricey sub. A Monitor RSW-12 that shows up on their web site as a "past product". WTH? Not even a current product. And he paid $1500 for it. Can I shoot them yet?!

So here we are, and I am biting my tongue because I don't want my coworker to feel bad, but I really want to lay it on to the installer that is saying how awesome everything is.

So let me finish with this. He has The Matrix DVD (not blu-ray but fine, he is just testing) in and is using that movie to "calibrate" everything. No test tones, no individual speaker setup, just listening to a movie.

He then hooks up the sub, and cranks it. He says, "I've only got it at 3/4 of the power. Well, first off, that is pretty damn 'hot' for a sub. I mean, my SVS runs somewhere between 1/4-1/8 of the total gain available, and it is running a few dB hotter than true calibrated level for my room. The Monitor sub sounded terrible and way too overpowering during the scene in The Matrix where the go into the building with all of the guns and set off the metal detectors. The installer was like, "Yeah, that sounds great. You can feel the bass." I couldn't hold back, I had to speak up and say, that is way too much bass, it is overpowering the front channels and sounds boomy, it should be no more than 50% (trying to not totally piss people off). He turned it down to about 40% and the coworker said, "yeah, that sounds better. Lots of bass, but not too much."

Nice calibration. Crank things up to ridiculous levels because the average person thinks that louder equals better.

As I was leaving, I said, let me know when you get all settled in and we will tune it to your liking. I am not going to do a full calibration of anything, but I will tweak things a little more so that they sound good at least.

But my gosh, these people are making a buttload of money selling overpriced, under-featured components and not even attempting to make it sound right. If I could make a lot of money, not need to know anything, but pretend and lie to make people think that I am "all that", I'd get into the home theater installation industry. Either that or I'd become a politician.
2-M60s, VP180, 8-M3s, SVS 20-39PCi, DIY Sub, 8-Shakers, JVC RS45, Anthem MRX-1120

#391005 - 03/15/13 04:08 PM Re: Idiots are abound... [Re: nickbuol]
tomtuttle Offline

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8488
Loc: Tacoma
Ouch, indeed.

You hate to see that happen to people you care about, especially when it could have been avoided.

I've thought about trying to get into that industry but, on a fundamental level, I just don't enjoy climbing around in attics and basements very much.
bibere usque ad hilaritatem

#391008 - 03/15/13 04:31 PM Re: Idiots are abound... [Re: tomtuttle]
nickbuol Offline

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 5393
Loc: Marion, IA
Originally Posted By: tomtuttle

I've thought about trying to get into that industry but, on a fundamental level, I just don't enjoy climbing around in attics and basements very much.

Two words...
Sub - Contractors

OK, so it is one, hyphonated word...

Of course, that cuts into profits, but then again, when you are making it hand-over-fist...

NOTE: I know that there are some very good installers out there, but clearly the market here and a lot of places has crap.
2-M60s, VP180, 8-M3s, SVS 20-39PCi, DIY Sub, 8-Shakers, JVC RS45, Anthem MRX-1120

#391012 - 03/15/13 07:38 PM Re: Idiots are abound... [Re: nickbuol]
CatBrat Offline

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 6015
Loc: Milky Way Galaxy
You know it's going to sound bad when he doesn't have 20 speakers plastered around the front wall.

#391013 - 03/15/13 07:46 PM Re: Idiots are abound... [Re: CatBrat]
nickbuol Offline

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 5393
Loc: Marion, IA
Originally Posted By: CatBrat
You know it's going to sound bad when he doesn't have 20 speakers plastered around the front wall.

Hey, you can come work for our company. You can sell clients on the need for 20 speakers up front!
2-M60s, VP180, 8-M3s, SVS 20-39PCi, DIY Sub, 8-Shakers, JVC RS45, Anthem MRX-1120

#391015 - 03/15/13 10:46 PM Re: Idiots are abound... [Re: nickbuol]
dakkon Offline

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 1863
Nick, the bottom line is that company doesn't give a crap about their product... They just need to make it sound some what acceptable and collect their cash.....

The worst part is, it's a co-worker.. So, you cant really be too honest, depending on the relationship you have with this guy.. I'm gonna guess he is sold semi easily by brand names, and perceived reputation/knowledge?

BTW, has he seen your basement? if he hasn't, you may not want to have him come over, because i would bet your install is WAY WAY better than what he is getting.. And at a MUCH lower price point.

#391021 - 03/16/13 01:09 AM Re: Idiots are abound... [Re: nickbuol]
nickbuol Offline

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 5393
Loc: Marion, IA
Correct. This is the guy that I offered to pick out all of the equipment for him, install it all (have the other sub contractors run the electrical and speaker wires), calibrate the audio and video, and save the guy about $5000 and have it be a much better system.

He said, "I just want turn key. I just sign one document at closing on the house and I'm done."

So yes, I am going to have to bite my tongue a lot. This system will still sound alright to him. After we left his house, he kept asking for my honest opinion, and I just kept downplaying it and saying how much he is going to enjoy the space and how awesome his house is.

Oh, and he has NOT seen my basement.
2-M60s, VP180, 8-M3s, SVS 20-39PCi, DIY Sub, 8-Shakers, JVC RS45, Anthem MRX-1120

#391028 - 03/16/13 12:37 PM Re: Idiots are abound... [Re: nickbuol]
FireGuy Offline

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 325
Loc: Buffalo, New York
Did the installer give him some kind warranty you're aware of? If so, maybe some salvage can occur, at least in the speaker zone. I give you tons of credit Nick for holding back especially for someone like you that's sounds rather passionate for their audio.
M22V3/M3ti/M2V3/Omega Super 5/Aperion 5C/OutlawLFM1+Sub/Denon AVR1906/YamDVDC750/AS AMP110

#391029 - 03/16/13 12:44 PM Re: Idiots are abound... [Re: nickbuol]
chesseroo Offline

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 5285
Loc: western canada
Two things stand out when i read this thread.
First that some perceive their setups and ability as superior to others because they use "proper" setup methods. I thought the mantra was more of the "do what sounds good to you" around here.
If 75% gain on his sub sounds good to him, what does it matter that it is not THX method calibrated, etc. etc.?
We already know that louder sounds better to most people and many on these forums would also fall for that audio trick if you did not know anything else wasn't equal.
So why would anyone get annoyed at this person because they don't have their system all "properly" calibrated?

Second, one's opinion or suggestions are just that. An opinion. Why would you have the expectation that this person HAS to take your suggestions?
Other people don't need to take others opinions in part because people like to make their own decisions and in part because they are always other options out there. One opinion may provide only a limited set of those options. Axiom is a great company, but by no means are they the only company i talk about when discussing audio setups with people who are looking for suggestions.

I've been in Nick's situation several times and two come to mind that elicit the annoyed feeling Nick has, but my reaction was alot more muted (no rants required and i am one to rant!).

I had a good friend who knew nothing about a/v. He was doing a $100k basement reno (the guy was a VP of a large company). He had 2 choices for a/v installers. I helped him through the quotes to understand what they were offering. He went with my suggestion to go with the smaller boutique place which for the same price was going to give him on-wall speakers (Monitor Audios if i recall) and two floor standers up front. He had no interest in Axiom speakers. He thought they were too cheap (this is a person who equates dollars with quality). After talking with my friend and the installer about the on-wall options, the installer was THRILLED that my friend wasn't going to choose the lesser audio quality in-ceiling stuff, which the installer also sells, even though they were MORE expensive than in the on-wall options.
In the end, my friend switched out his speaker choices and went for the in-ceiling options.
Aesthetics. Had nothing to do with the outright cost at all.
Was i annoyed?
Not my money.
Did he ask how i liked the sound? Of course. And i told him my opinion after i got to hear the system post-installation.
I told him i thought the sound was good quality, not particularly pinpoint for sound (more diffuse) and they sounded kind of muffled, not particularly clear. But they did provide surround sound fairly effectively in the room.
I don't think he expected me to glow about his choices but he was happy hearing that i thought they made decent surround speakers. Funny but for that price as an owner i would much rather hear they sound like truly fantastic speakers.
But my friend continues to be happy with his room because as we all know, people continue to convince themselves that what they chose and put effort into deciding upon sounds best, and as such, it does.

Second similar story re: someone i actually care about.
I gave my brother a/v advice years back when he asked me about new tvs and a good audio system. Much like Nick i suggested things like Axiom setups, a few receivers, etc.
After four, multi-page emails back and forth, i didn't hear from him for a few weeks. When i inquired, he ended up buying a decent tv (not one i suggested) and he went with a brand name HTIB for audio (or maybe it was a soundbar, i don't quite recall). He just couldn't be bothered with "all that other stuff" (wiring, and etc). He spent around $500-1k on the HTIB.
Did i care?
No, not really.
It isn't my money.
It isn't my house.
I won't be spending endless hours at his place watching anything.
AND, maybe it actually sounds good in his room.
I have no idea.

Was i annoyed that he just didn't take my advice after i had spent my own time and effort trying to get him something i thought was price conscious and high quality?
Well of course to an extent since i spent hours writing emails back and forth to him providing links for info and gear that he requested.
But i'm not going to rant about it or hold him in some kind of contempt. I just won't bother doing that anymore in the future. It isn't worth my time.

Bottom line, LET IT GO MAN!
It's not that big a deal.

Lesson learned:
Don't give out advice if you actually expect others to have to take it.

/end rant
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

#391030 - 03/16/13 01:09 PM Re: Idiots are abound... [Re: chesseroo]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16437
Loc: Ben Lomond, California
Can we get a big, resounding AMEN for this man's logic?

Live and let live, y'all!
I can explain it to you but I can't understand it for you.

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