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 My latest visit to a hi-end A/V store

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Join date : 2019-04-23

My latest visit to a hi-end A/V store Empty
PostSubject: My latest visit to a hi-end A/V store   My latest visit to a hi-end A/V store Icon_minitimeThu Apr 25, 2019 11:20 am

My latest visit to a hi-end A/V store M2087

Yesterday, I had my first visit to a hi-end store in quite a few years even though a good friend of mine owns one of the biggest high end stores on Long Island here in New York. Another friend had requested me to look at a quote he got from a custom installer on an expensive A/V and multi-room system. The first thing that stuck out to me was the price tag on the 3 gun CRT projector -- $37,000. And, my friend was going to pay it! Like many people, he believes that cost equals performance and vice versa. So, I had to let him see/hear for himself that high cost does not necessarily add up to high performance.

So, after looking over the proposal over a late breakfast, I suggested we visit one of the largest retail hi-end chains here in the NY, NJ and CT areas. As we entered the store, both sides of the store, from the entrance to the sales desk, were lined with flat panel plasma and DLP TVs. Throughout the entire store, there was only A/V components and A/V demo areas/rooms. We were greeted by a very cordial salesman and after explaining what I wanted to demo, which was a good DLP projector, we were led into their “top of the line” room. The system was composed of the beautiful Martin Logan Ascent i’s, a very attractive looking Matin Logan Home Theater i center channel speaker, an also attractive looking Martin Logan subwoofer, very expensive Krell electronics, what I believe was a 110” Stewart screen and a top (or near top) of the line Runco DLP.

More importantly, as I looked around the room, I noticed that there was wall to wall carpeting over concrete, a drop (panel) ceiling, one plush chair, one plush sofa and drapes across the rear of the room placed in a arc. The rack looked like a Salamander Synergy, but I could be wrong. But, some (not many) components were “stacked” on top of each other and did not have their own dedicated shelves. I did not make mention to my friend that I was taking all this in and just let him experience his own experience without any comments from me. The salesman started the DVD movie and purposefully selected an explosion scene (I don’t know why salespeople think that explosions are the best scenes to demo “sound” – personally, I prefer more subtle dialogue scenes like outdoor scenes where you can judge the quality of ambient outdoor sounds in the background).

The sound was “pleasant and polite” and noticeably “thin” to me. Well, the explosions began and it sounded like glass shattering – horrible, and very loud! I know my friend never noticed because he was concentrating on the picture which is what I told him to do. And, on the other hand, the picture was outstanding – clear, bright, sharp, good black level, etc., etc. Even though the Runco is very expensive, the point was made – it was $17,000 less than the 3 gun CRT in his proposal and he, as did I, thought the picture was better than any picture seen in a movie theater. Afterward, I explained that there are no convergence issues with the DLP as you have with 3 guns in a CRT and if the CRT is actually better, it is not $17,000 worth better nor would he probably be able to see the difference. So, he was happy that I saved him $17,000, at the very least, if he decides to go with this Runco. We haven't even gotten to the multi-room part which is for a 14 room home plus outdoor pool, tennis and deck areas. I'll never convince him to go completely "inexpensive" on either the projection system or the electronics because, to him, this is more a "show piece" than anything else, but he is convinced he can spend "less".

But, the sound was exactly the way explosions sound to me in every movie theater I have ever been in. Again, though, my primary objective was for him to concentrate on the picture. As we went outside after the demo, we passed a small area where an A/V setup was displayed using a Plasma TV with low end Martin Logan speakers and their low end sub. The sound was “fuller” with much better harmonics – much better than the “hi-end” room that we just came out of. My friend never noticed the difference, but I pointed this out after we left the store. The difference? Hardwood floors with a small area rug in the middle of the area where this setup was sitting. They had wall to wall carpeting in their most expensive room along with a drapery covered wall and hardwood floors for their least expensive setup! Amazing. Confused The low end system sound was qualitatively better than than the top of the line system sound Embarassed .

My bedroom home theater, using 4 Monitor 5's, a Tunable 10" Subwoofer and just 6 PZCs (my speakers are all the original versions -- the 5's are the original prototypes for the Monitor 5's -- and not as good as current versions of both the 5's and the tunable sub) and it easily smokes the high end system we heard yesterday, in terms of how "real" (qualitatively and quantitatively, especially in the bass) it sounds and is driven by about $1000 worth of electronics. Smile
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Jim Bookhard
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