Wow. For that matter, it looks like they sell Martin Logans and Mirage speakers..
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Yes I have seen and auditioned them . They really sounded terrible !
First , there are no decent amps , pre's or sources for auditioning . Nothing with any good clean power ! Where I am , the only thing to use are A/V receivers such as Yamaha and other ilk of that nature .
Second , they are sitting on a shelf , against the wall and among a myriad of other speakers . No stands or long speaker cables were available .
Third , they are not properly broken in . When I asked the 'salesman' if they were broken in , he looked at me in bewilderment !
It might be the place to make a purchase , if you know exactly what you want . It is not the place to find out if they are the speaker for you .
This was my first experience with Magnolia . Maybe a step in the right direction but not a completed effort !
Best Buy bought Magnolia a couple of years ago. Since then, I've heard Logan, Vienna and Sonus Faber demos at Magnolia with MacIntosh electronics. (I've bought a half dozen Sonos bundles from these guys) Properly treated rooms, but....
Ask the salepeople to move the speakers into a decent position. Their standard demos leave a row of speakers against a wall which isn't going to help anyone very much. The salespeople seem very nice, though only a few are well informed. This isn't bad service for a large chain retailer. OTOH, it isn't a high end "boutique" experience either.
If Best Buys is as bad as Tweeter was demoing Vienna Acoustics speakers, it's a waste of time. I do have a lot of respect for the Vienna Acoustics brand, I have owned the Beethoven and the Strauss. However, I never heard them sounding good in any Tweeter store. Poor placement, poor electronics, etc. It was really sad, I'm surprised that Sumiko allowed this to happen.
Anyway, very good speakers, but they need room to breath and good electronics to drive them to hear what they are capable of.
Hate to say it, but it's sad that Magnolia got bought out by Best Buys. Why do I say that? Because you now have the same kind of "ignorant knuckleheads" working the Magnolia side of Best Buys, as the rest of Best Buys. I went to try and listen to some Vienna Acoustic speakers, but no decent amps/pre-amps, no stands, the salesperson didn't even know how to turn the sub-woofer off, so I could listen to speakers by themselves. Don't know where you live at Marty, but it appears the Magnolia in your "neck of the woods" is certainly a "cut above" the Best Buys here in northern Va.
I work for Best Buy and believe I can add a few important points to this debate.
Best Buy buying Magnolia is indeed a great acquisition and hopefully I can shed some light on this topic. First and foremost it presents our world, the obscure world of Hi-Fi to the every day consumer who probably last messed with a stereo during his college years. Years have gone by with big box retailers pushing low quality speakers on consumers claiming their small big brand name and wife friendly designs were high-quality audio. We all know that a speaker the size of a golf ball is going to have some serious limitations.
Everything is great, right? Best Buy introduces a store within a store for high-end audio and video equipment called Magnolia. The real Magnolias are still out on the west coast and they still offer a different level of products and service. We never changed the core stores but we did have to take it to a different level, a different sales model when we incorporated those mini-magnolias into our big boxes.
Unfortunately the general consumer is obsessed with home theater so two-channel amps and preamps are a thing of the past. What was the next best thing to do? How about incorporate high-end A/V receivers than what our customers are used to, which will pair with these new speakers we have to sell. We brought Pioneer Elite, Denon and Primare into our stores with Primare only lasting a few months because the majority of our associates did not have the proper understanding of how to sell that level of component. Denon worked out fine though as well as Pioneer Elites. The average Joe who decides he wants a nice speaker set up is going to trust the well-known big company brands over some ultra-expensive hi-fi gear. We adapted to our customers needs and wants and simply scaled the hi-fi experience down so that it could easily be recreated at the big box level.
Our focus was on demos and white glove customer service. Overall I think we accomplished this aspect and while not every Magnolia salesperson was excellent I think the majority were well fitted to their role concerning the demographics/customer types that are currently buying from Magnolia. With my experience both in sales and management if you are to be considered a great sales person in any retail aspect, you must be passionate about what you are selling. Unfortunately I have found that you cannot make someone be passionate about something. Ive tried until I was blue in the face with a good friend but no matter how many demos he sat through he just did not see the importance of a good quality stereo even though he LOVES to listen to music. The same goes for our sales force, and that is what divides our stores from a boutique audio dealer where youve got Johnny Bebop whos been selling speakers 35 years of his life and obsesses over it like we do here on this forum.
I could go on and on about this topic because of my passion around audio and my career with Best Buy. What I want you to take away from all of this is that although certain aspects of this acquisition were not executed the right way there is light at the end of the tunnel. Best Buy, the largest electronics retailer can now cater to those looking for high-end audio but most importantly we can introduce millions more to something that they either had no idea about or probably just dismissed it when they heard about a price for a certain pair of speakers without ever having heard them. Yes our demo rooms are not set up correctly, yes not all of our sales staff know everything about audio but remember who they are trained to service, the average Joe and his family. Very few salespeople are ready to deal with the likes of us. I obsess over this stuff just as Im sure most of you do reading about new products, technologies, engulfing every possible review you can read because we LOVE this stuff. When we go into an audio dealer 9 times out of 10 we probably already know more about what we are going in there to look at than the dealer does. I remember when I was looking at cars I began to annoy the salesman because I knew every damn thing about the new mustang that came out.
I cannot guarantee the service you get at a particular store is going to be stellar. Every store is run by a different group of people but I can tell you one thing. Give the person a legitimate chance the next time you go to a Best Buy and yes they might not know everything about a particular product but Im willing to bet theyll treat you right. Every store has at least a few great sales people working there; dont be afraid to ask who might be the expert in a particular area.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I know many people on these boards look at us with disdain but believe me; we are striving to bring you a great experience. I just hope you all realize that youre walking into a Best Buy and not Sounds by Singer.
Of far more importance is that Vienna Acoustics and/or its importer have sold
out, going the mid-fi route. When you see brands that were previously
considered high end being sold at places like Tweeter, Circuit City and Best
Buy, it doesn't bode well for that particular brand. Fortunately, there are still
lots of better options.
Perhaps even worse is that some people may hear how bad these "high-end"
speakers sound in this environment and incorrectly conclude that the mid-fi
stuff is just as good or better than the stuff some of us have spent thousands
-- even tens of thousands -- to acquire.
Appreciate your responds. But from what I'm seeing in the northern Va area, the Best Buys' Magnolia seem to be completely focused on Home Theater (which most chains seem to be doing, as that's were the money is), and from what Best Buy Magnolia offers in product line and from the "training?" of the sale staff, I would dare say Tweeters is a doing a much better job in both regards. In addition, you also have Audio Buys and Myer-Enco which has many stores and is well-established in the area, both of which have a greater depth of products, many of which could be considered "hi-end" (example: Krell, MacIntosh), in addition to "mid-fi" lines such as Denon, Rotel, Onkyo Integra, ect and their sales staff seems much better trained and more knowlegeable of their products. The problem with Best Buy's Magnolia is that Best Buys management still has "the big box store mentality" and it's not all that different than many other "big box stores". Myself I used to work aa a Sales Associate at "big box store" (one of the "big twos" home improvement chains) selling kitchen cabinets and countertops, and I could not believe how management couldn't seem to understand that selling a complete kitchen make-over (cabinets, countertops, flooring, appliances, ect) was much more involving as far as dealing with the customers and what their wishes and expectations were, than with let's say: selling a gallon of paint. IMHO Best Buys management and sales staff aren't all that different in how they run their Magnolias, as they treat it, as "just another product". In closing, I get the impression that you're in management, if so, Best Buys would do well in their Magnolia operations, if they provided the training to their "Sales Associates" to be more knowledgeable and professional in the sales of a "higher end" audio and video products, if for no other reason to be competive with other stores that are doing a better job in sales and service of these products.