Burned out hi fi salesman

Have any of you come across a burned out hi fi salesman? I was at my local dealer the other day and was talking to one of the sales guys. In my opinion he is damaged goods! According to him he has had all the equipment at different times one could imagine. He said that he came to the conclusion that all hi fi components are within 5 % of each other in terms of sound (All things being equal). The fact that he currently does not even OWN a stereo is not a good sign! How can you relate to your customers if you're not even into hi fi yourself? I would advise anyone to ask the sales person they are dealing with questions about his or her preference with repects to the equipment they themselves own. As I say, the gentleman I talked to was non caring, un-involved, bitter, etc... Don't make hi fi choices beased on the "Expert"advise of an individual such as this. The lesson for me? Ask questions about your sales person first........then ask about the various equipment! You'll have fun and make better choices! Cheers,

must have been the owner. the 5% thing is no shocker in a hi end store.
Find another enthusiast. I sort of agree it is all good 5% or so on it own, with some exceptions but it is not so much how each component will work on it’s on but how you blend them together that makes the magic. For example a nice cable may work magic in one system with tube amps may sound horrible in another with the same tube amps and different tubes or SS amps. This is what the dealer is really needed for and if they don’t play themselves how will they know what works together. I always try to find a dealer with a good ear. I can buy equipment off audiogon otherwise.
Ask around at other high end shops. Most employees either don't have the money for a system, or are so sick of dealing with gear during the day they don't want to spend time with it at home..
I have recently sold all my SS equipment for Tube equipment. Every one that I have dealt with, Cain and Cain Eastern Electric, and parts connexion were not only Enthusiastic but brimming with information on how to get the most from my equipment. Bill from Morningstar Audio is a wonderful person to deal with and I can Highly recommend him. Bob at the Elusive Disk is a great person to work with, he seems to know a lot about just about everything. Perhaps going to the RETAIL store is Dead not because of the internet but because of the LACK of Real Enthusiasm. But I don’t think this is just limited to hi-fi, I have been to a lot of places that just seem to care less if you’re a customer or not, and to those stores I just say NO!
I agree whole heartedly with that statement. I've listened to alot of gear, and 5% is about the degree of difference I've seen. Maybe a bit more when you put something like an electrostat next to a woofer/tweeter type speaker. But once a certain level of quality is achieved, the diminishing returns sets in fast. I'm surprised there isn't a higher burn out rate with salesmen, if I spent all day trying to convince someone to drop thousands on a new shade of grey I might get frustrated as well. It's a fun hobby as long as you stay within a comfortable spending limit, and have realistic expectations. Another thing I like to do is have a few beers or a glass or two of wine when I listen, it really helps you forget about the gear and focus on the music. That's why we are all here right?
It was tough working for Salon 1 Audio.Lucky for my employer, I had been through most of what he carried and my system was bought through him.Only a few tweeks and cables sparked my interest.But I was pretty much on my own up in Wisconsin,so my audio system was a constant companion.
Everyone has good days/bad days.Fortunately,the theme of truthful variations kept me sane and my customers happy.
Just as in audio-synergy counts.
I cant agree with the 5% thing. I cant say whether equipment is that close and set up is difficult, but I have heard a huge difference in the way stuff in salons sound. I have heard very "high end" stuff sound awful and modest stuff sound damn good.
As for experience with sales people goes, complaining now is like beating a dead horse. Plenty of horror stories here if you search.
I too kind of agree with the 5% thing if the gear is competantly setup. I have heard the diminishing returns myself and at this point, I let functionality and looks play a role, in addition to sound quality of course, in the final decision making process.

My impression from reading Aaudiogon is that it is the hobby, buying, selling, and tweeking, that is of most interest. Music is only the by-product. As Programmergeek suggests, it is blending of equipment that makes the magic, and I suspect that's right for him (or her). Is there a 5% difference among cables? I don't think so. But I agree there is more than a 5% difference between a Radio Shack mini speaker and a Wilson Sophia, and not just 5% worth of preference.

Yep, I agree on the 5% thing too once you get to a certain level of gear. When I ran a High End Store, I would sometimes go Months without owning a system as I was never home. I was always at the store and could listen to whatever I wanted.

It is easy to get burned out working retail.

Bottom line, retail is not what it used to be and the internet has just thrown most salesmen over the edge. Most people want to pick your brain, then go buy it used on this website or others. I had one guy call me after 2 years of no communications to pick my brain about good cheap DVD players for around $200 (when I didnt sell any). He had not and still has not bought anything from me. Any professional consultants out there in other industries? Try doing your job for free......would burn you out pretty quick.
This is a funny thread, audiophiles are completely at fault for this situation.

Want 20% off or MORE! and expect a business to keep quality people around with no margin? They can't, buy mail order so you can own it, even though "it" to you really is a review, bragging rights and a faceplate? Yes I'm talking about you!

How can someone own grand Piano's and say they believe in the 5% thing? When I sold Grand Piano's they were my whipping boys for selling the Audience 72's, 1/2 the price twice the performance (nobody disagreed when they heard it with their own ears). Don't get me started on the pathetic Amati Homages. The general consensus to this thread shows the incredible lack of personal expert advice available to the High End Audio consumer. If audiophiles would on a much wider basis learn to reward good service and not be selfish by trying to save money all the time at every turn, then maybe we would know that putting MIT cables on JMLabs is a really bad idea and we'd be happier.

But it has been my experience that audiophiles do not want to be happy. Really

"I have recently sold all my SS equipment for Tube equipment."

I'm sure this was well thought out process over the phone, the reason why they were enthusiastic is they don't have any other customers. Problem with hifi salesmen is Home Theater customers stop by and once given a convincing demonstration buy a system. A new concept for audiophiles I know who must correlate their new findings and consult their elders and tiki dolls for absolution and justification.

Audiophiles amuse me to no end with their complete inability to make a calculated decision and then engage in the flip side and make an impulse buy that lands them in purgatory for another year.

Nocaster what were you looking for at your local hifi shop?
ie. What was the purpose of your visit?
Bravo! Cinematic Systems said it all and said it well. As did several others. Customers come to you to be informed, entertained and encouraged. Few feel any urge to compensate for these ministrations, however. When I was doing the audio sales floor thing, I never lasted more than 2 or 3 years at a time. It's just too taxing and it ruins your hobby for you.
Have you ever wondered about the gynacologist's wife? What the hell must she have to do to get noticed?
Hit a nerve CS? While I agree to some of what you said, my real disagreement comes with fault. Audiophiles are not the only ones who want it both ways. What's your take on audio salons who complain about internet sales stealing customers while maintaining a website of their own which promotes worldwide sales?
Cinematic Systems,

You are a salty fellow but made a couple of valid points.. If read my statement, the 5% applied to a certain level of equipmenet. Apples to apples. Sorry you don't like the Sonus Faber stuff. I personally am not crazy about the Dynaudio stuff. I guess that makes us even.

I could click on your system throw stones as you did with ease but it is not my style..

If you are in retail, you have been there too long...

I have a further 2 cents to add- 90% of what's out there really does not sound 5% different than its bretheren. However the remaining 5% can sound *so* much better that non-audiophiles from off the street can hear the improvement.

Sounds to me like the burned out salesman has yet to hear real, actually and truely decent equipment in the first place.

Another issue is that decent recordings are hard to come by since the advent of Pro-Tools. There are way too many 'notebook' mastered recordings out there that are dry, thin and uninvolving. Listening to too many of those will burn anybody out!
This is a funny thread, audiophiles are completely at fault for this situation.

Funny, I would say the opposite: Last time I got good service at a storefront dealer was ten years ago in Europe. Never mind that my first system after moving to the US was completely bought at retail, i.e. amp, CDP, turntable, all from the same dealer. And the service: Well the dealer told me since it was only a sub $3000 system he would not be able to spend half an hour to mount a cartridge. And that although this guy was hanging out at his shop the whole day waiting for customers to come in, with tons of downtime.

I agree that the current trend (better the trend for the last decade) to hunt down the best deal on everything from electronics to plasma TVs to DVDs has completely degenerated to an obsession for most consumers and is killing anyone who is trying to run a small business that focuses on service rather than price. But then the same is true in reverse for the high-end retailer. I found several only interested in selling 10,000+ systems, and best you decide 5 minutes after you enter the store while completely absorbing every lie and story the sales person told you. I caught too many dealers telling complete nonsense to their wonderfully naive "Hometheater customer" that Cinematic_Systems loves so much. Service starts on the service provider's side, not on the customer's side!

Sorry, but I would rather deal with all the enthusiasts in this hobby directly. All the manufacturers, direct distributors, small enthusiast dealers running their business out of their home have given me much better service than any regular store-front dealer so far. And they are by far busier and more limited in their time than any regular dealer I have been too. I never minded paying full retail in these cases, where there actually was a service.

Well, just my 2c....

I love this blame game . I see it everywhere. everbody needs to be right. In religion, science,polititics ,marriage.You name it. But if we come up with a good reason why...someone will come up with a better reason why.Until we get so many good reasons ,that we don't know why anymore.

So who do we blame now...Jew or Arab...greek or Turk.

Tubes...ss... Blame blame... You are not in a hobby or game anymore!?

Oh CS, Before I became a Audiogon Buyer and purchased my Valve amps I purchased all of my Audio equipment at Retail locations. I wish that Some Salesperson would of Recommended Tubes to me before. I feel I missed out for the last 10 years.

When I went to a local Retail Stereo location that advertised Cain and Cain loudspeakers not only did they not have any Cain and Cain products but when I asked about tube amps the Salesman was not even interested in selling me in his words SOFT sound.

So out to the Net for me, driven there by a Retail Audio shop. Oh well, I like it here and I have had great fun with all the Audiogon members that I have worked with.

To each his own however.
Is there any other kind?
That 5% is 99% of the emotional satisfaction you get when listening to a system that can produce that 5%, even 1%. It does'nt take much to put the music over the top and make that emotion come out. just my 2 cents.
ive alway's said that hifi is a hobby to us & business for dealer's.

Cinematic systems.

what are audiophile's at fault for,bad service & a poor attitude or snide comment's from owner's/salesmen,yep that'll fix them pesky customer's every time,i agree with your comment's about audiophile's being wishy washy but that has nothing to do with quality service.

you said audiophile's should stop worring about saving money & reward good service & stop being selfish all the time,what a stupid & self serving thing to say,stop trying to save money ! i wonder if you lead your life outside of audio that way rewarding good service as oposed to looking for the best price on home's,car's,furniture, ect.

IMO the veiw's you expressed in your post are exactly what's wrong in hifi with dealer's thinking we owe them a great life,if i walk into a show room & i'm treated with the slightest bit of disrespect or indifference i'm outta there never to return but if i'm treated like a valued customer then i'll look at what the dealer has to offer then it's up to him to sell me something.

i have a dealer near me who i like very much & after ive made my mind up on what i want i give him first dib's on making a sale,i tell him what i can get it for & ask for his price,if his price is close enough for me i buy it & if not im out the door with no hard feeling's.

the way i see it is that the dealer's who use the web to benifit their business are gracious & helpfull while the old school dealer's who refuse to jump onboard just keep getting angry & bitter,dont blame the customers blame the dealer's for not changing with the time's!


Rene, my poster boy volunteer for what is wrong with audiophiles, thank you for chiming in...

Your niche interest in niche audio is exactly my point. Who's going to make a living selling that stuff?
What the hell are you doing?(based on my opinion) Do you think you can convince me that you have a good sounding system? That when I listen to it it will sound like the artist intended? I think not. I'm sure its magical and musical for you but is it "good sound" or just your sound? Can you be sure i'm going to like it? Am I a heathen neophyte if I don't like it?

Audiophile's lack of focus makes it impossible to design a store around "good sound" because clearly audiophiles don't know or can't agree on what "good sound" is as defined as a stand alone concept. Instead we have , "I know what I like." Let me tell you what a moving target that is.

What do audiophiles mean when they say they know what they like? You shouldn't have a choice, the artist made the CD and that should be that. But it's not is it, have to make that perfectly matched systems that gives us so much pride? Audiophiles are always trying to get their system to do things that will distort one track to flatter another. So what is "good sound" to an audiophile. Can we ever agree so the stores can carry it and the manufacturers make it, or is that the beginning of the end for this industry?

Home Theater buyers get the concept and learn fast, but they never ask for the highs to be more "open". Are the highs supposed to be open on that recording anyway is my question?

To call Home Theater clients uneducated, well is untrue. Fact is most audiophiles like yourself are equally gullible, how hard would it be to mount a $90 Fostex Driver in a box? Well I've already had my runin with the Cain&Cain boys on a DIY forum. People have bought Thiels CS1.6's despite the huge distortion spike in the midrange. What are we doing as a group? Why are we supporting this sort of product? Cause it "sounds good?" Does it really?

----------Rene, so bountiful is your post-------------

" And that although this guy was hanging out at his shop the whole day waiting for customers to come in, with tons of downtime."

Clearly he didn't want to bother to do it for free, can you blame him? Does he owe you something? When's the last time you worked for free Rene? Are you entitled at $3000 for free services, did he have a sign that said so? He made $1200 in profit on your purchase? When you make $1200 a week, do you work for free for your employer...hell no you don't so don't expect anyone else to do it either. Instead you should have bought the $50 in tools necessary to set the system up yourself! And if the system sounded good referred people to him. But instead he didn't do something for free and your willing to overlook that he displayed what you wanted presented it in a way that assured you this was the right move but he's supposed to do that, just like you do the minimum at your job and still get paid retail.

Back to my point......

The diversity presented by audiophiles is killing the hobby, the magazines won't call a spade a spade and people buy on reviews and infact post here as their hard won experience/opinion based on reviews. This forum is all about people getting along while giving "wrong" advice(see any of my HT threads). Fact is we don't hear all that differently from one another (despite the BS perpetuated by those who would perp wrongness), no instead we all have different goals for why we have a system. Until we can focus as a group this will get worse.

I can't note every facet of my argument but think about what I wrote, how permissive are we and PC to have allowed the acceptance of such a diverse sound as good sound? There seems to be no standards When a violin simply sounds like a violin.
Cinematic_Systems: Perhaps, but the same can said for all consumer good durables markets. To expect the consumer not to be driven by pricing to a large degree is simply wishful thinking in never never land. For retailer margins: well that's just economics in the end: the audiophile market is basically saying to you that a) its a fragmented industry so competition among retailers are intense, thus leading to lower margins, as consumers have choice and b) the value add provided by such retailers are not high enough to warrant higher margins ON AVG. In the end, its up to the retailing ind to either consolidate or individual retailers to distinguish themselves in a competitive market via providing better service. The example provided above about a burnt out sales person is case in pt.
A purchase I made recently through a HighEnd web-tailer turned out to be everything BUT service, unless e-service is little more than a word without substance. I went into the purchase because the e-tailer genuinely seemed interested in offering strong service in addition to a good price. The ads are in TAS and Stereophile regularly, so I thought we were hitting a home run. NOT! Just didn't work out that way. Too bad, too.

After at least 25 very successful component purchases through web sites, I finally bumped into a real dud. All efforts to make contact have resulted in AN INDIFFERENT SILENCE.
I have top agree with most that seem to understand the salesman's point of view. After doing any job for 20 plus years you are going to get burned out. I know that I get tired of my career but it is what I do. I know people that try to leave but most of them come back to the same old career. We do what we do. I am sure that this salesman has seen an evolution of the audio business that would depress most. Imagine you spend hours with a prospect and then he goes home and buys it on the internet. Enthusiasm is fueled by hope and the prospect of success. After a number of years of getting burned that enthusiasm gets glossed over with serious doubt. IMO
I think the 5% is totally true, thoug it is just a small number...many search so hard for it that when they hear it it is a HUGE deal....that number is so small but so hard to find and as we listen to many systems and componets, that last 5% can jump right out at you. IMO
catch the same salesman after the holidays,maybe working long hours just answering phone calls..maybe he just found out boss is going to stiff him on christmas bonus,and wife left him and he needed to sale his stuff..maybe as a post said after listening to stuff all day, home isnt a option.go back and buy a pair of wilson watt from him he will perk up..retail salespeople have alot of energy ,but after 12.00 there tired of peep asking and not buying.go back in there and tell him your loan was aproved and you want to spend 10,000.00 dollars.a sale will cure burnout fast..i would rather deal with a burned out salesman that knows what he is talking about.than one who dont know or ever will go to best buy and ask questions you know the answer to. thats scary that the normal joe blow gets sold by one of those guys...so next time you run into a salesman cooked, take him out for a beer...i know ive been one for over 25 years.

At a time, I was a frequent visitor to Salon 1 Audio.
Thank to you and John (and Roger later), it was always a very pleasureable trip for me. However, I never knew how you felt.
Yes, Wisconsin Rapids was in the middle of nowhere. But so is Willmar, MN where I live now.
I purchased most of my equipment from Bruce and I am still keeping my Lectron, Klyne, Oracle... However, when it was time to replace speakers (Response 2 with 3.8), I gave up on Bruce.

Where are you now?

Counld'nt have said it any better. Kevin
the hi end business has become as much about 'sight' and 'touch' as 'sound'. and there is the 'cool' factor of source. we try to say its not, but it is. its true with every component in the chain. a smart retailer will always put the comfy chairs in the expensive room. piano and female voice-cd..........guitar and male voice-lp.....no beatles, no stones.....
Big Joe,

"i have a dealer near me who i like very much & after ive made my mind up on what i want i give him first dib's on making a sale,i tell him what i can get it for & ask for his price,if his price is close enough for me i buy it & if not im out the door with no hard feeling's."

If you never hear the product how do you know what you want? And once the sometimes extensive process of informing you on what you need, the store is then rewarded by you shopping around to dealers who have done zero to help you except take a phone call and lower the price. Then tomorrow lower the quality of help and selection available to you. Brilliant

Where I have my business I love it because despite my devils advocate position here I am very helpful and thrive because all the other dealers in my area are as those who are generally grumbling about the stores say. But they weren't always that way. Since the home theater purchaser spends more and is an easier sale and allows for reasonable margins dealers are catering directly to them. Hopefully your getting the economic picture of audiophiles viability.

"you said audiophile's should stop worring about saving money & reward good service & stop being selfish all the time,what a stupid & self serving thing to say"

Bigjoe, I don't rely on high end audio clients to survive or even prosper, that would be stupid. I'm telling you what I know from the inside out. I've worked many places where audiophiles are no longer welcomed and as policy actively discouraged to "hang out". For some of the reasons listed in my two posts above.

Finally HenryHK,

Audiophiles do not recognize the incredible effort it takes to appease them, that's why in-Home dealers are desirable by most because they have limited product setup in a stabile environment. Demoing for an audiophile with a good system in a store setting is very, very difficult.

You do not seem to recognize the incredibly limited market represented by audiophiles and lets not forget that if the street was working in balance the hifi store would be a great source of free entertainment. But for the most part that two way street is in disarray and not by any one individuals action or attitude but more out of neccessity and economics.

In closing;

The diversity represented here in system sound=

more manufacturers---lower volume----higher prices----more retail outlets with less volume----lower margins----lower quality of personnel----lowered experience and services.

Everyone is losing.
I'd love to know what percentage of Audiogon forum posters have actually bought anything from a brick and mortar audio dealer since they've joined Audiogon. My guess is the numbers are very low. Is this because of the higher prices? That's one reason, but I'd wager it's because most Audiogoners either don't need advice and service or don't want it. One of the main purposes of Audiogon is to provide a way for us to support and educate each other rather than rely on retailers or reviewers; that's certainly why I'm here. I'm still in my audio infancy (maybe a toddler by now) and the advice and insight I've gained here has been invaluable. I can get tens or hundreds of opinions on something whereas if I go to a retail store I'll get one. It will likely be a well thought out and valid opinion, but still only one opinion.

Cinematic_systems is right that no brick and mortar store could stay in business just selling to audiophiles. They have no value to add to our market other than providing a listening room, and most of us realize you can only truly audition at home in your own room with the rest of your own equipment. The other things they provide most Audiogoners don't need. Opinions? We get an abundance here. Prices? New gear cheaper via Internet retailers; used gear WAY cheaper here or on eBay. Service? Most Audiogoners do all their own setup and tweaking; they wouldn't have it any other way.

Are brick and mortar retailers being squeezed out? Of course they are, just like corner hardware stores are losing out to Home Depot; the entire consumer marketplace is changing. Cinematic_systems and other retailers like him will do what they have to do to survive; if that means concentrating on the "Home Theater" buyer, you can't blame them. If that means they can't offer service to the audiophile crowd, I can live with that. I'm perfectly happy here, learning a lot, chuckling at the impassioned debates, forming my own opinions, buying used gear at great prices, and having a blast both putting together my system and listening to the increasing better music it provides.
It's a shame that there aren't more places like Salon 1 Audio-out of business.I hooked up with Bruce Jacobs/S1A in 1984,through a friends' referral.They stocked almost 500 different brands,and were available for home auditions.Generally,Bruce and his top sales person could give you a good handle on what a unit would sound like.After auditioning several units and relating the experience,they could guide you to a pieve that was a near-ideal match.That is how I learned about audio gear,and why I went to work for S1A.As much work as it was( even with the presence of a few tire-kickers),at the end of the day it made me happy to know that I had helped others derive a little pleasure from this hobby.
I suppose it's a big wide wonderful world,there's room for everybody-just don't let the sour-pusses cloud it up for you.Happy holidays-and listening.Tom
99% of the time a salesman does have a system at home, it barely has any piece's in it that he sells!! If he is a true music lover anyway this could be the case, or he's a BMW salesman that drives a Corvette, and is just there cause its a job. If he owns the store thats a different story, cause then he can try to carry the brands he believes is the best.
Cinematic_Systems: Thanks for the posterboy!

Your niche interest in niche audio is exactly my point. Who's going to make a living selling that stuff?
I never aspired to keep the whole high-end industry going. But here are a couple of increasing number of enthusiasts who are out there, that might make at least a "partial" living from it: Jim at Sounds Real Audio, Terry Cain, Don Garber, Nelson Pass, Graham Fowler etc. At least my money is going directly to the ones, who actually do provide a service.

Do you think you can convince me that you have a good sounding system? That when I listen to it will sound like the artist intended? I think not.
How do you know what the artist intended? Do you use studio monitors and listen to your records on how the producer/artist intended it? Maybe the intended for it a little boom box or as great car music?

I'm sure its magical and musical for you but is it "good sound" or just your sound?
Isn't that the purpose of music? To make ME enjoy it? I would say that my current system, at this price, is the best one I heard coming close to live Jazz, as I hear it at the clubs close by. The Sax sounds like a Sax.

Fact is most audiophiles like yourself are equally gullible, how hard would it be to mount a $90 Fostex Driver in a box? Well I've already had my runin with the Cain&Cain boys on a DIY forum. People have bought Thiels CS1.6's despite the huge distortion spike in the midrange. What are we doing as a group? Why are we supporting this sort of product? Cause it "sounds good?" Does it really?
Maybe I am gullible? Maybe making a nice box and mounting a driver in that nice of a box is quite hard? Mounting several in an even uglier box with a couple of circuit elements - is that really harder? Anyway, this is beside the point and it just seems like you have a personal problem with Cain, but maybe that's just your ears? I did measure the Abby’s in room frequency response and it was certainly not worse than Spender S3/5 (which are supposed to be flat and quite good.) I don't expect everyone to like this system: I am sure many would be unsatisfied with the bass response, but then bass is not important to make a violin sound like a violin. Given a budget constraint one has to choose his poison and what one can live with. In fact I recommended quite different systems to two friends: 1) a Linn Classic with Spender S3/5, 2) a Magenta hometheater system with a Denon receiver. For both, it represented pretty much what they wanted. Different people, different objectives.

When's the last time you worked for free Rene? Are you entitled at $3000 for free services, did he have a sign that said so? He made $1200 in profit on your purchase? When you make $1200 a week, do you work for free for your employer...hell no you don't
To get back to topic: Dealers used to mount a cartridge when you bought both, cartridge and turntable from them. He even saved the time to demo the turntable it in store (to low priced to even mount a cartridge for display). And yes, he said he would mount it...
As for the pay: Hell, I am making less than $1200 in TWO weeks. Maybe the expectation of making the big money as a sales person have grown a little out of proportion. And maybe if he would have performed the service I would have sent two friends back there so that he could make 3 times $1200 profit that week.

Maybe I understand the burnout of dealers and frustration just too well, but I would hope for most to keep some enthusiasm for audio. I got a Ph. D. in physics only because I am enthusiastic about physics, and no, money isn't everything Quite often I do work quite late, after hours, and during unpaid breaks. Maybe you should get your job satisfaction from something you enjoy. I understand it is very, very easy to get burned out if you are enthusiastic. Take a look around most physics departments at universities: Most people are burned out since they are not the one earning that six figure salary in industry and that just because they chose to not do that and instead do fundamental research. Does that mean I blame the public for not appreciating fundamental research in quantum mechanics...?

The diversity presented by audiophiles is killing the hobby ... Fact is we don't hear all that differently from one another ... no instead we all have different goals for why we have a system. Until we can focus as a group this will get worse.
I think your ideal customer just walked away with a Bose system from Best Buy. Diversity is why this market exists in first place. If all of us would be so gullible and fall in line, we would have followed the Wal-Mart culture and go with a Sony system in first place. Of course like you said: We follow reviews and recommendations quite often blindly. But didn't you just ask us to follow a dealer's advice blindly. And no, we do hear differently: We have different budget, different tastes in music, and my wife listens very differently than me.

Anyway, we obviously have fairly opposing opinions and visions on where this hobby should go. Sorry for this lengthy response and if this one got a little off topic or maybe not so :)

All the best,

Get a Grip.

"The diversity presented by audiophiles is killing the hobby ... Fact is we don't hear all that differently from one another ... no instead we all have different goals for why we have a system. Until we can focus as a group this will get worse."

Oh good gosh, the diversity is what is moving this industry, not killing it. I dont want you to dictate what is good sound, I want you to show me choices so I can enjoy music. What sounds great to me will not be great to everyone. Thats why we have all these choices. If I want to buy a toyota because I think its better than your chevy then thats my choice. But it sounds like you want everyone to buy chevys. It just doesnt work that way.
Dlstephenson, my point exactly. Nice to see someone else thought
Cinematic_Systems' comment and view was as far fetched.
Cinematic Systems aka Doug

Sweet Web Site! It really is hotlick! Did you do that yourself?


I live in Northern VA and have never heard of your company. Good luck competing with JS Audio, Soundworks, Sound Images and Tweeter.. It's rough out there.

Happy Holidays!

Yes,,talk about burning bridges(CS).They left me with a bad taste-period!


I gotta ask everyone here, do you trust anybody with absolutes in sound? Common guys you are end result, regardless if anyone can sell you one concept or another its all about your knowledge of how a sound, or system you want should be developed, ALL A DEALER should do is make sure you get your Price point if possible and within reason, Support your Concept and opinion of view and just guide you toward the items they believe will help, whether they think it is correct or not(sink or swim) cause sound is far to subjective, and return the unit after you find 3 days or 30 days later that its not the right thing for you and have no questions beyond how can we move you to something different that will be livable and happy in the end for you. A note to Dealers: Bottom line FACT most guys with the decent hiend shops have gone to a FLAT out no return or No money back, credit only system and of course that scares away guys that know you can purchase the item for 40% less online or used and simply take LESS of a bath if they decide to re-sell on sites like this great audiogon.com or ebay... Hell half of us would not have gotten this far without online and about 9 out of 10 of us could be even Less happy with our systems if we only could have that 6 product lines available in our area by a couple of dealers. That being said You Dealers want to have a viable reason for existance again, well thats a place to start. I do have to say I understand the risk of letting customers return and not be stuck buying another product from you is a tuff and possibly dangerous business but to get me back into local shops this is what I look for... Most if lucky will tell you okay if you take this item for 10,000$ on friday we give you 7 days, then charge you and its all credit if you bring it back after that.
Well to me thats tuff, hell I might think its great the saturday I pick it up, not even really get the time put in to hear it much more by the following weekend and then I'm screwed.
This is something I see occuring more than maybe you guys know but it exists, so ask before anything else whats the return policy.
Of course if you Special order an Item well thats a very different story, but even then you can go direct to manufacture in that case many times and they will audition it to you cost of shipping back and forth and save you the mistake, Dealers simply have less options in this respect and I sympathise, but thats the way the Audiophile brain works Cinematic_systems, not that you are guilty of this but there are much deeper problems with local retail than even you might think about because you are on the other side of the Coin(or money) Rant over.
Cinematic system's,you asked how i know what i want without ever hearing it,your question would be spot on if we were talking about me trying to achieve a certian type of sound which i am not,for the most part im satisfied with my sound & im not one to pick apart every weakness in a certian peice of gear.

early on in this hobby i discovered that i liked the way mcintosh gear sounded & made a choice to build an all mcintosh rig,after i achieved that goal i chose to build different mcintosh rig's based around xrt 22 speaker's & ive done that several time's using all sort's of mac ss & tube gear alike.

i allready enjoy the way my rig sound's so my searching & buying of new gear is just to try different peice's & have fun at the same time & not to achive a sound i think i dont have or that i need.

dont paint me with the same brush used to describe time wasting tire kicker's or indecisive buyer's, i never ask my dealer what i need nor do i want to be informed by him of anything,i do all my own research before i even visit my dealer so i know as much as i can about the gear in question,i also orient myself as to what other dealer's are selling the same gear for & what that gear will be worth in a year when i want to try something new,when i visit my prefered dealer ive made my mind up on what i want to buy allready & i go there with the intent on laying down cash on the spot,no game's just business.

most of the time i agree with you on most issue's but your way off base here,you point out that putting a $90 driver into a cabinet is not all that time consuming refering to the mark up & i agree with that but dont fault me because i refuse to pay price's for any gear that would allow a salesman/owner to take his entire family to the bahama's for a week's vacation for simply running my visa thru the machine & making a call to order the gear.

a good salesman should know the difference between buyer's that need to be sold & buyer's that come to buy & be able to handle both with courtesy & respect & a smart businessman would rather have a potential customer waste hour's of his time answering question's as oposed to sending him away with a bad taste in his mouth to tell other's how poorly he was treated in that store.

it's called customer service & it's something that audiophile's have grown used to not getting but now over the last few year's with audiogon having such a huge presence for buyers,dealers & manufacturer's alike alot of buyer's are realizing that they dont have to be treated like tird's to enjoy the hobby & the dealer's with poor communication skill's & age old selling pratice's are really feeling the heat.


The reason I was at my local hi fi store was to pick up a Patricia Barber album. The sales guy spotted the "Vinyl" and started talking to me about equipment. I declined an offer to listen to "Whatever I want" because as I said to the salesman "I am very happy with my system". For me it's about the music, the equipment is only a tool.

I think Cinematic Systems makes a number of good points, and I also think it's important to read the "writing on the wall," as he suggests. If he is saying that trying to please an audiophile community and having little yield is causing problems for retailers/system installers like himself, then there's probably some truth to that. Audiophiles can be a relentlessly unsatisfied group. But not being able to audition equipment can hinder other opportunities to buy as well. It's difficult to buy things on the Audiogon without having the opportunity to listen to the equipment first. I don't think that given the nature of the hobby, given the precision of the selection and the price that people should assume the same kinds of approaches should apply as with normal consumption choices. In an industry where sales involve a lot more misses than hits, I think people should cut the retailers some slack. Do you enjoy being able to go into shops and hear gear whenever you want and then buy on the Audiogon used because the stuff costs too much at the shops? Then maybe offer some gestures of appreciation. Give the dealer a gift certificate to a restaurant. Take him out for "several" beers, or what have you. I really really enjoyed one dealer last year. he gave me a lot of time, a lot of opportunities to listen to music on his equipment. I very much wanted to give him my business, but I didn't like the gear as much as I wanted to with my music. I ended up buying elsewhere. What did I do? I bought this dealer a gift set last December as a Christmas gift for his trouble. In so doing, I got another chance to listen and talk some more. The generosity to be able to listen is a two-way street. it doesn't come free for a dealer. Show them some appreciation and buy them a gift for the holidays if they've done well by you and you didn't end up buying. Their time and effort, even if ultimately for selling, doesn't come free. Bravo CS.
5% sounds like a lot to me. More like .5%. But that's the difference audiophiles pay the most for. I agree: the sales person was not a believer so he should not be in the business of proselytizing.
Washline a well balance post,congratulations and happy
holiday to you, ten years ago I am just an audiophile
who is learning,I am not making enough money to buy
expensive gears,but I have the potential to make more
money,that time many dealers ignore me, and it hurts,
because I do love music,you think the dealers care?
I did not think so.
Ten years after I can afford at least 30K system, easy.
Those dealers who did not treat me right, did not
get my business.I learn so much here a Agon,Emailing
Tireguy,Stehno,and many more friends here,I have learned
I have to remind dealers if they will treat potential
buyers right,they will remember that,and they will come
back,or they will refer them,It happen so many times,
I know a dealer who is extremely happy because, I send
Him a lot of buyers.We are both happy, because we are
able to help.Thanks
--"For me it's about the music, the equipment is only a tool."-- Nocaster

If that's true...Why in the HELL were you buying a Patricia Barber album?

If that's your idea of music, no wonder you don't care about your system!
Washline, very nice comments. I completely agree that the current
circumstances for dealers are very harsh and difficult, on one side the
Internet and Best Buy on the other hand a very spezialized market. I have
almost stopped going to dealers for the same reasons as Jactoy. I actually
never went to a dealer to just listen and then buy on Agon. If I decide to go
used, I usually just go for it, try it out for a while and sell it if I don't like it. If I
listen at a dealer and like it, I will buy there. Your idea of a present is very
good one for the failed opportunites where you did not enjoy the gear
enough, but where you would like to keep good relations.

Anyway, I still think that the current business model would support a very
different solution, very similar to Matrix suggestions. I would not mind paying
for a two month home demo, if that means I can return it in case I don not
enjoy the piece. In fact, Cinematic_Systems' approach of home demoing is
quite similar as claimed on his website. I just don't agree that it is the
Audiphile market that needs to change, but rather I thik retailer need to adapt
to the changing and more diverse market. The dealer then becomes a real
service provider for demos and consultant to indentify what is needed to
reach a good sound (room analysis, identifiaction of problems and solutions).

As always, best wishes,

To preface what I say. I work in a home theater department at a big box retailer. I am a 22 year old college student and have been in this hobby for a little over a year. From the consumer side of things in the town that I live only has a couple of hifi stores. When I recently wanted to purchase an amplifier I decided to stop by one of the local dealers. The salesperson treated me as if I was if I was wasting their time. Granted that at the time there was not anyone else in the store and I was really interested in purchasing one of the amplifiers that they were selling. It was like pulling teeth trying to get a demo of said amplifier. Needless to say that they will not ever get my business and I spent $3300 on the amplifier elsewhere. This was my experience and I think that the lesson to be learned is for salespeople to get excited about what they are selling. If you do not want to demo the equipment that you sell, then why bother to work there. It is obviously not that person's calling in life so they should find what that is. I understand that there are a lot of people that just want to waste time. There are tons of people like that coming to see retailers every day. However, the one or two that actually want to purchase something that they will enjoy make working worth while. The other thing is when you go to some of these retailers you have about a fifty-fifty shot of finding someone that really cares and gets excited about what they are doing. The problem with a lot of retailers is that most of the employees are kids like myself that are putting themselves through college and they really do not know or care about what it is that they are selling, it is more or less just another college job as opposed to a career. (As a college job though, it is a lot of fun showing people what they can get for a little more money than an HTIB). Does it approach the sonic realism that most of us has with most of our systems? Probably not, but it is enjoyable to give somebody a good demo of what a decent system sounds like. With that being said the reason I got into this hobby is that someone showed me an incredible demo of a 2-channel system that gave me that "I have to have that" feeling. Hopefully, when I graduate in May and get a "career" I will be able to find a shop that has a salesperson that is as enthusiastic about this hobby as we all are.
Hello Quixotic_quest

Ï will defend your right to "Freedom of speech" no matter what! Be well, and may you have plenty of time to listen to whatever kind music and equipment you like.