DSP and stores - Anyone else get the feeling they might be sweetening?


One thing I’ve been thinking about especially now that I’m streaming and have EQ at my fingertips, is how easy it is for a dealer to sweeten a mix. That is, alter speakers to sound differently in the store. One dealer would not let me play my own music, at all. That was a big red flag. I didn’t have anything troublesome, just some Diana Krall or something like that.

Another made my ears hurt with speakers others tell me are quite neutral.

In another store the speakers were wired out of phase and painfully bright. In this case it could have been in the speaker setup as they had external resistors.

Anyone else have these kind of quirky experiences in a shop lately?


Best,

E
erik_squires
Post removed 
Unfortunately the out-of-phase connection is a very common foo-pah - and often due to being rushed in the setup.


Absolutely true!! This alone would not lead me to consider if I was being snookered. The same store though after fixing this issue I had to turn the treble down considerably to get the speakers sounding properly balanced. Some smaller Wilson model.

Maybe the lesson is we need to ask questions about the room and the setup when buying?
Erik - I deleted my last post because it was not really addressing your concerns WRT:DSP components.

But it did remind me of the time when analogue graphic equalizers were the rage.

The sales people back then did have an enthusiastic approach to demonstrating their use. and the were probably responsible for sales of speakers that did not really live up to the in-store sound.

But aren’t the stores that use acoustic tuning devices/baffles/reflectors doing exactly the same thing ???
- they too are modifying the sound of the speakers - just using a different method.

It really is a case of "Buyer Beware" - because the moment you get speakers home - they may sound very different.

Regards - Steve







Erik - I deleted my last post because it was not really addressing your concerns WRT:DSP components.


No worries, it wasn’t just about DSP, it was also just about weird experiences.

But aren’t the stores that use acoustic tuning devices/baffles/reflectors doing exactly the same thing ???
- they too are modifying the sound of the speakers - just using a different method.


My concern is not that dealers demonstrate the gear in the best light, but that they do so in a transparent and up front manner. I don’t even mind if they use DSP or tone controls, but that they let you know what they are doing. In the case of the Wilsons for instance, I’m pretty sure they had turned the tweeter up as high as they could.

The reason DSP is dangerous is how easy it is to hide it. I could invite you over to listen to my system, and you’d not know unless I told you.  For instance, I could bulk alter my entire music collection over night, and then you wouldn't even know if you were listening to original recordings or my alterations.

If I see acoustic panels, hell, that’s another sales opportunity! :)
No but anything is possible so always best to ask questions. 
If I see acoustic panels, hell, that’s another sales opportunity!

Well, considering that trying to get a room in the best acoustic shape, I would think adding panels to be something encouraged. If it adds to the sale, it seems to make sense to me, both in terms of making the sale as well as an add-on purchase.

With regards to DSP, I concur wholeheartedly. If recordings are altered and that isn't disclosed, then there is no way to know how a speaker or system actually sounds. 
(Now that I think of it, just about all the dealers seem to be using music from local NAS's and whatever server they choose. It wouldn't be hard to tweak the settings to make it a bit juicier).
Bob
I haven’t had any such experiences. As to DSP, my impression is, the average dealer doesn’t have the patience or knowledge to set it up well. Maybe things have changed.

As to honesty and forthrightness, I guess we have good dealers here (Portland, OR). I have dealt with four or five of them, and I can’t think of one that would want to sell you speakers you don’t like or that won’t sound good in your room. Nor can I imagine any of them tweaking the speakers in a misleading way.

A dealer that doesn’t let you play your own music? Odd, and a red flag for sure!

My local shop has room treatments, but there are no other gizmos employed. Not even higher end power cords or speaker wires. All pretty basic stuff really. Always tough to demo a speaker in a store of any kind. Room variations are simply too great. Put a deposit down (if required) and take a floor set home... your gear, your music, your room.
I think not letting you listen to any of your own music is a key tip off. Not that I'd say you can't do business with them because of that, just that they may not be operating transparently on that score, as you say.

BTW, just wait until the issue of not disclaiming their use of power treatments comes up...half surprised it hasn't already, personally.

Regards.