Helping friends and relatives buy an audio system...


This is one thing I have had the good fortune of helping family and friends buy a stereo/music system with very positive results.  I did not have one that went bad or caused concerns.  This went from something as simply as a used KLH compact system for a relative to some relative high end systems with Magnepan, Martin Logan, ARC, Adcom...and more.

As time has passed I am no longer sure this is a very wise thing to do.  I have not done this for some time and am curious to what + or - experiences you have had in helping others with an audio system?   I am sure there are many stories out there. 


whatjd
Jeez whatjd. Quite the question. In medical school I made a living setting up systems in the houses of very rich people. I also got my own equipment on saleman's comp this way. In the process I wound up setting up system's for two 1st cousins. Both were thrilled to death with their systems. One is still working nicely in the hands of his son (he passed). The other I have no idea what happen to it. That cousin moved to San Francisco and sold it with the house. Both cousins were not that critical but they were expensive high end systems. I never had any trouble with any of my paying clients but then I left Miami after 5 years there. 
It was a lot of fun and there are days I wished I'd stayed in the business.
Is it dangerous? It could be if you are not totally up front with people. It would be worse with a very critical listener. 
I posted the following on Sept 20 in another thread

"Most of my friends and family have little interest beyond Bluetooth convenience and very casual listening. That said, my best friend's son, and a young guy who used to work for me both showed distinct interests in having systems but didn't really have the budget means. Rather than sell 2 sets of Tyler Acoustic speakers (different models), a Plinius and Arcam integrated amp, an Arcam and Pioneer Elite cd player, and Kimber cables that I wasn't using I put a system together for each of them and gave them to them gratis . Better to let them enjoy"
facten That was extremely gracious and kind hearted of you. Thank you for being an Audiophile and a human being.

In my heyday I had a business in Madison, Wi. and was part of a program that had jobs for people recovering from mental illness...usually caused by childhood abuse. I did something like you when I helped my sister start a business and supplied her with some inventory at no cost and the money she was to pay me for helping her I simply told her not to pay me.

I helped save some people after Hurricane Camille (Biloxi) and the Rapid City Flood....both were awful and the death and destruction made my 19 year old brain suffer with the citizens of those towns.

Even with money, travel, cars, hi-fi and more material things,..nothing has done as much for my happiness as helping those that needed the help with no thought of strings attached.

Take care.  
When life puts you in tough situations, don’t say, why me? Just say, try me! the impossible quiz hot.
I helped my folks get their first real audio system, after they heard my stuff. Advised some friends here and there. But most people are not interested in great sound, just adequate sound with lots of convenience.

Once in a while someone, like a neighbor or a co-worker comes by, hears my system, then comment on the beauty of the sound but does not go much farther such as taking action. Audio hobby seems like a niche interest.
It has never worked out well for me, and I have tried a few times. No more. 
Recently I helped a colleague put together a system he was happy with. Knowing he didn't share my extreme passion for audiophilia, though he did appreciate listening to music on my system, I gave him a mid-end Onkyo receiver I wasn't using, then helped him choose a Rega RP1 to feed into a ProJect Phono box I wasn't using, either. At my recommendation, he bought a pair of Elac B6's and I gifted him my CleanSpin record cleaning set-up.


He's quite happy now. He could have afforded better equipment, but he simply didn't want to. The same way I could afford a better TV, but would rather spend my money on other things.


As @pch300 says, "Audio hobby seems like a niche interest." Kind of like when I see a video projector here listed for the high four figures. I'm like, "what the hell?" That's how most view high-end audio components.
I never had good luck helping others with setting up a system. Usually they went to a store and got completely schooled/sold on a system before they asked me. When I would make suggestions the person usually became argumentative about what they had already decided on doing. Looking for approval rather than trusting someone who’s already been there. This hobby is mostly an all male testosterone driven club, sprinkle on a healthy amount of pride and...
Like many of you have mentioned the majority are looking for convenience over sound quality. A number of years ago I set up a friend with a very good HT system. SVS 5.1 that came in way less than the Best Buy “expert” tried to sell him. We had a few disagreements such as the power conditioner had to say Monster on it because it just had too! Anyway they loved the set up! Many times he would comment on how awesome movies and sporting events were. He’s a builder and a couple of years ago he did some remodeling nothing major just moved a few windows around with some built in cabinets and shelves. The new TV was put above the fireplace with a sound bar under it. “Oh so much better” was his wife’s comment. I looked at him and he just shrugged. We put on the Sixers game and I could hardly make out what the announcer was saying. So much better indeed! Yes this is a niche hobby and getting smaller as technology progresses. Too bad for them!
Being into esoteric audio gear is much like the world of sports cars...some feel a Ferrari or Porsche may be a sports car while others feel  a Camaro or Mustang is a sports car....and some feel going out to eat is the best locally owned supper club and others feel it is the drive-up at McDonalds.  To each him or her own. 

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Great way to make people who hate you.