Funny coincidence that the guru always has the best, and everything else is junk. Starting to sound like... never mind.
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You said it in your last paragraph, you are happy with your own system.
Let your two friends find out for themselves, laugh it off.
The only thing that matters are the things attatched on each side of your head, not anyone elses.
You should not care what the so-called audio "guru" says $$
Unless of course, he'd be willing to lend you his recommended equipment for home auditioning.
You should enjoy your own system. The cost of the components does not necessarily correlate with the amount of improvement. From my own experience, your "guru" has pointed your friends toward higher quality and better-sounding components over time. However, the brands the dealer represents are not the only ones that could represent improvements over your friend's previous equipment.
In your post the most important thing you say is this:
"My sytem is not top of the line, but aIm happy with it".
Nothing more needs to be said. You are to be commended for having the self confidence to form your own opinion and not be unduly influenced by others. By contrast, it appears that your friends need to be told what is best for them. They should arrive at this through independent judgment, although there is nothing wrong with the local audio guru offering his opinion, which may then be accepted or rejected.
I think that the brands which your friends used to have, and the brands which they now have, are all excellent. It isn't that they're being sold junk. It would be unfortunate, however, if the upgrade money they spent was due to the influence of the guru, rather than due to their own preference.
If somebody says that what they sell is the best, and all other brands are junk, take it with a grain of salt. The guy doesn't make money by directing potential customers to brands sold by other retailers. Also, he may truly believe himself that what he carries is tops. That doesn't mean that others have to agree. Always form your own opinion. Equipment can be quite different and what is best for one person may not be the best to another. If there was one absolute "best", everybody would buy it and all other brands would be out of business. Obviously this is not the case.
You'll find the same thing happening here on the gon. There is one who sell very expensive gear with a following of people who proclaim the products are the cat's meow and he is tied to a popular internet magazine as well. Some of the followers are on the inside. They help make the demand for sales.
if this 'guru' has any cojones, he will let you bring in a component he doesn't sell and let you do an A/B comparison with something he claims is better. and if you do end up doing this kind of comparison, make sure he doesn't influence the test: make sure the power cords, interconnects, warm-up,
set-up, etc. are identical.
p.s.personally if I encounter the kind of salesperson you're describing, I walk in the opposite direction; it is ridiculous to believe that all of these other brands that have had great success over the years aren't any good. you'll get better information off of the web (like here) than from this blowhard
My friends are hypnotized, we are in our mid 30`s the guru is in his 60`s, just because his age, they think that he has years and years of experience with the audio thing,
Buts its a simple marketing rule I`ll guess:
He is the representative of all those brands in here, they purchase everything to him.
The Guru is happy becuase he receives money from them, just in expensive upgrades.
"like simon says" thing tsk tsk :-(
I have told them this, so they can save a few bucks:
"ok ok the guru says to get some Kimber selct cables, why dont you get them from audiogon or ebay?" the repsonse is now way! we will get ripped off, We will buy them from him securely,.......... yikes!
They dont have the internet buying culture and also that on these days there are secure ways of paying and not get ripped, I have been selling buying on ebay for 7 years!
As a matetr of fact have buyed 2 runs of 4TC cable myself on audiogon and 2 runs of PBJ too.
I have myself a mexican made integrated amplifier
Margules ACRH 1.2 Hybrid amplifier combination of solid and tube on the pre
www.margules.com then enter the magenta section.
As matter of fact Margules is always on the CES