The market for high-end or even reasonable quality audio can be divided into two camps. Those interested and capable of acquiring their own components AND setting them up. And the group of music lovers that lacks the interest and motivation to research the best gear, for the best price, purchase the stuff, take it home, and plug it all together. I fall into the first category and most of my friends and family subscribe to the second group. They just want a good system at a good price, that’s easy to operate, and they want someone else to install it.
I get emails from CE Pro magazine and have attended a couple of CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association) conventions so I’m aware of the size of the market for individuals and companies needing help with their audio/video systems. It’s huge! According to a few of the articles that I’ve read at CE Pro, some of these custom installers are generating millions of dollars in profits…one guy flies around in his own private jet! I’m in the wrong business…I’d settle for any type of airplane. ..heck, even a new car to replace my 2004 Acura TL would be nice.
So it was with particular interest when I received a call from my cousin’s son (is that a second cousin?) about his new audio/video systems. He and his wife have just finished remodeling their condo in the mountains of Colorado and are just about to pull the trigger on some new gear. He called to ask about a particular piece of gear…and Anthem AVR…but my return phone call turned into a review of everything that his custom A/V installer listed in the proposal.
Being a member of the first group mentioned above, I select, purchase, and install my own gear. I’ve got the knowledge but mostly I think it’s because I’ve spent way too much time doing live sound, building electronic music studios, audio facilities, and because I’m cheap. And I suppose there’s a fair amount of personal satisfaction as well. My cousin is smart and could probably figure things out on his own but he doesn’t really have the time and wants to make sure things are done right. So he sent me the 10-page proposal from the AV company (I’m not going to specify any names). A couple of days ago we went through the document page by page.
I’ve never received a custom electronics proposal before, so I was interested in going the one my cousin received after having a consultation, on site visit, and a couple of follow up phone calls.
The document starts out with a warm and fuzzy, feel good introduction with a header photograph of a very high-end home theater. The company president pasted a few boilerplate paragraphs explaining why his company is among the best: harmony of design, excellent value, and ease of use. The final line highlights the lines that they represent, “the most respected names in Audio and Video”.
As I went through the document line by line, it became pretty obvious that the company was suggesting the right type of gear to accomplish multi room music and a good home theater system in the living room. But what caught my attention wasn’t the gear that was being recommended but the expensive cabling that was being spec’d to connect it all. Does my cousin really need a $100 6-foot RCA to RCA analog cable from the DAC (which was also unnecessary) to the receiver?
Alarms started going off.
To be continued…