Whole House Audio - What are my Best Options?

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bhnc140

Audiophyte
I read some of the other posts here. I may need an uber-beginner forum. It's not that I haven't wired things and done good work with my home theater systems before, but my knowledge seems to be pretty dated. Can't make sense of too many of today's options.

I currently have a home that was acquired with a nifty theater room in which I installed my own A/V receiver and basic surround sound. It works well for me. The house came with an existing whole-house sound system (although, in-truth, it's a first-floor and deck sound system). 4 rooms hooked to an old Russound CA64 with on/off/volume controls on the walls of each room. I'm basically looking to replicate this in a new home build.

The builder has a specified A/V and alarm installer and they are the only ones who can pre-wire my things. I was ready for expensive and still experienced sticker-shock. Now, it could be that I just didn't understand what they were quoting, but posts I've found seem to indicate they know they are the single options in this scenario. I've been trying to scheme the bare minimum and I'll add and upgrade from there. However, just to install speaker sets and run wires seems excessive.

I would like in-ceiling (preferred) or in-wall speakers in 4-6 rooms. Six was the original plan but I may dial back, and one of those "rooms" is the outside deck/porch area. I do not want control panels on each wall. I'd like a box in my entertainment center that controls all zones as far as on/off/volume over a network app ... or even at the box itself would be livable. My plan was wired speakers but I'm also considering WIFI options. I did not find a control box that would do both.

I'll start there. Anyone care to offer a link? A couple of brands/models that might help me narrow this down? I've looked at Sonos, Nuvos, Yamaha and Juke, among ones I don't recall. What did I miss, or what model did I miss? In the meantime, I'll go over my plan again and see how many zones I actually need ... and how many need to be hardwired.

Thanks in advance for any guidance offered.

Nick

PS - I will also shop around for local (Cleveland-ish; Columbia Station) integrators who might be able to help me after the fact. All I know is the one I have by default has a slim list of options. But I may even check back with him again.
 
B

bhnc140

Audiophyte
I love it when an extremely short answer nets massive results! Thank you.

The HTD equipment I have read about will provide a solution to my basic needs and at a cost that is very attractive. There is one more part of my plan that I don't see any immediate solution for. We're close enough though that I can likely solve this.

HTD equipment doesn't seem to support WiFi speakers (or hardwired Ethernet or ... even Coax if that will help). I would love to have 3 of my zones to support speakers via WiFi (or cables, above). So, is there any hardware that would take HTD's speaker output and send it to speakers that don't use traditional speaker wires? I have an idea myself after writing this ... but humor me if you will?

I've also emailed the HTD people with my query. If they are aware of anyone who has solved the same kind of needs, I'm hoping they will share.

Thanks again, and in advance for any further ideas!

Nick
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Well, you can't transmit amp power for the speakers over wifi....you'd need a way to not only initiate the transmission/reception of the signal over wifi but also provide the speakers with amplification as well as an outlet for power generally (self-powered/active speakers could simplify the amp needs, tho). HTD is a good site, and generally can provide solutions for whole home type audio (which isn't a particular specialty for this forum altho we have some like @BMXTRIX who are particularly familiar with such. IMO avoiding whole home audio is a good goal to start, but I don't particularly need that sort of background audio myself.
 
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highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
I started selling audio in Feb of 1978 and this is the first time I have heard of HTD.

Thanks, HTD, you really know the CI industry-

"The support you need … without “that grungy guy” traipsing all over your home."

The thing is, that "grungy guy" may know a helluva lot about how to get this stuff to work and how to install it without damaging a house.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
You will want the builder to install speaker wiring to all the locations you want speakers. You will want those locations clearly labeled on all cabling and you will want to have, typically, 14 gauge wiring run to all the speaker locations.

Make sure your head end location, where all the equipment will be, will have enough room for that equipment, sources, amplifiers, etc.

WIRE THE HECK OUT OF ANY NEW HOME BUILD!!!

Yes, there is a cost to doing the wiring right the first time. The cost triples when you need to do it after the drywall is up. PLUS you have drywall repair and painting that must occur. So, spend the money to do the wiring. If you are a willing DiYer, then all you will want put into place is the wiring. I typically run 14 gauge/4 conductor cabling in a new installation to stereo speaker locations. I do not typically limit myself to 4 rooms or 6 rooms, but I wire EVERY room that I think I might one day want audio at. This means bedrooms, bathrooms, dining room, kitchen, outdoor areas, etc. all get wiring up front. With a multi-level home, I also install a basement to attic conduit feed so I can add wiring later as I want to. Depends heavily on the home design.

But, all you really need is wiring. The speaker wire allows you to send audio from a amplifier to the speakers.

The SOURCES are completely separate. There is no such thing as a 'wi-fi' speaker! There are complete components, such as Sonos, which has integrated wi-fi functionality along with an amplifier and a speaker built in. But, those are three separate items in one package. If you go to the Sonos website, you will see that they also offer the Sonos Port. That's a Wi-Fi source without the amplifier or the speakers in it. So, you can hook up a Port (or two) to the HTD distribution system and get up to two different sources sent out to all the speakers in your home in any combination you want. PLUS - you can add/change sources in the future as you would like to.

Be aware that with in-ceiling speakers, half the sound travels upwards into the ceiling. So, if rooms are above, they will hear it.
 
B

bhnc140

Audiophyte
I started selling audio in Feb of 1978 and this is the first time I have heard of HTD.

Thanks, HTD, you really know the CI industry-

"The support you need … without “that grungy guy” traipsing all over your home."

The thing is, that "grungy guy" may know a helluva lot about how to get this stuff to work and how to install it without damaging a house.
I wouldn't mind "that grungy guy", not at all. In fact, my original plan was to have this all installed (wires and speakers and even the equipment that I don't alway have). The issue with this is that there is a single, dedicated vendor that the builder insists do all of this. And while I'm no expert, the prices quoted for my original grand plan seemed ... well ... excessive. So I've been looking at all of my options.

The original Grand Plan? Surround sound built into my living room AND an additional 2 speakers in all of 6 inside rooms and 1 special speaker outside for the porch. I did not see his original suggestion of all Sonos (it was something like 13k, but that included our surround sound wiring and speakers), but when we whittled down to some kind of Nuvos things (2 boxes, 4 zone + 3 zone) with 2 Kilsch speakers I see offered raw for $97 each. Basically that was $9k installed separate from surround sound ($1400 using my existing receiver).

So I asked ... what would it cost to install speakers and wires? $800 a room and $1010 for the outside speaker. Wiring all of this in a home with no drywall or ceilings. So, speakers only? $5780. Again, I know the speakers quoted are available at $100 a pop; $200 for each room.

I offer these prices as a sanity check. Am I a cheapskate? Are these prices "relatively reasonable". At this time, my opinion is a strong NO. Might we decide to pay the man anyway? Perhaps. But I'm here to research my alternatives first. I have no grungy guy options ... I have a guy the builder has picked for me. He seems like a nice, knowledgeable guy ... but his company limits the options and sets the prices.

Surround sound wiring/speakers is a given. I want that bad and I will have them install it. Whole house sound for $9k? I'm trying to decide if I want to swallow that or do something else.

Oh. This is a large ranch-style home. No upstairs. I'll worry about soundproofing above when I have the basement finished ... but that can come later and I plan a dedicated theater room.

Thanks for the reply!
 
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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Wow those are some high prices for wiring. Guess they want to take advantage. Do they even share what gauge wiring (let alone specific brand or model) they'd use?

@highfigh surprised you hadn't heard of Home Theater Direct (htd.com) before.....think they've been around for 20 years or so. I've heard of them regularly in the forums for a long time....
 
B

bhnc140

Audiophyte
You will want the builder to install speaker wiring to all the locations you want speakers. You will want those locations clearly labeled on all cabling and you will want to have, typically, 14 gauge wiring run to all the speaker locations.

Make sure your head end location, where all the equipment will be, will have enough room for that equipment, sources, amplifiers, etc.

WIRE THE HECK OUT OF ANY NEW HOME BUILD!!!

Yes, there is a cost to doing the wiring right the first time. The cost triples when you need to do it after the drywall is up. PLUS you have drywall repair and painting that must occur. So, spend the money to do the wiring. If you are a willing DiYer, then all you will want put into place is the wiring. I typically run 14 gauge/4 conductor cabling in a new installation to stereo speaker locations. I do not typically limit myself to 4 rooms or 6 rooms, but I wire EVERY room that I think I might one day want audio at. This means bedrooms, bathrooms, dining room, kitchen, outdoor areas, etc. all get wiring up front. With a multi-level home, I also install a basement to attic conduit feed so I can add wiring later as I want to. Depends heavily on the home design.

But, all you really need is wiring. The speaker wire allows you to send audio from a amplifier to the speakers.

The SOURCES are completely separate. There is no such thing as a 'wi-fi' speaker! There are complete components, such as Sonos, which has integrated wi-fi functionality along with an amplifier and a speaker built in. But, those are three separate items in one package. If you go to the Sonos website, you will see that they also offer the Sonos Port. That's a Wi-Fi source without the amplifier or the speakers in it. So, you can hook up a Port (or two) to the HTD distribution system and get up to two different sources sent out to all the speakers in your home in any combination you want. PLUS - you can add/change sources in the future as you would like to.

Be aware that with in-ceiling speakers, half the sound travels upwards into the ceiling. So, if rooms are above, they will hear it.
Thanks for the reply. I did a relatively lengthy reply to the previous responder so there is some detail about my situation (including prices I've been given) in that post that I will try not to repeat here.

Where do most people have their equipment like this? Sort of a silly question. My current (old and inherited) system has a master control box in a bedroom closet. But it is controlled by panels in each of the rooms with speakers. These panels allow me to pick from any source attached to the box (we've only ever used one at a time) and the on/off/volume for the room. I suppose a wifi controlled box could be just as hidden. I ask, because I had originally intended the equipment to be less hidden, in my monster entertainment center. Plenty of room in there even with my existing setup. But I suppose it needn't be and the large collection of wiring is best hidden, like in my closet now; lots of wires for all of those controllers AND speakers!

Sorry, I answered your sound-also-goes-up point previously. No issues there and for now.

In-ceiling speakers are only really super-desirable in the open part of the house. I could live with connector posts on a panel in some of the rooms for stand-alone, movable speakers. I'll ask how much that would be. Still, we love our in-ceiling speakers now.

So, yeah, I wanted to wire up the new house nicely ... I did leave out the bathrooms and a walk-in closet! I'll think about it. My hesitation is only from the sticker shock of my plans (previous post). Am I being held hostage or just a cheapskate? Trying to convince myself to bite the bullet while at the same time trying to find ways to reduce that bullet's overall size/cost!

Again, thanks for your in-depth thoughts.

Ah, one more question. Surround-sound speaks, at least 4 installed in the ceiling of my living room (assuming; I need to get details for the record). Can I safely assume that, if I am not using surround sound, these might be usable by the whole house audio system? Shared between both systems? Or is there a technicality that would prevent that?? Maybe I have to use the whole house system as an input to the A/V receiver ... but it's already amplified. I'll read up more.
 
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highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
@highfigh surprised you hadn't heard of Home Theater Direct (htd.com) before.....think they've been around for 20 years or so. I've heard of them regularly in the forums for a long time....
But they aren't known in the CI world, AFAIK and living/working here, I'm surprised, too- Milwaukee has been used as a test market for decades because, as the marketers say, "They like a bargain here". That means people will ask for a better price even if something is already very cheap. When I started in this business, people would ask "How much for cash?", as if we were all skimming from the till.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
I wouldn't mind "that grungy guy", not at all. In fact, my original plan was to have this all installed (wires and speakers and even the equipment that I don't alway have). The issue with this is that there is a single, dedicated vendor that the builder insists do all of this. And while I'm no expert, the prices quoted for my original grand plan seemed ... well ... excessive. So I've been looking at all of my options.

The original Grand Plan? Surround sound built into my living room AND an additional 2 speakers in all of 6 inside rooms and 1 special speaker outside for the porch. I did not see his original suggestion of all Sonos (it was something like 13k, but that included our surround sound wiring and speakers), but when we whittled down to some kind of Nuvos things (2 boxes, 4 zone + 3 zone) with 2 Kilsch speakers I see offered raw for $97 each. Basically that was $9k installed separate from surround sound ($1400 using my existing receiver).

So I asked ... what would it cost to install speakers and wires? $800 a room and $1010 for the outside speaker. Wiring all of this in a home with no drywall or ceilings. So, speakers only? $5780. Again, I know the speakers quoted are available at $100 a pop; $200 for each room.

I offer these prices as a sanity check. Am I a cheapskate? Are these prices "relatively reasonable". At this time, my opinion is a strong NO. Might we decide to pay the man anyway? Perhaps. But I'm here to research my alternatives first. I have no grungy guy options ... I have a guy the builder has picked for me. He seems like a nice, knowledgeable guy ... but his company limits the options and sets the prices.

Surround sound wiring/speakers is a given. I want that bad and I will have them install it. Whole house sound for $9k? I'm trying to decide if I want to swallow that or do something else.

Oh. This is a large ranch-style home. No upstairs. I'll worry about soundproofing above when I have the basement finished ... but that can come later and I plan a dedicated theater room.

Thanks for the reply!
$800 PER ROOM??????????????????????????????

Personally, I would have a problem with a builder telling me that I have to use their installer- these prices tell me the builder is making a lot of money from the areas outside of their usual expertise- here, if a sub is hired by the builder, the builder tacks on about 6% but unless your house will be huge and built from materials that are very difficult to drill through, the cost is far higher than it should be. Well, unless they have a team of people picking up every spec of dust as they go which, during the rough-in phase, would be ridiculous because everyone makes a mess and cleans up at the end of the day unless it would present a hazard by being left in place. If you walk though a house that's under construction and the builder insists on people cleaning up as they go, the job will take far longer than necessary because everyone will waste at least an hour every day cleaning when they should be working. Cleanup is part of the job, but shouldn't be a major part.

You should have what's called a 'back box' for speakers that are in a ceiling that has insulation over it/in the joist spaces- not only because the insulation could get into the area between the cone and frame but also because it can help the sound. A piece of wood at each end with plywood over the top works well and doesn't take much time/materials to install.

Ask for the hourly rate- that $800/room is so freaking high I can't believe they have the stones to even say it out loud. I work for myself and if I charge $80/hour + materials, that means I would be taking almost ten hours to wire one room and I have wired more than you plan to have in that amount of time in ranch houses. If they're gently pulling one wire at a time to each location and going back for more when several need to go to the same place until they split off, they're hosing you, big time- for efficiency, several wires are pulled from the head end until they split, then they to to the speaker/volume control locations (if wall-mounted controls will be used). Someone installs any hardware needed (like speaker rings in the ceilings, junction boxes for controls, staples or whatever for wire management and makes notes for speaker wire end locations, or installs something to make finding the ends easy after the drywall is up. If they work when everyone else is there, it can take longer but if they plan to go when the place is basically empty, they should be able to knock it out pretty quickly.

If they quoted more than $5700 just for the speakers that are available for $100 each, they're gouging. You shouldn't have to make up for a builder's lost revenue during COVID, all by yourself.

Is the house already under contract?
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Thanks for the reply. I did a relatively lengthy reply to the previous responder so there is some detail about my situation (including prices I've been given) in that post that I will try not to repeat here.

Where do most people have their equipment like this? Sort of a silly question. My current (old and inherited) system has a master control box in a bedroom closet. But it is controlled by panels in each of the rooms with speakers. These panels allow me to pick from any source attached to the box (we've only ever used one at a time) and the on/off/volume for the room. I suppose a wifi controlled box could be just as hidden. I ask, because I had originally intended the equipment to be less hidden, in my monster entertainment center. Plenty of room in there even with my existing setup. But I suppose it needn't be and the large collection of wiring is best hidden, like in my closet now; lots of wires for all of those controllers AND speakers!

Sorry, I answered your sound-also-goes-up point previously. No issues there and for now.

In-ceiling speakers are only really super-desirable in the open part of the house. I could live with connector posts on a panel in some of the rooms for stand-alone, movable speakers. I'll ask how much that would be. Still, we love our in-ceiling speakers now.

So, yeah, I wanted to wire up the new house nicely ... I did leave out the bathrooms and a walk-in closet! I'll think about it. My hesitation is only from the sticker shock of my plans (previous post). Am I being held hostage or just a cheapskate? Trying to convince myself to bite the bullet while at the same time trying to find ways to reduce that bullet's overall size/cost!

Again, thanks for your in-depth thoughts.

Ah, one more question. Surround-sound speaks, at least 4 installed in the ceiling of my living room (assuming; I need to get details for the record). Can I safely assume that, if I am not using surround sound, these might be usable by the whole house audio system? Shared between both systems? Or is there a technicality that would prevent that?? Maybe I have to use the whole house system as an input to the A/V receiver ... but it's already amplified. I'll read up more.
The speakers for surround can be used for music but how they will be controlled is up to the AV receiver- many have a Party Mode, which is a one button way to get it out of surround mode, then you can push the mode button later and restore it to TV/movie sound.

I like using multi-channel amplifiers for whole-house systems- the equipment you showed is similar, but as I posted, I haven't heard of this brand and have no experience with it.

I wouldn't necessarily expect someone to say "Sure, OK" if asked to install and setup equipment supplied by a homeowner or builder because we like what we like for various reasons and it would be impossible to set up equipment efficiently the first time if we're not familiar with it. We're not here to 'earn while we learn' on strange equipment and I, as a consumer, wouldn't be happy if I knew I was paying someone for that unless we had agreed to test some new technology together.

New construction is easy- retrofitting is much more difficult and time-consuming, especially in older homes- I have done more extensive wiring in old homes that didn't cost as much as you were quoted.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
I can see $800/rm. if they are using a high quality in-ceiling speaker with a back box. The price of speakers can vary a lot. Like there are $1,000+ in-ceiling speakers. So, if you are looking at a good back box, one that absorbs sound, then that may be a couple hundred bucks. Plus in-ceiling speakers that are better than average and a brand name, you are suddenly at $600 for the speakers. They have to run the wire, install the back box, then come back and cut the ceiling and install the speakers. If they've included amplification or any head-end equipment, then that easily eats up at least a couple of hours...

So, yes. It is perfectly FEASIBLE that $800 per room is a reasonable price for wiring PLUS speakers in every room. But, you would want a completely different number if you ask for them to just prewire. I had a home built a number of years ago and the prewire was, I want to say either $80 or $120 per wire. Didn't really matter what kind of wire it was. Maybe it was $80 for any wire I provided to them and $120 for any wire they provided for me. They had to do the labor, but I was actually asked to be on site the day of wiring to ensure all wiring was pulled where I wanted it. I got about $5,000 in wiring done, so about 50/60 wires or so.

So, it is fair to spend some time talking to them, and talking to the builder. While there may not seem like there is much flexibility, the builder may actually have a list of contractors it can work with on file. You can also get pretty snarky if need be when you let them know that the options are more than double or triple what you find in retail stores, let alone online.

Frankly, for years, I've used Monoprice speakers. They aren't great. They are good. They are very good for background audio at low to moderate volume. So, a decent set of their 8" speakers is under $100 a pair. They certainly compare to the $120+ models from Polk or Klipsch.

You had asked about where the main equipment location should be. This is a great question and I think people really don't get this right quite often. You will have high dollar electronics that require good access and ventilation. If you stick them into an enclosed space, then that space needs plenty of ventilation, or you will cook your gear and it will die. You also want good access so that it can be wired up and worked on properly. I'm not sure of your home design, but I almost always recommend that equipment go into a unfinished space in the basement or a closet/office with decent access and ventilation. You can do a family room location, but there will be a number of wires in use and you won't have great access to them if you stuff the equipment into a 'TV cabinet' that wasn't actually designed around proper equipment storage. Many of those TV cabinets barely have any ventilation, or none at all. So, I would look for a central location which has a lot of access.

When I suggested you be aware of in-ceiling speakers, I mean that if you have rooms overhead, you will want to be aware of them. You really can't use a surround sound system in your family room if you have in-ceiling speakers and a bedroom in the floor above and people who may be trying to sleep. So, if you have kid's bedrooms, or a family member that needs to sleep earlier, you can't use those speakers at that time. This could be a non-issue. I will say that in-wall speakers are always my preference over in-ceiling speakers. They have the same issue in that they direct sound into adjoining rooms, but they sound better (IME) and the sound bleed isn't typically going upstairs to bedrooms. But, that depends largely on the home design. Where I'm at, basements are normal, and bedrooms on the top floor above a main floor are quite common. Equipment in the basement, in-wall speakers preferred.

It is a lot to consider, but you do want to talk to the installer and potentially the builder. A pleasant conversation, but talk about the pricing not being anywhere near where you would like to be. Ask about brand names and what specific make/model of product they are installing. I will say that I do markup my Monoprice speakers when I install them... I have to. But, the final price is still less than what a Polk or Klipsch speaker would be. But, there are certainly situations where I could quickly get speaker cost up to $500 or more and really not be making more than about 10% on the materials. I could also have situations where I'm installing the cable, the speaker, the amplifier, and a source selector... and the final price is easily $800 or more per room.

OH - and for the surround sound room with in-ceiling speakers.... I would have them pull a cat-5/6 cable from the head end to the AV receiver. This way you can send audio from the home distribution system to your receiver directly using audio baluns.

I just prewired an absolutely huge home and I think it was a bit over $10,000. Multiple network cables to a bunch of TV locations along with audio prewiring in a ton of places. Maybe 100 wires or so in a very large home. But, no equipment. Equipment dramatically changes everything.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
But they aren't known in the CI world, AFAIK and living/working here, I'm surprised, too- Milwaukee has been used as a test market for decades because, as the marketers say, "They like a bargain here". That means people will ask for a better price even if something is already very cheap. When I started in this business, people would ask "How much for cash?", as if we were all skimming from the till.
Well I wouldn't expect their world to exactly collide with the CI world particularly. Hey never hurts to ask for a cash discount....it's mandatory in some (most?) parts of the world to do some bargaining (altho I also come from the old murican school of I said my price now take it or leave it :) )
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Well I wouldn't expect their world to exactly collide with the CI world particularly. Hey never hurts to ask for a cash discount....it's mandatory in some (most?) parts of the world to do some bargaining (altho I also come from the old murican school of I said my price now take it or leave it :) )
Checks bounce, cash (if it's not counterfeit) doesn't. While making someone a target for robbery, cash is pretty safe but at the time, taking checks cost a fair amount of money, especially when they did bounce and the one who passed it can't be found. Now, I'll take a check without hesitation because I can deposit it using the app in my phone but as someone who often takes large payments, I prefer checks.

A retailer has every right to set a price and not take a penny less. Gouging, OTOH, is something I really hate and when people do that, it just shows their level of greed. They usually spout the Econ 101 definition of setting price by saying "It's what the market will bear". Maybe, if they can find more rubes who'll pay an exorbitant amount, but one customer doth not a market make.

CI people run into all kinds of customers who want to save money but as I posted before, working with a large number of brands makes someone a generalist, not a specialist and when things become overly technical, a specialist is what's needed, not some Craig's List guy who'll do a hang & bang for $50.

People also have every right to buy what they want, at a price that works for them and I understand that well- the problem they're likely to face is in finding someone who's willing to do the work and have the conversations that result from customer-sourced equipment that may not work. I have do that and it sucks because the customer usually tries to blame the next guy (it worked before YOU touched it!)- this can sometimes be averted by making the customer demonstrate the equipment in use before starting the job. I saw this a lot when I worked with car audio. Also, most auto repair shops won't use customer-sourced parts and if they do, they won't guarantee the repairs.

Dickering is fine, but at some point, it often becomes insulting to the seller. People like to think they know the seller's cost, but they NEVER consider all of the expenses. Part of what now makes selling AV is that more manufacturers are making it easier for end users to buy direct, on the manufacturer's website. That wouldn't be so bad if their prices made it possible for us to compete with them, but they're often lower than a dealer may pay. That's a slap in the face for us because when a brand has recurring problems, we're the ones who are supporting them by removing, reinstalling, reprogramming and explaining that "it's really a good brand, but they're having a problem".

Some companies, like Sonos, will harvest user info and market directly to them, after WE made the sale, installed the equipment & made it work when THEY constantly ignore our requests for additional functions and connections but never respond. WE made Sonos successful by supporting them when people would hear the name and respond with "Who?".

OTOH, that can lead to opportunities, like the one I had when I received a call from someone who had bought Sonos direct and the other dealer decided they didn't want to install it. She had gone to the dealer to look at it and when she checked her e-mail, saw an offer for a 35% discount, direct from Sonos. If they only knew what they actually needed to do for this stuff to work properly, they may not have declined because it wasn't just 'open the boxes and set up some Sonos', they needed wired network connections, a couple of network switches, moving the router, doing some router setup and other work. This is one of the reasons I like having long-term clientele- I have some control over what I install and they come back the next time because the equipment tends to work for a long time, so they refer others to me (like the woman with the Sonos).
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
But they aren't known in the CI world, AFAIK and living/working here, I'm surprised, too- Milwaukee has been used as a test market for decades because, as the marketers say, "They like a bargain here". That means people will ask for a better price even if something is already very cheap. When I started in this business, people would ask "How much for cash?", as if we were all skimming from the till.
I don't know about them being unknown. I got sent to them by a member here close to 10 years ago. I went to their home office and got a nice demo of their stuff. They make decent cabinet speakers (their level 2 was reviewed on AH), but their main game is whole home audio. That's what the owner told me at least. Seemed like a decent company to me. I'd buy from them if they had anything on my radar.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Do the really thrifty even consider hiring someone like a CI? I could never imagine even calling one.....
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
I don't know about them being unknown. I got sent to them by a member here close to 10 years ago. I went to their home office and got a nice demo of their stuff. They make decent cabinet speakers (their level 2 was reviewed on AH), but their main game is whole home audio. That's what the owner told me at least. Seemed like a decent company to me. I'd buy from them if they had anything on my radar.
Did this company start in the founder's garage? I heard on a company in TX like that- maybe it's the same guy's company after getting a big cash infusion.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Do the really thrifty even consider hiring someone like a CI? I could never imagine even calling one.....
Thrifty and knowing one's limitations (WRT product/technical knowledge, as well as installation/system design/setup ability) can be a good reason for calling someone. Also, realizing and understanding that people in the industry actually can know something about this stuff and provide some value helps, rather than assuming they're just charging too much for nothing.

Do you perform all of the service on your cars, too?
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
Did this company start in the founder's garage? I heard on a company in TX like that- maybe it's the same guy's company after getting a big cash infusion.
Probably. I talked to the guy a long time ago so I don't remember it all, but he did say one of their biggest strengths was that they were lucky enough to get a big name speaker designer, but keep costs low by not going retail. Same story for tons of companies, but they claim to be one of the first ID brands. No idea how much truth there is to that. Any of it really. I do know what I heard sounded quite good for the price point.
 

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