In the summer months we do a lot of listening. We listen to our stock and compare it with new items from manufacturers. Sometimes this is a new supplier wanting us to stock their products and other times it is a current supplier wanting us to add one of their products to their range. We use our listening rooms just like you do when you come visit. We always listen by comparing. Comparing is the only way for us to determine how good something is. A quick listen will tell us if something has potential but comparison tells us just how good it is.
We have favourite products that we use to determine how good something is. A new amplifier, for example, will be compared with our best at a similar price point. It has to be as good or better to be considered for stock. We actually own all our demo stock (some customers think manufacturer’s loan us this stock but that isn’t true) so we have a great deal of money invested in the demo stock of our store. Put simply there is no point in us investing in average products as these would be rejected by our customers.
We don’t read the hi-fi magazines and so we make our decision based on sound quality, build quality and value for money. We’re pretty sure those are the perameters our customers use too.
Another thing that is really important is finding out how products work in conjunction with other items we sell. A really good amplifier may not sound at it’s best with some loudspeakers. We need to know that so that we can demonstrate it with the products that are in sympathy with it. Also if a customer comes to us to buy a new amp and they have a pair of speakers that don’t “gel” with a particular amplifier; there is little point in us recommending it.
A really good system can deliver far more than the sum of its components but this is far more likely to happen if we understand how to get the best out of components. This is why we spend a great deal of time evaluating.
When customers come in and ask about upgrading their stereo, buying a new pair of speakers or indeed a new system; we draw on our time spent in the demo room to save the customer time listening to stuff that isn’t compatible or suitable.
The best choice not the most choice!