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  1. #1

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    Default Drowning in Speakers

    Hey guys! I am currently training at a certain store to become a Home Theater salesperson. I am confident in my knowledge of TV's and cables and hookups, however my weak point is speakers. I know some sound better than others, and relatively how they work, however I am having trouble explaining the difference between certain brands and why customers should buy certain things over others and certain brands over others. Any help you folks can give me would be greatly appreciated... along with your brand/model preferences and why.

    THanks!

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tweeterpated
    ... along with your brand/model preferences and why.
    I think you might get a heavy bias towards Polk here :)

    What brands and models do you guys sell there? If you let us know, we can probably all pitch in and give our various opinions on different makes and models.

    Good luck with your new job!
    polkaudio RTi10 bi-amped at 300 WPC
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  3. #3

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    No problem, point them towards the polks and dont look back.
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  4. #4

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    What brands are you carrying and we will try and mention + - for each brand. (if there are any) and why a customer might like a certain brand.

    Michael

    BTW - welcome to Club Polk. At least you are interested in doing some research, that is better than most of the people I have talked to in big box stores. (if that is where you are working)
    Mains.............Polk LSi15 (Cherry)
    Center............Polk LSiC (Crossover upgraded)
    Surrounds.......Polk LSi7 (Gloss Black - wood sides removed and crossovers upgraded)
    Subwoofers.....SVS 25-31 CS+ and PC+ (both 20hz tune)
    Pre\Pro...........NAD T163 (Modded with LM4562 opamps)
    Amplifier.........Cinepro 3k6 (6-channel, 500wpc@4ohms)

  5. #5

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    Heh... okieee.. big mistake asking for brand preferences. We offer a variety of big brand name speakers such as Polk Audio, Mirage, Sony, Quest Theater, etc etc ...and our crappy intro brand "Insignia".

  6. #6

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    Insignia = Bestbuy

  7. #7

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    Close ;) ...FutureShop

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tweeterpated
    Heh... okieee.. big mistake asking for brand preferences. We offer a variety of big brand name speakers such as Polk Audio, Mirage, Sony, Quest Theater, etc etc ...and our crappy intro brand "Insignia".
    Polk would be my top pick out of that bunch. I dont know if im saying that just because I own them, or if i own them because they are better than a lot of other brands :)

    Polk is basically known for being a great value at each price point. Also they have fantastic trebble and a very clear sound. Bass is not Polk's strong point (atleast not in the R series of monitor series) although any bass they do have is clean and well controlled. Most polks are best complimented with a subwoofer.

    I cant really speak for the RTi or LSi line since i havent heard them enough.
    polkaudio RTi10 bi-amped at 300 WPC
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  9. #9

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    So... are speakers pretty subjective then? Of course there is the very obvious difference in sound between a low quality system and a high quality system.... but why did you guys fall in love with Polk over other speaker systems of similar value and sound quality?

  10. #10

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    Out of those the only ones that I know of are Polk. Sony HTiB speakers are ok for what they are, although if you are willing to put up with real speakers, you can get better for about the same price. (Polk R series comes to mind)

    With the Polk lines -

    R series - good sound intro speaker. If you just want more than what your TV offers you and a step up from most any HTiB purchase they are great speakers.

    RTi series - Very good HT speaker. Many have said not as great for 2 channel listening. Fairly easy to run from most recievers, but as you move up to some of the upper towers, separate amplification will start to show big benefits.

    LSi series - My favorite series, and most expensive. They will definately show flaws in low end gear used in your system. While they sound great, will not be the best choice to someone who just wants a cheap DVD player and AVR and some big speakers. Since the entire line presents a 4 ohm load, many recievers will go into protection mode if you push them to hard. If you have very good to excellent equipment - they will reward you with great sound. Definately on the short list for those who are in the market for high end (alright, mid-high) 2 channel or HT sound.

    Michael
    Mains.............Polk LSi15 (Cherry)
    Center............Polk LSiC (Crossover upgraded)
    Surrounds.......Polk LSi7 (Gloss Black - wood sides removed and crossovers upgraded)
    Subwoofers.....SVS 25-31 CS+ and PC+ (both 20hz tune)
    Pre\Pro...........NAD T163 (Modded with LM4562 opamps)
    Amplifier.........Cinepro 3k6 (6-channel, 500wpc@4ohms)

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by McLoki
    Out of those the only ones that I know of are Polk. Sony HTiB speakers are ok for what they are, although if you are willing to put up with real speakers, you can get better for about the same price. (Polk R series comes to mind)

    With the Polk lines -

    R series - good sound intro speaker. If you just want more than what your TV offers you and a step up from most any HTiB purchase they are great speakers.

    RTi series - Very good HT speaker. Many have said not as great for 2 channel listening. Fairly easy to run from most recievers, but as you move up to some of the upper towers, separate amplification will start to show big benefits.

    LSi series - My favorite series, and most expensive. They will definately show flaws in low end gear used in your system. While they sound great, will not be the best choice to someone who just wants a cheap DVD player and AVR and some big speakers. Since the entire line presents a 4 ohm load, many recievers will go into protection mode if you push them to hard. If you have very good to excellent equipment - they will reward you with great sound. Definately on the short list for those who are in the market for high end (alright, mid-high) 2 channel or HT sound.

    Michael
    You left out the Monitor series :)

    The monitor series is somewhere between the R series and RTi. Probably closer in sound to RTi than it is to the R. They are a good value and sound great too.
    polkaudio RTi10 bi-amped at 300 WPC
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    Velodyne CHT-12
    harman/kardon AVR-254
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by BjornB17
    You left out the Monitor series :)

    The monitor series is somewhere between the R series and RTi. Probably closer in sound to RTi than it is to the R. They are a good value and sound great too.
    oops, you are right. I have not heard the monitor series, but that is my understanding as well. (between the R and RTi lines)

    Michael
    Mains.............Polk LSi15 (Cherry)
    Center............Polk LSiC (Crossover upgraded)
    Surrounds.......Polk LSi7 (Gloss Black - wood sides removed and crossovers upgraded)
    Subwoofers.....SVS 25-31 CS+ and PC+ (both 20hz tune)
    Pre\Pro...........NAD T163 (Modded with LM4562 opamps)
    Amplifier.........Cinepro 3k6 (6-channel, 500wpc@4ohms)

  13. #13

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    Thanks guys, you have been most helpful. At very least I can be well educated on Polk Audio. Do any of you sell or are you all fanatics of the brand and of audio?

  14. #14

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    I wish I was in my Audio/Video department researching speakers and tv's are much funner than researching flash memory, hard drives, survelliance systems, gps, soldering, networking, every little component for a computer. I'm interested if you guys have any suggestions I too want to sell speakers, at Fry's.

    Just wondering if you goto a store that sells everything to build a pc, stuff to build cables, resistors, fuses, batteries, toys, foreign converters, soldering irons, just to name a few in one department...and recieve no training from the store would you get mad at a 20 year old salesman who can't answer a rare technical question about a multimeter. I know this is off-topic, but I just wanted too see what you guys expect from a salesman that works in a department that sells hundreds of misc items, I know just about everything there is to know about computer related products. Which is what all the managers care about selling in that department.

  15. #15

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    Krazy, as a salesperson, I know that customers expect you to know what you are talking about.... this seems to be especially true of myself as I am a woman working in Home Theater.... people right of way assume I know nothing and need a man to help me program my VCR. Customers need to know that you know what you are talking about, that is why they go to you rather than to Walmart or Costco where employees aren't expected to know much.

    As a customer, I like a savvy salesperson. If you don't know what you're talking about you are wasting my time.

  16. #16

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    exactly thats the normal expectation in just about every department...that sells just tv's speakers, and dvd players, or just computers and computer accessories, or cars, my department focuses on building computers which i know plenty of, I meant customers who come in looking for these rare items that 90% of people don't use or need like to replace this weird chip they pulled off a circuit board, and want's a computer salesman to tell them exactly which one is going to work and tell them step by step how to replace it. Even so its understandable to want a salesman to help them out but if a salesman doesn't know why not understand that, and just argue with them and say why do you guys sell this item...etc.

  17. #17

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    Sorry if it seems like i'm complaining its not as bad as I make it seem i'm really anxious to get my speakers and I been on this forum since 7:00am Central reading every lsi7,9,and rti 8 post. I'm stuck at UNT waiting for my girlfriend to sign up for her classes/orientation. I have to work til midnite as soon as she gets done.

  18. #18

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    I guess it is impossible for everyone to know everything about everything, isn' it? I don't think it is right for customers to get angry with salespeople about half the stuff they do. If a customer does get angry about something like that odd ball request or question, I would be honest with them and say, "you know, I'm not even sure about that myself, but I will find out for you"... then go to a computer and research it for them. It will avoid angry confrontations as well as impress the customer-- you're an honest person, not a slimy sales rep. You are willing to go the extra mile to do what they're to lazy to do.

    If it is such an obscure question that even research provides no answers, then they definately have no right to get upset with you.... but y'know they will anyway ;)

  19. #19

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    Tweeter.. how about during your down time.. when you're not assisting a customer.. you go and listen to each and every speaker you carry in the store.. it may take several dayrs or even weeks. but that way you become familar with what you carry. and maybe that will help you determine what would be best for your customers.

    knowledge is power.

  20. #20

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    Will do, DangerBoy.... however I am more worried about the technical aspect of things. I need to know my stuff. I can't just tell a customer, "Buy this one... it sounds perdie...."

  21. #21

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    For more technical stuff, browse through Polk's website, as well as the other brands you sell, and find out as much information about the company as possible. Next, grab a Crutchfield catalog and read some more. If you want even more info, talk directly to the companies customer service or marketing manager. Over the last several years, I've done this same thing and now sell gear myself as a custom installer.

    Some things you might need to know otherwise include much of the info already given, plus the fact that Polk has one of the best customer service departmens for any size company. Most likely, as a big store employee, you won't get to mention this since you are trying to sell "extra" warranties for them to make more money. However, it is nice to know that they will still help you out with a 25 year old pair of speakers when they are long out of warranty under anyone's standards.

    These are just a few hints that might help you along. If I think of others, I'll let you know.

    Zach
    Tschüss
    Zach

  22. #22

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    the technical stuff you can read about... different sound qualities of speakers you can't read up on. you have to hear them for yourself. in time as you listen to more and more speakers.. you can "train" your ears to notice difference in different brands and makes of speakers.

    none of us started out knowing everything about all speakers.. we all had to learn. they way were learned.. was by listening to lots of different speakers. i can now.. usually tell pretty quick if i'm going to like the was some speakers sound.

    Just two days ago i purchased a home subwoofer. within just a few minutes of listening to that sub.. i know it was a good subwoofer. I knew right away.. because i know what a bad subwoofer sounds like. boomy, and muddy. Plus i also over time came to know what a good subwoofer should sound like.

    You aren't going to be able to learn this stuff in just one afternoon. it takes time and lots of listening.
    good luck with your job. I'd love to have one like that.

  23. #23

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    Mirage is a cool brand. I havnt really heard them...

    But one thing you should mention to your customers that buys them is they require around 2 feet behind them and to the side of them to sound best... (walls - entertainment centers and such dont really matter I guess, its the wall distribution)

    This will really help them decide.

    You might be asking why? Mirage bases their speakers on Omnipolar and Bipolar technology.

    Omnipolar is where the speaker sends the signal 360 degrees around it, which Mirage does by firing their midbasses and tweeters into a "plate" or sorts (they have a name for it, I forget) and the "plate" spreads the signal out. This is so you get the same exact presentation on and off axis...

    These kind of speakers work really well for people just using their setup for HT or background music.. because no matter where they go in the house its going to pretty much sound exactly the same.

    The Bipolar is where the front and rear drivers play the same exact signal (so the front and rear will both have a tweeter(s) and midbass(es)) -- and this allows a superrior bass response and a larger, deeper soundstage that traditional speakers. (When setup right).

    So basically their technology is based on reflections off the rear and side walls... so if they cant get them away from the walls, while they may still sound good - they wont sound their best.

    Ive never heard Mirage myself, but I own Definitive Tech which is completely different sound from what Ive been told -- but they sport very similar technologies...
    www.Vr3Mods.com ///// www.Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro

  24. #24

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    Thanks for the tips, guys. I'll be coming to you again. ;)

  25. #25

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    Look thru these pages, good stuff. http://www.polkaudio.com/education/index.php
    Last edited by Polkersince85; 01-11-2006 at 05:05 PM.
    >
    >
    >This message has been scanned by the NSA and found to be free of harmful intent.<

  26. #26

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    Tweeter,

    I don't think people will be bothered by that fact that you are a woman as long as you try to help them in the right way. I think the biggest complaint people tend to have with audio/video salespeople is that they are arrogant and deceiving. They will say things like "I cant give you a discount because 'the computer wont let me'" or "we are already selling it close to the store price." These are common things that they will say. I used to work at circuit city so i know they are full of crap when they say that :) Stores tend to sell audio gear at more than twice the price that they bought it from the company. Try to be flexible with the customer if the store allows you to be.

    I guess the best thing I could suggest is to not insult the customers by saying things similar to what i just mentioned. Given the fact that you seem excited with your job, and that you have enough interest to research the products beforehand just goes to show that you are already going above and beyond what most other salespeople will do, and that you're not the type of salesperson that most customers dislike. I think you will do a great job :) Good luck to you!





    EDIT: I just realized that i use smilies in every single post i write. Does anyboyd find this to be annoying? :p (darn i just did it again)
    polkaudio RTi10 bi-amped at 300 WPC
    polkaudio CSi5
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  27. #27

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    Tweeter, welcome to Club Polk!!!

    As a woman myself, I am less concerned with specs & more concerned with things being explained to me in plain english!

    Nothing annoys me more than to have some guy who I am asking questions to about something & he just spits all this technobabble at me which is entirely useless & meaningless to me.

    If I'm looking at a pair of Polks & a pair of Mirage, & they are in the same price bracket, tell me the differences in them on how they SOUND.

    Point out the difference in the tweeters. Polk's highs to you, are mellow & laid back, whereas the Mirage is shrill & piercing. Then let the customer listen to both & ask them how they sound to them.

    Point out the build quality of the speakers & the warrenties offer by the SPEAKER CO'S not the extra useless crap that you all are forced to push down everyones throats.

    Don't just focus on the technical side of the equation, get to know how the different speakers sound so that you can point those out to the customers. Which to me is far more useful than a bunch of meaningless technobabble!

    Cathy
    Sunfire TGP III PrePro, Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature 405wpc 5 ch. Amp, Rotel RCD-1072 CDP, Onkyo TA2600 Tape Deck, Pioneer Elite 47-A DVD, Sony 32" XBR TV, Polk RTA-8T Main Speakers, Boston VR-920 Center Channel, Boston PV-600 Subwoofer, Polk DSW 400 Subwoofer, Polk FXi-3 Surround Speakers

  28. #28

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    You will make an excellent salesperson if you can do two things: 1. Make the customer passionate about their purchase-remember, they don't need what they're buying. 2. Find the right product for the customer. As was mentioned-you don't want to sell LSi speakers to someone who cannot and will not see the value in spending more thant $500 on a receiver. Some techno-babble is ok, but the most important thing is to present the product, display it in a way that makes the customer passionate, and always, in whatever way works best for you...ask for the sale. Don't play Gilligan for three hours and then say "have a nice day." Ask for the purchase early, so you can filter out the people wasting your time. Also, spend some time with the gear. See what works with certain types of use (ie theater, rock, classical, rap, etc). Asking lifestyle questions and music preference can help you to recommend a particular speaker, and then recommend an amp that works well with that speaker. And remember, a true test for speakers is music, any speaker can do theater half-way decently. Most important, don't sell based on what you think is right, but what is right for the customer. If the customer convinces him or herself that he/she wants a ****ty system because it's small and inexpensive, try to get them to see the value of something better, but not to the point that they don't buy at all. Honestly, if someone never listens to music as anything but background noise, it's a sign that they just don't care about quality speakers.
    Current System:

    Mitsubishi 30" LCD LT-3020 (for sale**)
    Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Concert Grand (Rosewood)-Mains (with Audioquest Mont Blanc cables)
    CSi5-Center (for sale**)
    FXi3-surrounds (for sale**)
    Martin Logan Depth-Sub
    B&K AVR 507
    Pimare CD21-CD Player
    Denon 1815-DVD Player
    Panamax M5500-EX-Line Conditioner

  29. #29

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    Gregure, your advice above is about as perfect as it gets. Follow that, Ms. Tweeterpated and you can't go wrong.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  30. #30

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    The most important thing to know about what you will sell? Great marketing makes highly informed idiots.

    2 cases in point:

    Bose Lifestyle/Acoustimass are what many customers hold up as "the best there is".
    Select Comfort beds are what many customers hold up as "the best there is".

    The reality that you need to know is that one is a poorly designed box with poor quality, tiny paper speakers installed and the other is a blow up air mattress with a pump. Both are sold at hundreds/thousands of times what their parts cost, just to pay for their fabulous marketing plans.

    Cynical, but true. People are sheep when it comes to infommercial marketing.

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