New to Hifi? Read this first….
To all the people who might be ready to enter the wonderful world that is high fidelity audio, I wanted to share my experiences from the perspective of a novice coming into the store for the first time. Hopefully this will benefit anyone who may feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the process of narrowing down the right products for you. If our roll is to assist you in the process then the more informed you are the better the job we can do for you.
Reading this before you come into the store will be a valuable time and money saving device to get you closer to what you want. There are definitely a few questions you need to ask yourself before you come in and the funny thing is that you probably don’t know what they are and this is what I want to share. One thing I have noticed is that it can be “a long time between drinks” from the point of starting to research and sitting down and listening to your favourite music.
What are you expecting to get out of a system?
If the first question you have is “I want to enjoy sound, how can I do this”? I would ask is it ambient music playing in the background coming from a small portable bluetooth speaker while you cook? Are you the kind of person that wants to buy a traditional amp and two floor-standing speakers, sit in the sweet spot and feel like you are so immersed in the sound that you get lost?
Maybe you want to entertain and create a multi-zone network in the house where music or tv is playing in every room and outdoor space? Maybe this suits the family’s needs? Are you looking to enhance the TV Audio so you can hear the dialog better? Are you looking for a predominately music or a movie system? Is it your dream to create a cinema room where you are surrounded by sound in a way that makes you feel like you are apart of every movie you watch? Like alot of people you may want to do all of it.
How do you want to use your system?
Are you after convenience? I would start by visualising what kind of experience you want to have and visualise where in your space you would like it to be. Think about what it is you want to have as a sound source. For example do you want to use a TV, IPod, Computer, CD player or Record player? Do you want to stream radio, use music services or listen to content via the internet and control everything simply from your mobil device?
Are you upgrading or replacing an existing system or starting new?
Everything can be designed from the ground up or it can be redesigned to integrate with products you currently own. If you are thinking of upgrading its helpful to note down what brand and model of products you have.
What is the space like?
Knowing the size of the space and what it’s like is useful to us. Different spaces have an impact on the products that are suitable. If you have a small reflective space it might not be necessary to buy a big loud expensive system if it won’t sound good in the space. In contrast you can’t expect a small speaker to fill a large room and thump you in the chest.
How important are room aesthetics and layout to the space?
If the colour, size or style have to meet certain requirements that’s fine but you might be limited in product choice, which can impact expectation and budget requirements. This scenario although challenging but not impossible is easier to work out when everyone involved is present when speaking to us. If two people have two different priorities in what they want out of a system it’s time saving if they are both present for the discussion.
Have you considered a budget?
Because of the wide range of budget options you could purchase something starting at $200 or you could spend more than $200,000. At first when I heard a colleague ask a customer what their budget was I thought that question came to early in the process. As time went on I realised that knowing a ball park figure of what people are comfortable in spending, points us in the right direction as to products we can suggest. As everyone’s need, wants and budgets are different it’s not about how much people spend, it’s about getting the best value out of the budget we have to work with.
Quality is relative so look for products that match. If you buy a revealing system and you get a cheap component you will hear it. If you buy an expensive turntable and plug it in a small micro system you aren’t really getting the most out of it.
On the flip side all products are made for a reason so knowing what “hole” that fills helps us understand who it’s for. There are products for everyone. I can enjoy music on most systems but what changes is by how much.
Now that you have read this you are already one large step closer to enjoying music the way that suits you, which is what it’s all about. If you read this and come into the store let us know.