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Keep That Receipt!

July 15th, 2007

I’ve never shopped at a boutique store so I don’t know the types of return polices they have but I implore you to look into it before purchasing. I’ve just (like 5 minutes ago) received an Email from someone that purchased a system that sounds different in the home than it did in the showroom. Now he wants to know what to do about it. My suggestion? Take the speakers back.

All of you looking at purchases, speakers will ALWAYS sound different in your room than they do just about anywhere else. Case in point, J brought to the shootout a pair of speakers that I’ve heard before in his room. And they SUCKED!! Big time. Probably the worst speakers I’ve EVER heard in just about ANY room. So we set them up in Gene’s room and prepare ourselves for a good chuckle.

That never came.

In Gene’s room they didn’t sound half bad. They didn’t sound good, mind you, but they weren’t the dry-heave inspiring POS that they were in J’s. Are the speakers different? Not in the least. But the room was. When you take home those speakers you need to be prepared to take them back (or send them back if you went the Internet Direct route). Cause you never know how they’ll sound in your room.

Of course, you can add room treatments, EQ’s, futz with placement and positioning… or you can just keep shopping for speakers. What a reviewer likes is highly dependent on their personal preference and (most importantly in some cases) their room. Those speakers got those ratings in their room. Not yours. Your room might have a problem that accentuates a fault in the speaker. That additive effect might make a speaker that sounded tolerable (or even good) during a review the worst sounding speaker ever. One fault can do that. So be prepared to bring things back. You just might have to.

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  1. BobMac
    July 15th, 2007 at 17:28 | #1

    You’re talkin’ ’bout me!

    Obviously, Tom is correct; you should just return any speakers that don’t sound good in your room. My problem stems from the fact that I can’t return them, as I’ve had them for about two years. I bought them while my house was being built, and the dealer offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse. They sat in boxes for about six months before I got the chance to listen to them in my house. I knew the problem was the room, so I asked Tom what can be done to tame the brightness without resorting to room treatments.

    He suggested I toe out the speakers, as I had them toed in slightly. It helped a little, but the biggest change was in the depth of the soundstage.

  2. avaserfi
    July 15th, 2007 at 22:59 | #2

    If the room is the problem you might want to calculate your room modes and reposition the speakers. That could help the sound if you must avoid treatments which would be your best bet.

  3. July 16th, 2007 at 12:01 | #3


    Your email got me thinking which is the reason for the rant. I’m suspecting that there are a lot of people that make purchases and end up having to wait for the rest of their equipment to show up before they can test it. This topic may become one on a future podcast. It’s a good one.

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