Refreshing to hear anything regarding audio mentioned in a featured article. Recalling the pre-Home Theater days when it was called surround sound. The audiophile crowd, both end users and manufacturers, Bah Humbug, but it only took 3 years for them to realize, multi channel amps, 5 or more speakers, and a subwoofer. THX jumped on board and Cello came out with a $250,000 system premier at Chicago CES (1992). Guess there’ is actually some margin in selling those speakers?
KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER – Major trends over the last decade or two has been digital mobility and the concept of “good enough.” Let me explain.
We moved away from the analog world of vinyl & tape and into the digital world of CDs and now MP3s. And with the demise of BlockBuster, home theaters have moved away from Blu-ray discs and onto broadband streaming. Smartphones add mobility and the convenience of having large music libraries available anytime. And digital compression has allowed us store more & more on our phones. Fidelity was lost as we made compromises that are “good enough,” and even the stereo separation is not nearly as distinctive as it was in the 1960’s.
Most people these days don’t want to sit and truly listen to a recorded music performance. Except for a few audiophiles, music has become just background noise in their busy lifestyles. So start by asking yourself what kind of customer you’re working with? If they’re the kind that likes to go to live performance, then you have a better chance selling high-end audio, but they might prefer the atmosphere of seeing it live.
MAKE IT EASY – Manufacturers with different objectives and serving different customers move in different directions, so we shouldn’t be surprised that the technologies they use are often incompatible. ‘Another explanation is needed.
My wife and I recently retired, downsized and simplified. We now have just one large LED TV in the living room (no TV in the bedroom please, because it interferes with sleep quality). We left behind our surround system and whole-house audio with 8 sets of in-wall speakers, and a stack of Onkyo equipment. You see, our needs have changed, and simplicity now has higher priority than fidelity. A $300 Polk Audio sound bar replaced the expensive 5.1 home theater system, and it can connect to a phone with Bluetooth. We like going to the theater with friends, so the sound bar is “good enough” for us at home, and it’s simpler than messing with settings. We also love our $130 Bose SoundLink and take it with us from room to room to patio to garage.
Before making those changes, I looked into getting an AV receiver with Apple AirPlay built in. I wanted to automatically shift modes between watching broadcast or recorded TV, streamed movies or discs, and listening to iPhone music. Nothing I found could replace the simplicity of the Bose SoundLink.
Great article! I have been recommending to dealers for years now that they should offer superior 2-channel solutions in lieu of surround sound for many applications (such as “great rooms” with TVs in the corner!). You can take the path of least resistance, and sell them a cheap soundbar (the 21st Century “Home-Theater-In-A-Box”) or you can offer them something that will wow them every time they watch TV or listen to music…and it doesn’t have to be expensive! Even a $500 pair of bookshelf speakers and a quality integrated amp will sound better than most soundbars on the market…and if you give them a system with room to grow, you might end up selling them upgrades (such as a subwoofer, larger amp, or better speakers) later on.
Best of all, by providing them with superior sound quality, something that the customers AND their friends and family might never have experienced before, you are sure to get referrals as well!
It’s interesting because you’re not selling most people on higher performance, but on a new lifestyle. You work hard all day, it’s stressful. If you’re like me you listen to the news in the car, and that can be stressful. We usually turn on the TV to unwind, but you’re watching news or stories that can also add to the stress instead of relieving stress. Arriving home and playing music is a way to really unwind without adding to the stress.