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AVRant #9: Best Buy Infiltration Part 1

by July 03, 2007
AVRant Podcast #9: Best Buy Part 1

AVRant Podcast #9: Best Buy Part 1

Dina continues her undercover operation uncovering just the type of BS your big box stores are feeding people. This time, it's Best Buy. We were shocked to learn some of the things that pass for knowledge in that store. Of course, just because someone works there for more than 6 years doesn't mean they actually know anything. Tom reveals that the end to the DE-non/de-NON debate is nigh and the official AVRant Podcasting room is unveiled. There's so much here that it couldn't be contained in just one episode. See you next week!

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AVRant #9 Show Transcript

Dina Clarke: This episode of AVRant is brought to you by the Home Theater Alliance in conjunction with Audioholics and the Home Theater Forum.

[intro music]

Tom Andry: Welcome to AVRant. I'm Tom Andry, Associate Editor of Audioholics, and I'm here with....

Dina: Dina Clarke.

Tom: Dina.

Dina: Good morning.

Tom: It has been awhile. For those of you that don't know, we recorded all the previous ones at that same session with Dina. That's why we haven't had any phone calls. And to honor that, we're going to continue not to have phone calls in this one because we've got too much stuff to discuss. If you haven't been to the AVRant website, you don't know that this is a going to be about Dina's undercover trip to Best Buy.

Dina: [Sings music from Mission Impossible]

Tom: Yeah, there she goes. [Sings music from Mission Impossible]

Dina: I'm becoming quite a good little spy.

Tom: She is. So we'll see what she has to say about Best Buy. But I have a couple of things that we need to talk about real quick first. Do you want to talk about all the crappy chick flicks, you've watched since the last time we talked?

Dina: No, they were pretty crappy. Actually, 'Mona Lisa Smile' was good. I liked it.

Tom: No one who listens to this podcast would care about that.

Dina: I know. I did watch 'Music and Lyrics'. You don't want to know about it, and you don't want to see it.

Tom: And what movie is that? Say that again?

Dina: 'Music and Lyrics'. It has Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore in it. That's probably all you need to know.

Tom: Yeah, I got nothing on that.

Dina: Yeah, I got nothing to tell you on that.

Tom: Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore.

Dina: I did watch the whole thing.

Tom: You know, I remember the previews for that. That's the one where they're doing jingles or some crap like that, right.

Dina: Well, they're writing a song, yes.

Tom: That looked kind of interesting.

Dina: You know what, I think Hugh Grant is funny, so I enjoyed it. But it's not something that's going to go through history as the greatest movie ever. It's very predictable. You know where it's going.

Tom: It's not a hit like 'When Harry Met Sally' or something like that.

Dina: No.

Tom: It's not one of those universal chick flicks everybody loves.

Dina: No.

Tom: OK. I saw 'Shiri'.

Dina: 'Shiri'?

Tom: 'Shiri'. It was a Korean movie. I like indie movies and import movies.

Dina: Yes, I can tell.

Tom: But this one was built as like a big budget. It one all kinds of rewards and stuff like that, and if you watch the previews, it looks like a Korean 'Alias'. You know that TV show, 'Alias'?

Dina: OK. Yeah.

Tom: There's this kick-butt girl. She's this big assassin chick. It's all about her and all that, right? Well they spend the first 15 minutes of this movie setting up her as being this kick-butt assassin chick from North Korea infiltrating South Korea, right? And right after that she did absolutely nothing kick-butt for the rest of the movie.

Dina: Really?

Tom: Nothing, until the very, very end. And I'm like this was the worst movie. First of all, 'Shiri', that word. Unless it means something in Korean that doesn't quite translate over.

Dina: Was that her name?

Tom: No, not her name. It was absolutely no relation to that word to the rest of the movie.

Dina: I bet it means something.

Tom: It must.

Dina: It must mean 'kick-butt at end of film'.

Tom: No, she didn't even really kick butt at the end of the film. It was really kind of pathetic. She's supposed to be this sniper chick, and she's walking around with this sniper rifle shooting people from like two feet away. That's the end of the movie. Believe me. Don't watch it.

Dina: OK. Don't worry. I wasn't going to.

Tom: It was crappy. For an import movie, it had really good sound. I always watch it with the subtitles. Usually what they do is they give you the original language in 5.1 or 6.1, and they give you the English translated one in 2.0.

Dina: OK.

Tom: I always watch it with subtitles. I don't mind reading it.

Dina: I actually like that. I'm getting good at it, at reading things.

Tom: Reading things?

Dina: Yeah.

Tom: Weren't you some sort of teacher at some point?

Dina: Yes.

Tom: Well that's good.

Dina: I do like watching import movie with subtitles.

Tom: Yeah, but you probably just like the Italian and the French ones where it's nothing but angst and naked people. That's pretty much what all Italian movies are.

Dina: Yeah, that's me - naked people. Bring it on.

Tom: Well, if you've been to the Audioholics website, you will have seen that we're running a contest with Ready Acoustics. Ready Acoustics has outfitted the official AVRant podcasting room, which is my room, not yours.

Dina: That's right. You can see it behind me.

Tom: Your room desperately needs treatments.

Dina: Did you see that guy that asked me on the blog if I had a podcasting room?

Tom: Yeah.

Dina: What it looked like? I was like sarcasm, dude. It's the frog, the finished room of the garage, and there's nothing podcast about it.

Tom: No, there is nothing podcast about that room.

Dina: And you can actually see it in a photo.

Tom: Yeah, you can. And you can see clearly that there's nothing pod... There's a little... We put an acoustical panel between me and you to keep the...

Dina: We did. That were propped up by two baskets full of crap, I believe.

Tom: Yeah, yeah.

Dina: Anyway, but yes, I can see your official room behind me...

Tom: That's right. It's not completely put together yet, but that's why the review is now. I'm going to be reviewing the panels. They'll do just fine in the review, you can rest assured about that.

Dina: Anyone who's nervous?

Tom: Anybody who's worried about that, but we're giving... Ready Acoustics through Audioholics is giving away 12 of these panels along with all the mounting equipment and some extra stuff. It's, it's enough for...

Dina: Cool. What do you have to do to win?

Tom: Just enter.

Dina: Oh.

Tom: Yeah, pretty much.

Dina: You don't have to do something, like a stupid human trick or...

Tom: No, I guess the worst thing that happens is that we start sending you the Audioholics or the Home Theater Alliance newsletter. Which Home Theater Alliance is sponsoring the show and the newsletter is actually created by me, so I can tell you that it's pretty much...

Dina: More Tom.

Tom: It has articles from Audioholics and some other stuff and announcements that you might be interested in, and you can unsubscribe fairly easily, if you're really not interested in having that. But you know, don't, because it's just fascinating stuff.

Dina: I'm sure.

Tom: So yes, in my 10 by 11 by eight foot room I have, well I will have once I get the ceiling ones mounted, 21 panels, 21 4-inch thick panels in here.

Dina: [whisper] My God.

Tom: Yeah. It's going to end up being the cry room. It's like whenever the children are really bad, "Go in the cry room so I don't have to hear you." Because believe me; I was in here and they were doing construction out in the street. They were like tearing up a tree and I walked out of the room and went, "Oh my God, what's all that noise?" You can't hear anything in here.

Dina: Wow. That's awesome.

Tom: Yeah well...

Dina: Full time out room.

Tom: It feels a little weird, every time Janelle comes in here, she says her ears feel like they need to pop, and she doesn't like being in here, which is another big bonus.

Dina: Aw. That's mean.

Tom: Keep the, keep the miscreants outside of my room. That's all I have to say, don't touch anything. You know the little ones when they get in here; they just want to start rearranging stuff.

Dina: Well then, you don't want to use it as a time-out cry room, because he's going to have a hissy fit and tear stuff down.

Tom: Yeah, that's true.

Dina: Or maybe you want to go in there while he's crying out. Why don't you all go in there and let him cry it out.

Tom: That's true. We let him tear up the rest of the house and we can come in here and podcast or something. Another announcement, I... Remember the whole Denon, Denen, Denan thing? Remember that?

Dina: Yes I do.

Tom: There was some drama about that.

Dina: Yes, there was.

Tom: So, I called a Jeff Talmadge, who's like pretty high up over there at Denon and he's agreed to an interview with me...

Dina: Awesome.

Tom: On July 18th. So the July 19th podcast will have, as long as this goes through, will have some audio with him. He's going to give us a little heads up about some announcements that are coming out next week, about the new receivers. So...

Dina: Cool.

Tom: For all you tweakers out there and nerds like me, you'll be interested in that, but we're also going to nail down those Denen, Denon, Denan thing.

Dina: I'm so excited. Denan.

Tom: Denan.

Dina: Did you tell him that you plan to ask him that? Or are you going to surprise him?

Tom: That's how I opened the conversation. I'm like, "Listen, I know you know about this, I know you heard about it, so what's the deal?" Though I'm not going to give it away, let Jeff, let Jeff say it.

Dina: Leave us hanging.

Tom: That's right. And I wanted to mention to you and I think that other people out there might be interested; I'd like to talk about this in more detail but we're not going to do it right now. Right now in my foyer or foye or depending on how you want to pronounce it...

Dina: If you're from Denan.

Tom: [French accent] Or Denan.

Dina: [laughs]

Tom: Remember in our very first podcast we did, we talked about...

Dina: No.

Tom: ...Cerwin Vega and the stroker technology and all that? And we talked about how they have, they do have home theater setups that they do. They do have home theater equipment but they have like an ugly subwoofer and I thought it was, you know, kind of making fun of it for a second. I don't know if you really remember that.

Dina: No, but I'm sure you did.

Tom: Well the marketing guy over there at Cerwin Vega emailed me last week and he wants me to review that exact setup that I was giving a hard time to. So...

Dina: Really?

Tom: Either, he does not realize or does not listen to this podcast, and doesn't know that, that's what I said, or he understands intuitively that I'm fair and reasonable person and will give it a fair review even if I gave it a hard time.

Dina: It has to be A, I'm going to go with A.

Tom: Yeah, we're thinking A. It'll, it's all in the boxes still, I haven't had a chance to set it up because of other stuff but hopefully that will be coming up pretty soon. Let's get right to this Best Buy thing. Now, you sent me a bunch of emails that I am not allowed to open.

Dina: Right.

Tom: OK. You start me off. Set the stage for us, Dina.

Dina: OK. Well, I did the exact same setup, which I think you'll be proud of me, down to the outfit I wore and my Starbucks cup.

Tom: Nice.

Dina: I wanted to keep everything equal. It was also a weekday, within an hour of the opening, which is when I went last time.

Tom: This is what we call validity in research, people. That's what we're talking about.

Dina: [laughs] That's exactly right.

Tom: We were controlling...

Dina: [laughs] Environment.

Tom: ...for errors and bias. That's what we're doing.

Dina: Exactly. So I gave the same setup, which was basically that I wanted to surprise my husband when he goes out of town in the near future. That I had done some research on the Internet and that it really confused me, and I thought a face-to-face would help me, and that I had a television, and that I needed speakers and, I believe, a receiver.

Tom: "A little receiver?" [laughs]

Dina: That's right.

Tom: [laughs] "How do you say?"

Dina: And I told them our room size, and I also said, as I did last time, "In looking, I've seen some things about Bose speakers. And some things I read, people really like them, and some people really hate them."

Tom: OK.

Dina: So that was my setup. It was very much like at Circuit City. There weren't many people there. I did wait a few minutes and walk around, and no one came up to me, so I went to the little cash register and found John.

Tom: Found somebody.

Dina: John.

Tom: John? Is that what you said his name was?

Dina: Yes.

Tom: John, all right.

Dina: Not Buster, like Clint predicted.

Tom: Well, that's Clint.

Dina: [laughs]

Tom: Clint thinks everybody's named Buster.

Dina: [laughs]

Tom: It's a central Florida thing, I'm telling you.

Dina: Oh, OK.

Tom: Yeah. It's kind of like Bubba in the South. Everybody's Buster.

Dina: Oh, OK. There you go. All right. He wasn't Bubba, either.

Tom: I'm just making that up. For anybody that lives that way, I have no idea what you people call each other down there.

Dina: [laughs]

Tom: No idea. And nor do I care. I can never go to central Florida. Is there some way to just skip straight over central Florida to get to other cooler places? I'd do that.

Dina: [laughs]

Tom: Actually, the whole state, to be honest with you. I'm not real enthused with Florida. It's just too many...

Dina: That's where you live, though.

Tom: I know. Not by choice. That's another story. [laughs]

Dina: OK. Another podcast.

Tom: Another podcast.

Dina: OK. So, that's the setup. Do you want me to keep going?

Tom: OK. Yeah.

Dina: OK.

Tom: Now we're there.

Dina: So John has on his nametag, "Team leader."

Tom: Hey!

Dina: Which I was real excited about.

Tom: Yeah.

Dina: And I did later ask him, which I regretted not asking Carson, especially since it was Circuit City and the history there, but I did ask him how long he'd been working and selling AV equipment. And he said it was kind of a long story, but the short of it was that he'd been working at retail at Best Buy for six years, and before that, he was a former Geek Squad.

Tom: Oh! Well, this guy should obviously...

Dina: Obviously...

Tom: And if anybody who has actually dealt with the Geek Squad, you know that that's just a real big plus.

Dina: [laughs] Is it really? I have no idea.

Tom: No. It really isn't.

Dina: There was a guy down the street that's had a Geek Squad guy at the house.

Tom: It's hit or miss. I know that Gene had a Geek Squad guy come out, and he sent the Geek Squad guy away because he knew more than the Geek Squad guy did. And that's saying something...

Dina: Did he ask him there because he really had a question, or because he was just going to tease him?

Tom: Yeah, it was about computers. It wasn't an AV question, it was a computer question.

Dina: Oh, I see. I see. That's kind of sad.

Tom: That is kind of sad.

Dina: Although that's not something that surprises me, that Gene would be more geekier than the Geek Squad people. Anyway...

Tom: Just because you're really geeky about home theater stuff doesn't mean that any of that transfers over.

Dina: Doesn't transfer? OK, whatever.

Tom: If you've read my recent blog about how I pressed the wrong button on the stupid thing...

Dina: [laughs] That's true, yes.

Tom: ...and spent all morning trying to fix it. Yeah.

Dina: Where you were ranting. I did read that.

Tom: I was angry.

Dina: I was excited that John actually asked me some questions. If you remember, I got pretty much the immediate home theater in a box, and he was lunging ready to leave, in Circuit City, Carson.

Tom: Right. Carson did, yeah.

Dina: His first question was to me, "Do you want in-wall speakers or mounted speakers?" Which Carson never asked me.

Tom: Those were the options he gave you? In-wall or mounted?

Dina: Well, that's where he wanted to start. He wanted to start with one or the other, because they were on separate parts of the aisle.

Tom: [laughs]

Dina: And I said that I wanted mounted, because it seemed like a better choice since we probably were going to move eventually.

Tom: OK. Reasonable.

Dina: I want you to know, first of all, I liked John. OK?

Tom: So I should be nice to him?

Dina: No, I'm just telling you the setup here. [laughs]

Tom: [laughs] Good, because that's not going to happen.

Dina: I really wanted John to do well. He was a really nice guy. He really talked to me. He spent a lot of time with me, making sure I understood stuff. I was pulling for him, even though I knew that would make a poor podcast.

Tom: [laughs]

Dina: I really, from the get-go, wanted John to do well.

Tom: OK.

Dina: So when he took me to the Bose Lifestyle setup...

Tom: Yeah, yeah.

Dina: ...I was sad for him.

Tom: Yes. I would be sad for him, too. Let's back up for a second. I'm really kind of confused as to why your only options were mounted or in-wall, because that excludes every other... Most speakers on the planet aren't one of those two things. There are free-standing speakers. There are bookshelf speakers. There are floor-standing speakers.

Dina: Yeah.

Tom: Was he just talking about the surrounds? Or was he talking about...?

Dina: I guess he was talking about the surrounds, because it was more like, "Do you want in-wall or not?" He did offer them as an option. And I thought he said...

Tom: Mounted.

Dina: Mounted. But he may have just said...

Tom: We'll give him the benefit of the doubt, even though it's not looking good for your boy John here.

Dina: [laughs]

Tom: So we're over in the Bose section, because Bose is obviously...

Dina: [laughs] OK, well, Bose has a demo area. It's not a demo room.

Tom: No, no, it never is.

Dina: It's a demo end cap.

Tom: OK.

Dina: So he takes me to the Bose end cap, and I am literally fighting, doing like secret messages with my eyebrows, like, "Don't do the Bose! Don't do the Bose! Come on! Come on! You can do better! Come on, this way! Something, something! Something else! Something else!"

Tom: [laughs] That's right.

Dina: But he didn't pick up on any of that. So he took me to the Bose. And that's the first thing that you can see in your email on A.

Tom: Oh, email.

Dina: It is the sample system he showed me, which was on an end cap. Now, it was a $2,000 system that had, for my viewing pleasure, just so I could see--it doesn't come with it--but was a small screen, which was probably the size of a laptop.

Tom: Sure.

Dina: It was called the Lifestyle series. The 28, Series III.

Tom: Yeah, the 28.

Dina: And it had 5.1...

Tom: For those of you that know, it's got the double cube sub, and yeah, it's got a progressive scan DVD player in the little receiver thing. That's to brand at Best Buy.

Dina: Now, immediately he told me, "You don't want this receiver." He said, "I want you to hear this, because these are the speakers I would recommend, but I would not recommend getting the receiver." Which he went into later. If you see that the speakers are like three inches.

Tom: Yeah, little.

Dina: They're teeny. And he put me in front of it, and he started messing with the buttons and started the...

Tom: Were there like tubes that went over your head that held the speakers up?

Dina: Yes.

Tom: Oh, OK.

Dina: Which I didn't see at first.

Tom: Yeah.

Dina: So when he started it, and I had a surround sound feeling, I did this kind of whewp, looking around behind me. And it's the vastness of Best Buy.

Tom: Right.

Dina: I could not figure out how he did it. And then I started looking up and realizing there were these antenna things going over me, and they were kind of behind me.

Tom: That's why Bose does that. And everybody really should. If you're going to be in that type of environment, you really need a near-field listening experience. You can't put the speakers that far away, or you're not going to hear anything in that big of... Well, you can't put those speakers that far away anyways.

Dina: So he put me in THE sweet spot, [laughs] which I think was a standing room only. And then he started it, and surround sound, and I can't remember what the movie was, but things were blowing up.

Tom: Right.

Dina: So he said that the reason he would recommend that is because, for the size of the speakers, especially the sub, is just not ginormous. Which, he showed me a really big sub, which I don't think I want to live with that.

Tom: OK.

Dina: I asked him a little bit about Bose and why he'd recommend it, and he said that it was one of the best.

Tom: Sure it is, of course. Because it's the most expensive.

Dina: Great for sound.

Tom: Oh yeah, it's great for sound. Great for bad sound...

Dina: It's bigger sound. He said I'm going to get a bigger sound in a smaller speaker. I guess he's going on that whole "women don't like speakers" thing.

Tom: Well, you can't get a smaller sound on a smaller speaker because they don't get any smaller.

Dina: [laughs] The golf ball ones.

Tom: The golf ball ones, OK.

Dina: Yeah. Don't forget.

Tom: Way to go, Sony, for screwing up my joke.

Dina: [laughs] That's right, they messed you up. He did show me the size of the sub, which was much smaller. And so I made a poor choice in [laughs] making a size doesn't matter with Bose comment, which I immediately regretted. Was just a bad idea. [laughs]

Tom: [laughs]

Dina: And we moved right on, as if it didn't happen. And he went into great detail and mentioned several times that Bose does an immense amount of research, that they research and research sound, that that's what they're good at.

Tom: They absolutely do. They do do a lot of research.

Dina: And he mentioned things they do. And the only one I remember is military headphones. This is Bose's thing.

Tom: Now, I've read about the military headphone thing.

Dina: Right.

Tom: And my understanding, and I can't be quoted on this, from what I've read is that they sold the military all these different sets of these noise-canceling headphones, but they had a plug in it that wasn't compatible with the plug they're using in the military.

Dina: Oh, that's funny.

Tom: Yeah. That's my understanding. They either had to buy an adapter or make an adapter, or something like that. They do do a lot of research, but I'm not entirely convinced that it's all audio-related. It may be audio-related in that they test to see what people like, or what impresses people that aren't really that knowledgeable about stuff. But they definitely do a lot of market research. There's no doubt about that.

Dina: Oh. Well, yeah. That's not what he was talking about.

Tom: I know.

Dina: He was talking about audio research. And he went into detail about how the speaker had a long tube, and that Bose twists and twists and bends and bends and bends it until they get it really small, and that's why they can have that small speaker.

Tom: Yeah. It's not like they freakin' invented the bended tube, OK? It's not like Bose woke up one day and said, "You know what we could do? We can bend this thing! And then it would - Oh my God!" Yeah. You know what? Your intestinal tract is the same way.

Dina: That's what Schaffer said.

Tom: So they just stole that idea from God.

Dina: From God!

Tom: That's what they did.

Dina: I don't think he's properly credited on anything.

Tom: Really, they should be paying him some sort of royalty fee.

Dina: Exactly.

Tom: No. I mean, I reviewed the Boston Acoustics wave radio wannabe thing. I can't remember the name of it right now. It basically has a bended tube in it. Lots of things have bended tubes in order to increase the port length. All that's doing is increasing the port length, which increases the bass response, which is why you get more bass out of that small little box than you would if you didn't have the bended tube. But it's still a small box. It's not like they can do that much.

Dina: Well, he thinks it can.

Tom: John, so far, is not exactly impressing me so much.

Dina: I know.

Tom: You get past the Bose.

Dina: Well, he just says you don't want this receiver, though, because Bose, where they are great in research with audio, they're not so good with video, and that he would recommend a different receiver.

Tom: Did he really say "receiver", or did he say "DVD player"?

Dina: He said receiver, because there's a receiver in the Lifestyle thing. He said you don't want this.

Tom: OK.

Dina: And so then he took me to, if you'll click on B, that's the speakers, which are basically the speakers from the Lifestyle without the receiver. They're Acoustimass 10-4s, and it comes with the 5.1. I did ask him, "OK, this is the sub and these are the four surround sound speakers. What is the skinny one?" He said, "That's your center channel, which is what most of the talking will come out of - otherwise known as dialogue."

Tom: Yes. Good job.

Dina: I thought, "Can we give him one point?"

Tom: We'll give him a point for that. Actually, we'll give you a point, because basically I was worried where he was going with this. If you buy the one with the receiver, there's usually proprietary connectors on it, and you wouldn't be able to take a set of Bose that has the receiver with it and just use any old receiver with it. You have to buy the one without it in order to use it.

Dina: And that's $1000 for those speakers.

Tom: Right.

Dina: He said, which I love: if you read the Acoustimass information on the website, it says that it will provide expansive surround sound without dominating your decor. Truer words have never been said. [laughs]

Tom: Yeah, it won't dominate your decor!

Dina: Exactly. And he said these speakers were comparable in quality to a speaker called, and I'm going to say it wrong, Klipsh. So he did say you do want a different receiver. He took me to the receivers, and the first thing he was saying is Bose are great speakers for great sound. He said if you've got, for example, Sony speakers, you can get a lower-end receiver, because you don't need much to push the speakers because they're just not that good speakers.

So he showed me the Yamaha, which is C, just as an example. It's a $200, 500-watt Yamaha receiver that he said, for example, if you had Sony speakers, you could get this because you just wouldn't need a really nice receiver.

Tom: Is he saying that Bose speakers are hard to push? He said they were hard to drive? That's what he said?

Dina: He was saying that you need a better receiver for them, because they're better speakers.

Tom: Yeah. That's pretty much crap. Yamaha RXB361BL - I guess BL is black. It'd be 36.

Dina: Yeah. Those are $200.

Tom: If that receiver can't push those - OK, I'm not going to get into that. That is probably worse than saying that the center channel is only used for bass.

Dina: Oh, really?

Tom: Oh yeah. That's monumentally bad.

Dina: That makes me sad for John!

Tom: Most of the time with Bose speakers, you run your surround speakers through the subwoofer. The subwoofer has the amp in it anyway.

Dina: Oh, does it?

Tom: Yeah. I don't know exactly how that setup is going to work. If you're plugging it directly in, believe me, there isn't a speaker that small that needs a big amp for it. That's ridiculous.

Dina: Really? Well, that's what I figured. That's really sad. After setting up what you don't want, I think he was trying to justify the fact that he was going to sell me a $500 receiver. By the way, they had many more receivers to choose from. I was asking him if the whole aisle were receivers, because they were going all the way down the aisle. He said, "Well, starting here, they're stereo receivers, so they won't work for surround sound, so you want to look this way."

Tom: Good for you.

Dina: Which was better, because the other guy tried to sell me...

Tom: A stereo receiver. Yeah.

Dina: At least he gave me that option. The receivers that he showed me were two different ones. Click on B. That's the Harman Kardon, and he said that was comparable in price to the higher end name brands. Both of these were Denon, which is how he said it, not "denahn", and the Onkyo - is that right?

Tom: I'm not correcting you on that one anymore. And don't get your husband to help you, because I'm not correcting you on that one anymore.

Dina: I tried to spell it phonetically on my list, but it didn't make sense now.

Tom: [laughs] So he said the Harman Kardon AVR 247.

Dina: He's saying to me that the Denon ones could range from $500 to $5000. So he was saying that these were comparable to a nicer receiver, obviously without spending that much money. The two he showed me were the Harman Kardon, which is a $500, 595-watt. He said it was a more elegant design. We turned it on and it had that pretty blue light behind it.

Tom: Some people like the black and gray. I personally do.

Dina: It was prettier than the other one, but they're clunky boxes. It really didn't matter. Neither of them were really elegant. And then E, if you'll click on that, was receiver 2, which was right under it, also $500 dollars. It was a Yamaha and it was 735 watts. But he told me I could do either/or. He said that he had a guy in here, and he showed them both, and the guy actually went with the Harman Kardon because it looked cooler.

Tom: The RXB 661 is the Yamaha. Let me see here. Well, the Harman Kardon has video conversion, which is kind of cool. With Yamahas, you can't go really wrong. Yamahas in general are pretty good. I'd never had any real serious complaints with the Yamaha in any way, shape or form. So that's interesting. I mean, you don't need that nice of a receiver for those speakers. I don't care what he says.

But none of these are bad receivers. The Bose 7.1. Like I said, the Yamaha probably has better amps in it, just generally speaking. But it's kind of cool that the Harman Kardon's got a full range of video conversion, up to 720p, which is kind of nice. I don't know. I guess if I was choosing between those two you could go pretty much either way. They're both $500 bucks - is that what they are?

Dina: Yeah.

Tom: OK. Still don't need it for that receiver. It's only for the speakers. But OK.

Dina: You want me to keep going?

Tom: Yeah, keep going. We're getting short on time here, but keep going.

Dina: Yeah, I know. I don't know how far you wanted me to go today. OK, so the next thing he wanted to know was about my television, which I was poorly prepared for. I just knew it was 30-inch Sony, which is basically what you told me to say.

Tom: Yeah.

Dina: But he wanted to know if I knew what kind it was. I appreciate the fact that he actually cared about anything, because Carson had brushed me off at this point in the conversation. He wanted to know what kind, and he said, "Do you know if it's 1080p or 720p?"

Tom: 180p? [laughs] That would be bad.

Dina: I acted like I needed a moment to think through what would be the best answer. He said, "Do you have any idea when you purchased it? Was it purchased recently?" He was trying to help me figure it out.

Tom: Yeah.

Dina: I said, "You know, I do believe it is 1080p."

Tom: You did know! You should have said that!

Dina: Really?

Tom: You should have said that was old. Well, whatever. That's fine.

Dina: OK. So anyway, he's starting to talk about DVD players, and I was acting like I was interested, even though I told him I had a DVD player already. He said Blu-ray, and I was like, "What is that?" So he took me over and we talked about Blu-ray. He told me that Blu-ray DVD produces 1080p video and will up-convert my normal DVDs to 720. He said that the Blu-ray disc is the only way to get true 1080p. They were out of stock of them but he said that he could order and have it within a week.

Tom: Uhum.

Dina: He did tell me it was a good idea to match my DVD player with my TV.

Tom: You mean the brands?

Dina: Yeah. He didn't tell me why. I should have asked why probably.

Tom: [laughs]

Dina: It serves as remote control. Is that what you told me?

Tom: Is that what he said? Is that really what he said?

Dina: No, no. I didn't ask.

Tom: Oh, that's what I said.

Dina: That's what he told me.

Tom: No, that's stupid. It's really stupid.

Dina: OK. [laughs] I thought so.

Anyway, if you click on F, you'll see the DVD player which is $500 dollars.

Tom: For Blu-ray?

Dina: Uhuh. And they're out of them. They apparently have started off hits that are really expensive whenever they first came out. They were a thousand and then they went down and now they're at five hundred. They're just going off the shelves, baby.

Tom: OK, first of all your boy is an idiot.

Dina: [snickers]

Tom: OK. You don't need to match your TV with your DVD player. He's right that you'll get true...The only way to get true 1080p is through Blu-ray or HD-DVD which he failed to mention to you maybe because they don't sell them out now. But it will up-convert, it says here to 1080p via HDMI, so it won't just up-convert to 720p. It goes all the way to 1080p.

Dina: He told me there was no way to do that unless you had a Blu-ray disc.

Tom: No. John only knows some of what he speaks. [laughs]

Dina: OK. [chuckles] Well...

Tom: When you said that, an alarm went off on my head but I haven't tested a Blu-ray player yet so I wasn't sure. But you can get an up-converted 1080p DVD player from Dennon. I mean you can get that from...

Dina: Dennon?

Tom: OPPO. You can get that from a bunch of places so you don't need...But it's not true 1080p. True 1080p, made up 1080p comes from a high-def player like a Blu-ray or HD-DVD; so he was right about that.

Dina: Oh, goody.

Tom: But pretty much kind of off base and spoiled everything else he said.

Dina: [laughs]

Tom: All right, so we're running out of time. We're going to have to continue this next time. What's the preview for next week? What else is he going to try to sell you, because I see another email here and...

Dina: Entitled "Cable Hell".

Tom: "Cable Hell Don't Look" [laughs]

Dina: Yeah. Yeah.

Tom: So I have a feeling this has something to do with cables so... But...

Dina: Many cables...

Tom: Did he try to sell you any other speakers? Don't tell me what they are yet.

Dina: No. No.

Tom: No?

Dina: It was Bose or nothing. That was it.

Tom: Bose or nothing. Bose are the best.

Dina: Bose are the best. That's what he told me.

Tom: OK.

Dina: And I just thought in my head "Oh, Tom. He's going to have a field day with this."

Tom: That's really sad. I mean...Did you mention that you'd be OK with bigger speakers or anything like that?

Dina: No.

Tom: Did you give him an option?

Dina: No, I was so dumbfounded that I was in the Bose section. [laughs] I was kind of like a deer in the headlights.

Tom: Did you say at the beginning, on offset that you had heard some good and bad things about Bose?

Dina: Right. You told me to mention Bose and to mention that I kind of didn't know which way to go and Carson never took me, never mentioned Bose but he also tried to sell wireless.

Tom: Well, I'm going to get Carson a thumbs-up on that one because that's good.

Dina: Because he didn't take me to Bose.

Tom: Because he didn't take you to Bose.

Dina: OK.

Tom: But... Yeah, OK. I think some of this is gender profiling, to be honest with you.

Dina: Ah-ah.

Tom: Some of this is gender... He is looking at you going, "She's going to want some small speakers. She's going to..."

Dina: He probably...

Tom: You know that sort of thing. I don't know how it would be different if there was a guy in there.

Dina: That's true.

Tom: But I know plenty of guys that bought Bose and think they're the best they have heard.

Dina: Well, John thought they were.

Tom: You know, it's hard to tell. How will they know? I know when I knew people that were working on commission; they like to sell Bose because you can't... First of all, their price is fixed. You can't lower a Bose unless it's out of box or something or like that.

Dina: Right.

Tom: And I'm sure there's good mark ups on it, so they like to sell Bose for that reason. People also, salesmen... That's making a difference. If you're a waiter, if you're in any type of store, you want to sell something that has done well for you in the past, meaning if people have come back to you and really liked what you sold them, you try to sell it more just because you want to make sure that people are happy.

Dina: Well, he did say things like "I've sold this to so many and they came back and said it's the best system they ever had." He did, to about other people he had sold it to. He'd obviously had some success.

Tom: Yeah.

Dina: And as a side note, he did tell me at the end of the conversation. He found me later and basically said, "You know, I never introduced myself. I'm really sorry." And so he introduced... I said, "I read your name already, John." And then he said...

Tom: Did he give you his phone number?

Dina: [laughs] No, he didn't give it. Shut up.

Tom: He didn't say anything about Farscape or anything like that? No?

Dina: [laughs] No, he did not.

Tom: You're not going to say a thing? No?

Dina: [laughs} God!

Tom: Have you seen the request for the leather pants, blaster picture he had? You haven't seen that?

Dina: No.

Tom: I don't know what you're doing for Halloween, but I have a feeling there may be an AVRant sponsor in costume in your feature.

Dina: There are like two people that understand what you're talking about. They're in a clan with that other guy.

Tom: No. There really isn't.

Dina: Anyway, he also said, "I just want to make sure if didn't overwhelm you. I just wanted you to have everything that you needed." And I said, "No, I appreciate it."

Tom: Well, you said, "I have like 10 more links to go through the cable so we've got some serious stuff to talk about."

Dina: I know. But then he also said, "I just want you to know that we don't work on commission." He pointed that out.

Tom: He just said that? OK. Now, I think it goes back to gender profiling.

Dina: John is lying.

Tom: And that has worked for him in the past. So people are happy with...

Dina: I think that's what happened with Carson too. Carson took me to home theater Bose, it was wireless for the same reason.

Tom: Yeah. I think so too.

It's interesting, though. So you basically were getting some different experiences somewhat because of the locations that you're going, somewhat because of you as a person and somewhat because of what they've been successful at in the past, I think.

Dina: I wonder if we did it like if I went with J who actually knows something and I went as his sister and like "OK, he's going to help me. You know, can you help us? We're trying to get some stuff..."

Tom: What about sending J?

Dina: Oh, we could send J.

Tom: We could send J to the same place and see what happens with J. That would be interesting. I could do it around here but it's not quite as valid.

Dina: They probably know you.

Tom: Do you think Jay can wear your same outfit though?

Dina: [laughs] They probably... No.

Tom: Cause I want to make sure that we can keep it safe. [laughs]

Dina: They probably have a best buy, they probably have a picture of "Do not accept checks from these people and this guy right here, send him out, out, out!"

Tom: [laughs]

Dina: "Don't talk to him. He's just going to make fun of you."

Tom: He's just going to make fun of you. That's right.

Dina: All right.

Tom: All right. Well, let's cover all the stuff I didn't cover. Begin with this like I was supposed to, you can call our offline or rant line. It's 18... God, it's been a while since I've said this. 19... 1978.

Dina: Have you had any calls?

Tom: What's that?

Dina: Has anybody called?

Tom: Oh, God! Well, yeah! We've had so many lines. Stop checking them and..

Dina: [laughs]

Tom: Until we go through some of the ones that we've got and then I'm going to check the rest of our mistakes. We need to go through some other ones that we've got.

Dina: OK.

Tom: In fact, there was an extra AV rant that came out. Hey, if you're hearing this today, and it came out day before yesterday with me and J.

Dina: You're hearing this today. It's always today to whoever who's listening.

Tom: Yeah. OK, if you hear this today, it came out Thursday.

978-OFF-RANT, 978-633-7268 our Offline Rant line. As we are getting more and more questions, I will say that be interesting or be deleted is now going to start to be enforced [laughs] a little bit more stringently than it has in the past.

Dina: Has Kurt called back?

Tom: Uhmm, I don't know. I filled with so many of them because I sent some of them to you and some of them to J. So I filled it so many, I don't remember. I don't know how to go through that.

Dina: I just miss Kurt, that's all. How are you doing, Kurt?

Tom: Kurt. Kurt's the number one fan.

Dina: That's right.

Tom: I'm taking an email from Lee.

Dina: Oh, shoot. I thought we're going to get through one podcast without talking about her.

Tom: I got an email from Liz so we won't be... I have more information in my pocket and I know exactly when I'm going to use it. So don't worry, that's up to Lee. I appreciate it. Keep 'em coming.

I'd take our podtrack survey. I took it. It's short.

Dina: Email.

Tom: Email tom@AVrant.com, dina@AVrant.com. And for those of you that can't spell Dina, it's D-i-n-a.

Dina: Uhum.

Tom: So...

Dina: Does Lee email you?

Tom: I have gotten emails. In fact...

Dina: No one is emailing me.

Tom: When the thought crosses your mind that maybe I should send Tom a big long question about how to design my home theater, just don't. Because I'm not going to respond. [laughs] I don't have to design people's home theaters... It's lot of work.


Dina: That's fine.

Tom: I've done a couple of...

Dina: Why don't you have things on the Audioholics?

Tom: Yeah, do this. Go to the Audioholics website and ask questions. There are people up there; they got nothing better to do with their bun than answering your questions. And good for them, we love 'em. I love 'em! And I used to be that same guy until Audioholics decided that I needed to work.

Dina: Snagged you up.

Tom: Thousands of hours a week. So...

Dina: [laughs]

Tom: So overworked, never appreciated.

Dina: I appreciate you.

Tom: And now we're at super, super long...

Dina: OK.

Tom: For AVRant, I'm Tom Andry.

Dina: I'm Dina Clarke.

Tom: Now go out and listen to something.



About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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