Have you ever helped someone buy their first audio system? How did it go?

Have you ever helped someone buy their first audio system? How did it go?
72% (49 votes)
Yes, but they ignored my advice
13% (9 votes)
6% (4 votes)
9% (6 votes)
Total votes: 68

Audiophiles often find themselves the go-to person for audio advice and shopping assistance. Have you ever helped someone buy their first audio system? How did it go?

raymond's picture

A friend saw my system and after that he needed to buy one, too. I asked him his budget before the next step and we discussed models and the kind of music and system sound he liked.

Fred's picture

People have just handed over their money and completely trusted me to purchase their home music gear, not just once, but several times.

sloober's picture

I have been advising friends for years. It is just starting to pan out. My current advice is to watch Craigslist closely. Score a Magnavox console: I restore them and when paired with good speakers and a decent preamp, my friends are in audio heaven. It is easy to build a stellar system for dirt cheap. More money for the music!

HS's picture

I've recommended specific components successfully.

Jugveer's picture

I think the biggest thing I have encountered is the question, "What is good?" My answer is, "Whatever your ears tell you." I think that, when people ask for advice about purchasing an audio system, the best advice to give them is more about what to listen for, instead of what brand or type of system is best, since this is like telling someone what wine or color to like. Knowing what good sound is is a mix of knowledge and auditory skill. Most of the time, people know a sound but can't explain why thy prefer it, and thus, can't compare sounds.

Tim H.'s picture

Because the people I know also know I am into high-end audio home theater, they suggest that their friends, before they spend their money, talk to me. What typically happens is that they will buy something, then ask me what my opinion of it is—as if they were looking to buy it, not already own it. Must be a sanity check. I have tempered my answers to something like, "If it sounds or looks good to you, then buy it." I have inadvertently stuck my foot in my mouth when I have given a less than glowing opinion of their choice. It seems that most people want their own purchases validated rather than are really asking for advice. Fewer are interested in finding out what is possible and are truly interested in performance and understand what really matters to them. It is fun to get a person like that and show them what's out there and the possibilities available and then figure out a starter system within their budget and watch the enthusiasm grow. Then you have another friend to share the hobby with.

thinkbrown's picture

I helped my cousin choose, purchase, and set up a pair of Paradigm Mini Monitors. It's been over a year now, and he's still happy with them.

Rich Chicago, Il's picture

Friends and family know of my hobby and frequently ask for advice. I steer them away from the big box stores and sometimes bring them to my favorite shops and let them listen. The staffs know me and are always helpful and patient with someone new to the world of good sound. It's fun to audition gear, even if it's not for me.

Frank's picture

Yes, 30 years ago. He bought: Rogers LS35As, an M&K Powered sub, and an NAD integrated amp. He still is using them.

Greg Pringle's picture

Some friends did not totally take my advice but did get some of what I said. They were sorry later.

Danny's picture

It went very well. My brother is now, very, happy.

Ivan Rivera's picture

I've helped a few of my friends to get into the audio hobby. It usually starts by me introducing them to some hi-fi shops and brands. I also provide some tips based on experience.

Louis P.'s picture

Maybe half a dozen times, I tried to work with a friend after they heard and admired my system. I showed them that they could do pretty well, even with a moderate budget. And then a few months later, they told me: "I hope you're not mad, but I bought these Polk/Bose/whatever speakers on sale" (along with some AV receiver). So I don't bother anymore. Their loss.

Nodaker's picture

Numerous times. My friends have always liked what I selected. Off the top of my head, I can think of five satisfied customers. The funny thing is that none of them has felt the need to upgrade—must be only me that buys too far down the food scale.

D.A.B., Pacific Palisades, CA's picture

I urged a younger friend to buy my old system. He did, and we haven't spoken since.

Scott Schick's picture

Great system for the best price.

Chris V's picture

I offered advice several times, although it was never taken. I had a dealer clearly demonstrate the differences between two CD players in the same manufacturer's line to my then-boss, but it did no good. I did, however, help both my sister-in-law (Maggies, Denon) and a friend (Jolida, Minipods) acquire and set up modest, yet satisfying systems. These two successes were worth the time spent with on failures. (BTW, the one with the Maggies spent a few years with the tweeter fuses blown, and didn't notice. The $1.38 upgrade made me a hero.)

Don Payne's picture

I have a nice system and people like the way it sounds—they have trusted my judgment and my respect for their budget concerns.

Yann, France's picture

Help: not to burn too much money in cables and other magical equipment and then take care of the evolution (reliable brands, used value).

C.D.'s picture

Since 1982, I have helped countless friends and almost every woman I've ever dated.

Bill Nguyen's picture

I asked how much they were willing to spend and made recommendations—and they have ended up with my suggestions.

Audioholic's picture

Most of the people I have helped have had limited budgets, so helping them select/install/calibrate something that's better for cheaper has been my main goal. They all have been happy and blown away by the results so far! Knowing there are better options outside of Bose and Best Buy is key.

FearlessLeader's picture

Back in high school, I put together a fair starter system. I made a list of similar components for a pal when he showed interest. He ignored me.

RonTaylor's picture

It went very well, despite being a lower end system, but the client loved it!

Nathan's picture

I've gotten a couple of my friends into the hobby, hopefully they'll be able to jump in with two feet sometime.

JT's picture

It went really well. I tried to tease out of them what they were hearing, what they liked, disliked, and why. They usually had a predetermined budget and when they went over that, they admitted they would have gotten better sound if they had stuck to the budget. The choice of equipment was dealer selected, but then I've been dealing with the same guy for 20 years now.

Mark Evans's picture

I had a buddy that wanted to get into high-end home audio about a year after I did. He thought that the bigger the speakers he bought..the better his system would sound. He bought a nice 100w/ch Yamaha reciever and after that I convinced him that speakers that max at 300w would pull to much on his 75w reciever and could possibly fry it. He bought a pair of JBL L-100T's and they mated really nice with the Yamaha reciever.