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Mining Man

Demo At Home

26 posts in this topic

We are always endorsing each other to listen and listen again before buying, in the quest for audio nirvana. To this end, demoing new gear in-store is always going to be compromised.

So then, what about demoing at home? There are a number of members that have had great success in eliminating or qualifying potential equipment by hearing them as they ultimately will - from the comfort of their own couch.

But how do you convince a sales person to let hundreds of dollars of inventory walk out the door, which ultimately means to them that only one potential customer will have the benefit of listening to it?

Let's hear your experiences on demoing at home!! :)

Personally - I have yet to demo anything at home. My recent speaker upgrade was limited in that the models I most wanted to try (Paradigm & Focal) were only available through installers, who do not carry stock. But having spent countless hours chatting with the local HiFi guy, I had established enough of a rapport to take home a set of Kef XQ1's ($3k with stands) and / or XQ5's ($5k). Of course, being closed on Sunday, it was a pick up Saturday afternoon, return Monday morning affair, which suited them just fine. (But ultimately the in-store demo was enough to rule them out anyway...)

For the meantime, I remain a home demo virgin. :blush:

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I have done a few home demos some from stores i have never had dealings with and some with stores i have had alot of previous history with.

There is no point thought taking home every bit of equipment yo want to audition, but best to try as many in the stores as you can then have a final list of say 3.

Some stores do not like to loan out equipment as people tend to borrow things to do shoot outs, with no real desire to purchase.

Borrowing maps, cd player, pre amps is fine with most store, speakers ont he other hand is a little harder as they are big.

You will also find if they don't have it as a demo unit very rarely are they willing to loan, as then it becomes a demo item and they lost money on it.

If a store will not allow a home demo try another store.

Some stores will ask for credit card prior to loaning something out. If you damage it its yours, if you bring it back as it was given to you, no charge.

Do not walk into a store and just say i would like to demo take these things home, it doesn't work that way. Audition a few bits an pieces in store, find the one you realy like then ask if you can try it at home to make sure it works in your room with your system. They can usualy tell if you are serious and usualy oblige.

The other thing, is don't just walk in off the street, ring them up, or walk in and say can we please arrange a suitable time to audition the following products. This gives the enough time to set it all up for you and make sure they have the time to spend with you on the day. Most higher end stores only have a few salespeople in there, and they are usualy showing other clients things. So they will not have the time to dedicate to you

I have had home demos were i have returned the item as it wasn't for me, but then borrowed something else from same store and purchased.

Another option is friends and fellow forum buddies.

We have done this many times with great success. If you know someone who has an item you are interested in, ask then if they are happy to bring it over to you for an audition.

I have taken my droplet and pre amps to many GTG's and i have borrowed items from people also.

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Home demo's for specialty retailers I think would be quiet common. Usually someone demoing something is upgrading so see an improvement on what they currently have. I think over 80% of home demo's would convert to a sale. Like taking a puppy home from the pet shop, is hard to take it back :)

I would think it would be mainly for mid to higher end gear and appropriate ID, credit card swipe etc would negate any potential loss for the retailer.

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I'm a big one for home demoes only because its the only way really can get an idea in your own context ie in your own room with your own equipment and then can spend some quality time with the gear with your own material -music movies etc.

with the elektra I had never dealt with frankston before or glen there at the time. yet was able to borrow over a weekend to get an appreciation of it.

a step like a home demo I myself would not undertake unless I had already done instore comparisons and narrowed it down to a very likely contender and the home demo being for making a buying decision.

you have to be a bit firm with these things I think. Need to make it quite clear you are interested and serious about buying and will not do so unless you home demo.

There are retailers who will not home demo either from previous bad expereince or because it isnt part of their policy. But there are other retailers who are understanding and after you have done some store demoes only happy for you to take gear home for you to see what its like in your own setup.

Existing sales relationship perhaps helps in some situations, perhaps the retailers are a little more trusting, you are a familiar face they know your not a tire kicker jsut stuffing them around and mean business etc.

Need to be a bit understanding as well from your own side. If you were running a buisness would you let a stranger walk out the door with equipment be it 100's or 1000's of dollars worth of stuff. Some retailers will only lend you gear with a credit card swipe or if you pretty much pre-pay for the gear and then refund or tear up the credit card swipe when you return with it. Also some retailers will only lend it to you over night or when their business is closed ie sundays --only so they dont miss out on potential sales while the gear is out. Different businesses might have their own requirments and some times have to come to some mutual arrangement.

re the question of cost. ie are retailers more ameniable to lending more expensive or cheaper gear. I dont think cost is an issue quite frankly. if its relatively cheap item the risk to them is not huge. vs a large costly item that you might take off with or damage. the only thing might be is they might think given the margin they might make on the cheaper item it might not merit the hassle of home demo ?

anyways not sure if has helped but jsut my thoughts.

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Responses to al's post from the other thread...

If you take home to demo, do you then feel 'obliged" to buy?

Interesting psychology.

How often have people demo'd gear at home and not bought it?

Al?

If you demo one stores gear does that preclude you from then buying it somewhere else?!

Lots of issues.

as some other some other guys know and as you'll see now and then I certainly have sometimes home demoed and not bought. Its for a buyign decision is the way I see it so no obligation and at times it jsut might mean you end up not buying.

I think some ethics need to play a part, to home demo from one place and buy from somewhere else is poor form in my opinion. thats my value system, others might think otherwise.

I tend to agree with al. By all means arrange a demo to see if it what you want and suits your listening environment. I never feel obliged to buy simply because i have demoe'd the gear at home. And if i did decide to purchase i certainly would not purchase it elsewhere. If i did decide that it was what i wanted i would most certainly purchase from the sales rep who was courteous enough to allow me to demo the gear. But as for feeling "obliged" to purchase simply because i have demoe'd? No way.

The flip side to this is if i can't demo the gear in my own environment then i simply choose not to purchase it (unless it is at a very good discounted price. eg. 2nd hand musical gear. The two pieces of gear i mentioned in an earlier post that i have purchased 2nd hand i did without having heard either. Although i already owned a Unison Research Valve amp so i know their exemplarary build quality. So when come time to buy the Unison Research Unico P Integreated amp i didn't have an issue with it. OK slightly off topic .. apologies.

I am in the market for a new pair of speakers and went to demo (in store) a gair of Gallos Ref 3 speakers ($AU7K) in Harvery Norman (Cleveland, QLD). Sounded ok & wanted to demo them at home. Sales rep wouldn't be in it and so i emailed the importer .. he wasn't so obliging either. So as a result i have NO intention of purchasing them based on what i heard in store. If i really want them i will purchase direct from OS and import them myself and save a bundle. So if these people are not willing to co-operate then i am not willing to purchase from them - simple as that. So they have now lost my custom & any likely chance of me wanting to purchase anything from them ever again. When you are considering purchasing a $7K pair of speakers i wouldn't expect anyone to be satisfied with an instore listening session.

cheers

Jeff

I'll edit these out if I can get Timo to drag 'em across for us to keep the other thread on track.

EDIT: Nope. Timo can only merge entire threads, not move individual posts...

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If you can do it, i reckon that demoing gear at home would be the best way to go, mostly simply because your home will have different acoustics to a store, and that can have a major effect on the way the equipment sounds. If i was spending a lot of money on audio gear, i wouldn't buy anything i couldn't try out at home.

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My dealer is happy for me to demo at home, because they understand that it's quite difficult for me to get into the store, and the fact that I've purchased a lot of kit from them no doubt goes in my favour.

I pay in full first and have to cop the costs of shipping if I do return something, and I've only ever asked them to send me one or two different products at a time - I think that asking to take more kit at a time would be stretching the friendship.

The upside is I get a couple of weeks with every new piece (which I think is mandatory for making an informed decision), and if I'm not happy with a piece it only costs me a few dollars in shipping. The downside is I can't negotiate prices any further than my standard discount, and I have to do a lot of research to narrow down my selections first.

I should also add that in the event I do return something, I don't get my money back - rather I get a store credit. Thus, in each case I am committing to buy at least something from them.

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My dealer is happy for me to demo at home, because they understand that it's quite difficult for me to get into the store, and the fact that I've purchased a lot of kit from them no doubt goes in my favour.

I pay in full first and have to cop the costs of shipping if I do return something, and I've only ever asked them to send me one or two different products at a time - I think that asking to take more kit at a time would be stretching the friendship.

The upside is I get a couple of weeks with every new piece (which I think is mandatory for making an informed decision), and if I'm not happy with a piece it only costs me a few dollars in shipping. The downside is I can't negotiate prices any further than my standard discount, and I have to do a lot of research to narrow down my selections first.

I should also add that in the event I do return something, I don't get my money back - rather I get a store credit. Thus, in each case I am committing to buy at least something from them.

thats how the len wallis thing now works dosnt it. you buy from them and within 2 weeks if you dont like it for any reason can send it back no questions asked. think they only give you a store credit as well though for any returns.

I think its helpfull for people living far away from stores if its hard to get out to demo instore plus gives the opportunity to demo at home and over a decent streth of time. the store credit thing would be a bit of a tough one to cop though if they didnt particualrly had anythign else there you were keen to buy. But better than stores not allowing any home demoes at all I guess, and on their part gets some commitment that you have some commitment to buy so would keep away the tyre kickers.

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with the elektra I had never dealt with frankston before or glen there at the time. yet was able to borrow over a weekend to get an appreciation of it.

How long ago did you demo this Al as I am on very good termswith the owner there and are thinking seriously of adding one to my HT

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How long ago did you demo this Al as I am on very good termswith the owner there and are thinking seriously of adding one to my HT

2 years ago yorac. if your good terms with the owner hopefully have no troubles borrowing one to check out for yourself

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Unfortunatly since Glen has left you may not get the same level of caring.The owner is not as obliging.But no harm in trying I suppose.

Also my last experience there has left me very bitter,so I'm feeling very negative about the place.

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It's good to hear some of the negotiating that takes place to secure home demo arrangements: refund for store credit, credit card payment / refund in full, break it and own it terms etc. And also the importance of ruling out as much in-store as possible before asking about home demo opportunities.

Great stuff!! B)

What about time allowance? Has anyone found some stores more willing to give you a decent amount of time to demo (maybe a week or more)? Overly anxious stores wanting their gear back within an hour? How do you come to an agreement? Maybe you're better off picking a lull - perhaps a non-sales period. Or defer to the start of the week: Monday-Tuesday instead of the weekend?

(Remember, I don't want this thread to focus just on the particular stores. Commercial preference would have it shut down pretty quickly. I am hoping we can share the tactics and negotiations that we have used to secure better deals, so that we can get a better suited product at the end of it all. :) )

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~

What about time allowance? Has anyone found some stores more willing to give you a decent amount of time to demo (maybe a week or more)? Overly anxious stores wanting their gear back within an hour? How do you come to an agreement? Maybe you're better off picking a lull - perhaps a non-sales period. Or defer to the start of the week: Monday-Tuesday instead of the weekend?

~

hi mm it really depends on the store and somethign else to be negotiated, for some stores weekends are the busiest and if the eitem is away it might mean lost sales, but for many people buying weekends are best as means gives them most quality time with the item with the item before returning. Some items you might only get over night with it ie pickup before store closes drop off on opening. Overnight might be enough if doing some comparisons wiht what you have. alternatively with somethign like speakers you might need a bit more time as could take some time sometimes just with even exploring positioning etc. And they might prefere to let you have them during the week. So yeah depends on the item as well. Just somethign else to be negotiated, depending on your needs, the stores needs and what they feel comfortable with. And you need to be realistic.

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~

... Just somethign else to be negotiated, depending on your needs, the stores needs and what they feel comfortable with. And you need to be realistic.

That's the key, isn't it?

Must be easier for those guys in WA to pick something up Saturday afternoon, and then drop it in Monday morning. It will be a lot harder when they enter the 21st century and enact Sunday trading. ;):P

Seriously though - I think you nailed it when you talked about the store potentially missing sales. Definitely something to keep in mind, so that you don't make unrealistic requests.

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2 years ago yorac. if your good terms with the owner hopefully have no troubles borrowing one to check out for yourself
Unfortunatly since Glen has left you may not get the same level of caring.The owner is not as obliging.But no harm in trying I suppose.

Also my last experience there has left me very bitter,so I'm feeling very negative about the place.

Interesting isn't it because I thought Glen came straight from the HN school of sales trash so poor was the service I got from him, when I deal down there it is with Chris or Mark(one of the installers) only, I'd be quite happy to feedback any poor service/issues you got Joz

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I was in Len Wallis about two weeks ago. When I asked about home demo, they said it was for up to two weeks, and they would refund if the gear wasn't to my liking. Also at Hi-Fi Junction, they would allow home demo so long as I could give them the cash to cover the purchase, which they would lock in a safe, and hand back if I didn't want to go ahead.

Both seem like reasonable solutions to me. If I were a retailer I would be wary too.

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So then, what about demoing at home?

I enquired about buying a DVDO iScan VP50 at an authorized DVDO retailer in Perth. They wouldn't even demo one in the STORE let alone at home! Same applies to PS Audio products. In the US, you can demo PS Audio at home for 30 days and return it if you don't want it. In Australia, forget it.

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Interesting isn't it because I thought Glen came straight from the HN school of sales trash so poor was the service I got from him, when I deal down there it is with Chris or Mark(one of the installers) only, I'd be quite happy to feedback any poor service/issues you got Joz

Actually I think it was JB.

But your right about service from Mark,I have found him always(well nearly) :blush: excellent.

Also I'm not about to bad mouth anyone on a Forum because I do feel it should always be taken up with the owner,which it has been on this occassion aswell.

Needles to say I have always bought from and recommeded them,always.

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i always feel if you can take a piece of equipment home to demo it in your own is the best way to see how it performs

in most cases the retailer can not replicate what you have in your own home because they either dont stock it or it is not made anymore

i have been able to demo some gear over the weekend because i have a good relationship wth some of the stores but there has been times where i am not known i have had to pay before i try i think that is ok would you give a $1000.oo plus item to someone you dont know

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... but there has been times where i am not known i have had to pay before i try i think that is ok would you give a $1000.oo plus item to someone you dont know

Nice work. :)

How have returns been handled in this case? Store credit? Full refund? (Or were you happy and kept the gear?)

I guess it's important to clarify all this up front. B)

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