Buying audio gear on the internet
In years past, it was rare for a high-quality audio brand to offer their products through a catalog or an internet site - these were typically places where “lo-fi” gear was sold. High-quality manufacturers understood that the only way that they were going to convince you that their products were worth the asking price was to have you audition the products in person, demonstrated by experts who were skilled in getting the most performance out of the equipment.
In recent years though, things have changed. The primary reason is that the number of good brick and mortar audio retailers has dropped dramatically, causing manufacturers to look elsewhere to make up for lost avenues of distribution. Many have chosen to pick one or two of the few reputable internet sellers to augment their brick and mortar retail sales. The primary intent is to better serve areas of the country where there are simply no good hifi shops within a reasonable driving distance.
Of course, there are a number of less than reputable online sellers. It’s not hard to find an internet seller who claims to represent a particular brand when in fact they aren’t authorized by the manufacturer. The best way to be sure whether or not someone is an authorized dealer for a product is to simply ask the manufacturer. Before you spend hundreds or thousands of dollars, it’s certainly worth a phone call or an email to check. Overture Audio is happy to provide phone numbers or email addresses of our manufacturers so you can get your information straight from the source.
Still, unless you’re one of the people who live hours from a good brick and mortar store, buying new stereo equipment on the internet is generally a bad idea. It seems almost too obvious to point out, but buying an audio component without listening to it is as crazy as buying a piece of art without seeing it, or choosing a spouse without meeting them first. Not saying that it can’t be done; just saying that it’s not likely to work out very often.
Another point that is often left out of the internet sales conversation is the topic of system setup and tuning. Anyone with a decent amount of audio experience will tell you that setup can make or break a system’s performance, regardless of how good the various components might be. Expert installation and tuning of any audio system can make the difference between just having sound come out of the speakers, versus having a truly captivating musical experience. The better the system is, the greater the differential is between a system that’s merely “hooked up and working” and a properly sited, expertly tuned system. Skilled setup is something that you won’t get with an internet purchase, but with Overture Audio’s staff of 4 you’ll get the benefit of over 150 years of setup experience.
Overture Audio is a Michigan retailer. We do not engage in sales outside of our product line territories. We strongly recommend that you develop a relationship with a reputable retail store within a few hours driving distance – the internet is handy for information gathering, but it’s no substitute for the critically important experience of auditioning and comparing equipment in person.
If you don’t live near Michigan, you are still welcome to call or email us and we’ll put you in touch with a dealer that we know and trust in your area, or with the distributor of the product you’re interested in. The companies we represent are very selective about who sells their gear. If you find a store in your area that sells several of the same brands as Overture Audio, the odds are very good that you’ve found an excellent retailer.