2-Channel audio, some thoughts

By Franklin Karp
Published on: April 1, 2017

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Who should read this:  Retailers, Integrators, Sales Engineers

Why:  You might be doing your clients a disservice


I made some notes on Sunday while I was in the midst of a musical epiphany, and I wanted to share.

Remember the first time you sat in front of a really awesome stereo system?  How the sound enveloped you and you could swear you were sitting in front of the artist?  And I don’t mean just because you were smoking bud!  Just a really, really good sound field and an almost visceral connection to the sound itself.

Well, for more years than I care to admit, the music system in my home came from my Home Theater system, where the audio took a back seat to the video.  Which is probably pretty common.  My serious music listening was done in my car via CD’s or Satellite.  Yes, I still buy CD’s, so back off with the attitude.  And while I loved listening to music in that environment – investigating new artists and revisiting old favorites – it wasn’t the same hi-fidelity experience I remembered from years gone by.

Eight years ago, we downsized to a condo on the beach, so there is less space, but more than enough for 2 + a cat.  My book buying fetish does add to the décor and takes up space.  So, I have been thinking about getting a great stereo, something I have not possessed since the early 80’s.  Initially, I had to negotiate for space; no Sonos speakers for this guy.  I offered up a compromise; I’d forgo replacing the couch that I hate, in return for a great stereo.  I gave an estimate on cost (which I have exceeded) and won the day.

Thanks to my friends at B & W, Rotel, AudioQuest and E.T.A, I now own the best stereo I have ever had!  My Sonos Connect makes a great tuner and source for Satellite.  And yes, the LP’s will be coming out of storage very soon.  All is harmonious in my music universe.

The return to my audio roots minus the hallucinogens reignited my passion for music and reinforced what I have been preaching for several years.  Control and in-wall speakers are wonderful, and frankly have provided a wonderful living. But we are leaving money on the table!

Control as a category is in flux with ASP’s being challenged and the entire process is being turned on its head. In-wall speakers provide a solution, but not a life moving experience.  In my opinion, many of us might have forgotten about what got us into the business in the first place.  And by not proposing, demonstrating and explaining the many qualities associated with stand-alone 2-channel audio systems, we are short changing our clients when it comes to the ultimate in-home musical experience.

Final thoughts:  A cool GUI enhances nothing, it’s just a means to an end.  How many boomers had great stereos in college?  How many have them today?  How many of their kids grew up with Aiwa shelf systems?  We commit a sin by not asking the questions, engaging our clients and painting the picture of what we can offer that will enhance their lives.

I’m not advocating tweaky, gazillion dollar audio systems; and, please, let’s not speak in jargon and the audiophile crap.  Just paint the picture of what they can have that will enhance their life.

Thanks.  Now go back to whatever you were doing.

Franklin Karp

Franklin Karp

Franklin is the COO for Audio Video Systems in Plainview, NY - one of the premier custom integration technology firms in the country. He was previously the CEO for Harvey Electronics, a leading hi-end consumer technology retail chain in the NYC area.

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