Adventures in AV-land Part 2: Wipe out the noise

My previous blog navigated an old car audio experience into illustrating why car audio is not car stereo as it ultimately morphed into another Ed’s AV Handbook ‘Saving the world from poor fidelity’ sermon. It concluded with a request. I asked AV professionals to expand their understanding of the word aesthetic to include sound.

Too many AV professionals incorrectly assume that customers will cede audio performance to visual aesthetics. That is; they presume that customers do not want see speakers on their floor. Although this can be true, many of those customers do want what speakers can offer; A high fidelity stereophonic (or surround sound) toe-tapping wow-inducing goose-bump life-enhancing journey in their home.

However, our industry is plagued by four conditions that prevent this outcome. First, most customers are unaware of what stereo (or surround sound) is. I do not have statistical proof. But I do have four decades of experience giving stereo demonstrations; Most simply don’t know.

Second, too many in our AV businesses do not actually know either. It’s true. Take a quick survey of folks who should know. Ask them to describe how they would explain stereo audio to a customer. I have. The misuse and misunderstanding of the word by folks in our business has driven me crazy for decades. How can you sell what you don’t know? OK, politicians and bureaucrats get away with it. But I want you to be better.

Third, too many have abandoned the artistic inspirational power of an audio system. In that regard I have enlisted the words of Peter Gabriel to express the genesis of what too many have simply forgotten. In his song ‘Signal-to-noise’, Mr G. sings ….
“…. send out the signals deep and loud….
….. (and) while the world is turning to noise. … turn up the signal ….
…. (and) wipe out the noise….”
That is our job. Our calling is to assist Mr. G and other artist to ‘wipe out the noise’.

Fourth and last: We are leaving our competitive edge on the warehouse floor. Our industry no longer demonstrates what we offer. Big boxes don’t. Obviously on-line retailers can’t. Most custom AV installers can’t either. The only AV folks left are the brick-and-mortars that have managed to keep their doors open. But too many are exhausted from treading water in the reported economic “recovery” (< a political misnomer) and fading from the AV scene.

If we are to survive as we “Save the world from poor fidelity” in exchange for a few dollars; We must change course and reboot our passion for audio and video. We must revive our professional quest for AV knowledge. We must demonstrate that we can assist in the crusade to “wipe out the noise”. If we do, customers will make room for speakers. That concludes this week’s AV sermon.

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