News from Evolution Audio

Looking Forward: New Year, New Stuff…    
 
Hope everyone enjoyed their end of year festivities with your family and friends!  Even though we took our Holiday Hiatus, we were still hard at work (or hardly working) to bring you new and exciting audio and video items for the 2019.
 
First, as we’ve been touting for the past few weeks, is our new line of High End Audio gear from a formidable British standard known as Naim Audio.  Not that we’re “Naim dropping”, but we’re pretty darn proud to have them in our product mix.  Specifically their Uniti Series of streaming devices, which also give you the ability to take your “old school” CD’s and rips them into their system for  instant high resolution access, playback and gratification.  In fact I was so taken with the beautiful build quality, features and extraordinary sound, that I became a true believer of this company.  To the point I purchased a system for myself…
 
The most AMAZING surround sound preamp is about to be unleashed into the world!  The new Acurus MUSE 12 ($5,500).  It takes their already amazing Acurus ACT4 ($10,000) and shrinks it down in size and price. All the sound quality of the ACT4, minus some inputs and outputs. Compare this to similar units that sell for 10k and up. If you ever wanted to know what true “Cinema Quality” Dolby Atmos was all about, the MUSE 12 is your unit. Full spectrum 4k, HDR and up to 12 channels of Dolby Atmos!
 
Next, we received the brand new GoldenEar Reference Triton One.R ($6,000/pr) series of speakers.  If you haven’t heard the Triton References ($9,000/pr) yet, then you must immediately listen to their “Son of Reference” Triton One.R’s!  I’m going to make my first bold 2019 prediction and state that the new One.R’s are destined be their top selling floor standing speakers of the year! They have the DNA of their bigger sibling, but in a smaller, less expensive package. I dare you to find another speaker selling in the 6k/pr. realm that even comes close to these puppies.  Ain’t goin’ to happen!
 
Another Homerun is the new Martin Logan Dynamo 1100X  ($1,100) Subwoofer System with their App-Based
Anthem Room Correction (ARC)! You’ll be amazed at this compact sub’s energy levels… Plus, it has a built-in Wireless Sub Kit so you don’t have to worry about running a cable to places it doesn't want to go. Place it anywhere – “look ma, no cables!” Plus, the 1100X was just awarded the “Sound & Vision” Top Pick of the Year Award! Time to celebrate…

 
Lastly – at least for right now, we’ve inducted the Hisense LaserTV into our video line-up.  Their latest models are using dual lasers and offer incredible 4k, HDR and Smart TVfunctions on a really BIG screen. With their laser light engine you’ll see rich dynamic colors, wide contrast levels and 20 years – or more of great viewing.  You’re choice of 100in ($9,999) or their 120in ($12,999). The prices include the Smart TV, Screen, Sound System with a wireless subwoofer.


Showrooms...  Are they obsolete?



Years ago growing up in Woodland Hills (which was truly the ends of the earth back then) my friends and I would haunt the local audio salons (much to the owner’s dismay).  We were “audiophiles in the making” back then with little (to no) money in our pockets.  Video wasn't even on the horizon yet...  Back in the '70's there were plenty to choose from.  Woodland Stereo, Pacific Stereo, Federated, to name but a few. 

Fast forward (pun intended) to today.  You're lucky if you can find one audio/video showroom in your area that isn't located inside the "dealers" house.  Why? 

Simple answer...  A/V showrooms are not important to the masses these days.  Today’s "clients" aren't as passionate as we were in the past about sound or video quality.  Everyone is weaned on instant music, video, games, TV, downloads, streaming, etc. The ancient form of listening to an entire "album" is equivalent to driving a car with a stick shift (which coincidentally, I still do). 

That being said, you can't log onto Amazon and truly experience what a speaker, a receiver, an amplifier, etc. "sounds" like.  You can't really "see" what a TV or projector will reveal in picture quality.  You can't pick up a remote control system and feel how it reacts in your hands.  Yes, you can read endless online reviews from "real" customers (or are they???).  But as my grandfather once said... "Opinions are like A-Holes, everyone has one".  Translated, if you really want to know how a product looks, feels, sounds, etc., you have to take the time and experience it for yourself.  

That's why Evolution will always have demo rooms.  Yes, it's expensive to maintain.  No, as many of you have asked, the manufacturers DO NOT give us free equipment.  We still have to purchase it just like you.  Not only by investing big $$’s, but also years of experience in the hope to provide you with something exceptional.  That helps to make your purchasing decision a bit easier.  You fall in love with it (depending on your infatuation level) or not.  Unlike online shopping, you’ll know immediately if you like the product - saving you the unpleasant hassle of having to return it if you don’t.

Perhaps the most important reason to have a showroom is legitimacy.  For both dealer and manufacturer.  Most Hi-End manufacturers will only be represented through legitimate dealers with a showroom.  A showroom demonstrates that the dealer is totally committed to that product.  And not only by investing in the gear…  Dealers must be vetted by the manufacturers, trained on that product and most of all, be able to provide you with exceptional service.  Try getting that online!   Would you buy a car from reviews only?  I wouldn’t…  I’d want to see it, touch it and drive it.  I’d want a dealer that provides SERVICE.  For that reason, if you’re the least bit passionate about your audio and video gear you’d want to give it a “test drive”.  That’s the beauty of having a real demo room!


 
Evolution Audio & Video

Dog, Death & TV’S

November 4, 2011
Sometimes thoughts just pop into your head at the strangest time.  The time to be precise was at 6:15am.  During our daily “runs” through the neighborhood Tahoe and I (more on the Tahoe side than mine) decided to stage our own version of a Disneyland classic – Mr. Toads Wild Ride.  Why not I stupidly thought (being this early in the morning is the excuse I later gave myself) hit a small mountain trail?  It’s dark and the stars are still fully awake.  This could be a “fun” run!
OK – besides the obvious – here’s why not…
This trail climbs up a short hill and then drops quickly into an extremely darkened ravine with barely usable wooden planks strewn over a dry (?) riverbed.  If you haven’t twisted something going through this area in the dark, then you’re moving toooo slooow.  But no problem, you get another chance right away.  After crossing over the streambed the trail climbs up a hill that would make the “Big Dipper” roller coaster envious.  Then – like a rollercoaster it dives at a precarious angle down into a field before flying up another hill.
What sent our comfortable run into warp speed was the following - Tahoe caught a coyote scent and shifted into 4-wheel drive pulling me, the 2-wheel drive human at lightning speed onto this rollercoaster course.  Now if you’re low to ground and extremely powerful this could be great fun.  If you’re attached to a leash (I’m talking about the human side) standing on two feet with a dreadful feeling that at any moment you can take a face plant into dirt, rocks and scree, then it’s amazingly scary – just like a great rollercoaster ride.  In fact a few things actually flashed through my now fully awakening mind…
  1. I’m going to die.
  2. If I let go of the leash I’m going to die.
  3. If I do let go of the leash please don’t let me fall onto a) rattlesnake b) tarantula c) the jaws of a coyote and worst of all d) a big pile of poop.
  4. What the hell was I (not) thinking?
  5. TVs???
  6. I’m going to die.
“Did I read that correctly, you’re now asking yourself?  Did he just mention poops?  Or was it the TV choice I don’t get?”
Well for some unknown force of nature, TV’s flashed through my mind.  Why is it that only a few years ago TV’s all looked different?  TV’s were priced differently.  There was actually a difference in quality from one set to the next – especially the higher end sets.  Today, TVs all have about the same picture quality – great!  I don’t care if they’re from Sony, Toshiba, Samsung or Fooey Manchu.  All the sets have incredible picture quality.  You no longer have to steal from the kid’s college funds to afford one.  Like other appliances, TVs have become a commodity – just another toaster oven to sell on the sales floor.  Walk into Costco, Wal-Mart or even the .99 Stores and the first thing you see is a bank of big screen TVs the width of the Great Wall of China.  The bigger they are, the cheaper they get.  What’s up with that?  Why does a TV that cost $7,000 four years ago, now sell for under $1,200 and it has incredible picture quality?  What is going on here?
It’s simple – the economy.  Not too many people are willing to shell out the big bucks for TVs.  Hence, the mass exodus of Fujitsu, Pioneer, NuVision and a few others from the “high-end” TV business.  Fleeing like rats from a sinking ship.
So if no one’s willing to pay for quality TVs – what “quality” are we actually paying for?  Picture is definitely the first thing we notice.  But what really gets our attention these days is price.
Somehow all the manufacturers are churning out sets that all look good.  In fact if the brand name were covered over with tape you’d be hard pressed to tell a Sony from a Vizio – that’s how similar they are.  So picture quality has improved across the board.  Features are off the charts.  You can almost do everything from your TV that you can from your smartphone – other than make a phone call!  And that is probably going to be next…
So in a race to the bottom pricing structure the manufacturers have loading up the new sets with great picture quality, Internet features, appealing designs and prices that have hit rock bottom and still tunneling downward.  So you ask, “Where’s the downside”?
Not that I’m complaining but when I sell a $2,000 set and make $50 that’s pathetic.  But that’s me the dealer… For you the buyer it’s great.  A huge, crystal clear picture with all the bells and whistles and more!  However, just like that rollercoaster ride I mentioned earlier - for that big rush of excitement you feel going downhill there’s the extra effort it takes to climb back up.  In the TV world it’s this – Today’s sets have a 3-4 year lifespan – if you’re lucky – that’s their uphill issue.  Here’s how the manufacturer sums it up; Bigger sets, cheaper prices = cheaper parts (really cheap parts).
Remember when TV’s lasted 10, maybe 20 years?  No more.  So, the theory is instead of fixing them, it’s cheaper to just go out and buy a new one – every few years.  Planned obsolescence = a sustained industry. 
There are a couple of “Hi-End” TV manufacturers still lurking about – Runco has a few sets climbing well above $6,000.  Most recently the revered industry name “Elite” has been resurrected.  But it’s not the same Pioneer Elite you remember.  Pioneer licensed their technology to Sharp.  So now you can buy a very expensive (but I’m sure a very good) “almost” Pioneer Elite Plasma – that’s not plasma, but rather an LED LCD TV from Sharp!  Confusing?  Yes.  Worth paying an $8,500 for the same Sharp “Non-Elite” panel that you can get for $3,000?  Maybe – but that’s up to you…
So, as Tahoe and I end our rollercoaster run and pull back into the station (my house) and I’m thankful that I lived to see another day, I’m contemplating our next outing – stay tuned…
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