Where to buy a receiver in Canada/USA


Hey guys!

I just wanted to know what's the best way to buy a receiver in Canada or the US: is it through small retailers near you home, in big market-stores, or in the internet? And how do you know it's reliable enough to buy equipment from?

Thanks :)

In my opinion, and this is just my opinion and will probably have lots of people fuming at me, I think the best place to buy is through small retailers. The big stores (CC, Best Buy, etc) all sell so many things (electronics, appliances, furniture, etc), that I don't really feel like they know as much about the product as does a small retailer. Even when you are talking about a specific aspect of Home Audio, i.e. receivers, stores such as Best Buy sell so many differnt brands, often up to 10 different brands. I think it would be very hard to know fine details of every different model that every different brand offers. At the smaller stores, usually home audio/video is their one and only focus, and they usually only carry 2-3 brands. The small store I go to often only carries two brands of receivers and 3 brands of speakers. Consequently, they know a lot more about their products than any Best Buy salesman ever could...in my opinion.

That being said...we have the Internet. This realm of home electronics sales is a little more difficult to discuss. I recently bought an NAD T762 receiver from Saturday Audio Exchange. It is a smaller, specialized electronics store in Chicago (I live in Missouri). They were recommended to me by others on this forum. It is a very nice place to buy, and I highly recommend them. In fact, I am buying some speakers from them later this week. They do have a website that lists what they carry, but they do not take internet orders...you have to call them on the phone (they do have a 1-800 number). So I guess I didn't really buy online, I just found what I wanted online and then bought over the phone.

The main thing you need to watch out for when buying online is what type of warranty the dealer offers. If the dealer is authorized by the factory, then the factory warranty applies and your problem is solved. However, if the dealer is not factory authorized, you have to make sure that some other form of warranty is given, because the factory won't make any repairs for you since you didn't buy from an authorized dealer. The store I listed above, Saturday Audio Exchange (www.saturdayaudio.com) is an authorized dealer for all brands they sell...so depending on what brand you are thinking of buying, give them a look. I have had no personal experience with any other websites, but judging from other postings on this forum, I have heard that the following sites are all reputable and do offer sound warranty protection:

1. www.elegantaudiovideo.com
2. www.soundpros.com
3. www.unclestereo.com

Do you consider the Internet as the place to find best deals?
By the way - I've seen some place selling refurbished unit - what that means? I never really understood - It makes for much better prices but does it mean that the product is second hand?

Thank again :)

In general terms, I think you can find better deals on the Internet. However, that is not to say that your neighborhood dealer would not be having some sort of sale that might be better than anything you can find on the internet. My local dealer has a sale going on right now with Paradigm speakers, and the prices are well below what I have seen advertised on the Internet. You just have to do some research and see what Internet dealers can offer you compared to what local dealers can.

In my understanding, refurbished units are ones that for whatever reason have been returned to the factory, repaired by factory technicians, and then sold again. This could mean that the unit was defective and returned, then fixed by the factory and sold again, or that the owner wanted to trade it in, and the factory checks it out, makes sure it works, and sells it again. I have never owned a refurb, but I have heard that they can be excellent ways to get a good deal. In fact, most refurbs come with full factory warranties, so you can feel safe buying one. If anything does go wrong with it, the factory will fix it or replace it. It is definately something to think about.

Smaller retailers are the best way to go if you want service and if you want a local store to stay in business so you can audition different components. If you spend say $150 more on a receiver locally but keep it 10 years that's only $15 a year to help a local business. There are good on line and mail order places and the above are fine and also J&R Music World. I have ordered from J&R and Uncles in the past and buy most of my music from J&R. Most of these places are not factory authorized so you need to make sure of their warranty and return policies. Buy locally if you can but if not make sure who you are dealing with.
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