Realistic expectations on dealers

My local dealer has been super helpful this past year allowing numerous home demos of various equipment - even running through 9 speaker auditions! I’m wondering what is a reasonable expectation when it comes to further demos?

What I’m considering is a 252 pre, but then have the following two ideas for matching it - both come in at a similar cost.

1/ New 250DR & used 555PS (for NDX2 - would trade the current XPSDR up)

2/ New 300DR

Either way it’s a fair outlay, but can I expect the dealer to pony up a home demo of potentially 3 amp boxes, 252, Supercap and 555PS? That’s 6 black boxes at one time!

I do believe to make an informed decision a side by side demo would be required, but concerned asking this question is overstepping things.

Talk to your dealer about your options and try to narrow down your options. Much will depend on the rest of your system (speakers in particular).

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I think at some point a person can begin to wear out ones welcome. I can see doing speaker demos at home but amps. I think one can make a perfectly good decision listening at a dealers shop. You did buy your speakers from him?


It’s like any business relationship. Their time isn’t really free. The effort they invest in a customer is proportional to whether they feel the long term relationship will bear financial reward or not.

Although a dealer will generally give most customers sme benefit of the doubt at first, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day or stock to load out to accommodate everyone so they naturally will size up a person and ask themselves “is it in my interest to keep helping this person?” And dealers are only human so they may guess wrong.

You should be able to figure out whether you are sending enough signals to the dealer that indicate he is not wasting his time and that the final sale or long term relationship will reward his effort. 9 speakers seems like a hellova lot if home demo. I think it is reasonable to expect that if you were auditioning speakers that cost $300 a pair, they would have turned off the tap after pair No, 2 unless they saw a $50K glint in your eye for a system in a 5 years time.


I wish I could be as eloquent as some of you fellows.

I need to work on that look. :wink:

I wonder if some dealers actually charges a fee for coming out and doing a demo. Then at least that might make demoing a little more economically viable. There are only so many hours in a day. Transporting boxes, unpacking, hooking up, positioning, auditioning, then packing everything up again take considerable amount of time all up.

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Thanks for your considered replies. Given that I’ve already spent a decent amount with said dealer, am quite possibly going to spend even more and that he’s happy to drop off items as he’s passing and leave me to set up I’m assuming it isn’t too big an investment/risk for him.

It seems the best approach would just be to chat through my thinking with him to get a better sense of what he is/isn’t prepared to do!

Oh and the 9 speaker demo was absolutely vital in making a good decision! What sounds good in a dealers demo room vs your own listening room cannot be understated.

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When I bought my CD555 it was placed on a wall shelf previously occopied by a CDS3. The head unit is sustantialy heavier on the 555 as we know. After a couple of days it was leaning at a drunken angle. My dealer was round in an hour. He parked it on the floor and returned the next day with his AV guy. Removed the existing wall fixings with beefed up longer ones. All sorted and thats years ago.
Its a along winded way of saying if you spend serious money you should get top service. If not walk away.
I used to work in an industry when if you went to see a client, they could spend £20 or £50K depending in their circustances. You never knew till you talked through their needs.
Bussiness relationships are all about a “win/win” situation. In the US car dealers call those who are just looking “tire kickers”.


The dealer I’ve used over the last 8/9 years has been brilliant.

I’ve demo’d both at his shop and at home 50+ miles away. He has never once grumbled when I’ve had a preference for a home demo. On several occasions he’s brought kit, done the set up, had a quick listen and then left it with me for 1-2 weeks for an extended demo before coming back to collect.

As a result, he’s had all my business despite, on occasion, me being able to get the equipment slightly cheaper or ex dem elsewhere.


I think it really depends on your dealer. Mine is superb and has been offering home demos throughout lockdown via a drop off service.

I’ve been a long standing customer (since they opened) although I’ve not bought much from him at all. He handed me the Nova with zero deposit/card details and just said to let him know how I got on. He probably wouldn’t do that with his higher value items though.

Contrast this with another local dealer. I enquired about a budget (£1000) system for a friend and he responded with, “we are a high end organisation so simply do not loan equipment out to new customers. For our best customers maybe, but even that is at our discretion”. I can’t stand stuffiness so won’t be returning any time soon.

Personally I would never demo unless I was intent on making a purchase and if that’s the case I don’t see any harm in having a discussion.

Shame you’re in Scotland OP as I’d have PM’d you my dealer details. Best of luck with the demo.

A good point, if the demo involves a very good degree of service - such as a home demo , I would feel any purchase should not involve a request for a discount / attempt to haggle


I used to work in an industry where some clients would either spend a billion dollars or nothing!


Unfortunately my remuneration was not directly linked to those contracts…:face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Haha, @JimDog you reminded me of what we used to do some 15-20 years ago - requesting client to buy us the same hardware for our internal dev/test. That was $600k a machine and it was an acceptable practice.

Those days are long gone. :joy:

I might side with the dealer here. Loaning out a GPB1000 just isn’t worth it. And what they meant, though it may have rubbed you the wrong way, is “We don’t know your mate from Adam, have no history with them and it’s just worth it for an entry level system. They’re welcome to come and use the dem room instead.

Again, I understand they way they presented it was a bit off. After all, just because someone is a reputable dealer, doesn’t mean they aren’t a horse’s ass. But purely on the basis of the scenario, I might have the same policy. Might try and be a bit more diplomatic though. Relationships have to start somewhere after all.

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Reminded me of my dentist whom my better half pretty much begged him to take me on as a new client. I have nothing but good things to say about him. Really nice dentist and person. Just wasn’t desperate to expand his established client base, his kids are grown up and he is looking for more work life balance.

Call me selfish, I imagine I would be reluctant to loan out expensive gear to strangers myself. I also wonder if he is covered by insurance if equipment is damaged outside his premises.

Fair enough I guess but I’ve had my old Uniti serviced by them before and their policy is that you buy the gear and it’s refunded if you don’t purchase/part purchase. I’d imagine any damages would be taken off the monies paid down.

It’s the tone I think that grated. I have no expectations but there’s a certain bedside manner IMHO.

They’re part of a small chain that have all but closed bar one of their stores. I can’t imagine they’ve got more business than they need.

I contrast this with my dealer who handed me £4300 of Nova on trust but accept that he’s likely to be an outlier.

Building great relationship with customer is important in any business. I would support the dealer that provides great service and cares about my circumstances and preferences over merely looking at what is on the floor and maximise once off profit. I would happily hand over my money even if he doesn’t give me the lowest price amongst all dealers within reach.


The dealer and staff need to pay the bills and eat as well. With expensive hi-fi and you could never call Naim “cheap”. Its not worth chasing the last pound out of them. More so these days.


Hi @WhiskyGuy, Given you’re in Scotland and ended up with Spendor A7’s I think we share the same dealer.
I think you’re correct 9 speaker auditions on the back of the dealer profit margin on a pair of A7’s is very good service ! but in my experience they are a very good dealer.
Given your current thoughts and potential developments I would just talk through where you are with your system and where you would like to be, short term and in the future. Personally I think a demo of 6 black boxes a one time may be a step too far, may be a phased approach, a couple at a time, might be easier for them to buy into ?
Good luck with your forthcoming evaluations, looks like good fun.

Absolutely. I’m usually terrible for haggling and haggle with everything. However, there are limits when it comes to people who go way beyond with customer service. Like you, saving 10% is less important than an independent growing their business and the relationship.

Don’t get me wrong, businesses can conduct themselves in any way they deem appropriate and as someone who runs their own business/consultancy I do appreciate the financial implications and that not all customers are genuine.

It’s a really tricky one when it comes to hifi though. £1000 is a lot of money for someone new to hifi and you really need to know if you can live with it before committing. Even for the more seasoned, we still need to know (as evidenced by the OP). Therefore, home demos are really essential but I can sympathise with shops that may have had too many tyre kickers. You then end up at a bit of an impasse though, which helps no-one.