Buying speakers over the internet

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More and more products are being sold over the internet: speakers, amplifiers, CD players, televisions, even automobiles. More people are willing to click a button to buy than ever before.

It is certainly more convenient to click a mouse than to drag yourself into the car and journey to the store, yet mouse clicking doesn’t offer hands-on with a product. That’s probably alright for everyday goods and becoming more and more acceptable if we can try them at home and return is easy. I rarely go to the store anymore preferring to purchase everything from CD racks to Fatwood fire starter for my outdoor pizza oven on Amazon. It’s just so easy and if there’s an issue I can return it without a hassle.

But what happens with loudspeakers? How do we feel about buying heavy floor standers on little more than reviews and word of mouth?

On the one hand, we routinely buy furniture out of a catalog without ever touching it. But speakers?

Online retailer Crutchfield has launched a campaign of auditioning speakers over the internet. If you have headphones you email them what type and they somehow make adjustments to their computers and send you recordings of different loudspeaker models so you can choose which is more appealing by listening. An innovative approach for the masses but will it work for audiophiles?

As dealers get fewer and customers become more comfortable with online purchasing I wonder what the future holds for our industry.

Will we be making purchasing decisions based on audio shows? Are we comfortable taking delivery of speakers, setting them up in our homes, and passing judgment?

It’s an interesting set of questions to contemplate. My thanks to reader Karl Osmus for alerting me to what Crutchfield’s up to.