This will be simple and to the point. I will start in reverse.
Buying an all in one kit for your surround sound. This means the AV Receiver (with a Blu-ray sometimes built into it), little tiny cube speakers and a sub-woofer that does not have its own built-in amp. These systems sound horrible. They are sold at a price point (cheap) for a reason. To move as many boxes as possible at a low-profit margin to eventually make a big profit. The sound from this system is horrible. You lose most of the quality sound that the director intended for you to hear.
Buying internet specials at a cheap price just to get a good deal. Not always the best of ideas. Did you listen to this system? Did you make sure that this system was designed for your particular room? A lot of times this was a model that was popular a couple of years ago. The technology in products change regularly or it could be a refurbished product that has problems with it and you may not notice. Online speakers are always a gamble if they are made in China: the quality is not there. If they are name brand, they are probably illegal to sell over the internet. Reputable companies have signed contracts not to sell products online. You could buy products from a guy selling out of his garage who will not warranty the product if you do have a problem.
Buying from a licensed retailer and contractor. Usually, these guys know what they are talking about. Example: at Home Town Services, we will do an in-home evaluation (for free) and discuss what will fit your needs and budget. We are consumers also and we have families too. We can’t always buy the best product either. We will sit down with you and your spouse, go over your wants and needs and put together the best audio package. We will also make suggestions to you: if you want the best of the best then buy a piece at a time. If you already have a system, we can upgrade 1 piece at a time starting with the heart of the system, a new AV Receiver and then speakers. Or if you want to get it all in 1 shot, we have great name brand products at great prices. We will not sell something that we wouldn’t put in our own houses.
The moral of this blog: Don’t waste money on cheap products with big names just because they have a popular name. Buy quality products from a professional that can customize your system to fit your needs and budget. Leave the guess work to us