The Custom Installer: Is That Upgrade Worth It?

You can hardly buy anything without being presented with the chance to spend a little more to get a little extra. And as upgrades go, the A/V industry might be the reigning heavyweight champ. You can upgrade everything in our exciting, neurotic world - speakers, amps, controllers, cables, even the lens on your video projector. But this bombardment of choices leads many people to ask, "Is it worth it?"

That's hard to answer, since we all assign "worth" in different ways. What gives something value? Its price? Its performance? Its ability to make our lives better in some way? The pride that comes from saying, "My system is Brand X"? Or something even less tangible?

Strictly speaking, no one needs the gear found in these pages. The sun won't go supernova if you don't have whole-house A/V or the latest 1080p display. But we want these things because they're cool and fun, so we assign them worth.

If only it were that cut-and-dried. Unless your last name is Buffett or Gates, you're probably working with a budget. With gear running the gamut from sub-$1,000 entry-level systems to million-dollar-plus top-of-the-line technology statements, deciding where to scrimp and where to splurge can be tough. That's where a system designer can help. Do you and your spouse love music but have disparate tastes? Is family movie night important? Is simplicity of operation more important than features? Does décor take priority over performance? Come step into my virtual office for a few suggestions.