I have spent the last couple of years thinking on and off about getting a home cinema / hi-fi set up. I've spent the same amount of time thinking on and off about changing my car. Up until a week ago, it was all still in the background but it's amazing how things seem to come together.
The very car with the very spec I have been searching for appeared on eBay. I talked to seller, looked into history, etc. and arranged to meet him near Nottingham the other day. I was so confident that I was likely to buy the car that I took the train up from Cardiff. This involved a change at Birmingham New Street where I would have to wait either 25 mins or 1hr 25 mins for the next train. When I realised how close the Superfi branch was to the station, I opted for the longer change and wandered down with the intention of just having a look around, a chat and maybe a quick demo. Little did I know that their summer sale was on!
I was greeted by the store manager, Tim who was helpful, courteous and not in any way pushy. Within a few minutes, we were in the Demo room with Tim rigging up my requested components. A few tweaks, some Blu Ray Demos, and a few of my own CD's later and it was time for me to run and catch the train but we had pretty much worked out a likely shopping list.
He called me on the train with details of what was in stock and gave me a price. Some good old fashioned bargaining later, and we had a deal hammered out. I said that if I bought the car, I would stop at the store and pick up all the gear. If I didn't, I'd have to leave the deal for now until I could drive up to Brum at a later date.
Luckily for Tim and Superfi, the car was all I hoped for and I bought it. Only problem now was that I was faced with horrible weather and traffic on the roads. When it became obvious to me that I wouldn't make it before their 5.30 closing time, I phone the shop to break the bad news. However, the guys said they were willing to wait for me. I eventually made it to the shop at 6.15 where everything was ready waiting for me. I paid the money, we carted the gear out into the car and off I drove back to Cardiff as realisation started sinking in about how much money I had spent in one afternoon!
Anyway, all this was effectively to say that I was pleased with the service I had from Superfi in Birmingham and impressed by the prices and the stock held by them. Out of all the kit I wanted, only two items had to be ordered in (one was due to wanting different colour, the other was a small accessory). Having said all that, I also think I was a bit of a dream customer; I came in on a quiet Tuesday morning with a reasonable idea of what I wanted, I didn't spend hours on the demo, I made a decision on a kit list and hammered out a fair price pretty quickly and then came back to pay and take the gear away!
The only other thing to mention I suppose is what I bought in the end: Denon AVR2310, B&W 685 Fronts, B&W HTM62 Centre, B&W ASW610 Sub, B&W M1 Rears, Atacama Aurora 6 Speaker Stands.
I plan to get a Roksan Kandy amp once my bank account has recovered but temptation is already there with a couple of ex-demo amps available from some Sevenoaks branches for £695. Music currently stored on my NAS in Apple Lossless which for the time being will be played through my Airport Express (via iMac) until I either get a Sonos or Squeezebox unit. Will also probably get a Sony BDPS370 Blu Ray player and change all my Lovefilm DVDs to BDs.
Big thanks also to this brilliant forum and to the WHSAV Mag for helping me to make an infromed decision over the past couple of years. Now all I have to do is set the damn things up!