You are here

Log in or register to post comments
DC47
DC47's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Oct 23 2007 - 8:37pm
Buying new or used equipment?

I started out pretty high on the audiophile spectrum in the early 70s, with a Tandberg-Tandberg-Thorens-Bozak system. It's been all down-hill from there from an audio point of view.

Now I've got three rooms filled with old stereo gear, acquired free from relatives, in various states of decrepitude and failure.

Time for a change. I'm starting my audio upgrade in my office, where I spend most of my music-listening time. I still have the Bozak speakers and Thorens turntable, both of which I'm inclined to keep. I'd like to add a receiver (or amp/pre-amp pair), a CD player (single disc is fine), and a cassette deck (I have a big collection of well-recorded Maxell tapes). I'm not interested in more channels than two. I'd like to spend something like $300-500 on these items to round out my office stereo system.

The first question is whether to try to buy used or new equipment. I presume that advances in audio gear and in particular the spread of 5+ channel audio has moved a considerable amount of used 2 channel equipment into the market for purchase, so it's possible that good value can be found in the used market.

But I've got no relevant experience in this area any more -- I last bought gear in the 1970s -- so this is no more than a theory. I'd appreciate hearing the advice of others on the pluses and minuses of the used versus new equipment routes.

piinob
piinob's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Aug 14 2007 - 11:31pm
Re: Buying new or used equipment?

I have bought a lot of used gear in the last two years and been very happy with it. I bought some of it on Ebay, and some from Audiogon. 'Even bought some from the local dealer, and it was all pretty much as described. I bought a Mac 6100 Integrated Amp that was just immaculate for 450.00. I have been playing it for 18 months now and cannot find a "wart" on it. Last week I bought a pair of Class A Mono blocks off of Audiogon that took my whole system to another level. If you see what you want used, I would say get it! Your results may vary.

DC47
DC47's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Oct 23 2007 - 8:37pm
Re: Buying new or used equipment?

I'm glad to hear of your good experience. I've explored the used gear world, and find it attractive. I don't need the latest features, and I'm glad to avoid paying the premium for 'new' in other areas of life. However, I find a few barriers. Perhaps you and others can advise.

- Are there some types of audio equipment that you shouldn't buy used? For example, I wonder if cassette players hold up all that well (e.g., rubber parts like belts and pinch rollers) after 10+ years. I haven't found anyone around here who repairs audio equipment, and I don't want to get into anything more than very simple repairs myself.

- None of the local high end dealers has used equipment in their shops. It doesn't show up on Craigslist in my area (SE Michigan) very often, so there's not much selection there. That seems to limit me to Ebay and Audiogon. For the first room I'm upgrading I don't expect to go to the high end -- it's not that good of a listening room. I posted an estimate of spending $300-500 for three items last night. I might go up to $1000 if I thought it was a good value. I believe this pretty much rules out most or all of what is on Audiogon, from a quick glance. That leaves me with Ebay. I'm okay with buying there -- though I have done this only once. However, I don't know what a reasonable price range is for used audio gear. I see that Ebay allows access to 'completed listings'. However this appears to go back only a very short time. So for most equipment there is no meaningful sales history to establish what a reasonable price is. Any advice on this or other aspects of buying used gear?

lionelag
lionelag's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Apr 18 2007 - 9:40am
Re: Buying new or used equipment?


Quote:

- Are there some types of audio equipment that you shouldn't buy used? For example, I wonder if cassette players hold up all that well (e.g., rubber parts like belts and pinch rollers) after 10+ years. I haven't found anyone around here who repairs audio equipment, and I don't want to get into anything more than very simple repairs myself.

If you do some digging on eBay, you can get a fairly late-model Nakamichi tape deck for between $50 and $100 (I picked up a CR2 last year so I could copy tapes of my college-era band to CD-- the deck sounds so beautiful that I think if I had owned one in 1992, when it was made, I wouldn't have ever bought a CD player in the 1990s). Certain models seem to be more durable than others, but Naks are pretty well known for being easy to do belt work on, and the belts are readily available. If you're worried about shipping, set a search for a 100 mile radius or something.

piinob
piinob's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Aug 14 2007 - 11:31pm
Re: Buying new or used equipment?

Pricing is a little tougher to do well. Audiogon has a Bluebook if you are a paid subscriber. It seems to be based on what folks have actually paid for used gear. That seems to be the best way to base these things. I just got on ebay and did some automatic daily searches for things and saved the items I was interested in. After a month or so I had a pretty good idea about what prices were. I also watched items on AG to see what they sold for. You are right to be leery of pieces with moving parts. Lionel speaks true about Buying thing that can be easily repaired with parts readily available. A little web surfing will turn up a lot of answers. I like the used thing because I can try different things without taking a big hit in the pocketbook. Well purchased items that don't fit my expectations can be sold for close to cost. Now that my kids are grown I have a few bucks to play with. Why should MF, AD, JA, et al have all the fun? lol

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading