What proportion of your overall audio purchasing is used or new equipment?

Many audiophiles soften the financial shock of upgrading or expanding their systems by buying used equipment, which typically sells at 50% (or less) of the original retail price. Sometimes, used audio gems are still state-of-the-art, and brand new is not always better. Other times, new equipment is the only way keep up. What is your strategy?

What proportion of your overall audio purchasing is used or new equipment?
Always buy used
3% (9 votes)
Mostly used
19% (61 votes)
50/50 new vs. used
24% (76 votes)
Mostly new
35% (109 votes)
Always new
19% (60 votes)
Total votes: 315

Vernon Neal's picture

I have always bought new, current system is about $12,000 in value. I am thinking about a higher end used Krell, 50 % savings is hard to turn down. I would not even consider a used CD Player cause they screw up so easy .

Geff Ratcheson's picture

I believe used gear is potentially a bargin as long as it's a component without a motor.

Joseph's picture

I think that buying used is a experence that is for some people but not everyone. some people look at buying used as being cheap, not economical. for some buying new equipment is a way of showing off. but hey if it is a good deal and it is used who cares if it looks terrible, if it sounds good buy it. Or at least give it a look at.

Louie's picture

Just plain afraid that the used equipment I buy just might have been owned by an over-indulgent, jackhammering idiot like myself. Say what? I didn't hear you . . .

Jim Pfanstiel's picture

I am just beginning to explore the used market. It looks promising.

John Lendel's picture

You can always find what you what!

Tarun Nagpal's picture

Dealers want way too much for the gear that has been abused more than a regular user would do, and it is hard to trust a seller you barely know

ANdy West's picture

The proportion of used equipment I buy has declined steadily over the years as our system approaches the edge of art

zulkifar's picture

buying used is certainly ok especially if one is certain that the previous owner took proper care of the equipment and is not selling to get rid of a problem that is too costly or cannot be cured.

Greg Roe's picture

You bet your ass I'll be at the SoCal audio Swap Meet!

Richard Vasseur's picture

The problem with used equipment is that you never know how it's going to sound in your own system, as you rarely can try it.

Anon's picture

I've been bitten by the tube bug, but new tube gear is very expensive (and out of my price range). By carefully shopping rec.audio.marketplace, I was able to get a used Anthem Pre-1 and Sonic Frontiers SFC-40 for less than 50% of list price. However, there are two things I doubt I'll ever buy used: CD transports and speakers. The way I look at it, poor guys like me who buy used gear allow the rich guys to buy more new gear. Everybody wins!

ANSIRMENOW@aol.com's picture

I buy good used equipment in arenas that are changing as quickly as the days - processors, DTI's and the like. When the market settles somewhat, I'll make the expenditure for a high-end top-quality new item. With amplifiers, CD player and fairly "known" commodities, I purchase new, the technology has not and may not change for some while.

Ken So's picture

There are a few good deals out there where some people have the means to constantly upgrade. I'm not one of them. I spend a lot of time listening, and some "obsolete" equipment is great-sounding. I saw a Tandberg reel-to-reel deck in great condition that came with a crate of reels and tape for $50. How could anybody who enjoys good music pass that up?

David Schultz's picture

$1500 for a pair of new condition Genesis 400s (which perfectly match the rest of my system) is hard to beat!

Adam Leppert's picture

as of yet i just haven't found the equipment i want used or at least at a low enough price to justify buying it used.

Alvester Garnett's picture

More than half of my system is made up of demos, closeouts, and even returns. However, I've only bought equipment from retailers that offer a decent warranty (often the exact same as if new). I live in Brooklyn and the tax here is 8%; consequently I tend to mail-order a lot. But if I get good in-store service, I'm loyal to a salesperson. In that I

Rob Lewis's picture

Buying used has enabled me to have a far better system than I could have if I bought all my gear new.

Rich Meier's picture

Used/demo equipment is a good way to maximize your performance for the buck. Why is good wire so expensive, $50 per foot & up is a class A RIP-OFF!

George Panichas's picture

Even when buying new, I find that non-aggressive negotiations should assure a price reduction of at least 20%. Anyone who pays full freight on new audio gear is nuts.

Brian Boehler's picture

While used components can be a good value, I prefer to spend the extra money on new equipment that I know how it was treated. The exception to this rule is when I buy a piece of equipment from somebody that I know well and know how they take care of their equipment (they pamper it as bad as I do). Although my method doesn't always provide the best overall value, it does provide me with peace of mind and a warranty in my back pocket.

Anon's picture

I am working to gain the knowledge to buy used intelligently. It reminds me of trying to pick out wine at a resturant: "Was the '92 Magic 1001 Amp the one that had the dual-mono power supply, or was it the one that with those cheap op-amps?" Just another reason to put the Recomended Components list and your old reviews on the net. Something to keep those audio gems alive and well.

J.  Mosher's picture

Depends mostly on durability. I will always purchase a CD player brand new, for example, while I purchased my McCormack DNA 1 Deluxe slightly used with no remorse.

J.  Huget's picture

Used is good if there are no moving parts (i.e., amplifiers, cables, stands, etc.)

richard mar's picture

The older stuff still sounds good, but I will not buy tt,cd player, or cassette deck used.

TUBELOR's picture


Phil hulme's picture

I try to find ex demonstration equipment which is the latest spec. This provides a good discount.

pulmon@iex.net's picture

Is demo used or new?

Jeff Blanchard's picture

But if a great deal comes along . . .

Craig R.  Valiza's picture

I can't help it. There's just no getting over my distrust of others having abused the equipment. I love the "new gear smell," no scratches, clear glass. After all, this hobby is not necessarily rational; it plays to the senses.