Are you making more of your audio equipment purchases online? Please explain why or why not.

Are you making more of your audio equipment purchases online? Please explain why or why not.
57% (52 votes)
43% (39 votes)
Total votes: 91

With high-end audio dealers becoming scarcer and with more Internet dealers popping up every week, are you finding that you make more of your audio equipment purchases online?

Dave Bennett's picture

Not only are high-end dealers becoming scarcer, but the ones that are left seem to stock very few items, usually the cheaper ones in the manufacturers' lines. I've recently phoned six local dealers looking for a particular item. All were carried the brand I was interested in, but none had the particular item in stock. All offered to order one for me, but if I basically have to purchase the item unheard for them to get it in the store, why wouldn't I buy from an online dealer, saving $200&$150;300 plus the sales tax?

F.  Chasinovsky, Van Nuys, CA's picture

No way! If I can't first hear it, I won't buy it.

Woody Battle's picture

I have to travel at least 100 miles to get to any store that carries high end audio equipment. Even then, they often don't have the equipment I am most interested in. Because I live 100+ miles away, the stores don't treat me like I am local. The end result is that I get a better selection and as good or better service over the Internet.

Al Earz's picture

I want to have the opportunity to comparison shop and doing that online is not possible, if you want to hear what you are buying. Also I want face-to-face service if a problem occurs. And finally, I want to support the local economy.

Clay White's picture

No alternative, because,as you say, dealers are dwindling. I do stick to well established online sources.

Allen's picture

Never. Audio equipment is too expensive to not listen before you buy!

Mullard's picture

Because US has a wide land, it's unlike Asia or Europe, audiolhiles can shopping so many audio stores in nine blocks.

Max L's picture

A couple of reasons why I make more purchases online than at a retailer: 1) Ease of availablity, 2) I don't have to deal with an ill-informed sales person, and 3) Price.

Al Marcy's picture

I am making more of all my purchases online. Bought my new car last year online.

Travis Klersy's picture

I haven't yet, but in the future I think I will be. I have a great local dealer, but it doesn't carry many of the brands I am interested in. With the return/trial policies the better online and mail order dealers have, I think future purchases will involve at least trials from non-local sources. I have also found that Internet dealers are the only way for me to buy accessories with any type of trial period.

macksman's picture

Absolutely not. I value my dealer(s). They are local, expert, and small businesses. None of their websites are sales-oriented, but are informative. Last week I went by to hear the new Audio Research amps and got to hear a new Linn amp, too. We talked about the various merits of Lyra and Benz cartridges and I moved closer to my choice. Try that in cyber markets. I'd not be so strongly based in Wilson-Benesch or AirTight gear without my dealers. I check their LP inventory before buying records, too, but those purchases are often made from online sources. For the curious, Mack is my Rottweiller & I'm his man.

Darth Musicous's picture

It's often cheaper to buy a piece of equipment online. Companies like HTD, AV123, Outlaw Audio, and Tyler Acoustics have incredible products that equals or surpasses the performance of products at high-end audio dealers. The Law of Diminishing Returns just does not make it worth it to seek out a hi-fi shop for purchase, only comparison.

Donald N.'s picture

Audiogon. Used market, B stock, research and user feedback on new & used.

Joe Hartmann's picture

I am a classical music fan. Almost all of my music purchases are on line. I really do not know where to go to purchase music any other way. Some minor audio (if you consider LP cleaning equipment audio) purchases have been done online—my VPI record cleaner, orbitrac pads, and cleaning fluid.

Mannie Smith's picture

I have bought "at a distance" (not online), but only when the item was not available at a reasonable driving distance, and only when a home trial was available.

DAB, Pacific Palisades, CA's picture

Times are a-changin', so we must adapt. There are many fine online audio gear stores that have not only top caliber equipment, but also provide liberal return/exchange (some include shipping charges) policies in case one is not completely satisfied with a purchase. Yes, I do miss the brick-and-mortar audio salons of yore; however, I find some consolation that not all is lost.

Bill Cannastra's picture

Brick-and-morter dealers simply cannot compete with e-commerce, which is essentially a world market: pure supply and demand. A DSP that might sell locally for several thousand can be found online for hundreds. The convenience can not be beat; essentially one can have any piece of equipment they want from an antique Marantz amplifier to Wilson X1s with the click of button and without leaving one's home.

ch's picture

There are too few high-end dealers in my area.

Nick's picture

No because I need to hear the equipment and also support my local dealer.

C.  Healthgut, M.D., FACS's picture

I've purchased audio gear online before. I will never do it again simply because the "human touch factor" makes all the difference in the world.

Anonymous's picture

More selection than in the stores.

John Rau's picture

If something goes wrong with the equipment, it's easier to get the dealer's attension if you are standing nose to nose with him

Dave in Dallas's picture

If I know what a component sounds like and I can get it from an authorized dealer either faster or cheaper—or both—online, then why not?

Mike Agee's picture

I use the 'net to research purchases, along with reviews, word-of-mouth, and listening (when possible), but the purchase itself is still face-to-face or over the good old telephone.

Scotty Thompson's picture

Nope. Brick-and-mortar is still the way to go for me. Gotta hear it before I buy it. I believe that component and system matching are vital to sound reproduction and the Internet does not allow me to "switch" components quickly enough to tell the difference in sound. I may get into some used gear that I am familiar with via the Internet, but that's about it.

Tip Johnson's picture

Don't want what the few local high-end dealers have.

David L.  Wyatt jr.'s picture

In a good sized metropolitan area (and Ohio has at least three), dealers can be found. Let's face it, if you're about to drop a couple kilobucks on something and you aren't willing to drive, you're risking your money.

SJM's picture

I prefer to support local dealers.

Kurt's picture

Several high-end audio dealers remain in business here in central Ohio, but almost all of them have chosen to neglect traditional two-channel audio in favor of the more lucrative home automation/installation/systems integration business. One noteworthy exception to this trend is Archive Audio in Bexley, OH. Archive's owner, Bob Kirk, remains steadfastly committed to providing a carefully selected range of high-end, two-channel audio products, along with superb one-on-one customer service and support. In turn, this exemplary level of customer care engenders loyal, lifelong customers such as myself. In my life, high-end audio is too important to place my trust in an on-line "shopping cart" and then "proceed to check out". Instead, I have a real brick-and-mortar dealer in Archive Audio/Bob Kirk. Unlike a web-based business, when I call Archive Audio I don't have to waste my time wading through lengthy and infuriating telephone messages and decision trees. Instead, when I call Archive Audio, I get to speak with a real human being, rather than being forced to interact with an infuriating phone system. When I do business with Archive Audio, I get timely, personalized service from Bob Kirk, including in-home visits if necessary. And if something needs to be repackaged and returned to the manufacturer, Archive Audio talks with the manufacturer and takes care of return shipments, etc. In addition, Archive Audio will typically provide a loaner component for use until the replacement item is received. You'll never get this level of personalized service and care from an online vendor, period.

Paul J.  Stiles, Mtn.  View, CA's picture

The hauteur of many high-end dealers has strongly encouraged me to shop online.