What percentage of your audio equipment purchases in the last 12 months has been at a brick-and-mortar retailer in your area?

This week, we turn to audio equipment. What percentage of your audio equipment purchases in the last 12 months has been at a brick-and-mortar retailer in your area?

What percentage of your audio equipment purchases in the last 12 months has been at a brick-and-mortar retailer in your area?
26% (47 votes)
7% (13 votes)
3% (6 votes)
3% (6 votes)
1% (2 votes)
5% (9 votes)
1% (2 votes)
2% (4 votes)
2% (3 votes)
4% (7 votes)
32% (58 votes)
I didn't buy any audio hardware in the last 12 months
15% (27 votes)
Total votes: 184

Nodaker's picture

Purchased a preamp, DAC, and power cables all off Audiogon. All three were new items with the exception of the preamp's power supply which was used.

Blue Mikey Fazzone's picture

Actually, I haven't been in a B&M audio retailer in the last 12 months, which is surprising, because I used to make such visits regularly almost as recreation. But since my current pay is less than I used to earn, my stereo is more expensive than I could now afford to buy! So what would I do, downgrade? ;-)

Laura's picture

Since Spokane lacks a true high-end dealer, I continue to purchase my audio equipment from Listen Up in Denver (only a short two hour flight). I have been a Listen Up customer for the past 25 years. I like to hear the equipment I am considering before I make a purchase. I bought two Solid Steel equipment racks on line after seeing them displayed at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest

tonye's picture

eay and videogon baby, online...

David L.  Wyatt jr.'s picture

I like to hear before I buy. Therefore it's brick-and-mortar. For used gear, the web may be the way to go, as the local markets have dried up.

James's picture

All my equipment purchases come from online manufacturers, which means I am purchasing directly from the manufacturer. This is the most bang for my buck. This also means that I can't listen to audio gear before I buy it so I have to trust consumer reviews, since magazines like Stereophile do not seem to review gear that cannot be purchased from a dealer. But cutting out a distributor and a dealer seems very worth it to me price-wise, as the manufacturers I've purchased from have been very honorable with generous warranties.

Al Marcy's picture

Sony 400 DVD changer from local Circuit City. Everything else from uBid and Ebay.

Donald N.'s picture

I bought a HB-1 Antique Sound Labs tube Headphone amp (found on Audiogon) from Jeff's Sound Values—great service and great little toob amp (my first)!

Bob Matthews's picture

Actually, the brick-and-mortar stores have such a high markup, that I buy most of my stuff from dealers and individuals online.

Richard Saunders's picture

70% by value, 30% by box count

Ron Taylor's picture

I have no local dealers.

Allen's picture

I always look on eBay, but have only ever had the guts to purchase from a real shop listening before I buy.

Beto's picture

Unlike what seems to be the trend in the US, here in Costa Rica at least a couple of high end audio stores have opened in the last 12 months, carrying a wide gamut of brands from Jolida to KEF to NAD to Audio Research stuff and a lot more. The current home theater craze has a lot to do with it, but who's complaining (not me!). Plus, price is at most 10% extra compared to US averages, so it has made more sense to me lately to pick and choose from what I can get locally and within my budget, instead of buying online and paying an arm and a leg on shipping and import costs (speaking from own, painful experience here). Finally, having someone local to back you up in case something goes wrong seems to be such an underrated asset these days.

Jim Bryant's picture

I bought two components: an SACD player from a "walk-in" store and a preamp from Audiogon.

Bruce's picture

There are none besides the mid-fi circut city and best buy stores

Nathan's picture

I have only bought used in the last two years. audiogon and canuck audio mart are great sources.

Ken, Texas's picture

The only way to buy audio equipment is from a dealer who is honest, loves music, is people friendly, knowledgable about the products (his and others), has products that are broken in,and can have you come in, sit down, and listen to music on different pieces of equipment based on your budget. You can't do any of these over the phone or in a chain store. There is no question that having equipment broken in before you listen can make a huge difference. Finally, you need someone that can tell you what will work well together. I found all of this out when I went looking to update my components after 20 years. I found all above at Sound Mind Audio in Austin, TX with Mr. Brian Kurtz.

mike's picture

Always have a home demo before you buy. it saves money in the long run!

Tom Martin's picture

For my speakers purchase I went to Overture Audio, where I could listen to them. For phono cartridges I bought over the internet because I knew I couldn't listen in advance so I bought blind. I would recommend Overture to anyone looking for anything audio. It really is excellent.

jjf's picture

Relationships are everything in this hobby. It is the only way to get the right gear at the right price.

Carter's picture

Zero. These days I buy everything used. The demo is the purchase and if it doesn't work out then I sell it with the major loss being shipping charges. This allows extended demoing in the actual listening environment and the price is generally 50% to 60% of new. Other stuff I build myself. Price is not the only motivating factor; the only decent hi-fi shops are all more than an hour away and I don't live in the hinterlands. I suppose the closer shops will be fine if I ever decide to do home theater.

Gerald Clifton's picture

Zero. Over the past year, I have purchased a Musical Fidelity power amp, preamp, and DAC, and the Triangle Volante loudspeakers. All were ordered online. Total cost at a brick-and-mortar dealer would have been around $13,000 (assuming small discounts) plus another $1000 or so for the governator (Schwarzanegger, or however the hell you spell his name) to throw at California's obscene deficit. With a little careful shopping, and the now-fashionable "demo" pricing, I was able to bring it all home for a tad over $9500, shipping included. This was brand new gear, with warranties from the dealers and manufacturers, and with full return privileges if I didn't like the performance. I knew the manufacturers' approaches to design and sound, so listening wasn't essential. I would never, however, listen at a brick-and-mortar shop and then buy online. I might be easy, but I'm not a whore.

Hal's picture

Store inventory has been mostly non-existant in items I was looking for this year. I have been forced to read more than listen and take a stab at appropriate product selection with Internet orders. Experience so far has been good in terms of achieving good results without exhorbitant expense. I miss the "sound test" experience and social interaction, though. I would be glad to support local shops that stock items of interest, but "special ordering" through dealer has not been a better experience than Internet ordering this year.

J Schuster's picture

I would only buy from a local retailer. High-end products being designed to be at the highest edge of the performance envelope are nortoriously finicky. It is a great boon to have someone close by to give support when the equipment gets cantankerous, and an online retailer just can't do this. The local shop is also very generous with letting equipment be loaned out to evaluate in home synergy, this avoids expensive mistakes, if it doesn't work out. Even though some on line retailers offer money back trials, shipping is expensive, and subject to damage, (insurance claims are very time consuming, nor is the insurance cost low). The local retailer also builds up a good raport and gets to know your system,including room accoustics, and has a better idea of how the various components in your own system will interact.

Brankin's picture

Good golly miss Molly, I haven't purchased any equipment in 17 months! That was a B&M purchase though. And, it was 24 months before that. I'm an anomoly.

Gary S Waul's picture

Home theater has taken over all of the retail locations where I live. You do not have any choices when it comes to two-channel or analog equipment. My only avenues to purely music-related audio equipment is through the magazines and some of the major catalog suppliers. I also have made purchases from audio specialists that work out of their homes and specialize in providing adice to us out here in what I refer to as "the analog wasteland."

R.  Jordan's picture

this inclided a new integrated amp/ cd player/ headphone amp/speaker cables and interconnects] power cords.

C.E.'s picture

Online has better selection and more info.

OvenMaster's picture

None whatsoever. New gear isn't worth what they charge for it. eBay and Audiogon members got my hard-earned money, and I got total satisfaction.

John Butler's picture

as long as there is an abundant supply of high quality previously enjoyed stuff out there why buy new!!I've never had a bad used gear deal yet!