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

Chris Mini's picture

I usually intend to keep a componant for a while, so I almost always go for new.

Martyn Selman's picture

All new, excepting speakers (about 30%+ of cost of total system)

Stan Evans's picture

I will buy used equipment with a transferable warranty. Demo equipment is thus desirable too. Speakers are preferred to electronics or turntables. To date I have purchased two used amps and one pair of speakers, though currently the only used equipment I have is an amp. It is malfunctioning, but it is 13 years old. I'm looking at used Krell and Conrad-Johnson as potential replacements. Also looking at used speakers. The classifieds in the mag are a great help. My subscription has expired, but I will renew soon. Keep up the good work!

Robert B.  Griffin III's picture

The only used component in my current system is a Nakamichi Cassette Deck 1. I bought it used because I couldn't justify spending $1000 or more on a cassette deck (it cost me $600 used). Everything else in the system is new.

David L.  Wyatt jr..'s picture

I would always consider used speakers and pure electronics [amps, tuners, D/A converters, etc]. But I am very leery of mechanical products that might break. IN the past I have bought a lot of used equipment, as befits a budget limited audiophile, though less lately

Anonymous's picture

I'd shy away from used speakers, but if you can find used CD players, amps, etc., at a low price, (especially when they still carry part or all of the factory warranty) I say go for it!

skosro@aol's picture

I'm not opposed to buying used, but I would want return privilege and would probably want to buy locally.

Audun Iversen's picture

I've bought my amp (separates) and speakers second-hand. CD players will have to be almost new to keep up, but second-hand can still be good value for money. I've found that cables are best bought in a store that will let you try several different cables at home.

Gary Ang's picture

Whenever possible, I would go used for stuff like accessories and cables. That way, if it doesn't work out, I don't feel the burn that much. Anybody have used Tube Traps?

Peter MacHare's picture

The closest I come to buying used are demos and close outs. Why? I like warranties.

Ladd Bodem's picture

There is good used gear for sure, but why buy obsolesence? Besides the issues of warranty and service, technology advances continue to negate older units' advantages. Unlike automobiles, you can't easily (if at all) restore an older unit with any degree of confidence in how it will sound. Bite the bullet---buy new and enjoy longer!

Eirik Ulven's picture

Since the price of demo and used equipment are about 50 to 70% of the price of new, there is no real reason to buy new. Another thing is that it is always posible to get what ever you want used.

David Brown's picture

Buying used allows me to experiment with more gear, with less financial risk. If I try a new piece of equipment and I don't like how it sounds in my system, I can usually sell it for what it originally cost me. Audiophiles, myself included, are usually obsessive types, so used audio equipment is almost always in very good condition.

Dean Sciulli's picture

My original system was purchase all new. Recent upgrades, (cables, DAC) have been used.

Ben Bernstein's picture

Used equipment offers the audiophile the most sonic bang for the buck. Working with a reputable dealer who will let you take the equipment home for a few days will offer the best opportunity for success when buying used. I suspect that there are many people (manufacturers especially) who are not happy about the used market and the impact it has on new audio sales. I think it would be interesting if Stereophile did an article on the the used market, outlining the benefits and downsides to both conusmers and manufacturers.

Anthony's picture

For small income audiophile ($50k/annum), the likes of Mark Levinson,Krell,Rowland,Wilson are out of reach considering you have to feed a family also.( Sorry, guys and gals we cannot live with music alone.) It nice that some wealthy or unmarried audiophile always would want to "upgrade".

Lee Lieberman's picture

My system: used(Goldmund Dialog Spkrs/Spectral Preamp/Cambridge CD2/Krell KSA-50 MK2)New [ Linn Axis + AQ MC-5 & Kenwood KT-815, Kimber 4TC and Monster Cable]

Karl Richichi U.T.  Media's picture

Just in short..All 4 of my Linn Klout Amps were bought second hand, online from around the world...All 4 were bought for less than half of the list price. Linn 5.1 pre was new.. Pioneer 99 LD player was a floor model... All my Martin Logan Speakers Monolith III (Front), Logos, and QuestZ (for rear) were bought second hand. Ampro 4500 Projector listing for $40,000 new was bought for about 80% off list, as well as the (letterbox)screen at a FBI auction in Houston... If I could not buy second hand, I would maybe have enough money for new NAD,PSB, DPL and a 35" TV... NEVER... It is always well worth the hunt....

Chris Younkman's picture

Why pay more?

Tom Hoglund's picture

I've only purchased used gear once and it was a Krell amp from a dealer. There's too much unreliable equip. out there that no one, including Stereophile, reports on. For instance, The Sonic Frontiers Line 1, a preamp that was recently reviewed in Stereophile, apparently has had all sorts of problems with its volume control losing its setting. The preamp defaults to the highest possible volume setting and fries your tweeters to boot. The review failed to mention this problem, even though the reviewer was unexplicably sent a new unit in the middle of the review. As a result, a friend of mine, who bought this piece of @#$&, has gone through two sets of tweeters,lots of down time waiting for replacements. After the second malfunction, he returned the preamp to the dealer for a full refund and bought a Krell. Had he purchased on the used market, he would have been @#$% out of luck. With the exception of a few high-end companies (Krell), quality control seems non-existent. A dealer is the only fail- safe to rectify problems when shoddy gear malfunctions. I wish Stereophile would report on the reliability of the gear they review.

Thomas Walker's picture

As prices of equipment skyrocket, one of the only alternatives to obtain a decent equipment is in the used market. Provided that it has not been abused as well as availability of a service tech. to maintane it.

greg's picture

buying used may get someone else's lemon

Sethor's picture

I like vintage stuff. Hence I buy a lot used.

Michael Relland's picture

I will eventually buy something brand-spankin' new from the local shop if they continue to respect my interests as secondary to my poverty.

CM's picture

I upgraded my system SIGNIFICANTLY by buying used equipment (yesterday's best). The funny thing is that my overall system cost is a couple of thousand less now than it was before with the stuff I had purchased new (today's pretty damn good stuff).

Pete Boser's picture

Stereophile should pay more attention to the used, vintage market. (Or maybe not, because so many of the readers are drones who will scoop up whatever is mentioned positively in your pages!)

Steve's picture

My equipment is new only because I couldn't find the items I wanted used. I guess that's one way to tell if it's good---nobody wants to sell it.

Matt Haubrich's picture

I sometimes buy dealer demo equipment. I trust my regular dealer, and, especially with speakers, it cuts the break-in period.

Nil Patel's picture

I recently bought a system with total retail value is $20412.00 with tax. I got it for only (!!) $14257.00.Reason: The Dunlavy signature V speakers and speaker cable DAL-Z8 are used-only 80 hrs of demo time. The classe CD player, pre-amp and amp and interconnects are brand new.I say as long as they are not too many hrs of playing it actually better to buy used, when it comes to speakers! At past half life it is not worth saving the money.

Douglas Thompson's picture

I buy new at the ends; i.e., sources and loudspeakers. Everything in between is game for the swap mart. I still support my local dealers whenever possible. (Esoteric Audio and AZ Tube Audio of Scottsdale and Tempe, AZ respectively). They're both great dealers.