as long as they have not been abused do'nt worry. i would be worried about a dvd player that ran everyday or a cd player but not speakers.
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Kirk930, how do I know if they have been abused or not? If they sound good now, does that mean they're ok? I am also aware that as demos, many people will want to see how loud they can go, etc., resulting in a lot of hard driving. Am I being overly concerned? This dealer seems like a good guy, but I just want to be careful.
Unless they have physical damage that effects their appearance, I would prefer the used speakers. Broken in and money in my pocket.
Dealers that play to excessive levels and continually return their demo models to the factory for repair would soon be on the **** list with the manufacturer.
Besides, you said they were very high quality speakers, the dealer probably is too.
Your concerns would in theory apply equally to any used product, not just dealer demo's, so maybe we should be surprised to find you on the A-Gon! Seriously though, if they sound fine (with an ear to each driver) and look fine (with the grilles off), and you have a manufacturer's warranty, stop worrying and enjoy your new speakers. I bought both my Thiel speakers and my C-J amp as demo's with warranties from different dealers, was able to audition them both at home with return privileges, saved a lot of money, got wonderful performance, and when service was needed down the road, got it covered at no charge by the manufacturers (and this even though the problems, strictly speaking, were in all probability not the results of manufacturing defects) . What's not to like?
I bought about half of the speakers I have owned as demos. Saves money. If the place you shop has high quality electronics, I would like to see them damage a speaker just by playing it loud. It is many times harder to damage a speaker with too much power than with too little power. Plus, if they give you the full warranty still and something does go wrong, you get a new set of speakers. I don't see how you can lose. If they are as good as you say they are, they will last 20 or 25 years, so 3 times the use up to this point should have no effect.
Having worked in a local shop you'd be surprised at how little playing time most demo speakers get.Even the most popular models only get short burst of use even on busy days.It's not like there hooked up playing all day.The most likely source of potential damage is less than carefull employees knocking them about.So get a feel for your dealers concern for the eqipment he sells.Take a peek in the listening rooms to see if care was taken in set up and cableing.It won't take long to figure where the shops heart is and yes well cared for demo gear is a good investment.
This may be obvious, but get up-close-and-personal with the speakers and listen for any scraping noises (from a really donged voice coil), fuzzy noises (burned out tweeters) and anything that doesn't sound like music. Also, check for excessive wear of grill cloth covers (if you intend to use them) as these come off-and-on countless times and can make noise if stretched out. Finally, check for physical damage (smashed corners, scratched verneer, damaged binding posts) as this will definitely affect resale value.
Dennis refers to demo gear being 5 years old as a "nightmare" - again, I don't see anything shockingly different between this and a typical item purchased used here on the 'Gon. Just like asking a fellow member how old the unit they're selling is (which is sometimes unknown due to multiple owners), the dealer should make no big secret of a component's age. Demo's are usually first received when a new product is introduced, and often aren't sold until it's been discontinued or upgraded (or the dealer drops the line), so the average demo is often as old as is possible for any given model, i.e. year of first introduction. This should be reflected in the price. One more time: If the item looks good and sounds good, then one can assume that it is good - and if it's not, you've got a warranty.