Buying used or sight unseen speakers a bad idea?


Hi folks, reading & absorbing as much as I can in the Learn forum, question from a novice in this field, is it safe to purchase used or sight unseen a pair of hi-end speakers? Are speakers considered "too old?" Does it effect the sound too much? Thanks
akhan13
I've purchased used speakers three times on this site. The first set was delivered freight across country and arrived without a problem. The second set I picked up, and they were just as described. The third set were shipped to me by a private courier and they arrived in excellent condition. They were like new, as described. Two sets were bought without an audition. I read a lot on these forums, and other sites, to make an informed decision.

Check their feedback to get a handle on whether you should purchase or not. Communication is the key. Ask a ton of questions if you feel you need to.

I haven't had any problems.
It's a risk but, as in my case, when you can buy a rare set of speakers, that would never show up locally, and were less than 10 years old, for a small fraction of the retail... it can be worth the risk.

Shipping is the problem. Just because they have cardboard boxes and styrofoam doesn't mean they're safe. If I were to ship large speakers again, I would spend the extra and crate them up. At least the edges.

Then again, I know people that are afraid to buy anything online if it isn't from Amazon.

Foam surrounds deteriorate with age. Rubber, not so much. Cabinets can get scratched and dented. Tweeters get blown from misuse. "Too old" is a fine line but be wary when the parts to repair them become obsolete. Of course, that's where the real deals are, especially when the manufacturer has gone out of business.
Lots of good advice. I'd add that it is often reassuring if you can call the seller and talk to her or him directly. Explain that you're new at this, and that a conversation would help establish confidence on both sides. You're bound to get either a positive or negative vibe, which you can use in your decision-making process, along with the seller's feedback.

You might also search for posts from the seller in the discussion forums. If the seller is a jerk, that particular personality trait is likely to come through in hie or her posts. I've done quite a bit of buying here and never had a problem.
-Bob
Hesson11 has a good point. See if you can call the seller to talk to him directly. I had one fellow call me just to pick my brain, to see where my head was at, before he made his decision to buy. He asked why I was using this item, and why I'm selling it now. We talked about how our systems started and how they got to where they are now. What we liked, disliked, and why. He was comfortable with dealing with me.
I agree buying used is always a risk and yes, the sound can be degraded if the speakers are abused. I like to ask the seller if they are the original owner, if the speakers have ever been repaired and what amplifier was used with the subject speakers. I also make it a point to buy from sellers with all positive feedback. Even after all of that I recently purchased a set of speakers that arrived in very poor condition. Fortunately the seller took the speakers back and gave me a prompt refund. However, it cost me over $100 to find out the true condition of the speakers. A recent post here recommended observing how sellers conduct themselves on the forums. I think this is a good idea because it can tell a lot about a seller's character. This is good to know if you have a problem with a purchase.