buying used speakers

How risky is it to buy used speakers off audiogon? I have owned two pairs of speakers for over twenty years with no problems. Can speakers look and sound ok and still be damaged? Are some brands more prone to damage (blown drivers ect.) than others?
Hi. Purchasing used speakers without hearing them first almost always leads to problems, especially if you like, or are used to a particular "sound" If you have heard the speakers before, and are looking for a used pair, Audiogon, among others, is the place to find them. If you know what you want/are looking for, its always advisable to check the sellers feedback, this is the first place to start. Also, Paypal is available for payments through credit cards, or bank accounts, and its free, many sellers accept this type of payment, or they can sign up for free very quickly. If there is a problem with the product, the payment can be disputed through Paypal. I usually watch for ads that say " speakers never abused, they play so loud pictures fall off the wall!" Most audiophiles take good care of their equipment, and for the most part, audiophiles frequent AudiogoN. So I recommend that 1) check the sellers feedback 2) check types of payment for flexibility 3) get a phone number to talk with seller, especially regarding the sale of loudspeakers 4) If needed, contact other members that has had dealings with the seller. Hope this gives you a place to start. Regards, Bill M.
Make certain you know all there is to know about the speakers before purchasing them over the internet and that they will work well in your system- The money you save buying used is worth it in most cases. But be prepared to expect to spend some of that money you saved buying used to upgrade or for repairs- (bad drivers etc). Most repairs are not that expensive, and you'll have new speakers. If you like the speaker and trust the seller the worst case is getting a bargain and doing some fixing-up and having a great sounding system. YOu get what you pay for...Good luck!
Buying anything online can be risky,let alone expensive audio components, but you can minimize potential problems by following a few basic guidelines. Try to audition the product you're interested in, so you at least have some kind of idea what they will sound like in a comparable set-up. Second, speak to the seller in person. Most any reputable person will honestly tell you why they're selling and will confirm what condition the speakers are really in. I have found that in dealing with a service such as Audiogon, whose members are generally deeply committed to the the goal of better sound rather than profit, is the best way to go. Over the past year, I have replaced my entire system, and the buying and selling of speakers was the most pleasurable, although the most time-consuming. I owned a pair of Snell A IIIs, which I was replacing for a pair of Avalon Eclipses. I found a pair listed on Audiogon, we emailed back and forth a few times, exchanged each others' phone numbers and began our dicussions in person. I live in South Carolina, he lives in California. We got together on the price and worked out all the details on shipping and after numerous conversations the Eclipses were on their way. I can't begin to tell you how pleased I am with them. They were better than as described. The member that I bought them from, Dale Epperson, was honest to a fault, even desribing some flaw that he knew about that one would never have seen. By the time it was all said and done, an investment of almost $4000.00 felt like a real bargain. He's even called and emailed since then to say hi and making sure that I was still as happy as the day that I received them, which I am! Be careful with who you do business with. Anyone can be dishonest, but at least if you have a problem with an Audiogon member or transaction, you have some recourse. That's what the feedback section is all about. Use it and others will too. Check it before you buy from someone, it's no guarantee, but it's the best we have. And as the old saying goes, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is". With proper precaution, you too can purchase speakers online with confidence and save some money in the process. Best of luck!!!
It is just as risky as answering a classified ad in Sterophile or TAS. Although there are some preditors out there, most people on Audiogon appear to be extremely honorable. I have had many dealing and have only had one incident with a gentleman named Bob Roles who took me for $65.00. It happened to be the least expensive of all my transactions. I will still buy on Audiogon. There is something called i-escrow which protects both parties. The buyer has a pre-determined amount of time to inspect the shipment and upon his approval, i-escrow pays the seller. If it is denied, buyer has a limited amount of time to send tracking info to i-escrow for return.
I have bought spent over $3K on used electronics bought on-line in the last year. Worth every penny and each transaction went smoothly. Gear in at least as good condition as described. You can definately get a flavor of how the product is by the type of communication you have with the seller by email and over phone. However, with speakers there certainly is more risk (shipping, bad driver, etc.) Then there is the risk of incompatibility with system. Certainly sticking with a known product would reduce that risk, but then how do you find out what that known product is. Some would audition at local dealer; I do not recommend that. Its dishonest and you are wasting their time and money. So knowing what will work in your system is a problem. However, if you stick with well known products, there would be little if any loss on a resale. Also with speakers probably most important to have original boxes. Escrow service certainly is good protection for both parties, but so far have not had any problems. I would recommend watching this or any other site for a few weeks first, you can start to see patterns with sellers over time.
Jsbail: Your questions are too general for may taste. I will say that loudspeakers bought used, are one of the "less sure" things you can do. I've done it, but only directly from the manufacturer, and I also sort of got lucky. IMO, People are much less likely to "go through" speakers for the sole purpose of trying several to see what they like, than they are to do so with electronics. That said, I have NO generalized impressions of "how the buying of a loudspeaker 'works out'", here at this site. I have purchased other items thru here with no real problems at all. However, I feel that trying to SELL something through this site is a real pain, you get tons of lowball offers and harassment, much of it from persons not in the USA, or even in an English-speaking country. I prefer another audio site when I advertise something for sale. Maybe that's just me. You want that troublemaker's name? I don't know the real one, but he called himself "chnupa". Anybody else hear of him?
Thanks to all for for input. Let me be a little less general. I am seriously considering buying a pair of speakers listed for $4000 on this site. List price for the speakers is $7200, and checking around this is what they sell for. They are nine months old and said to be in absolute perfect condition. There is no feedback listed on this seller. If I do this I will use an escrow service so I can inspect speakers before the seller gets paid. Seller will send me close up photos and original sales slip proving age and ownership. I have had great luck buying and selling on this site so far, but have had no transactions this large. Am I insane?
No you aren't, and it sounds like you are just asking this out of curiousity only, and aren't really torn about what to do at all. Good luck, whatever you decide. What speakers are they, btw?
Jsbail- Sounds like you've done your research. I would make sure they are shipped in original boxes and insured. Paying by credit card through escrow service should protect you from most abuses. If you get original (not photo copy) sales slip and photo showing matching S/N, that would be additional protection. I understand your reluctance given the high cost; you might have more piece of mind by talking directly to seller on phone. At that price, he/she shouldn't have a problem giving it out to you. Let us know how the escrow service experience goes if you go ahead. I have not used one yet, but seller I am currently buying a relatively low cost item (<$100) wants to use one at his expense. Go figure. In sum, as Carl said, it seems as though you have made up your mind, and it also seems that you used all reasonable precautions.
Thanks Carl and Swampwalker for the input. I just wanted to bounce this off someone before I did this. I have spoken to the seller on the phone a few times. He told me where he bought them-so I called the dealer and he confirmed the sale. The photos look good so I am (excuse the pun) committed. BTW they are Proac 3.8's
You're welcome. Let us know how it plays out.
Dammit, I wanted ProAc 3.8's, but can't afford them. It's like me asking you if it's alright if I just bought some Genesis 201's for $16k...the owner signs his name in blood, that I'll love them, but I'm still not sure...Also, Sandra Bullock wants to date me, but I'm just not sure if she's famous enough to go to all that trouble...blah blah. GOOD LUCK, I BET YOU'LL LOVE THESE!! The finish alone on all Response series speakers makes me crazy!
Speakers arrived yesterday. They are perfect. The cherry veneer even matches my built in bookcases which helps with WAF. Bass is deep and tight. Soundstage is wide and open. Voices have chest and throat. I can even listen to all those bad recordings made by people on drugs for people on drugs in the late sixties and early seventies without ear bleed. I think I will have these speakers for a long time. I used I-escrow for the transaction. You can specify the length of time you want to inspect the merchandise before notifing I-escrow to pay seller, or if you want to ship it back. Takes a lot of the risk of buying used gear site unseen, and I will use it in the future for any substantial purchases. My winter project to design a decent room for these babys.