I did a simple favor for a distributor. In kind, they offered me a 20% discount on any new product they sell. I'm looking to get back into vinyl in a small way, and I've had my eye on a VPI scout (this company offers most other well known turntables; Rega, Thorens, Marantz, Avid, Clearaudio, Mitchell, ect.) . My question is, when considering that the VPI's new, 1800 retail price falls to 1460, is this a good enough discount, or is searching the Agon listings a better bet for finding a decent, used turntable?
My equipment is Quicksilver V4 monos and linestage pre with Thiel 1.5s. Another has a Sophia Electric EL34 driving Sililoquy 2a3s. I know I'll need a phono pre, disc washer, cartridges, etc., but I'd rather get the biggest obstacle out of the way first.
Base your decision on whether you want the vpi turntable and whether you can afford the discounted price. For me, even though I buy almost all my stuff on the Gon, a new turntable at a decent price is a better bet than a used turntable (whose real condition you won't know until it's too late) at a lower price. Good luck.
If it were an amp, I'd say you could do better, but I'm thinking you're getting a package with a cartridge --- needles wear, and so getting a new setup has a lot of value to it. Plus, well, new is nice. I don't think you'd find a Scout in good condition for less than that. I think you should buy the Scout at the 20% discount.
I must sound vague or uncertain. I'm not, really. I'm wondering if I'm swayed more by the offer of a discount than by the actual discount. I think, "Gosh, what a nice gesture. That kind of customer service deserves my business." But then I can probably find twice the table at the same price in the for sale site. Makes value seem like a soap opera dilemma. (In all honesty, I think new is better, but my wallet often doesn't.)
You'll get a warranty, and perhaps dealer help with setup as well. If it were me in that situation, I'd go with the dealer's offer. You will also establish yourself as a return customer for future dealings, should you decide to shop there again - retail high-end these days is very much a personal affair.
If you account for the risk involved in buying from an unknown seller, unknown damage, shipping damage from amateur packing, and lack of a warranty, a used table really isn't "discounted" at all, particularly on the Gon where asking prices are usually high. You are getting what you pay for either way. Keep in mind that tonearms are in some ways the most fragile and easily broken of all used equipment and the damage which will not show in a picture.
Jaybo's point is valid--I'm certainly not looking for components for component's sake. However, over the years I've become more disatisfied by cd playback. A change has been in the works for some time. In preparation, I've read plenty and know turntable/record care is not simply press-and-play, which is a concern since the distributor in my case is an online merchant who will not be around to set up and fine tune a table. Again, I read a lot; I'm extremely focussed; and I'm handy. All seem to be necessary traits in record upkeep, so I'm not too worried.
I probably could go without, but circumstances fell in my favor without much direction: In a computer foul-up, the merchant misdelivered someone's 3K Scoutmaster (with my name on the shipping label!) to my house. An honest man, I called the merchant and let them in on their mistake. They were floored and grateful, so I guess they gave me a reward. In any case, there was a mysterious and tantalizing cube of cardboard sitting on my living room floor for a few days. It got me thinking.
Buying used doesn't bother me. 90% of my equipment, along with a house and car and lifestyle are used. But there is an I-can-find-better mindset that becomes more concrete the more used you buy.
calbrs...not trying to discourage you, but just know (i've been collecting vinyl since 1966), that the 'dissatisfaction thing' was there before the invention of the cd. its called boredom. there are days any hifi nut wants to chuck it all and start over...equipment, software..you name it..also, for every instance an lp sounds better than an cd, there will be another that doesn't or sounds far worse....the 'tunes' will eventually take care of you, the hardware and software won't....though the boredom will go away for a time.
Don't even think about buying used unless it can be picked up and demo'd. Local dealer demo's are ideal since they come with service. But again, the dealer must be able to demo the unit, 'open box' to be avoided. As mentioned by others, some dealers will actually visit and make sure it is working properly at your site. Often the latter takes place when you have the dealer deliver the unit and set it up. Getting the latter type of service is worth more then any 'discount', IMHO. So, buy a demo with service locally and forget a 'discount'.
Jaybo: Again, sage advice. Well worth contemplation.
Lloydc: Your warnings are heeded; they are what I worry about.
Tiger: That's something I hadn't considered. I was surprised that initial setup performance bested any savings on new retail. Is setup something that can't be done by the layman, no matter how well read, patient or handy?
Most all my gear comes from Audiogon, except turntables. I have bought used tables on the internet, but only less expensive ones in secondary systems. Unless you know how and have the means to set one up, a dealer in this case is worth the extra.
Most the equipment in my systems has been put together by buying used equipment on Audiogon (speakers, amps, preamp, transport, DAC, and wiring harness) my equipment rack (Rix Rax) and speaker stands (Sound Anchor) are custom pieces, so they were purchased new. My turntable, I bought as a demo unit from a local dealer. The dealer gave me a discount on a cartridge, and accessories (RRL fluids, #9 stylus cleaner, zero dust, zero stat, anti-static brush). The dealer came to my house and performed the initial setup, and then returned a year later keep it check the adjustments. It has been about a year since the last adjustment, and he is planning to return in the next couple of weeks to check the setup again. This has saved me from having to invest time (I know I would never invest the time required to accumulate the dept of experience of my dealer) and saved me from having to invest money (for a high-quality tracking force gauge, protractor and level). But just as importantly, the dealer has been a tremendous resource in selecting vinyl for my collection, as he provided me with a list of recommended records by musical style, label, and edition - and the ability to drop by and listen to the items on the list (sometimes comparing the mono and stereo releases). So in retrospect, Im very pleased with the turntable and service my from local dealer. I hope this helps to inform you in your decision making process and good luck! -Don
Thanks Don and others who subscribe to the dealer demo route--it sounds like a really smart alternative. I have doubts, however, about any dealer in my area agreeing to drive 40 miles into the sticks to set up a demo table for me. It doesn't hurt to ask I suppose, but I have doubts. I've read an encyclopedia's worth of information concerning the set up of turntables. To be frank, it doesn't appear that difficult, but after reading the posts to this thread, I obviously must be missing something major.
I've too many cds to replace digital. Many sound fantastic. Many, far too many, sound not so good. Dollars to doughnuts it's the same with analogue. (I remember somewhere in my past taping pennies to a tonearm to keep it from skating.) All the same, I'd like the opportunity to compare. The offer extended to me seemed an excellent way to get that opportunity, albeit on my own with the requisite fiddling and the subsequent headaches. Now I'm wondering if I was short-sighted and greedy, which is probably the right thing to wonder.
The Fremer DVD for $30 is a dandy way to learn, and there's details specific to VPI arms on it. You don't necessarily need some of the nice gizmos shown on it, the VPI comes with an alignment jig and a Shure force gauge to set tracking force> I'd say go for the discounted deal on the new table and pop another $30 for the setup DVD.
You were honest and expected nothing in return. You deserve the discount, and the relationship will buy you some Q&A time on the phone if you need it. Go for the ride. You should have one of those boxes sitting on your floor that you don't have to give back!
It's o.k. to want to play with analog just to learn and enjoy another medium. I think that's what many frequenting this forum did as well.
Buy used. Check the feedback of the seller. Make sure they know how to pack a turntable. Original boxes make a big differnce. I have bought all of my equipment used from Audiogon or eBay at substantial savings. Plus its more fun that way.