If you had to pay full retail, would you...???


I recently got the Music Direct catalog in the mail. Lots of cool gear, interesting tweaks, awesome LPs. Looking over the catalog several times, I said to myself, "man, there are a lot of expensive tweaks which the un-initiated must think is simply crazy". What also struck me is that all the stuff I want, is ultra expensive and the stuff at "real-world prices" are nothing really spectacular. Even at the low end side of "high-end" gear, I would be laying out considerably more than if I went to Best Buy and bought an All in one system.

So, here is where I am headed. I have put together a pretty nice system, almost entirely found here on Audiogon, over back in the day at Audiomart. I scored my amps which retail for $13,000 for $4000. My speakers retailed for $7500 and I got em for $1500. My turntable was $500, which retail was $2500. If, I bought a new $500 turntable, I would get like a Music Fidelity MF, entry level one.

if you bought most of your system used, if you had to start from square one and had to buy Full retail, would you still be into this hobby?

Entry level high end gear really does not interest me. it lacks pizzaz, like the Avid Reference has. For what I paid for my AudioLogic tube DAC, I could only afford a Mid-level Marantz. I beleive I would still be a Music lover, but if forced to spend Full retail for high end gear, I think I would opt for mass market mid-fi, or simply do a laptop based digital system through a mass market company.
Convert?fit=crop&h=128&policy=eyjlehbpcnkioje0ota0mzg1mjcsimnhbgwiolsicmvhzcisimnvbnzlcnqixx0%3d&rotate=exif&signature=f2d1d2f3d45fd0dd83b62f446598150131cfaeb4a2e6a666f9340e830cd005d8&w=128justlisten
You almost never have to pay full retail. Most dealers give you a discount around 20-30% off retail. It's like buying a new car, where you never pay sticker.
No, the equipment I buy now as opposed to when I started is more than I would spend retail. If it weren't for Audiogon and the contacts I've made with dealers where I've gotten some stuff almost at cost and plus the used stuff I purchased from Agoners, I would not have the majority of my gear and cables.
There was a time when there was no Audiogon! It's hard for me to imagine that now--it has changed my buying habits so much. If I could only pay retail, boy, it would be hard. I'd probably stay in the hobby and go totally for "internet" products--stuff that either started on the internet or that are sold mostly on it (at retail). Stuff that doesn't get reviewed by the big mags. And see what happened. It used to be that even in retail stores you would get discounts on new stuff. I don't know if that's true anymore. Great question!
No.

No one has to pay full retail. Ever.
Though I can't forsee any circumstance where I would be unable to get a reasonable discount on equipment, I would definitely not pay retail. Still, even a decent discount from retail won't get you nearly as much bang for your buck as AudiogoN.
I'm quite comfortable paying full retail for the gear I buy from my local dealer. He's one of those rara aves who has complete integrity, stands behind everything he sells and has the technical backup to fix it if something goes wrong. He also has proven to have the insight and experience needed to make recommendations that are good both for my system and my tastes. The hobby isn't just about buying and selling components. Helping a dealer make a living in return for a solid set of tangible and intangible value-adds beyond the moment of sale has a great deal of value for me.

It doesn't take many "discount mistakes" to offset the cost of a paying a good dealer his markup.
In the days before Audiogon and Ebay there were better deals to be had locally on used equipment. These are better days in most ways, but I don't plan on finding another MC-2205 for $500 in my local newspaper. I wonder what the discount is on a Magico Mini? Do folks pay $22,000 for a hot item that is about to go up in price?
If you had to pay full retail, would you...???

Would I be in this hobby? No

Would I still listen to music? Yes

I would just some mid-fi rig and live on in oblivion, not knowing what to do with all of my extra time and money.

Yes, I 'save' money by shopping here, just like my wife 'saves' money when she goes out shopping. :)

To be honest though, I probably wind up spending more $$$ to get a better deal. If you're saving 40/50/60%, the more you spend the more you save. If your paying 100%, you're not saving anything, so there is no temptation to 'save' (or spend) more.
Audiogon exists because of all the wrong mis-matched equipment/set-ups. Many people spend way more in the long run by not just going to a dealer and getting it right to begin with. It amazes me that people who say they love this hobby won't support a local dealer...and then will one day wonder why there is NO place to look at/hear all the stuff and have fun and share their hobby by making a lasting relationship. Why would you want to lose places like these is beyond me...Must be this website sums it up: www.officialdudley.com
Man, that Music Direct catalog is like audiophile pornography. I love looking at it, but I can't imagine buying much of that gear at full list price. Someone must be, right? Does anyone know if they, or Acoustic Sounds, will discount if you call them?
Music Direct will discount to repeat customers. They also have really great vinyl for sale. They have an abundance of affordable tweaks, and a knowledgable and friendly sales staff. They also provide excellent shipping and service. This is why they stay in business. BTW, I don't work for Music Direct.

IMHO. There seems to be as many high end companies as there are audiophiles. That translates to sporadic sales, necessitating large profit margins. Is that too simplistic?

I am a just a humble working stiff. I started out buying from a now defunct audio salon in the woods of northern Wisconsin. The internet and a paper mill closing which decimated the local economy, led to their demise. If it weren't for Audiogon and a few high end retailers that get the new paradigm, I wouldn't be able to stay in this hobby. At least not at the level of quality of gear that I own.

In the last decade, the price for gear in the upper echelon has sky rocketed. Too me it seems excessive. My deep passion for good sounding music keeps me in the game. Alas, I will problably have to put off retirement for another ten years. Oh well, things could be worse.
Never!
Audiogon allows wonderful things to happen for all of us at less than list. Remember list is usually a manufacturers "sugested" list price. Merely a sugestion, and rarely attainable (or realistic) in our supply/demand/competitive economics. I believe what things sell for is what they are worth; not what the manufacturer says they are worth. A product will get what the market will bear, regarless of the price on it. And that is what it is worth to me...warren :)
the notion that a manufacturer's retail list price is even valid today is 'imaginary'. just like the benefits of many upgrades.
Yes...if the stuff is fairly priced to begin with. Think Magnepan.
There is a real advantage to buying equipment from local dealers that you can establish a level of trust with over years. The difficulty on high end equipment is finding a great dealer. Then you will not be paying full retail because a good dealer will give you a discount. I have a great system but I would have rather found someone local to get it all from. Here in Denver, I can't demo gear like Lamm, Dynaudio, Avalon in my house - so why not just buy it on line? I guess the answer is no, never pay retail.
Agreeing with Eldartford, I have no problem paying whatever for what I see as fairly priced products.

In the long run you get what you pay for. After-all, who's better off, the person who paid full price at a dealer and is so satisfied that he keeps the system unchanged for 10 years, or the person who buys and sells 20+ different components on Audiogon trying to put together a system that sounds good?

In the long run you get what you pay for. After-all, who's better off, the person who paid full price at a dealer and is so satisfied that he keeps the system unchanged for 10 years, or the person who buys and sells 20+ different components on Audiogon trying to put together a system that sounds good?
Onhwy61 (System | Threads | Answers)

That looks good on paper. When you find the audiophile who has left his system unchanged after 10 years, will you ask him to chime in? :)

I'll even take the audiophile who has left his system unchanged for two years. :)
I guess my Original Post wasn't clear as it appears only a few understood the intent of my original question, ..JMCGROGAN2, his answer was what I was looking for.

It is not a question if you would or not pay full retail, but whether you would still be involved in specialized, expensive, low production gear if it was only available New and at full retail. I for one, based on my financial situation would only be able to afford pretty much the entry level oferings from most companies which do not really interest me. I therefore would sink more of my money into Software and puchase a more mainstream form of hardware.
>>the notion that a manufacturer's retail list price is even valid today is 'imaginary'<<

To a large extent I agree with Jaybo although some retail prices are closer to actual selling prices than others.

As an example, I represented a company whose costs to me varied from month to month depending on their existing financial problems. Occasionally I was able to purchase new products discounted over 70%. Ultimately the used prices of their products have reached such low levels that the retail prices have become as Jaybo says "imaginary".

Disclosure: retailer
hi tvad:

my personal best stereo system was stcked quads, mac c22 preamp, 4 quad mono amps, a thorens td 124 turntable with ortofon cartridge.

i had that system for 7 years and would have only replaced the cartridge and kept that system forever except for a slight problem, namely the fragility of the quad panels.

i have a friend who owns magnepan mg 3s, dyna gear, a cary preamp, etc., who has kept his system in tact for over 5 years. his speakers are over 20 years old.

the idea is to find some components that create a sound which satisfies you and then there is no reason to replace components. i still think the original quads are the best speaker ever made.


12-28-06: Mrtennis
hi tvad:

my personal best stereo system was stcked quads, mac c22 preamp, 4 quad mono amps, a thorens td 124 turntable with ortofon cartridge.

i had that system for 7 years and would have only replaced the cartridge and kept that system forever except for a slight problem, namely the fragility of the quad panels.


That's impressive, and I'll bet the system sounded great. I suspect having kept the system unchanged for seven years places you in the minority of audiophiles.

May I ask two questions? First, did you pay retail for the components? Second, did you purchase that system from one dealer who assembled the components for you?
Tvad, in the real world, people buy stereos and keep them until they break. It's only in the highly specialized minority audiophile world that people constantly trade items in a quest for sonic improvements. Some people can just sit back and enjoy the music. It's hard to believe, isn't it?
It's only in the highly specialized minority audiophile world that people constantly trade items in a quest for sonic improvements. Some people can just sit back and enjoy the music. It's hard to believe, isn't it?
Onhwy61 (System | Threads | Answers)

Yup! :)

However, the audio hobbyist (this does not include most buy-and-hold stereo owners) is no different than an automobile or model train enthusiast...constantly tweaking and improving the object of desire. :)
Let me explain something most audiophiles really have trouble with;

This is a true story;

Customer calls me says he's going to buy $3600 speakers (brand Y)(which the dealer was going to discount 20% this was undisclosed) I said to him I had much better speakers for $2400 and he should come by and listen to brand X before he buys Y.

As I knew because this audio stuff is easy and Brand Y is amateur shizzle, the $2400 brand X was much better than the $3600 brand Y. Brand X now is a very well known brand but 8 years ago most of you only vaguely heard of them. So Mr. Consumer asks me about a discount, and here's the economics where you guys simply don't get it.

I asked him why should I give him a discount I just saved him $1200 and because I was willing to carry a brand that was less well known (ie. lower volume) and better than brand Y's $3600 speaker? See too me that's an insult, I upgraded him and saved him $1200 at retail, but he still felt justified in belittling my profession and my good nature by rewarding my effort and selflessness by just dumping on me and expecting me to give as big a discount as the "high end" shop he just came from.

I told him with that kind of discount I wouldn't be here, these speakers wouldn't be here and you would have paid $3000 for second rate speakers and then what? So why don't you go back and buy those speaker since a discount is all that matters to you? They may give you 25% off because they really don't like me over there because I make them look stupid, but if its 20% off all the time then they can only afford stupid people and the discount helps you feel better about spending $3000 of your money on that level of advice and knowledge.

Well now audiophiles are down too public forums and "public" trade shows to spend thousands of dollars most of you have to talk to a deadbeat 50 year old types or some kid because stores cannot hire real professionals and you spend thousands and thousands of dollars on advice from people who simply do not have the expertise to give it.

My dream is to give a guy,in a dead end retail job or take advice from a guy who says all the right things and uses the right buzz words online, control of my $25,000 system...whether its new or used retail or discounted...that's the big kink in logic in my mind.

Shrinking margins mimicking the computer industry is destroying high end audio as its participants expect to pay appliance level prices/ low margins and still want to believe they are getting 'expert" advice on a hobby that requires and immense amount of experience and technical skills . This general level of services has not been the case for 20 years. Those that can still give it at the retail level are old and near retirement. Most people in my age (30 something) who are smart and creative have left the industry altogether or have moved up into the rep levels where they do not help the end user anymore. I'd pay retail if the guy i'm dealing with is a genius and it helps him make a living. so 2nd that notion.

By the way 15 years in the business, and I don't know one guy in the world who is that retail level who'd i trust to build a system for me. So you got what you paid for my audiogon friends.
I was introduced to Agon by a friend who stated succinctly the ecology/psychology of the hifi hobbyists.

You get in at an affordable budget (that ends up being streched) and enjoy the music. If your piggy bank grows and the improved system brings more listening pleasure, go and trade up. All things considered, you don't lose much on the trade. Since we swim in different money depth, we all have a chance to be where we ultimately want to be -- so help us god with the greed and vanity.
There is a saying..."To travel hopefully is better than to arrive". That probably applies to the audiophile's quest.
Or another way to say it:
The Journey is better than the Destination.

It all boils down to competition and the free market system.
That looks good on paper. When you find the audiophile who has left his system unchanged after 10 years, will you ask him to chime in? :)

Tvad (Threads | Answers)


They are out there, I know some, but the reason they do not change their system is because they find out how little of the money they spent is recoverable, so they stick with what they have. For instance, I know a guy who paid $3200 for a preamp that listed for $3500. He has talked for years about selling it and getting another one. Everytime he finds out that all he'll get for his 6 year old preamp is around $1600-$1800, he changes his mind. He thinks he can get $2700 for his preamp, when he finds out he zero chance of this it depresses him. Then he just sticks with what he has. That's why he still has 12 year old CAL digital seperates. Not that there is anything wrong with this behavior, but you won't find these types perusing the threads on AudiogoN.

12-28-06: Justlisten
I guess my Original Post wasn't clear as it appears only a few understood the intent of my original question, ..JMCGROGAN2, his answer was what I was looking for.

Sweet!!! What did I win???

FWIW, unfortunately I've never met a dealer that I really trust. I've never heard one be honest enough to say what the other guy is selling is better than his offerings. I've heard many rave about a product, only to then trash it when they drop the line. I can't read through the BS. I can't tell if the guy is trying to help me out or just sell something.
However, the audio hobbyist (this does not include most buy-and-hold stereo owners) is no different than an automobile or model train enthusiast...constantly tweaking and improving the object of desire. :)
Tvad

Can't agree more. We even can take this statement to the next level. If everyone would hold on to their equipment forever, people like John Bowers, Richard Vandersteen and thousands of other researchers could retire and keep making money by building same design forever.

To build your own system is same thing since it consists of various components. People change components to find sound that they looking for of to experience something new. But it's not for everyone. Not everyone has time for it or passion towards the same hobby that would last forever. For some it's until they find the sound that they can live with for the rest of their lives, for some it's a hobby, and some like to be informed about technological progress and constantly try something new.

The answer to original question is yes; because my love for music is greater then love for money. If I had to I would pay for it full price and still be in this hobby. My system would not sound as good as it is now and I would take small steps to improve it. So far I didn't pay full retail cause I'm a student.
Tvad: my system has been "stable" for 10 years: AR LS-15, Mesa Baron (w/ EL-34's), Infinity PF-R, Rega Planar 3, DB Systems Phono Pre, Nak Dragon, Muse Model 2, Pioneer PD-65 (transport) w/Illuminati cable, MIT CVTerminator Series 2 Tube spkr cables, MIT interc. Bought shortly before marriage and child, hence the upgrade path ended. All good, cost-effective stuff, and I have been pleased with this system. The Rega, Mesa and Muse were retail, rest was discounted. A significant upgrade would cost big bucks today. Now have smaller room and no wife, suggestions welcome.
At Apple, they used to say, the journey is the reward. That's how I see this hobby.

D_Edwards, if you had told the customer that you can't give him 20% because of such and such, but you will give him 10% or 5%, you might have had the sale. Some people--many people, though I'm not one of them--can't be happy unless they feel they are getting an "edge" somehow.
Yes.

I did before Ebay and Audiogon came into being, so if for some inexplicable reason they were gone, I would, reluctantly, go back to buying new.

Luckily, I am just about at the point of being at the end of my upgrade process, so it probably would not affect me for a decade or so. (I typically upgrade every 10-15 years or so.)

My two cents worth!
D_Edwards, if you had told the customer that you can't give him 20% because of such and such, but you will give him 10% or 5%, you might have had the sale. Some people--many people, though I'm not one of them--can't be happy unless they feel they are getting an "edge" somehow

Agree. Doing sales on a side I learned that it's better to make some money then no money. There always will be people who want some kind of a discount and if I see that I can make some money I'm selling it and moving on. Just my opinion.
Drubin,

I made the sale, my point to the client was that I was all the "edge" he needed and the fact that his behaviour did impact the type of advice and products he would be shown. I sold him stands at cost to make him feel his edge :).

Cheap people need love too.

Addressing McGrogans trust issue; my anecdote is I send the customer (many actually) to another store to buy something at the competitions, being very specific and the doofus at the other store wouldn't take his order and gives him a hard time about the advice I'd given him or her that they'd come back and buy "the wrong stuff" from me. Sometimes this would be a $3-4K amplifier! Can't fix stupid I guess the saying goes.

Audio retail is not perfect and the press and manufacturers scratching each others backs has a great deal to do with this. Because " good business" means carrying the best selling products not the best sounding products. The easiest thing to do in the world is take an order. Interesting anecdote; I never demoed a piece of Mark Levinson gear that I sold and I never sold a piece of mark Levinson gear that I demoed?! Just so you know how the popular "lifestyle" brands actually get sold.
I have not paid full retail for any of the things I have purchased. I base my component on large part to whether or not I can either get it used or at a good discount. This has limited my selection considerably and it takes me some time to get what I want but in the end, I am pretty happy with my gear.

That being said, I also agree that you are better off in the long run working with a local dealer. The relationships i ahve formed my with dealers have allowed us to work togehter much more openly. I trust that he is giving me a good advice and a good deal and he knows that I am a loyal customer, a win win situation.

The internet has also helped me to connect with other audiophiles. In the past I have been able to get together with a few for a "group" purchase, allowing me to save almost 30% off retail.

Using all of these different avenues has saved me about 40% from retail (for my entire system). Believe me, I would not have purchased my gear at anywhere near retail!
No, never, no way.
Jmcgrogan2
I enjoyed your post,I couldn't agree more and side with you.

D-Edwards.
I believe it is a common knowledge that dealers have some "room" to play with the suggested prices.I mean you could of given your potential customer the discount,perhaps NOT the 25% he asked but say 15% for the new and unknown speaker company you represented and made a sale,made a happy customer who WOULD probably brought to you more customers by word of mouth .Do you agree sir?
Regards
George
I have had the same system for about 7 years and, though I could've afforded more, I have been quite happy with it. I have heard better speakers and better gear but enjoy music and have chosen to be content. I have done some mild tweeks and may have a totally different and more expensive system one day, but probably not. Contentment is a choice and the law of diminishing returns kicks in early. Most here would say that I'm not an audiophile and that my gear is mid fi, and that may be true. But I read audiogon daily and listen with friends and visit retailers on trips to other cities. However, I still believe it's about the music... and no, I bought half at discount from a local retailor and half online.
john
12-28-06: D_edwards
Let me explain something most audiophiles really have trouble with;

I'm sure your customers enjoy paying more money for the condescending tone. I enjoy being talked down to, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.(Note: Sarcasm Alert)

Well now audiophiles are down too public forums and "public" trade shows to spend thousands of dollars most of you have to talk to a deadbeat 50 year old types or some kid because stores cannot hire real professionals and you spend thousands and thousands of dollars on advice from people who simply do not have the expertise to give it.


Now even a simpleton like myself can understand, so only knowledgeable folks in their 30's really know audio.....ahhhhh the picture is becoming clearer. Now I know to check the salesman's driver's license to make sure he's in his 30's. Thanks Audio Super Salesman!! Great Tip!!!

Most people in my age (30 something) who are smart and creative have left the industry altogether or have moved up into the rep levels where they do not help the end user anymore.


So what does this say about you Audio Super Salesman??? Are you not smart and creative???

By the way 15 years in the business, and I don't know one guy in the world who is that retail level who'd i trust to build a system for me.
D_edwards (System | Answers)


Well shoot Audio Super Salesman, if you can't trust anyone in the retail level, how does a simple, naive, audiophile like me stand a chance???

I'll sleep better tonight knowing that you are here to protect us Audio Super Salesman!!
George my quintessential doesn't get it guy! All that "room" isn't keeping them in business now is it?

Does your boss ask you to wiggle on your salary? Don't you have some wiggle room?, certainly you're not worth what you make all the time right?

Save your boss 33% on a project by making a smooth move and he says hey lets cut your paycheck 15% this week for the thanks. Cause we appreciate all you do for us. Yeah that never happens. So stop being a hypocrit and suggest that I take the hit in my wallet when I could have been the 2nd rate dealer who carries overpriced underperforming products with a popular name brand on it instead of good speakers. Thanks, and your advice sucks, cause then everyone of his cheap audiophile friends/refferrals will want a 15% discount and then my boss can't afford me and well now I coach football.

In the end George there is no wiggle room anymore, infact their is no margin to hire people with serious qualification into the retail level of audio. As the equipment improves the demands on the end user goes up to maximize the potential of your investment. Maybe you like going to the lonely guys house who has decided to carry a few brands and knows about nothing and has a conviction that $7 ($250 retail) AC outlets is the number one way to make a great system. That's what we're left with. Semi-pro's,

Do you know I bet there is less than 5 people on this entire board who can setup a surround system so it works properly! Especially the dealers who will sell the system to you without the wiggle room.

Most 2nd hand systems can be bested by buying the right gear at retail prices. It is extremely rare that the 2nd hander doesn't sabotage his system with the "irresisteable deal" on a super component that inevitably messes up his entire system. Time and again I had to deal with 2nd hand dudes who simply could not overcome the view of what they were saving versus what they were spending to make the system right.

audiophiles are masochists that way.
McGrogan,

I'm gone, no more audio selling for me, just like mixing it up a little.

Coaching Football these days, something where the outcome is not subjective and winning means I don't have to suffer fools or discount my salary.
hi tvad:

i bought the quads and quad amps from harmony house in manhattan some time in 1966. i paid full retail and a salesman set them up in my living room.

the problem with some audiophiles is that they are not interested in music or sound quality. audio equipment for them is but an example of conspicuous consumption.

unfortunately for many manufacturers and audio dealers sound quality is unimportant.
“I'm quite comfortable paying full retail for the gear I buy from my local dealer…. It doesn't take many "discount mistakes" to offset the cost of a paying a good dealer his markup”.

Gliderguider, I found your comments of interest and took a few moments to take a look at your system (very nice!), which according to your figures (and the fact that you say you pay full retail to your dealer) exceeds $90,000. This is an extraordinary investment. My question to you is how do you feel about selling your equipment at a loss of as much as 40% or even 50% (and we all know with some gear the loss can be even worse) when you decide to upgrade? Unless you are one of those rare individuals who put together a system and keep it for 10 or more years the “discount mistakes” occur every time you get the itch to try something new. And given the obvious fact that you must be one of your dealer’s better customers, don’t you think it appropriate that he offer you a discount on items such as cables that have markups often in the range of several thousand per cent.

I have no objection to supporting your local dealer, especially if you find a good one and have the financial resources to do so, but I believe you will find a good number of audiophiles on this site who have skills equal to your dealer (sometimes better) when it comes to selecting audio components and putting them into a system that is musically synergistic. And they are doing so sometimes for 30 or 40 cents on the dollar by taking advantage of the used market. I have been in this hobby for 30 years or more and have owned lots of gear in that time. Rarely have I paid full retail for new gear. So far I’ve yet to meet a dealer whose skill at listening and selecting components exceeded my own. And the vast majority are simply good salesmen (if they stay in business) who offer products that meet their particular bias and that they feel they can best sell for a good profit.

Most on this site I would venture do not have the resources to purchase expensive audio components (often much overpriced ‘luxury’ items) and own $100K retail systems such as yourself. For those who have the money and do not have the time or inclination to learn how to build a good system on their own a dealer such as yours certainly becomes an asset. For those who do, Audiogon and other used avenues are a great tool for achieving the same end for sometimes as little as 20 cents on the dollar. So far in my many years as an audiophile I have made no “discount mistakes.”

Justlisten…this brings me to your original question, and my answer is no, I would not be participating in the purchase of “specialized, expensive, low production gear if it was only available New and at full retail.” Anymore all too much of high-end audio has gone the route of catering to the ‘carriage trade,’ and hopefully more than a few of us have figured out that is only about perceived status and inflation of the ego. Less and less it is about music, and more and more about material possessions. I am a musician and my love of music is the reason I got started in this hobby as a young teenager. I could be happy with much less (and probably not give up that much), but taking advantage of the used market and the fickle nature of audiophiles who are never satisfied has allowed me to continue to own ‘expensive’ gear at more reasonable prices even as the price of our hobby has gone into the stratisphere. But I fear the insane pricing we are seeing today is a prelude to the end of specialized audio, and it is too bad that manufactures are allowing their greed to exclude a new batch of young audiophiles. When a newcomer sees a single 1 meter digital cable or power cord that retails for $3500 (and costs the manufacture maybe $100 to make) it not only makes our hobby look insane, but also unobtainable to most. Little wonder Apple is selling tens of thousands of iPods every day and high-end audio had its best years in the 80’s. The fact of the matter is most of the extremely expensive audio gear available today is not that much better than what can be had at sane prices, and in many cases no better at all (often just clever marketing, snake oil, or just a really nice paint job like Wilson loudspeakers). As is often the case, and with so many things, it all boils down to the laws of diminishing returns.
mr edwards:

it's amazing to me that you are successful. your know-it-all attitude is offensive. a truly wise man knows he knows not. you probably know very little, and are insecure and full of opinions as well as full of yourself.

you probably should see a therapist. you sound very bitter to me.
I am frankly shocked at people's responses. I am in this hobby to listen to music, not to trade gear. I have bought all of mine used, mostly from brick and mortar stores (a few pieces off the local equivalent of ebay) and I think I have built a respectable system for what happens to have been a substantial discount to retail price. However, if trafficking in used audio equipment were to become illegal, while I would likely not have the same equipment, even it meant "paying full retail", I'd build myself a decent system - though I would probably choose to do so by buying direct from manufacturers (and a number of people who have said "no" on this thread have previously recommended (at least in my admittedly hazy recollection) components sourced direct from the mfr). If I was a complete newbie, I'd probably go to a bricks 'n mortar shop to listen first, and pay the mark-up to learn.

I think I could do quite well for myself buying new at full asked price, partly because buying direct from the mfr cuts out at least one level of "middle man". I might buy Oris horn speakers (or if "stuck with" box speakers, maybe some Coincidents), a Berning amp, perhaps a Supratek or Bottlehead preamp & phono, maybe a Teres or Galibier turntable (packaged with arm). For a CD player, at this point, I would probably set up a music server connected to a directly purchased I2S-capable DAC (or I'd build my own from a kit). There are any number of choices to buy rack and cables direct as well.
12-28-06: Jmcgrogan2

.... Note: Sarcasm Alert
Gee - you weren't kidding. Hope you slept well.

Regards,
>>Most people in my age (30 something) who are smart and creative<<

I think you forgot humble as well.

Or not.
D_edwards - You bring bluster and recrimination to every event that captures your attention. I see no effort on this forum that would suggest that you want to help anyone. All of your content focuses on building yourself and belittling others.
You appear to have made a wise choice in becoming a football coach as the gridiron is surely a better theatre for your antics and attitude than our gentleman's hobby. Farewell.
Coaching Football these days, something where the outcome is not subjective and winning means I don't have to suffer fools or discount my salary.
D_edwards (System | Answers)

That's actually the most impressive comment I've seen from you yet Edwards. I coached baseball for 14 years, and it was a great experience. The kids keep you young. Are you coaching at a school/university?
I coached a community travel team and at the high school. The community league was more competetive.

It actually took me away from the audio nervosa for a bit. I went 7-8 years with absolutely no changes in my system whatsoever. Of course I didn't fire up the big rig much in those days either. Too busy.

Anyway, it sounds like it is good move to get out of the retail end, as it probably was best for you and your customers.
I assume Mr. Edwards pays sticker price when he buys a new car.

Getting a discount at a hi-fi shop is pretty common so, why would you not ask?

I will pay full retail if the dealer has spent a considerable amount of time helping me make a decision but, if I walk in and say I would like to buy product A and all he/she has to do is ring me up, I would ask for a discount. I am in favor of supporting good local hi-fi shops and would never want to be in the position of having to buy something without hearing it. No matter what, I will always ask for a discount on wire. The margins are outright ridiculous.

For me it is the journey.