@pdn, thank you. You certainly bring up several valid points.
The transports / laser assemblies represent a true achilles heel to CD players. It’s just a matter of time when they will fail. While the parts and ability to fix some machines exists, for many such a failure means the end of the road. Obviously, no one wants to spend several thousand dollars on a component that could potentially become a door stop tomorrow.
One caveat: so much of the gear listed online gets sold by folks who are not the original owners. They may be third, fourth, fifth, or... hand. It’s unrealistic and unfair to place the burden of knowing component history on those folks. Though again, I think you raise an excellent topic for discussion, and we do have the ability to make the situation better for the potential buyer
I agree that sellers should provide full information if they can.
It is also true many sellers are not the original owner.
One other curious play is to use the latest retail price instead of the actual date of purchase retail price.
One way for a buyer to find out the years of manufacture, and the original retail price is to Google the item name and model with the word review. Most popular equipment have reviews in the first few years of manufacture. And those often have the original price.
Most of us buying gear on Audiogon are (hopefully) savvy enough to recognize an age range of a competent we might be spying. For instance, if someone is selling a McIntosh MR 78, I don’t have to be told it’s no newer than late 70’s. Often, folks sell gear they also bought used so- again, age range is likely as close as you can get. It’s not like a Leica Camera where the serial number can be checked against a solid database to get the year of manufacture.
I have sold many things on this site and listing the products age is in the AD making process so if someone is not listing the age of the piece maybe they figure most people have already looked up when these were made and for how long. Also, thats why they have a "ask seller a question" box at the bottom of ad. So I dont think these people are trying to be misleading when they dont list an age, most people that is.
It would be nice if all sellers told us how old their gear is, how many hours it has on it, etc. I think most sellers are pretty good at letting you know what you’re getting and if they’re not you may want to just skip that purchase.
Always check the seller’s feedback, ask any questions you have before you make an offer and if a deal seems too good to be true, you know what that usually means.
On a different topic you brought up, that $200 cd player may start to sound a little bright after the excitement of all the new detail wears off. Let us know.
Actually the DAC IC in a older CD player or DAC are preferred to newer types - a Burr Brown 1704U-K Grade is unobtainable today - J Grade commands upwards of $100 per IC - why ? They are of the R2R type and produce better sound - which is why R2R DAC’s with discrete surface mount resistors are being made today. In an older CD player the optical laser is of much larger concern.
Agreed that age of a component should be listed - however sometimes as a reseller one does not know.
Component age is a nice feature to have in an ad if you are the seller, but as a buyer, I am so used to doing my own homework that I find it unnecessary.
Even if the seller posts the age, I will still ask for serial numbers to verify age and service history with the manufacturer/distributor. I'll even do this for cables with serial numbers.
Most sellers are honest, but if I'm spending MY money, I'm doing MY own homework.
very little of my gear has a production date listed on it, and I am the original owner of very little, so often have to go on word of previous owner, who is often not sure...and some of my gear was sold for many years...I have that Onkyo you mention and it is excellent for the price, especially since it is readily available for a little over $100. My Onkyo changer is 15 years old, though that model is still sold new...
Agreed with much of what's said above having bought, and sold, lots of used equipment it can be very hard to know the manufacture date. Also I listen to music and rarely with a stopwatch handy so hours are at best a guess. Do your homework as jmcgrogan suggests also it's helpful when the seller posts plenty of pics. Speaking of which two pet peeves, how can you photograph all sides of a component but not the back. And how can you post photos of speakers and never take the grills off?
Wow excellent discussion. Love it. Balanced and fair input and great suggestions. Elizabeth, thanks for the great Google suggestion. That is surely one way to find out. One comment: if you are the original owner, you would (or should) keep the original box and receipt. Then when you go to sell the item, you can refer to the receipt and date. That's a practice I follow. For non-original owners, a little more difficult but certainly discoverable. I just feel that the seller could expend a little more time to research this information for the buyer. That's all.
+1 on the two peeves from jond...
You can always try to contact the manufacturer with the serial numbers. Most are willing to give you a ball park figure.
A good reason to know the manufacture date is the updating that manufacturers do over time to their gear without changing model designations. Vandersteen Audio is famous for this as RV's designs are never final. As he does R&D for potential new products RV may find a crossover component, for example, that performs more admirably than what he has been using. When that happens he will often incorporate that improved part into other speakers in his line.
One of the biggest examples of his is the use of carbon tweeters. Once he perfected the design and perhaps more importantly, the manufacturing for those tweeters, they began to trickle down the line.
I recently discussed this very issue with Steve McCormack. He told me that very little in my 20 year old modded DNA-1 would be still in the amp. when I receive it from the rebuild he is currently doing on it. Not because what he did two decades ago wasn't valid at the time, but because so much has been learned and so many parts have improved over that span of time as he has worked on many different amplifier designs. The "vintage" of your kit matters!
If you are selling an amplifier, please state its power rating. Thank you.