Pulling the trigger on pricey equipment

I have the opportunity to purchase a somewhat expensive pair of speakers from a private seller on Audiogon. His feedback is around 30 and mine is around 160. I have never purchased anything this expensive online privately. The speakers will have to be palletized and shipped freight insured. My angst is in I'm sending a lot of money upfront with the hope of receiving the speakers. Are there any suggestions regarding payment (maybe 1/2 upfront and 1/2 upon delivery) or best way to safeguard my money and alleviate some of the emotional stress in this transaction. Is Paypal my best option?
THis is a very interesting and valuable topic!

One takes a huge risk buying expensive used stuff that has to be shipped, whether here or anywhere. I shy away from larger or more expensive items that have to be shipped in general and look more for sellers within driving distance that are open to meet face to face as needed.

I am soaking it in and trying to learn.

What protection exactly does Paypal provide in a case like this?

Using escrow sounds like a smart option, but I have never done this. IS there a specific company /service that is recommended?
You should also check into what type of insurance can be obtained on the shipment.

If you are nervous, you could also have the buyer take photos of the equipment with a current newspaper (to show that they actually have the equipment). ETC.
I used PayPal to purchase a 780.00 preamp. The seller tried his best to scam me buy not answering my Emails and not answering his phone. I sent cash through the PayPal system to a recognized name and address. I contacted PayPal and they froze his ACCOUNT that day. In 14 days the money was returned back into my account from his. That's the protection PayPal gives if you send payment to a PayPal recognized account.
I would not buy anything expensive without viewing it and listening to it.
Problem with PayPal is that silly buyers can use it to freeze the payment for no good reason and trust me when I say no good reason. I had a strange dude do this to me with a lame reason and PayPal just listened to the buyer and immediately froze by PayPal. Use PayPal at your own risk and know as a seller you have no protection from the crazies with any lame reason to cause trouble.