Recommended Carrier for Speaker Shipments


Does anyone have experience with shipping speakers across country?

My speakers weigh 103 pounds each and they are in perfect condition. I wish to have them upgraded by the manufacturer located in CA. I am in CT.

I am very nervous about shipping them, based on some of my experiences shipping other audio components.

What's the safest way to ship speakers (with cost also being a secondary consideration)?

I've recently had a couple of pairs of speakers shipped FedEx Ground, and they arrived with no problems. Just avoid UPS at all costs . . . .
I agree. The UPS gorillas beat a set of Def Tech speakers up and previously wrecked another (nameless) set of old speakers. Furthermore, I never got any money from them. You might also consider having one of the pro packaging services like Mailboxes, Etc do it for you.
Shipped my krell amp in for rebuild a while back (150 lb.) so I used their shipper. They will not use ups or fedex. Krell is in CT. so you could call them and they will give you the # of the company they use. Costs a little more but might make you fell better. The people at krell are nice to deal with and very helpful.
I just used FedEx Ground to have a pair of PSB Image 5T's shipped to me from Canada. One speaker arrived with the magnet sheered off the woofer and banging/knocking around inside the cabinet. It must have been dropped, par for the course with all ground shippers I think. The box looked ROUGH, with torn/dented/banged up corners and a tear in the bottom. Amazingly, the cabinets were not damaged. Just the sheered off magnet. I can buy a new driver and do a quick replacement, but I won't be using FedEx Ground for anything heavy again. They are truly rough and careless, same as UPS. Check several other threads on this issue within the last year--same complaints and experiences w/FedEx Ground as with UPS.
A further word of advice -- PACK IT YOURSELF! A seller took some gear that I had bought to one of those Mailboxes, Etc. places, and they packed a Lexicon DC-1 and a 50 pound Rotel amp IN THE SAME BOX.

Needless to say, damage ocurred, and needless to say, UPS is working very very hard at not paying . . . .

It might be more of a hassle to do the packing yourself, but at least you know it's done right.
I'm guessing you have a set of Vandersteen 3s or 3as that you're getting upgraded to Signature status, right? (Not that it matters...). I suggest you call the speaker company and get their recommendation for carrier. They're in the best position to know who mangles their products and who doesn't...
Agree with packing yourself. I've shipped lots of speakers with UPS. They need to be double boxed. UPS sells sturdy large boxes. Use the factory box and then pack with kraft paper or newspaper in the second box. Insure them for retail and pray!
I recently had my Thiels sent round trip via WATKINS MOTOR LINES,INC. 1-800-274-9099. I was very satisfied. They were recommended by Thiel. Very professional looking outfit with mostly new computer and TV's on skiffs on the loading dock. I suspect they specialize in this market.
You might not be eligible for Fedex or UPS if the dimensions are too large (and a 100lb speaker might be). I sold someone a set of speakers and sent the via Bax and where handled very well.
Call the manufacture. Get (buy) new packing material from them. Have them refer you to their shipper. Insure, insure, insure. Avoid UPS for anything over 10 pounds.
Swklein, you hit the nail right on the head! Congrats on your speaker recognition skills! (Vandy 3 -> 3A sig)
I bought a pair of acoustat tens with amplifiers. packing was OK but not robust. Every piece of wood was broken(fedex).
fortunately all I wanted was the amps, mangled but repairable.

My advice is pack very solid. The package needs to bounce well at 4 feet and land on the bottom. After you pack it, Take a very large oversize box or sheet of cardboard wrap it round and round and then rope it together with filamented tape, do not cut down to size, press down every inch of tape. The piece de resistance is an additional layer of clear 3M tape.
PS: do not buy tape at discount places like sams club.
The bubbbles in the tape are a sign of old age or poor quality. Fresh tape is clear with no bubbles. Target rules for fresh battery's and tape.

good luck you will need it.

Bax Global is no better than the rest. I had 200 lb.speakers in the factory wooden crates, with all the inner protective
material as well. They hit the crate with a fork lift tip.The pressed wood just popped back out--givin the weight of the contents. Didn't see it before I signed; They wouldn't pay---like most of the other shippers. You need a lawyer to fight their lawyers.
Hi, Dave:

I think you made a post last week asking essentially this same question regarding shipment of your Vandy speakers to the factory for upgrade. I responded to your post, but want to reiterate for others who may read this thread that the most important factor here is to ship your speakers in their Vandersteen boxes. Did you contact the Vandy factory to ask their advice on shippers? If not, I suggest you do so.

Best regards -- SDC
I recently used Roadway to ship two Quads from Seattle to a friend in Cleveland. Since I expect that shippers will attempt to drop anything just to test the laws of gravity, I custom built two wooden crates complete with foam padding. The crates are reusable, too. I think I spent about $400 on wood, special packing foam, screws, and stencils. The stencils were used to spray paint “this side up” and “fragile” all over the crates. It took me 18 hours to build the crates. Anyone who is an “expert” carpenter can probably do the same job in half the time. I digress. My friend claims that the speakers arrived with no damage (not even to the crates). Roadway ships via truck and the truck driver who picked up the crates was very careful (at least while I was watching). The cost to ship was another $300. Piece of mind comes with a high premium these days.

Caveat emptor: Roadway completely screwed up billing and over billed us. Three times.

I've had two different pairs of Avalon speakers shipped from California and Denver to South Carolina and chose AIT(based outside Denver I think) because they were the chosen carrier of Avalon to ship their speakers. I had bought one pair from a Audiogon member who had no shipping crates and arranged for Avalon to ship the crates via AIT to the seller and then ship the speakers to me. They did a great job and their charges were fair and their service was exceptional. If you have the original shipping cartons and all the packing material and they are in good condition and sturdy, then there should be no problem.
I have good fortune with BAX but as someone said they can all mess up. The most important thing to me is to get them on a pallet and have them shrink wrapped and delivered that way to your door - this way you know they did what you asked.

If they do this, the only way is to run a fork lift into them and that is a lot less likely than dropping, crushing, etc.

The perfect way would be to do the above but have a custom crate/box made that includes additonal packing that the speaker boxes/crates fit into. Then this is put on pallet and shrink wrapped. Your chances for damage have almost been made void.

Last, as the story with BAX above shows, look them over really really well BEFORE signing. You have only one chance to do this so don't let the shipper push you and don't be too anxious. Find a problem BEFORE signing and you will save yourself tons of pain.

Good luck.
first build or purchase wood crates like the 4 I have listed here for sale under Genesis speakers. Second don't call UPS. Third Call Crater and Freighter if you don't perform first step they will crate your speakers for about $200 each. They can ship them for reasonable fees also.
When I called Bax about shipping my speakers I was told that they will only ship company to company and will not take anything from an individual. Call them first to make sure you can ship with them, if you decide to go that way.
BAX does not allow shipping from a residential address since 9/11 you must be a Commercial Business, they won't pickup shipments from a mail Box etc. type business either. Won't allow you to ship from their dock even if allowed to inspect containers.
So, packagingis more imortant than the carrier.
As to the latter, you are dependent on human factors. No guarantees here, then ....
One last note. There are UP arrows available that will show if the crate or package was tipped or toppled over.
They have colored crystals inside and if tipped the crystals stick to a stickey arrow inside.
They are used on shipping crates for large machines that are shipped by common carrier.
Try Grainger.
Also PACK YOURSELF AND DOUBLE BOX OR CRATE with enough packing material. I usually pack as if I were the one receiving it.
Roadway handled a pair of Thiel 3.6s very nicely from L.A to L.A (Louisville area)...charge extra for residential delivery. One box was slightly smashed, but speaker was just fine due to excellent packing, etc.