Used Market Savings vs. The Dealer Experience

Hi all,
I’ve asked a couple questions on these forums and have always gotten great advice, so I’m coming back to the well. My fundamental question is: how do you reconcile (or balance) the auditioning value a dealer provides vs the absolute dollar value you get from buying on the used market?

I bought a McIntosh MA252 recently, and it’s so great it’s convinced me to commit and invest in a serious hi-fi system. I’d drop $30k for something that put my jaw on the floor. Right now I’m running Goldenear Triton 2s, a Marantz TT-15 TT for analog, Mytek Brooklyn + Bluesound Node 2i for digital, and just replaced a Marantz PM-8005 with the Mc. Silnote cables all around. The Mc gave me my first taste of actual holographic imaging and sound you could reach out and touch. Now I want more of that, as well as greater/faster/more pronounced dynamic shifts.

I have a dealer nearby that’s been a joy to work with (bought the Tritons and Mc there). They let me listen to their 200k Wilson setup with D’Agostino amps and sweet little baby Jesus -- it was like trying to box a feral animal in the complete darkness. Lashes of sound just came out of nowhere, smacked you upside the head, and were gone. I was dumbstruck. The Sonus Faber Olympica IIIs, by comparison, were a smoother, more musical sound signature but far less of that arresting clarity.

I make this point because, had I not been allowed to audition this gear, I would have had no idea about any of that. In doing my due diligence to shop for a setup, I know I want to hear Focal Sopras, Olympica IIIs again, Goldenear T-Refs AND maybe a Wilson Sasha for good measure. I want to hear Mc separates, ARC separates, Rega TTs, Linn TTs, etc. To me, my dealer provides real value in auditioning, optimizing, and being confident that what I’m buying is what I like best.

Unfortunately, with new vs. gently used prices, the $ cost of that experience is massive -- $10k+ quite literally. On the used market now I can get Olympica IIIs for $7k instead of $13.5k, a Rega RP10 w/ Aphelion for $6.5k instead of $9ish, Mc C1100 + MC275 for $13k instead of $20k, and a pair of Sasha’s at $15k is within striking distance. New? They’re $30k. I also live in a high sales tax (10.1%) area, which doesn’t help anything.

For those with more purchasing experience, or even dealing experience, how do you square the value of auditioning gear with the exorbitant relative cost of then foregoing the used market? I feel definite guilt sucking my dealer’s resources to then just go buy it all online. That’s bad business, and if everyone did it, there would be no dealers, and heck, no new gear being made.

Is there a better way to do this?

I am a used car dealer by trade. Thus it’s no surprise I buy almost everything used. I also see value in a kind knowledgeable retailer. Recently I used Cloud MIS in Framingham,MA to explore cabinets. The owner Brian did such a good job letting me try out different pieces in my own home that I felt I owed him to buy something. I ended up buying a custom burlwood av cabinet. The attention to detail is amazing from the wood quality to the active cooling built it. The best part for me was the delivery. The company brought the cabinet to my home. Installed all my gear in it, they went above and beyond installing an optical cable in the wall from the tv to my dac and many other small touches.  The service to me was well worth foregoing the saving of buying used. It’s tough to pass up great equipment for pennies on the dollar but I mix it up with new and demo units to support my local dealer and show my support. If there’s no more retailers than this hobby really suffers.
A lot of sage wisdom this thread......

my used Triplaner is currently lost in transit..,

we shall all see how the saga plays out..,
I liken it to the car analogy.  I can't afford new stuff in the price range of the used.  A few year old Porsche is better than a new Ford.
You need to listen to a pair of SALK Song3 Encore's.  Jim Salk sells direct and as a result is able to afford to use the best drivers he can for a given price range.  I heard these at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest last October.  They sell for $6,000 and sounded better than a pair of $60,000 speakers I listened to.  They also sounded significantly better than the Spendor D7's I listened to.  I wish I had been able to listen to these before I purchased mine.  You mentioned Focal.  I have always wondered if Focal is allergic to bass extension.  
I meant to tell you to ditch the Marantz.  Need to explore ARCAM or Parsound Halo.