I have been monitoring the turntable classify on Audiogon and it seems very few actually get sold. Are people afraid of buying used tables? What are the real risks? What are your experiences in buying used turntables and cartridges without actually demoing the unit?
I dont know how many actually do or dont sell, but personally I am concerned about shipping something as fragile as a TT. If it does arrive in one piece you have to deal with setting it up,mounting the cart. etc. I would prefer to have a B&M dealer behind me.
I've bought and sold multiple used tables and as long as you are competent with setting them up, and tweaking operation, there's no issue - except for risk of shipping damage. I've had 2 of them arrive damaged (the dust covers broken) in spite of some good care taken by the seller in packaging (one was an Audiogon dealer). BTW - some tables ship better than others. I have shipped many without incident, but I go to extremes in shipping - including disassembling them and packaging parts in separate boxes. This requires the receiver to be able to reassemble them. The fact is though - turntable are incredibly simple devices. It's not rocket science to be able to handle assembly and setup. My philosophy is if you can't handle these basics you should stick to digital . . .
All I know is that I just recently purchased a very nice used tt/cartridge on audiogon, had it shipped across the country, and all is extremely well. Of course a local sale is always preferable but what your looking for is not always available.
You certainly want to make sure that any seller knows how to properly pack and ship a turntable. The quality of packing materials also plays a big role. Best turntable packing materials I have ever seen are for the Well Tempered Amadeus. They deserve a reward for those packing materials (as well for the sound of the table at that price point).
My Sota Star Saphire was purchased used in 1989. Wonderful table. I shipped it to Sota last year for a repair, in the original carton. No problems. 5 years ago, I purchased a used SME 20/2, an even better table. Having 2 tables and thus cartridges simultaneously is great. Recommendation: don't hesitate to buy used if it is a recognized quality table, and only if it will be shipped in it's original packaging.
In 2009, I bought a used VPI Scout turntable. Since the seller was only 200 miles away on Staten Island, I opted to drive down there on a Saturday to pick it up. I brought my wife along and we had a nice ride and I took her to lunch at a Texas Roadhouse in Connecticut on the way back.
The seller was more than willing to ship the turntable, but I wanted to be sure the turntable wouldn't get broken.
I sold my SME Model 10 in less than two weeks. It was shipped in the original packaging and arrived safely and functions flawlessly according to the buyer. I think much depends on the quality of the table and shipping container. If there is any question, I would drive within five hours to pick it up. Buying turntables used should not be a problem if done with care.
I think BD's point is that it isn't hard to set up most tables, but if you are unable to even accomplish that simple task, then maybe vinyl will be too difficult for you. It's just a fact, and not for everyone. Even so, I have purchased and shipped dozens of turntables with very few issues. We'll there was that one time with a forklift leg through the side of the container. I will continue to buy great used tables from wherever I find them.
i have purchased 3 via audiogon. Maplenoll are not easy tables to ship. The first one was a wreck with the platter getting banged up and the plinth cracked. However, the last two were superbly packed and arrived flawless.
11-19-13: Mt10425 Bd-really? Go back to digital? Of course, you're right. Let's not help people listen to vinyl. Let's see...I can do it, you're on your own. Great philosophy, survival of the fittest and all that.
11-19-13: Winoguy17 Bd according to your philosophy, people that cant fix their transmission should ride donkeys? You come off sounding a bit arrogant and elitist.
hmmm . . . I'm glad at least one person understood me (thanks Manitunc). I've never been called an elitist before, nor unhelpful. I guess I didn't need to make the digital comment(which is really implied). Maybe all would be good if I had.
What I thought I said, was that it's very easy to set up and maintain a TT system (ie trying to be encouraging and helpful), but the fact is TT's are tweaky, especially if you want to buy used TT's; so, you need to expect to tweak them (ie trying to be practical). Of course those with the financial resources can outsource the tweaking . . . if they don't want to stick to digital.
Thank you all for your responses. I guess the logical thing to do when buying used turntable on the net is to have an agreement with the seller ahead of time on a resolution if the table arrives damaged due to shipping.
If I only purchased turntables I could hear before purchase and pick up, my best table would have been a Townsend rock 3, which come to think of it wouldn't be such a bad thing. But my next step would have been a technics sl1200. I shudder at the thought.
I purchased my Origin Live table on AGon and had it shipped. The factory box is a very well constructed wood crate instead of a carboard box. It arrived without damage. The table was in fabulous condition, unidentifiable from brand new. So my experience was postive in the best way.
I've purchased five used TT's, three of which were shipped to me by the sellers. Of the three that were shipped, two arrived in perfect condition and one was slightly damaged. The other two TT's were local pickups.
I only purchase used tables locally...shipping is too precarious for me...that being said...I have purchased NEW tables via parcel post...but they are packaged correctly, have return options, and warranties...hope this helps
Once a guy shipped me a technics sp10 wrapped in bubble wrap and placed in a huge box filled with newspaper. That was his conception of 'careful' packing. Make sure you are on the same page as the seller.
Having said that, maybe the guy was on to something since the table arrived unharmed.
I have shipped and received many tables. 95% of the ones sent to me made it fine. they usually do unless very poorly packed, or there is some physical damage to the box itself. Had one where the fork lift blade punched 4" into the box. Needless to say, there was some damage.