I do buy used audio on occasion, only certain types like V-fet/SIT amps and high end speakers. It’s my opinion that it actually is much easier than buying a used car.
Why is used audio equipment so undesirable?
I’ve upgraded many things over the past couple years and quite frankly there is limited interest and not much to be gained by getting rid of unused equipment. My dealer doesn’t want it. And it’s all fairly new stuff within a few years. It’s easier just to box it and store it away and give it to someone if a situation ever arises. Selling it is ridiculous as I’m lucky to get 30 or 40% Plus all the hassle negotiating when selling, so I keep it.
It’s risky buying used audio equipment so there is no interest even for very nice units. So I’ve got nearly half dozen pieces taking up a lot of space all sitting in their original boxes and maybe next time I buy some new speakers I’ll prepare a list and get a few thousand dollars after paying nearly 4 to 5 time more when new.
Would I buy a used preamp or speakers for $15-$20,000? that might be very risky. So I guess I understand why used audio is not that desirable. After buying something used, you may wonder if it would have sounded different if I bought it new? And there in lies the quandry
Much easier buying a used car.
I have been buying (mostly) used components for four decades, and have never had a problem. Audiophiles tend to take good care of their gear.
It's true that there is typically sharp and rapid depreciation of new components, like new cars, which is why buying used makes such good sense.
Obviously some brands/models are much easier to re-sell than others, so take that into account.
Like @whipsaw, I have had no issues buying used. I have built two systems from the used market. I haven’t had any reliability issues. I try to stay in the relatively new,used market though.
I buy used 90% of the time. Rarely have I had an issue. I can sell sometimes even for a profit and keep trying new stuff basically for free or just the initial used investment. Let someone else take the hit.
When I do buy new I’m shooting for 20% off list. If you look around that’s usually doable. One of my systems has a list of about 12k. I have 2.4K into it and sounds crazy good.
It’s really fine, with some education and adjustment of your expected resale values. If you buy something at full retail, you’re gonna take a bath on its resale, even if it’s the very next day. Some brands hold up in value better than others (yes, McIntosh being one of the gold standards there). New hot items can command a premium, but that rarely lasts. When you look at sold used items over time, most are going below 50% MSRP. After the initial big hit though, depreciation tends to level off. So you’d either better get a hell of a discount when buying new, or buy used to start with.
If you get a used item that sounds notably worse than a new one, 9 times out of 10 that says some very BAD things about the manufacturer (inconsistency, bad reliability), rather than the fact that it’s used. Audible problems tend to be very obvious, and sellers with good feedback are not trying to pawn off broken gear.
“ ,,,,there is limited interest and not much to be gained by getting rid of unused equipment. My dealer doesn’t want it. And it’s all fairly new stuff within a few years. It’s easier just to box it and store it away and give it to someone if a situation ever arises. Selling it is ridiculous as I’m lucky to get 30 or 40%…”
hmmmm … not exactly IMO sir! Not all preowned gear grouped en masse. Quality build high end that does not suffer from unbridled Seller hubris as to selling price is doing fine .
ALL pre-owned equipment has a comparatively large depreciation factor from new, just like cars. And some if it has a very VERY high rate of depreciation.
You haven’t specified what pieces are affected so I will offer some selective observations.
HOME THEATRE AVRs and RELATED EQPT
regardless of its age, this stuff slides on a scale like a bobsled to hell. The vast majority is grossly overpriced from new already with a general very dodgy build quality from China. Most have a very brief warranty period limited to only one year before they become boat anchors that are impossible to fix.
(B) Professional techs refuse to service them now because of (A) in the first part, and more so, (B) the cost to repair exceeds the FMV of a serviced unit .
HENCE, Dealers don’t want any part of it.
CHEAP AMPS, SOURCES, SPEAKERS
Age has nothing to do with the marketplace shunning of most low-level strata gear. Even recent year issue models suffer from a tsunami of cheap option choices that render investing time and money into pre-owned units that are expensive to store and hard to sell. Ergo, Dealers don’t want them either. And that’s before they elect to carve out the segment for the expanding cohort of buyers, as dealer time wasters, who toss around nickels like they are manhole covers in the words of a local dealer.
QUALITY BUILD AND WELL -CARED FOR HIGH-END GEAR
Assuming it is properly priced, it sells on AGON , CAM and USAM in good form.AND quickly. Quality matters …big time. Dealers seek these out as viable budget fits for many consumers.
COVID AND THE PENDING RECESSION
This is the 800-lb gorilla in the room. ‘Nuff said.
When I was younger and had less money I bought used, from a dealer. As I got older and my purchases were much better thought out and expensive I would keep a component for ten to twenty years. For instance I bought a new Pass x350 and traded it in 15 years later for $500 less than I paid for it… final cost $2.77 / month. What a deal.
So, first. Having a dealer that accepts trade-ins is important. This gives him the opportunity to give you a “discount” from MSRP under the guise of “trade-in”… that does not violate their agreement with the manufacturer. My dealer got out of the business of reselling… he gives it to a third party that resells on the internet.
Having a long termed relationship with a dealer is useful as well.
My tastes have always been greater than my budget (new prices anyways). Like many audiophiles I research gear, check user comments and reviews and try to pick gear that I feel provides the max bang for the buck so to speak and has a good potential for meshing well with my other gear. Used gear or factory direct is my go to given I do not have deep pockets.
The Op's assertion is so stupid that I don't believe that it was meant for any reason other than to be provocative. I almost always buy used and have had great success selling used. If you don't do well selling used, it is usually for one of two reasons. First, the piece is not popular with potential buyers, or second, it's an obscure brand which may be wonderful, but buyers shy away because of potential problems with having it serviced as well as lack of professional and user reviews.
Just a ridiculous thread.
There's always market for buying and selling quality used components, do your research and purchase correctly. Without a thriving used market, audiophiles would be far fewer in numbers, leave it to only exclusive membership. And I've never had a single issue that wasn't promptly resolved, and same on my end. I've had more issues purchasing new components from certain retailers.
I paid 100 bucks my Sansui Au 7700 amplifier, one of the best design of the audio golden era ... Another 150 bucks to put it in good shape...
Think about that, it is impossible to buy for 250 dollars a so good anplifier, with a quality of design that amaze my experienced repair man, who patronized me about the quality of this machine, which is so flexible for many possible use nothing at any price mimic his many functionalities... The bad news is this amplifier is so good that his used price are now around1,000 bucks...
His sound is so good, i will pay a great amount of money to really upgrading it without any of his multiple functionalities... To say the truth i will be afraid to pick something in the 2000 bucks range to replace it , but i studied the question just in case and i will settle for a 7 thousand bucks Berning Zotl which i am sure will rival and beat it... ( 250 bucks versus 7000 bucks 😁)
Is there a wiser way to buy ?
i dont know any other way...
i own it now for 8 years.... If he stop tomorrow i will cry, but wait a minute, i loved it so much i bought another one of the Alpha series, supposedly better....Different, not better... But very good...
How can one of the better amplifier of 1978 can be bad today?
He is no more one of the best in the world, he is just very good now...
But being very good is enough if you know acoustic...
If you dont know acoustic even the better amplifier in the world will not beat it anyway...
Being an Audiophile is not only about buying gear, it is about learning to embed it rightfully mechanically, electrically and acoustically...
For the anecdote i read and study 6 months non stop each evening to know what to buy before jumping, we design our own luck and we deserve it... 😁😊
I used to buy good used equipment that was sometimes a few hundred $$$ off the retail price to 1/2 the retail price. Most of these pieces have been sold for sometimes more than what I paid for them to a few hundred $$$ less. Anything new (audio piece, car) will depreciate the minute you bring it home.
As for vintage equipment, been there decades ago but will never go back except for a couple of model separates. I used to own top of the line equipment 45 years ago, have repurchased some of these pieces for secondary/third systems and they just don’t cut it compared to todays technology, except for a couple of pieces which go for many thousands today, then you have to worry about failure rates/parts which are very rare. IMO of course
First of all, new equipment is generally marked up about 90% so if you get 40% of what you paid for it, that's about all you can expect.
Second of all as others have said, used equipment is the best value for your dollar. I have a Kenwood receiver made in the late 70's that is still working fine with only a few bulbs replaced and I expect it to last longer than I will.
I’ll add to the general nothing wrong with the right used product. So it might need repairs given time what doesn’t…don’t be a wuss. I’ve bought serious older high end which back in a day was impossible, now to buy that level of sound new today…a new house is cheaper. Doesn’t help there is a lot of over priced cosmetic, fad, here today gone tomorrow junk out there. So put on the big boy pants spend what ya can new or old and enjoy.
All my gear - except for some phono cartridges - was bought second hand at a fraction of the new price. Rarely have I had problems with the gear being defective. Same for my collection of CDs, LPs and RTR tapes. An example: I bought a pair of Rogers LS3/5A's from an eBay seller in Lithuania for $900 - they typically sell for $1800. Where else but the used marketplace can bargains be found?
I don’t know if used audio gear is particularly unloved. If you compare it with other household appliances, I bet the resale value would be higher than that of a washing machine (who buys used washers?).
Because some of the parts in my gear are vintage and collectable, I can get more than I paid for them. The midrange compression driver and horn (Western Electric 713b\12025) have nearly doubled in price in the past 15 years. I am sure the Western Electric input transformer (618a) and output transformers (171c) in my amp has also gone up in value. Everything else has probably lost some value, but I’ve gotten plenty of enjoyment from them.
Virtually manufactured goods depreciate, though some may go through a depreciation valley of death and emerge the other side as appreciating classics.
Quality audio gear is actually relatively good in terms of value retention and resale.
Compare it to cars, cameras and computers, and that is readily apparent.
My system would definitely not be as good if I didn't buy used or demo. At this point most of my gear is new, but if not for buying used gear I would not have moved up the food chain. The only thing I have purchased recently without using money from the sale of other gear is the Toolshed Amps 300b I'm having built.
Not sure if I'll sell my Quicksilver amps and one of my spare preamps, but if I do it will put $2500 or so back in the Toy Fund. If not it will be the foundation for a second system. Not sure on that yet.
I know exactly what you mean but lets face it, used gear depreciates fast, how much depends on brand and category, unless vintage where you can sell at a much higher price compared to original retail.
On the other hand the best values are found in used gear market for many users look after their equipment. So if within budget go for it.
And yes buying second hand car is more risky.
The used HEA market is the best barometer for what is a worthy component. There are exceptions like the KEF LS50 flooding the market due to many of the buyers not having proper system(quality) matching. For a 2-3 year period I was looking for a KEF 205/2 in sycamore/rosewood veneer was willing to pay top dollar none appeared? That ship has sailed but there are several items I check on a daily/weekly basis. Bottom line is the vast majority of components are bought due to hype from various sources without the buyer putting in study time. After the hype has passed the truth of the component has been revealed.
I scored a pair of ($11,000) Martin Logan, Summitt speakers that were in what I would call very good condition for $3,152. They're absolutely gorgeous, and perform flawlessly. And associated gear, but that's my best deal yet.
Buying used a bad idea?
I love the way people get called out here by others who know what's up. This is a great site, there's just too much censorship.
As for old equipment not sounding as good as new. Total nonsense, certainly digital has made great strides, but many nice old pieces, even vintage that will always maintain their status in hierarchy. Maintain and replace consumables, these are lifetime pieces, perhaps end game pieces.
One doesn't need to endlessly replace components. Feeling one's system inadequate up until death or total disability would be great failure to my way of thinking.