Would you buy speakers with out first listening ?

I've never owned a pair of speakers that I have not listened to before hand...do you guys trust and buy on opinion? If so, have you experienced any great "let down".

I've bought two pairs w/out listening first but I did a huge amount of research first. Both have proven to be excellent, though sonically different, speakers. Neither had a lot of raves from the crowd and both were by small makers. Probably just lucky. :-)
I've purchased four different speakers without first listening to them -- all four were excellent, only sold them to try new and different speakers / system configurations.
I would recommend a good amount of research before you purchase speakers.
Where I live, there is no way but to buy speakers without listening to them. There are not really any hi-end dealers here in Montgomery, AL.

BTW, is there is anyone else who dislikes the city/town they live in? I can't stand this town, but can't move.
Twice, and happy both times. Some types are not available in stores.

This can save you a lot of money. If it's a mail-order deal, make sure you know whether crating/shipping is covered your way. My last pair had these included and the total out if I didn't like them would have been $80.

I know another guy that was out almost $300 when he had to ship his back.
I've only heard one of the four pairs of speakers that have bought in the past. I have liked every one of my purchases, with no regrets. After time, you kind of develop a knack for reading "between the lines" of reviews and feedback, whether professional or not, to determine if certain speakers will work for you.
Come on Joey :-)..Montgomery isn't that bad. ATL and Birmingham are not too far up the road. Your more than welcome to stop by and get your mind blowed since we are distant neighbors.
I've bought speakers without listening a couple of times.
Never been let down..actually I was more let down by the ones I auditioned and then brought home.LOL

I'm waiting on PeteWhitley to get his Bob Brines speakers so I can raid his house!
I purchased several speakers without auditioning them and have only been disatisfied once. Believe it or not it was a pair of Vandersteen 2CE Signatures. Although they sound fine, they were way to big for my room. Actually like Gmood1, the speakers I was most unhappy with, after living with them for a while, were Thiel 1.5s.
Research is key when buying sight and sound unseen and unheard.
I did just purchase some Omega Grande 6's for my SET amp on recommendations from fellow 'Goners. They also told me about the breakin time :( But I do appreciate the input. Have not received them yet...............
Hummm, I'm a little suprised so far that no one has been "let down" to any degree, I am thinking that the discription we use at these forums in regards to sound, ie...dark, bright, laid-back, forward...ect...must be a fairly good meter that one can almost depend on?

I'm not looking to change speakers...was just wondering how many people bought without ever hearing what I have always thought to be the building block of any system.

Dave, I've been let down. The good news is that it was a relatively inexpensive pair of monitors I purchased for my daughter. She was off to college and I didn't have time to listen locally. The JM Labs were pretty good, but not up to the hype. Since everything is systems dependent, I'm certainly not ruling that out. From now on, I will always try before I buy. So much, to quote Thedautch, "depends on the ear and the gear." IMHO, reviews simply can't pick that up.
I've bought over twenty pair of speakers over the net without listening to them and have only been burned thrice. I'll go ahaead and name them...Newform Research R630, Adire Audio HE 10.1, and some Rocket moitors. The Newforms were in a hard room but sounded very bright and probably would always sound thin. Sold after two months. The HE 10.1 sounded dull as can be, not even close to the EFE T-22 they replaced. I returned them for full refund. the Rockets were truly horrible. Super bright.

I've also had great success buying sight unseen. Maggie MMG's, Audiovecter M-1 Supers(awesome), ACI Emeralds, BG Radia 520 DX, Reynaud Twins, EFE T-22, and Green Mountain Europa's.

As far as I'm concerned the best part of this hobby is getting new stuff in the mail. The excitment factor makes it all worthwhile. You can always sell it on Agon for a slight loss. It's worth the hit.

Gymane, the speakers should be in in a month. I've got the Crown on ice! See you then.(<:

Personally, I feel that purchasing speakers, or any component without listening to it is asking for disappointment. You may be lucky, as some of those above have testified, but you are quite likely to be unlucky at some point.

Years ago, I was a campus representative for an audio equipment dealer that had people selling out of a catalog. It didn't take me long to have a few dissatisfied customers, despite their having purchased good equipment, because the sound didn't satisfy their expectations. I discovered that stocking a few representative pieces from my major lines, and letting potential customers audition various systems at my apartment effectively dealt with this situation.

Since an audio system strongly reflects the aesthetic sensibilities of its owner, its difficult to achieve satisfaction by buying audio equipment as you would a dishwasher. While expert opinion can be helpful in winnowing through a huge marketplace full of stuff to assemble a short list of candidates, only your opinion is going to matter when everything comes together.

If you have no local access to the audio marketplace, I would strongly urge you to establish a relationship with the manufacturers and dealers that have an at-home audition policy. You can order the equipment through the mail, audition it at home, and in that manner decide if the component(s) is suitable. These establishments will allow you to return the component for a refund if it is not suitable.
Cool Pete..I'll be ready. I will bring the Clari T Amp up for an audition as well. I've been told it's a match made in heaven! We shall see.
I agree with ya Pete..the only way to truly know what sound your looking for, is to listen to as much gear as possible in your own home.
It can cost you but it sure is fun to do.

Good Listening!
After reading reviews for 6 years, I bought a pair of nOrh speakers without hearing them. They're more placement senstive in my room than some others claimed, but I'm quite happy with them.
I live in a smaller city and had just brought home a pair of the new B&W 805S to demo. I had listened to them for 8 hours and was ready to buy the next day. I happened to look on Audiogon that same day and saw an incredible deal on Focus Audio FS688 that were not even broken in. I had not heard them (but had read and done much research) and bought them immediately. This may sound cheesy, but I really felt bad telling the dealer here what I had done. They're great people and I know a lot of retailers are being hurt by internet sales.. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and it was to good a deal to pass up. I was lucky.. these speakers are the nicest monitors I have heard and far exceeded my expectations.
All the time. Probably a dozen or more pairs.
If you don't like them, move them on. That's why we love Audiogon.
I have now bought 4 pairs of speakers and a sub through mail order without listening to them first, and none have let me down compared to the speakers I auditioned in their respective price ranges through B&M stores.

I agree that if you *can* audition speakers before paying any money for them, then that is best... I am a calculated risk taker, however, and I think that in most cases, ordering speakers built to order direct over the net with a 21-30 day money back guarantee home trial (with the potential to get much better bang for the buck than buying through brick and morter stores) makes a lot of sense... especially when the return costs are minimal.

I've bought my last three speakers without hearing them--and haven't been disappointed yet. I have a close relationship with my dealer, and we both have similar listening preferences, so that's a BIG plus. Always buy from a dealer you can trust--and who respects you not only as a customer but as a human being. I've dealt with a lot of shitty/shady audio dealers in my time, and, believe me, once you establish a relationship with one you trust, it's like a breath of fresh spring air.

Ironically enough, my most disappointing speaker-buying experiences have happened when I auditioned them in the store. To a speaker, not ONE sounded as good in my home as when I heard it in the showroom.
I started out years ago listening and buying at the dealers place. At that place and time I was not smart enough at to realize they had better stuff driving them.--So I was always disappointed.---Since then I have bought from reading the review.---Even tho I could have listened at the store where I was buying; I thought it a waste of time.So since about 1990 I have bought without hearing first. I have always been happy with what I bought; sight--unheard. If this were a poll,my answer to the question: YES.
tough call...

you can get a general impression by here and audio review...but will have no idea how they will interact with you room and gear...
I have been disappointed, updating from B&W 802, series III to B&W N804. It has taught me never to buy speakers that I do not hear first. It was my third set of B&Ws so I didn't think it would be a problem.

Room issues and associated components make such a difference to getting the best fit. How will you know if you are getting the speaker that brings all this synergy together. I replaced the N804 last year with ATC 20-2s. I demoed over 10 speakers, and was also able to hear the finalist in my home.

In comparison with other components, it was a time consumming and difficult experience. I did, however, learn a lot in the process of what I really wanted as well as know I that I didn't compromise. This method takes a lot more time & costs more money (no used deals). To me it was fair price to make sure I got he sound I wanted.
I was just reflecting on my post about buying speakers unheard. I should add that I am much more reluctant to purchase source components on line unheard, and when I purchase a speaker I have no expectations of it being a perfect match to my amp. Perhaps thats why I haven't been disappointed.
In my case, I've only bought one set of speakers from the internet and they were bought without hearing them first. Did a lot of reading and then took the plunge and very glad I did.

I bought my Magnepan MG12's unheard.
I did a lot of reasearch before buying them.
I had also listened to a pair of 1.5's before, so I knew what their house sound was.
Bought my Merlin VSM-MM speakers based on the kind responses on Audiogon and Audioasylum.Reading reviews and researching the subject.No chance of a audition.Also bought my Pathos Logos in the same manner.
Bought my Aerial 7B speakers after hearing a pair in a dealer's showroom. This was before I knew anything about system synergy and the importance of the associated equipment. Once I got them home, they didn't do it for me. The second pair of speakers I bought unheard and loved them immediately. They have continued to perform excetionally through several equipment rotations. They're Von Schweikert VR4 Gen III HSE.
I bought my Green Mountain Continuum 3s without auditioning the. Like others, I did loads of research and spoke to Roy who designs and builds them. They far exceeded my expectations.

I am very close to doing this very thing...

after reading and reading...and reading, and emailing owhers of Eminent technology planar hybrids, I am quickly feeling more and more that these might be my speakers, also talking to Bruce there is a pleasure, still wish I could find Ohio or PA owners so I might impose for an audition, but im pretty close to taking the plunge.
Interesting that some of the speakers mentioned are of the work-horse variety, ie..give up a little to gain a lot. These are the types I tend to go with as my choices in speakers for the last couple of pairs.

My question came about after reading so many posts at many different forums (I surf a lot...retired old man) from people asking for speaker advice.

My last pair of small speakers was around 10 years ago (B&W's)...shipping small speakers is not a problem so I should have mentioned that...heck, if you don't like um, sell um.

150-250lb. types which I seem to have an audio fetish for was more in line to my thinking...

Newbee...point taken on the source. After selling my high-end SACD player almost a year ago...I'm still setting here listening to my old Technics Dvd-A10 as a cd source (not because it's GOOD)...can't seem to pull the trigger even though I know cd players are very easy to ship?

I see that you still have the BAT...I recall a post a good while back regarding moving on from that player?

Newbee, Whoops...It may have been CAL transport and cd player I'm thinking about?

Dave, I've had the BAT for about 7 years and other than getting the transport/laser overhauled at year 5, its been an excellent unit mechanically. As with all things which have tubes, tube selection makes a difference. I've never bought into the upgrades. Too much money for my ears. It throws a huge soundstage and is very detailed, without being at all bright or rolled off. The only thing I have ever found lacking in it, and this is a minor nit, probably more about me that the unit, is that I still prefer my old Cal Alpha DAC for vocal and instrumental sound. A bit more mid-range emphasis which I find pleasant (and a bit more forward in prospective - not in tone). I keep thinking I aught to upgrade, but then I read all of the reviews and user comments about whats available and go back to listening to music on the old stuff. If you can get a newer BAT, or an older one which has had the laser overhauled, they sure are priced right in comparison to the other stuff I'm seeing on the 'Gon.
Whatever you buy unheard will sound good. You have to justify it, and most modern speakers sound at least 'good', with a wink and a nod to Julian Hirsch. Sure, there's crap out there, but as most of us have surfed, web research generally yields satisfactory results, or better.

I Have listened to speakers ['sight seen'] that were quickly dismissed. I've since learned not to judge too quickly, although this demo was easily won by Snell [vs/ Paradigms]. It did surprise me as most speakers of Canadian origin are excellent, and I've owned Energys and PSBs which pleased me no end. Chacon son gout [To each his own]!
I have three times, and was amd am happy each time. Pair one my girlfriend made me get rid of for decor reasons, pair two weren't suitable foe new amps I got, and pair three continues to live happily with me to this day. That's the great thing about buying used, if you're smart it's tough to get burned.
After careful research, I purchased my Green Mountain Audio Europas without the benefit of an audition. Unfortunately, GMA is not represented in upstate NY.
Due to this fact, I called GMA directly. When I called GMA, Roy, himself, answered the phone.
The owner and chief designer of a company picks up the phone and speaks to the customer directly. Pretty rare I would say. Much to my delight, I had a wonderful conversation with him. Convinced I was in good hands, I ordered a pair of Europas on the spot. I did have to wait due to a back log of orders ahead of me, but that was fine with me.
Boy, oh boy, was the wait worth it!

I'd also like to make a comment on the customer service I received after the sale. As I was breaking
the speakers in I detected a hissing sound coming
from one the speakers. I called Roy to ask for advice.
He told me to send the speakers back, on his dime, and he'd personally oversee the trouble shooting process, himself. I also told him that I had accidentally
managed to scratch the bottom of one of the speakers.
No problem, he'd have the area repainted at no charge. Thank you Roy and everyone at GMA! Anyway, it turns out, they could detect nothing wrong with the speaker.
Oddly enough, the sound disappeared. The speakers were sent back to me and I have'nt had a problem since.

I just would like to say that everyone at GMA are top-notch. They really go all out for their customers. Something, which is quite rare these days. Bravo.

While I am one of the biggest advocates of auditioning a loudspeaker there is, if the right pair of Apogees came up for sale, I think I'd buy them sound unheard (going on the recommendation of people I REALLY trust).
You know Trelja...I think you would be OK with that move as long as you had a fairly large room.

That said...I had my Apogee Centaur Minors (still do) a good while before I bought my Duetta Signatures..Took over a year to find a pair close enough for a listen before I shelled out the cash.

I should have known that I would like them, still...I waited.

Now waiting for a local pair of Scintilla.

Back in my "civilian" days, I bought speakers without listening to them first on several occasions, generally with good results.

If you count all my DIY projects (which I had to pay for before hearing), then that would add another fifty or so. Results here were mixed - most of my own designs sucked.

I would say the key to buying speakers unheard is to first know yourself - know what you like and what you don't like a loudspeaker to do, and know what you're willing to compromise if you have to. Second, it helps to understand speaker design to the point where you can make a reasonable assessment of what a given design will and will not do based on objective data - especially as it relates to your priorities (what you like & don't like). Finally, you can give credance to rave reviews, but I have found this to be an unreliable predictor of whether or not I will fall in love with a given loudspeaker.


"Science is not a democracy" - Earl Geddes
Actually, Duke, that's an excellent piece of written advice (if I may say so)! Cheers!
It's my opinion that you have never heard speakers even if you audition them. Every other factor is different. The room you listen in, your amp/preamp or integrated, your cd player, your turntable, your cartridge, your speaker cables, your interconnects are all different and in some case where people have small odd shaped rooms with windows, doors and furniture in them, very, very different. I find buying audio equipment one of the most difficult things I have ever tried to do. I think that if your research finds a consensus of people liking a component, that's as good as you can get.
Dgreenb1, that is an excellent point about room interaction and equipment synergy. I believe those two factors had a direct effect on my Aerial 7B speakers not sounding as good in my living room as in the dealer's showroom. A home audition is really the best way to go.
Absolutely NOT. I have heard so many very expensive pairs of speakers that I could never live with for any length of time. I realize that it is not practical to expect a home audition, but one can tell quite a lot from hearing a speaker that is set up well in a showroom that one is familiar. If I buy from a dealer, I expect the dealer to help with set up, finding a suitable amp and tweaking.

Currently, very few commercial designs interest me. But, I've heard a number of custom designed systems that sound very good. If I do change my speakers, something I don't expect to do for a long time, I will go that route. That necessarily involves close interaction with the designer and listening to different options, etc.

My next interim upgrade will probably be an active crossover. I know a builder/designer who I can work with towards getting a complex active system to work correctly.
Absolutely NOT. Just like Larry - I've listened to a lot of "high-end" speakers that I couldn't stand. Nor is it a good idea to make expensive judgments based on the opinions on message boards. (One look at the Audiogon "Recordings to Die For" list will prove that point :)
There's always a hardcore group that likes anything (especially the newest, most-hyped equipment) even more so after they've plunked down a few grand and own it. And they're the people who tend to post about it actively, so there's an inherent bias. For example, I dislike the new Gallo Ref III's, but I'm not going to waste my time running around chat boards warning everybody who asks about them, but at the same time there's a few Gallophiles who enjoy raving about them whenever they get the chance.

Once you're above a certain level of design and build quality, it all depends on your particular ears, brain, and likes/dislikes.

And lastlly, one all-important important consideration - the amount of grief you will get from your wife when you have to eat a $1500 loss because you don't like your new speakers as soon as you hook 'em up. Trust me - I know about that firsthand!
I am just getting back into the game and everything has changed from when I sold stereos to work my way through college in the early 70s. In the last six months, over the internet, I have purchased B&W Matrix 803, B&W CDM2, JM Lab Electra 906, Velodyne SLP-1200, Revel Performa F50 & C50, all used. We are happy with all of the purchases: It even makes my wife happy to argue over which one sounds better. My wife likes the JM Labs & Velodyne SLP-1200 better than the Revels. If she were not watching me type this, I would tell you she is wrong.

Research it first. If you buy it used and do not like it, sell it. If you buy it right, your loss should be minimal. It certainly gives you access to speakers otherwise unavailable.
I just picked up Innersound EROS MKII speakers with never hearing them, and I love them..people say the sweet-spot is too narrow, in my case I cant move my neck at all so its no big deal.
I agree that you haven't "heard" the speaker until it's in your system. So, yes, several times I bought having only auditioned at a store. Now that the stakes are higher, i.e. more $ into components, dedicated room etc., I need to hear it in my environ. Now, the question is, would I buy any component from cables to cd players without first auditioning.
I don't subscribe to the "gotta listen for hours/days to assess the speaker" group. I can tell in five minutes whether a speaker is a serious enough upgade to change. If the speaker doesn't blow me away with how drastically better it sounds, then I figure why change? Auditioned my current mains, oh, say 30 seconds and I knew I'd buy them. Got them home, and say 5 minutes of playing in my system and I knew they'd stay.
More of a leap of faith was shelling out the extra to run them in a stacked (double pair) configuration. I read a review which lauded it, so I picked up the extra amp, cables, interconnects, and speakers having never heard it. One of the best leaps of faith I've ever taken.
My confidence in first seeking out the speakers was bolstered by reading 17 perfect reviews (every review rating a 5 of 5) on audioreview.com I saw that the associated equipment of the reviewers was of high calibur, and assesed their comments accordingly. A great source for assessing components that one cannot audition. I also paid attention to what speakers the reviewers were trading in (namely the ones I owned at the time)for the new one. That spoke volumes.
Yes. Bought Spendor 1/2E's sight unseen never heard. Not for one instance ever regreted the purchase.
Just too many positive things were said. That many people can't ALL be in cahoots with a company.
Beside I live in an area that is severely audio challenged. I can listen to some Bose, Polk...
I just did it again.
Yes, when the price is right. Out of the 5 sets of speakers in my house, I could sell all of them for more then I paid.

When the price is right I don't see the harm.

BW Maxx
Yes I would, and I have. I bought my Green Mountain Europas on the back of recommendations from former owners of Spica speakers, which I used to own.

I would never buy based on magazine review, but I think a review from someone who can reference versus a speaker I already know very well is a safe bet.

And the GMA Europas worked out fine.
I bought my Europas based on recommendations from Audiogon. And have never looked back!
i bought my gershman avant garde's unheard. i read every single opinion, review, and blurb i could. there was no dealer anywhere near me, but they sounded like the would fit the bill. i auditioned martin logan, soliloquy, revel, thiel, nht, and a few others before taking the chance on the gershmans. i am so glad i did. they lived up to their reputation and then some in my opinion.
I've done it once. Never, never, never again. Both professional and user reviews can be misleading, inaccurate, and incomplete. Professional reviews require reading very, very carefully, paying close attention to subtle clues and passing phrases that will illuminate weaknesses that they may be trying to gloss over. Some reviewers haven't thoroughly auditioned the speakers, and some user are most likely half deaf. After spending a year reading, researching, and listening, I've found that nothing substitutes for listening, and listening more than once with a set selection of your own CDs or LPs that you know intimately. Check the speakers with a test CD, sinewaves, acoustic music, and vocals. And nothing reveals a speaker's abilities better than solo piano and full orchestra. Solo piano for its ability to reveal distortion and realism; the sound of a piano is well known to our ears and most speakers alter a piano's sound in some clearly audible way. Orchestra, because the complexity and range, will show just how well a pair of speakers can resolve detail and their overall balance. Most rock and pop recordings are so over processed they will never tell you anything. Close your eyes and listen.