Secondhand HiFi - What to look for?

Oxfordian

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I have never bought Secondhand Hifi, always new and from a bricks and mortar store.

Now over Christmas whilst relaxing and enjoying a glass or two of red I wondered how it would go if I ventured into the murky waters of secondhand hifi, could I hook a bargain or would I get bitten by a shark. My rationale is that it may be possible to upgrade my kit with items that are normally financially out of reach but are available in the used market at a price that could be justified, this kit is not necessarily recent but not ancient either.

For example; it would seem that a good high end pre/power amplification combination from a well respected brand that was on sale say 10 years ago can be had for the price of a modern day integrated amplifier, on the vinyl side some new mid to high end TT's today are being sold for the cost of a good quality moving coil cartridge as they are 10-15 years old..

Doing a bit of research there are some dealers who do a range of secondhand units and of course there is that well known on-line auction site.

From those on the forum that buy used gear to improve their systems, what have your experiences been like, what should I look for as a positive and what should I avoid?

Is my idea of being able to pick up older high end kit that would normally be out of reach budget wise realistic? Or has the red wine clouded my mind and I need to take the rose tinted glasses off?

I would like to hear the views and thoughts of those that have experience of buying hifi gear secondhand.
 

Revolutions

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Aug 6, 2023
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I have never bought Secondhand Hifi, always new and from a bricks and mortar store.

Now over Christmas whilst relaxing and enjoying a glass or two of red I wondered how it would go if I ventured into the murky waters of secondhand hifi, could I hook a bargain or would I get bitten by a shark. My rationale is that it may be possible to upgrade my kit with items that are normally financially out of reach but are available in the used market at a price that could be justified, this kit is not necessarily recent but not ancient either.

For example; it would seem that a good high end pre/power amplification combination from a well respected brand that was on sale say 10 years ago can be had for the price of a modern day integrated amplifier, on the vinyl side some new mid to high end TT's today are being sold for the cost of a good quality moving coil cartridge as they are 10-15 years old..

Doing a bit of research there are some dealers who do a range of secondhand units and of course there is that well known on-line auction site.

From those on the forum that buy used gear to improve their systems, what have your experiences been like, what should I look for as a positive and what should I avoid?

Is my idea of being able to pick up older high end kit that would normally be out of reach budget wise realistic? Or has the red wine clouded my mind and I need to take the rose tinted glasses off?

I would like to hear the views and thoughts of those that have experience of buying hifi gear secondhand.
I’ve bought almost my hifi 2nd hifi for the past 20 years, through eBay & gumtree. No horror stories to speak of, and barely any remotely negative experiences.

2nd hand cds is probably the area where I have the most problems.
 
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Oxfordian

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I’ve bought almost my hifi 2nd hifi for the past 20 years, through eBay & gumtree. No horror stories to speak of, and barely any remotely negative experiences.

2nd hand cds is probably the area where I have the most problems.
If you don't mind can I ask why the direct to 2nd hand, was it budgetary or being a bit savvy and seeing the opportunity to get more for a bit less?
 

twinkletoes

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I’m a believer in purchasing pre loved, it keeps things out of the tip basically.

Though I only go back so far as things may require a service and in some cases can prove impossible to fix, basically anything with a microprocessor that contains custom code.

As with camera gear people tend to look after there purchases especially past a certain price point. So you shouldn’t be to concerned but there are vet brands that seem to receive a harder lifer than some for whatever reason.

There are some specialist hifi stores in London that sell nothing but vintage gear. And personally that’s the route I’d take as they full test there stuff before sale.

I’d love to get some tannoys legacy speakers for example. But I can’t ever see that happening at all
 
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Oxfordian

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I’m a believer in purchasing pre loved, it keeps things out of the tip basically.

Though I only go back so far as things may require a service and in some cases can prove impossible to fix, basically anything with a microprocessor that contains custom code.

As with camera gear people tend to look after there purchases especially past a certain price point. So you shouldn’t be to concerned but there are vet brands that seem to receive a harder lifer than some for whatever reason.

There are some specialist hifi stores in London that sell nothing but vintage gear. And personally that’s the route I’d take as they full test there stuff before sale.

I’d love to get some tannoys legacy speakers for example. But I can’t ever see that happening at all
Any suggestions on brands with a good back up in terms of servicing/parts and maybe brands that are difficult to get parts for?

Equally how far back would you go age wise, 10, 15, 20 years? Or are there some aspects of hifi that can be more readily repaired, turntables perhaps?

Thanks for responding.
 

twinkletoes

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Any suggestions on brands with a good back up in terms of servicing/parts and maybe brands that are difficult to get parts for?

Equally how far back would you go age wise, 10, 15, 20 years? Or are there some aspects of hifi that can be more readily repaired, turntables perhaps?

Thanks for responding.
Rega turn tables seem to carry parts for models way back and or can be “upgraded” with modern counterparts. As are linn and technics. Technics seem to keep going, I have a friend that has an original 1200 (late 70s model) and has never needed any work beyond a cart.

Electrical smart components start getting iffy as early as 5 years parts wise.

I see it this way. The “dumber” the better in regards to electrical’s. There arn’t many brands that truly still service and repair there components, sugden, naim, linn, acuphase, luxman, audio note all spring to mind. I’d happily look back quite far if looking at these brands. Sugden/naim are still servicing amps from the 60s/70s and sugden relish the opportunity to find out the history of manufacture of those said pieces. But any “dumb” component can be repaired by a good service center.

Speakers, klipsch, harbeth, naim, tannoy, jbl all have very active driver and replacements it seems. Though tannoy for example, there drivers are very sort after and fetch some very high prices. I’d Happily look back 30-40 years for speakers as long as I can see them and hear them.

Cd players are a mind field and wouldn’t really look any further back than around 10 years, same for standalone dacs.

Streamers i wouldn’t touch after 2 maybe 3 years I wouldn’t buy a naim uniti for example

Hope that helps
 

Oxfordian

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Rega turn tables seem to carry parts for models way back and or can be “upgraded” with modern counterparts. As are linn and technics. Technics seem to keep going, I have a friend that has an original 1200 (late 70s model) and has never needed any work beyond a cart.

Electrical smart components start getting iffy as early as 5 years parts wise.

I see it this way. The “dumber” the better in regards to electrical’s. There arn’t many brands that truly still service and repair there components, sugden, naim, linn, acuphase, luxman, audio note all spring to mind. I’d happily look back quite far if looking at these brands. Sugden/naim are still servicing amps from the 60s/70s and sugden relish the opportunity to find out the history of manufacture of those said pieces. But any “dumb” component can be repaired by a good service center.

Speakers, klipsch, harbeth, naim, tannoy, jbl all have very active driver and replacements it seems. Though tannoy for example, there drivers are very sort after and fetch some very high prices. I’d Happily look back 30-40 years for speakers as long as I can see them and hear them.

Cd players are a mind field and wouldn’t really look any further back than around 10 years, same for standalone dacs.

Streamers i wouldn’t touch after 2 maybe 3 years I wouldn’t buy a naim uniti for example

Hope that helps
Thanks for this information it is very useful.

In my mind I sort of expected the likes of Rega, Linn, Naim to be serviceable for a good few years to come and to be able to work on their units from a few years back. I hadn’t considered Sugden, Accuphase and the others you mention so that is helpful.

One that I will throw out there is Exposure, I read a fair bit on line about how good their kit is but hear very little about how serviceable it is from a few years back?

I agree on the modern steamers, DAC’s etc etc, I am not sure that there is much that will be done in a few years time to repair a faulty item, maybe I’ll be proved wrong but I sense that these products will head to the recycling centres to have bits removed before the rest is scrapped.

The more I look the more interested I become in picking up some pre-loved gear if it fits into my upgrade plan, a quick scan of one store last night showed that I could have a well spec‘d LP12, plus a Naim pre and power combo for not much more than a new entry level LP12 or Gyrodec or equivalent.

Lots to investigate and think about.
 
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CD, pre- and power amps as well as speakers all bought from eBay. Look for lots of pictures, particularly of any cosmetic damage, well-written text and feedback as a seller. Mine were all fine, and given how much these sorts of things now cost new (in comparison with 2-3 years ago when I last changed things) it makes even more sense now than it did then.
 
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Stuart83

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I had mostly vintage kit as a youngster mainly through my father as he used to repair all things electrical in his loft.
Its how I was introduced to hifi with a sansui au501 at 12 which performed faultless for many years going through an early teens abuse.
Trio, Armstrong, leak, wharfdale Linton, sony even a nakamichi tape deck found its way to me through that little loft hatch just to name a few.

I mess around a tad myself now only recently modernisting from a old favourite of mine the pioneer a400 which still works fine.
I've only had to replace the power led and clean the inside from a mountain of dust.
I still use the pioneer from time to time as it took ages to find a similar modern equivalent sound wise.
Things seem to work way past what's normally thought.

There's so so many variables, usage, treatment, climate and from what I learned early on that they hate being left off for long periods.
Many a piece of equipment went away fully working and came back out of storage Brocken.

Your right in thinking it's a very good way of getting hold of things that are way better from the second hand market than what the same budget would allow new.
The biggest factor I've found in second hand hifi isnt any of the mentioned and that's shear luck.

Places like hifi sound Stockton which are a bricks and mortar store sell second hand hifi fully guaranteed and for a good discount.
They get all sorts in I picked up an acram sa30 there after waiting for the software issues to be fully solved and it's perfect.
Ive had a mixed bag from ebay as your buying blind really irrespective of photos that may or may not be correct.

I bought a lovely pair of mission mx3 speakers another favourite of mine because their back story fitted in line with moving house to a smaller property and the wife didn't want floorstanders in her new tiny living room.
They are faultless without a blemish and speakers are probably the biggest concern second hand.
Speakers have a far shorter lifecycle especially if moved and are prone to the most abuse.
We've all seen or experienced the pushing in of the tweeters or knocked them over whilst dusting etc etc.

If spending big always as you mentioned use a bricks and mortar store or if not possible a reputable dealer.
When I buy things blind online off ebay etc I keep it an amount that can be an acceptable loss (if such a thing exists)

More complex repairs of old obsolete hifi is still possible all be it sometimes with generic parts but there's not much that can't be repaired.
The best bet is to stay away from such equipment but it's not always possible if a rare unheard of brand or model is your preference.

I will say one thing though as I own both new and old hifi, modern kit is not better despite the popular opinion it is.
The main thing that's changed rather than improved is connectivity with the appearance of wireless wether it be Bluetooth or WiFi etc.
The one idea I play with from time to time is getting an old valve amp and that's a mine field.
I've never even heard one but they are the icing on the cake of vintage hifi to me personally.
 

Oxfordian

Well-known member
CD, pre- and power amps as well as speakers all bought from eBay. Look for lots of pictures, particularly of any cosmetic damage, well-written text and feedback as a seller. Mine were all fine, and given how much these sorts of things now cost new (in comparison with 2-3 years ago when I last changed things) it makes even more sense now than it did then.
Its the cost aspect, new v pre-loved, that really focused my attention, its just that gnawing feeling of being had and having little or no recourse.

I am definitely going to explore this pre-loved factor a lot over the coming months.
 

Oxfordian

Well-known member
I had mostly vintage kit as a youngster mainly through my father as he used to repair all things electrical in his loft.
Its how I was introduced to hifi with a sansui au501 at 12 which performed faultless for many years going through an early teens abuse.
Trio, Armstrong, leak, wharfdale Linton, sony even a nakamichi tape deck found its way to me through that little loft hatch just to name a few.

I mess around a tad myself now only recently modernisting from a old favourite of mine the pioneer a400 which still works fine.
I've only had to replace the power led and clean the inside from a mountain of dust.
I still use the pioneer from time to time as it took ages to find a similar modern equivalent sound wise.
Things seem to work way past what's normally thought.

There's so so many variables, usage, treatment, climate and from what I learned early on that they hate being left off for long periods.
Many a piece of equipment went away fully working and came back out of storage Brocken.

Your right in thinking it's a very good way of getting hold of things that are way better from the second hand market than what the same budget would allow new.
The biggest factor I've found in second hand hifi isnt any of the mentioned and that's shear luck.

Places like hifi sound Stockton which are a bricks and mortar store sell second hand hifi fully guaranteed and for a good discount.
They get all sorts in I picked up an acram sa30 there after waiting for the software issues to be fully solved and it's perfect.
Ive had a mixed bag from ebay as your buying blind really irrespective of photos that may or may not be correct.

I bought a lovely pair of mission mx3 speakers another favourite of mine because their back story fitted in line with moving house to a smaller property and the wife didn't want floorstanders in her new tiny living room.
They are faultless without a blemish and speakers are probably the biggest concern second hand.
Speakers have a far shorter lifecycle especially if moved and are prone to the most abuse.
We've all seen or experienced the pushing in of the tweeters or knocked them over whilst dusting etc etc.

If spending big always as you mentioned use a bricks and mortar store or if not possible a reputable dealer.
When I buy things blind online off ebay etc I keep it an amount that can be an acceptable loss (if such a thing exists)

More complex repairs of old obsolete hifi is still possible all be it sometimes with generic parts but there's not much that can't be repaired.
The best bet is to stay away from such equipment but it's not always possible if a rare unheard of brand or model is your preference.

I will say one thing though as I own both new and old hifi, modern kit is not better despite the popular opinion it is.
The main thing that's changed rather than improved is connectivity with the appearance of wireless wether it be Bluetooth or WiFi etc.
The one idea I play with from time to time is getting an old valve amp and that's a mine field.
I've never even heard one but they are the icing on the cake of vintage hifi to me personally.
Thanks for this lots of good advice.

E-bay does frighten me, so many horror stories including close family and friends so will probably avoid, but a bricks and mortar store would be (should be) okay.

Being a photographer I have often got caught up in the Oooooh that new camera/lens/thingamebob will do wonders for me only to realise that in reality it didn't, I suppose in many ways Hifi is similar, good sound is good sound irrespective of whether it comes from a product of yesterday or today.

I am going to enjoy getting my head round what is a good buy and what is not.

Appreciate your input.
 
Its the cost aspect, new v pre-loved, that really focused my attention, its just that gnawing feeling of being had and having little or no recourse.

I am definitely going to explore this pre-loved factor a lot over the coming months.
If you are really that concerned there is always the option to buy pre-loved or open box / ex demo from a reputable dealer that will offer some warranty.
Reduced prices without the pain.....
 

Oxfordian

Well-known member
If you are really that concerned there is always the option to buy pre-loved or open box / ex demo from a reputable dealer that will offer some warranty.
Reduced prices without the pain.....
Having never bought from e-bay and potentially handing over a good chunk of money it is a worry that something will go wrong, I have friends who use e-bay regularly without issue and a brother who got badly stung and ended up having to get solicitors and the like involved to get his money back.

The bricks and mortar route is there and one that I will consider but I also know that many dealers sell their pre-loved stock via an e-bay store so I may well end up there anyway.

Plenty of research to do, but that's fine I'm in no rush to buy.
 
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Having never bought from e-bay and potentially handing over a good chunk of money it is a worry that something will go wrong, I have friends who use e-bay regularly without issue and a brother who got badly stung and ended up having to get solicitors and the like involved to get his money back.

The bricks and mortar route is there and one that I will consider but I also know that many dealers sell their pre-loved stock via an e-bay store so I may well end up there anyway.

Plenty of research to do, but that's fine I'm in no rush to buy.
take time, research well particularly with eBay sellers ratings and you shouldn't have too many issues. Bought from eBay many times in the past and had verifiable bargains....
 
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I have never bought Secondhand Hifi, always new and from a bricks and mortar store.

Now over Christmas whilst relaxing and enjoying a glass or two of red I wondered how it would go if I ventured into the murky waters of secondhand hifi, could I hook a bargain or would I get bitten by a shark. My rationale is that it may be possible to upgrade my kit with items that are normally financially out of reach but are available in the used market at a price that could be justified, this kit is not necessarily recent but not ancient either.

For example; it would seem that a good high end pre/power amplification combination from a well respected brand that was on sale say 10 years ago can be had for the price of a modern day integrated amplifier, on the vinyl side some new mid to high end TT's today are being sold for the cost of a good quality moving coil cartridge as they are 10-15 years old..

Doing a bit of research there are some dealers who do a range of secondhand units and of course there is that well known on-line auction site.

From those on the forum that buy used gear to improve their systems, what have your experiences been like, what should I look for as a positive and what should I avoid?

Is my idea of being able to pick up older high end kit that would normally be out of reach budget wise realistic? Or has the red wine clouded my mind and I need to take the rose tinted glasses off?

I would like to hear the views and thoughts of those that have experience of buying hifi gear secondhand.
My only recent second hand component is the Exposure CDP. Purchased it 2020 and it hasn't missed a beat. But like any used items there are some plums out there. The best example was the Electrocompaniet CDP. Reliable enough but sounded as dull as ditch water.

And that's the problem with buying items you're unfamiliar with - it was a dealer purchase. Unless you can demo before parting with your money it's Russian roulette.
 
From the gear in my signature, only the Tascam, Technics and Grado phones were new. So that’s about £1500 worth from kit that would cost £25k plus to replace anew.

The speakers were from a forum member over at Wigwam, who was selling a whole system for a wealthy friend. He had bought the system from KJ West One as he had money to burn, and after a decade of scarcely touching it, the friend who helped him choose it, sold it for him. It was good timing for me to get mint Sonus fabers.

The Pass Labs was in Hifi for Sale. The seller had a highly sophisticated valve amp setup that needed repair. He bought the Pass as a stop gap. It had been ex-dem from a London authorised dealer. I checked the serial number out with the importer to ensure the history was genuine. £3k cash for a mint boxed amp -v- over five grand to be the first owner. Collected from seller’s home.

The Linn streamer was from Criterion in Cambridge, eBay advert. Ex-dem, model change imminent, less than half RRP, still with a 18months factory warranty. I’ve since upgraded the DAC so now have a fresh five year factory warranty. Couriered to me for £25.

Nakamichi cassette deck, saw a handwritten advert at the Hifi News show near Heathrow in c 1998. Rang the number, collected in person from sellers home. Cash.

Marantz SACD was advertised in Hifi News classifieds. Drove to Devon to collect after an email exchange and a phone call. Even my Oppo phones were from eBay, as discontinued and hard to find. Chap was a Bath rugby fan, sponsored by Oppo a few years ago. Bought a few pairs at a discount, these were surplus. Collected them last Christmas. You meet some lovely folks, several of whom have stayed in touch.

I’ve also sold KEF LS50, Revel M16, KEF Q350, former Sonus fabers, Krell amp and CDP, Transparent cables, old Grado phones, Linn Sneaky DS, several more cables, all via eBay, The first time I was asked to post to Scandinavia I was a bit spooked, but worked it out. Ditto the Sneaky which went to Vienna.

When buying, I always look very carefully at pictures and words on eBay. Are they all just newly taken, or copied? Similar background, ideally with a nice tidy room, maybe with more Hifi visible, or in a damp shed or anonymous warehouse? Would I ever buy without a decent description, and ideally some history - no! Do I often ask, how old is it, what is the serial number, do you have the original box, etc? Yes!

As a photographer, you’ll know if these are carefully taken pics of a genuine item; it’s not the same as blurry phone pics, or stolen screenshots. Do a reverse Google image search. I find borrowed pics most weeks on eBay, and always report them.

What other kit have they sold? Cheap t shirts, or similar electronics? Is Hifi a sideline, even for a private seller?

I began selling with budget cables and unwanted CDs. But as Al said, stick to dealer ads, learn where bargains are posted, do Google searches, understand what you’re buying - e.g. discontinued, open box, ex-dem, and visit in person if you can.

Personally, I’d never buy a used turntable through the post, especially a Linn. You’d save a wad on an LP12 even from Peter Swain at Cymbiosis, who’ll build any combination you want from new annd old parts. But collect it! He’s the best in the business.
 
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Oxfordian

Well-known member
From the gear in my signature, only the Tascam, Technics and Grado phones were new. So that’s about £1500 worth from kit that would cost £25k plus to replace anew.

The speakers were from a forum member over at Wigwam, who was selling a whole system for a wealthy friend. He had bought the system from KJ West One as he had money to burn, and after a decade of scarcely touching it, the friend who helped him choose it, sold it for him. It was good timing for me to get mint Sonus fabers.

The Pass Labs was in Hifi for Sale. The seller had a highly sophisticated valve amp setup that needed repair. He bought the Pass as a stop gap. It had been ex-dem from a London authorised dealer. I checked the serial number out with the importer to ensure the history was genuine. £3k cash for a mint boxed amp -v- over five grand to be the first owner. Collected from seller’s home.

The Linn streamer was from Criterion in Cambridge, eBay advert. Ex-dem, model change imminent, less than half RRP, still with a 18months factory warranty. I’ve since upgraded the DAC so now have a fresh five year factory warranty. Couriered to me for £25.

Nakamichi cassette deck, saw a handwritten advert at the Hifi News show near Heathrow in c 1998. Rang the number, collected in person from sellers home. Cash.

Marantz SACD was advertised in Hifi News classifieds. Drove to Devon to collect after an email exchange and a phone call. Even my Oppo phones were from eBay, as discontinued and hard to find. Chap was a Bath rugby fan, sponsored by Oppo a few years ago. Bought a few pairs at a discount, these were surplus. Collected them last Christmas. You meet some lovely folks, several of whom have stayed in touch.

I’ve also sold KEF LS50, Revel M16, KEF Q350, former Sonus fabers, Krell amp and CDP, Transparent cables, old Grado phones, Linn Sneaky DS, several more cables, all via eBay, The first time I was asked to post to Scandinavia I was a bit spooked, but worked it out. Ditto the Sneaky which went to Vienna.

When buying, I always look very carefully at pictures and words on eBay. Are they all just newly taken, or copied? Similar background, ideally with a nice tidy room, maybe with more Hifi visible, or in a damp shed or anonymous warehouse? Would I ever buy without a decent description, and ideally some history - no! Do I often ask, how old is it, what is the serial number, do you have the original box, etc? Yes!

As a photographer, you’ll know if these are carefully taken pics of a genuine item; it’s not the same as blurry phone pics, or stolen screenshots. Do a reverse Google image search. I find borrowed pics most weeks on eBay, and always report them.

What other kit have they sold? Cheap t shirts, or similar electronics? Is Hifi a sideline, even for a private seller?

I began selling with budget cables and unwanted CDs. But as Al said, stick to dealer ads, learn where bargains are posted, do Google searches, understand what you’re buying - e.g. discontinued, open box, ex-dem, and visit in person if you can.

Personally, I’d never buy a used turntable through the post, especially a Linn. You’d save a wad on an LP12 even from Peter Swain at Cymbiosis, who’ll build any combination you want from new annd old parts. But collect it! He’s the best in the business.
Thanks for taking the time to do this, much appreciated.

I am in no rush so will take the advice offered and spend lots of time researching products and sellers, I am reasonably sure that this is the way I want to go, ideally I would prefer to drive and pick up anything I buy, at least I get to see the people I'm buying from and the product.

Great to hear that I can approach the pre-loved market with a bit of confidence.
 
Thanks for taking the time to do this, much appreciated.

I am in no rush so will take the advice offered and spend lots of time researching products and sellers, I am reasonably sure that this is the way I want to go, ideally I would prefer to drive and pick up anything I buy, at least I get to see the people I'm buying from and the product.

Great to hear that I can approach the pre-loved market with a bit of confidence.
No problem. I think your ‘homework’ gets repaid by more certainty about the item and the seller.

As a seller I’ve always been paid so far, and no disputes. (The guy in Vienna said my Sneaky was duff until he found he was using a faulty Ethernet cable, and then was hugely apologetic).

Forgot to add that many dealers use their own websites, but not necessarily eBay. So, David at thelittleaudiocompany in Birmingham, and Rick at Musicraft in Derby, who both post here, have used or ex-dem items advertised often.
 
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Jasonovich

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I have never bought Secondhand Hifi, always new and from a bricks and mortar store.

Now over Christmas whilst relaxing and enjoying a glass or two of red I wondered how it would go if I ventured into the murky waters of secondhand hifi, could I hook a bargain or would I get bitten by a shark. My rationale is that it may be possible to upgrade my kit with items that are normally financially out of reach but are available in the used market at a price that could be justified, this kit is not necessarily recent but not ancient either.

For example; it would seem that a good high end pre/power amplification combination from a well respected brand that was on sale say 10 years ago can be had for the price of a modern day integrated amplifier, on the vinyl side some new mid to high end TT's today are being sold for the cost of a good quality moving coil cartridge as they are 10-15 years old..

Doing a bit of research there are some dealers who do a range of secondhand units and of course there is that well known on-line auction site.

From those on the forum that buy used gear to improve their systems, what have your experiences been like, what should I look for as a positive and what should I avoid?

Is my idea of being able to pick up older high end kit that would normally be out of reach budget wise realistic? Or has the red wine clouded my mind and I need to take the rose tinted glasses off?

I would like to hear the views and thoughts of those that have experience of buying hifi gear secondhand.
Oh Oxy you have pulled my string! I was just wrapping up to go to bed, then I read your thread hahaha. :)
Firstly I would not be afraid to explore second hand HiFi.
I have brand new and second hand stuff and I have no complaints.
Just to illustrate, I purchased on eBay from Peter Tyson Dali Oberon 3 ex-Dem speakers virtually new, these normally retail for £499 and I got them for £339.
It was an absolute bargain. Purist will urge you to listen before you buy but this isn't ideal if you don't have a dealership near you. So I tend to extract as much as I can about the product from Youtube and HiFi publications. This gives me some footing.
If I don't like the sound of it I can always sell it back on eBay.
My other recent purchase from eBay, was the Atoll IN100SE with DAC, I paid £800, normally retails for £1395 new. The seller was Emprium HiFi.
I prefer HiFi retailers using the eBay portal because they usually provide warranty and support should something go wrong. Though not exclusive, I will buy from private sellers if they have good seller ratings. Also check the eBay buyers guarantee, not all products have it but those that do, eBay will refund the money to you in advent of a dispute.
 
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AJM1981

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I have never bought Secondhand Hifi, always new and from a bricks and mortar store.

Now over Christmas whilst relaxing and enjoying a glass or two of red I wondered how it would go if I ventured into the murky waters of secondhand hifi, could I hook a bargain or would I get bitten by a shark. My rationale is that it may be possible to upgrade my kit with items that are normally financially out of reach but are available in the used market at a price that could be justified, this kit is not necessarily recent but not ancient either.

For example; it would seem that a good high end pre/power amplification combination from a well respected brand that was on sale say 10 years ago can be had for the price of a modern day integrated amplifier, on the vinyl side some new mid to high end TT's today are being sold for the cost of a good quality moving coil cartridge as they are 10-15 years old..

Doing a bit of research there are some dealers who do a range of secondhand units and of course there is that well known on-line auction site.

From those on the forum that buy used gear to improve their systems, what have your experiences been like, what should I look for as a positive and what should I avoid?

Is my idea of being able to pick up older high end kit that would normally be out of reach budget wise realistic? Or has the red wine clouded my mind and I need to take the rose tinted glasses off?

I would like to hear the views and thoughts of those that have experience of buying hifi gear secondhand.
What I would do is
- read reviews, especially give weight to consumer reviews.

- keep in mind that standards in price / quality might have changed in advantage of more modern systems. In the old days you could get away with a marketed review. Nowadays there are more accessible pro and consumer reviews, so if gear is not up to par, you will know it as soon as possible.

- play auditions on youtube to get a little impression.
As weird and not done as it might sound like, and room conditions might differ. I have to say that when I listen to an old system I owned online it is giving kind of the right impression of what it was. A first audition of a well recorded session is giving you a big clue of how it should be in real life and if it is the signature you prefer.

Audition a little in real
With the stuff above in mind I would request for a short audition just to hear if it matches the reference I listened to above and if there are not any damaged drivers or anything and the price feels like a deal. I would buy it.
 
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Oxfordian

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Oh Oxy you have pulled my string! I was just wrapping up to go to bed, then I read your thread hahaha. :)
Firstly I would not be afraid to explore second hand HiFi.
I have brand new and second hand stuff and I have no complaints.
Just to illustrate, I purchased on eBay from Peter Tyson Dali Oberon 3 ex-Dem speakers virtually new, these normally retail for £499 and I got them for £339.
It was an absolute bargain. Purist will urge you to listen before you buy but this isn't ideal if you don't have a dealership near you. So I tend to extract as much as I can about the product from Youtube and HiFi publications. This gives me some footing.
If I don't like the sound of it I can always sell it back on eBay.
My other recent purchase from eBay, was the Atoll IN100SE with DAC, I paid £800, normally retails for £1395 new. The seller was Emprium HiFi.
I prefer HiFi retailers using the eBay portal because they usually provide warranty and support should something go wrong. Though not exclusive, I will buy from private sellers if they have good seller ratings. Also check the eBay buyers guarantee, not all products have it but those that do, eBay will refund the money to you in advent of a dispute.
Thanks for this feedback, much appreciated.
 
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Oxfordian

Well-known member
What I would do is
- read reviews, especially give weight to consumer reviews.

- keep in mind that standards in price / quality might have changed in advantage of more modern systems. In the old days you could get away with a marketed review. Nowadays there are more accessible pro and consumer reviews, so if gear is not up to par, you will know it as soon as possible.

- play auditions on youtube to get a little impression.
As weird and not done as it might sound like, and room conditions might differ. I have to say that when I listen to an old system I owned online it is giving kind of the right impression of what it was. A first audition of a well recorded session is giving you a big clue of how it should be in real life and if it is the signature you prefer.

Audition a little in real
With the stuff above in mind I would request for a short audition just to hear if it matches the reference I listened to above and if there are not any damaged drivers or anything and the price feels like a deal. I would buy it.
Thanks for the input, appreciated.
 

Fandango Andy

Well-known member
I have never bought Secondhand Hifi, always new and from a bricks and mortar store.

Now over Christmas whilst relaxing and enjoying a glass or two of red I wondered how it would go if I ventured into the murky waters of secondhand hifi, could I hook a bargain or would I get bitten by a shark. My rationale is that it may be possible to upgrade my kit with items that are normally financially out of reach but are available in the used market at a price that could be justified, this kit is not necessarily recent but not ancient either.

For example; it would seem that a good high end pre/power amplification combination from a well respected brand that was on sale say 10 years ago can be had for the price of a modern day integrated amplifier, on the vinyl side some new mid to high end TT's today are being sold for the cost of a good quality moving coil cartridge as they are 10-15 years old..

Doing a bit of research there are some dealers who do a range of secondhand units and of course there is that well known on-line auction site.

From those on the forum that buy used gear to improve their systems, what have your experiences been like, what should I look for as a positive and what should I avoid?

Is my idea of being able to pick up older high end kit that would normally be out of reach budget wise realistic? Or has the red wine clouded my mind and I need to take the rose tinted glasses off?

I would like to hear the views and thoughts of those that have experience of buying hifi gear secondhand.
I have an entire system in my bedroom purchased second hand from ebay. No problems.

Never had an issue with a purchase, but did have one that didn't turn up ebay refunded me immediately.

Unless you are chasing a really rare piece of kit the trick is to be patient, don't overpay or buy something that looks unloved, there will always be another one.

Also look for "collection only" near where you live. They often sell for a fraction of what they would get if the seller would post/courier them.

Look for items in cosmetically good condition and known brands. If you don't like them, you can always sell them on again.
 

Jasonovich

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I have an entire system in my bedroom purchased second hand from ebay. No problems.

Never had an issue with a purchase, but did have one that didn't turn up ebay refunded me immediately.

Unless you are chasing a really rare piece of kit the trick is to be patient, don't overpay or buy something that looks unloved, there will always be another one.

Also look for "collection only" near where you live. They often sell for a fraction of what they would get if the seller would post/courier them.

Look for items in cosmetically good condition and known brands. If you don't like them, you can always sell them on again.
Yes exactly, if there's a collection it's likely to be much cheaper than postage or courier.
I can't fault eBay for their support either.
My original Audio Monitor speakers, new not second hand, was from a family dealership selling on the eBay portal. There are quite a lot of bona fide dealerships selling their wares on eBay, with those, there are usually eBay product guarantees. I think there's some kind of symbiosis which is mutually beneficial to both eBay and the dealerships.
What I wanted to say, I never received the speakers. I emailed the vendor many times, there was no response. I thought something was not quite right. The sellers ratings were 100% and the comments were positive. I placed a dispute on eBay and they promise to refund me in full if the matter wasn't resolved within the next couple of weeks.
I was genuinely concerned, I'd gone on the sellers website and I saw the message, the seller was hospitalised and wasn't certain when the business will be fully operational. I relayed this back to eBay and they refunded back the money.
A few months later, the son had sent a written apology to all the buyers who were affected, the father had sadly passed away and he wanted to wind down the business and have final closure. You couldn't help but empathise for the son's loss.
People tell me about gumtree but I wouldn't touch it, I'm not sure it provides the same level of protection as eBay.
 
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