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Shopping Online: the process of making choices


Cycleman

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I wonder how many of you go through the same process I'm about to describe.

 

So, I'm looking to buy some Audeze headphones, probably the LCD-X model but maybe the LCD-3 model. I expect I will love them, but can't be sure. That's why I'd like to buy from a dealer that has a return policy.

 

In my investigations, I've found the following purchasing and return options for buying Audeze, which are the same price everywhere:

 

  • Dealer #1: 30-day money back guarantee, no restocking fee, free shipping
  • Dealer #2: 30-day money back guarantee, 5% restocking fee, free shipping
  • Dealer #3: 30-day money back guarantee, no restocking fee, free shipping but I would need to pay back that cost if I return the item
  • Dealer #4: 20-day money back guarantee, 15% restocking fee, free outbound shipping and free headphone stand (but since I live in that state, I would have to pay sales tax)
  • Dealer #5: 30-day money back guarantee, 15% restocking fee, free outbound shipping

Which dealer would you buy from?

 

Now, I'd like to use dealer #4, because he's been helpful, but I don't like the idea of a restocking fee and nearly $90 sales tax.

And dealer #5 interests me, because it's the manufacturer, but 15% !!!

 

So, here's my basic question: With an item that's sold by various places, all at the same price, and with the ease of researching this online, why might any dealer other than #1 get the business?

 

What process do you go through when looking to buy a not-inexpensive audio item that's available from several online dealers?

 

Dave, who tends to go back to dealer #1 and the similar dealer #X because of their generous and fair return policies

 

P.S. I prefer not to shop in audio stores for items because it takes a lot more time, there's rarely a try-at-home return policy, and I typically would have to pay sales tax

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Music is love, made audible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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I wonder how many of you go through the same process I'm about to describe.

 

So, I'm looking to buy some Audeze headphones, probably the LCD-X model but maybe the LCD-3 model. I expect I will love them, but can't be sure. That's why I'd like to buy from a dealer that has a return policy.

 

In my investigations, I've found the following purchasing and return options for buying Audeze, which are the same price everywhere:

 

  • Dealer #1: 30-day money back guarantee, no restocking fee, free shipping
  • Dealer #2: 30-day money back guarantee, 5% restocking fee, free shipping
  • Dealer #3: 30-day money back guarantee, no restocking fee, free shipping but I would need to pay back that cost if I return the item
  • Dealer #4: 20-day money back guarantee, 15% restocking fee, free outbound shipping and free headphone stand (but since I live in that state, I would have to pay sales tax)
  • Dealer #5: 30-day money back guarantee, 15% restocking fee, free outbound shipping

Which dealer would you buy from?

 

Now, I'd like to use dealer #4, because he's been helpful, but I don't like the idea of a restocking fee and nearly $90 sales tax.

And dealer #5 interests me, because it's the manufacturer, but 15% !!!

 

So, here's my basic question: With an item that's sold by various places, all at the same price, and with the ease of researching this online, why might any dealer other than #1 get the business?

 

What process do you go through when looking to buy a not-inexpensive audio item that's available from several online dealers?

 

Dave, who tends to go back to dealer #1 and the similar dealer #X because of their generous and fair return policies

 

P.S. I prefer not to shop in audio stores for items because it takes a lot more time, there's rarely a try-at-home return policy, and I typically would have to pay sales tax

 

I personally am amazed that a dealer can sell headphones with a money back guarantee. I mean, I would not want to buy something that someone had opened and put on their head and ears so how is the dealer supposed to resell the phones someone sent back? My customers don't even want an opened box of headphones. A dealer may have a pair that they loan out of certain models but to think someone gets to try a brand new pair and then return them? Not following here. A bit like ordering a pair of socks and wearing them and deciding they are not quite what you were hoping.

David

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I personally am amazed that a dealer can sell headphones with a money back guarantee. I mean, I would not want to buy something that someone had opened and put on their head and ears so how is the dealer supposed to resell the phones someone sent back? My customers don't even want an opened box of headphones. A dealer may have a pair that they loan out of certain models but to think someone gets to try a brand new pair and then return them? Not following here. A bit like ordering a pair of socks and wearing them and deciding they are not quite what you were hoping.

 

Well, there's something in what you say, David.

But what part aren't you following?

That's not clear to me.

 

But since I'm not creating these return policies, and since as the customer I can choose which one works best for me, I like to understand what my options are.

 

And for all these dealers, the return policy is the same no matter what type of item is being bought: headphones, cables, headphone amps, speakers, et cetera.

 

Oh yes, this post wasn't really about headphones, per se -- that was just my example -- but about how people here go about choosing where to buy audio stuff.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Music is love, made audible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Oh yes, this post wasn't really about headphones, per se -- that was just my example -- but about how people here go about choosing where to buy audio stuff.

 

I know it's saying the obvious but, given similar prices, I always look for the dealer that has the best or, at least, a solid reputation. If the dealer isn't on eBay or doesn't have feedback on his site, you can usually do a search on the dealer's name followed by "review". It's post sale hassles that you want to avoid and the experience of others is probably your best guide.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Oh yes, this post wasn't really about headphones, per se -- that was just my example -- but about how people here go about choosing where to buy audio stuff.

 

I try to purchase A/V items from a store. I like to be able to see, touch and most importantly hear the product(s) I am interested in purchasing. I buy a lot of things online, but audio is so subjective, I like to be able to personally audition these things. I have a good relationship with the HiFi store in my town, which may not be the case with everyone. I would rather spend a few extra dollars and support a store I like than save a few bucks online.

 

With non A/V stuff, it is usually the cheapest place I can find it, and/or the most convenient.

I work someplace that sells stuff.

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I try to purchase A/V items from a store. I like to be able to see, touch and most importantly hear the product(s) I am interested in purchasing. I buy a lot of things online, but audio is so subjective, I like to be able to personally audition these things. I have a good relationship with the HiFi store in my town, which may not be the case with everyone. I would rather spend a few extra dollars and support a store I like than save a few bucks online.

 

With non A/V stuff, it is usually the cheapest place I can find it, and/or the most convenient.

 

The problem with a lot of audio gear is that it's becoming a lot harder to find a brick and mortar outlet that carries the product that you are interested in so you can audition it "in person".

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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I have been able to buy all of my more expensive gear from my local brick and mortar dealers. For less expensive stuff, I go with online sellers.

 

For my recent headphone purchases, I bought them all online. I would go with Dealer #1.

 

Sure, I do miss having the bricks and mortar experience, but there is no use fighting it. Online buying is the future, particularly for the less expensive stuff.

Speakers: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen/URendu | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus/Lampizator Golden Gate | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | Revel B112 subs  

Headphones: Lampizator Golden Atlantic/Holo Spring 3 KTE | Blue Circle Audio SBT pre|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE/Arya Stealth/Audeze LCD-4z

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For me it depends on what it is. Bluray player, that I can read about, and go by spec's, tests etc. I would buy online from someone like dealer #1.

 

I wouldn't buy speakers by listening at the local brick and mortar store and then ordering elsewhere.

 

For headphones, heck they are worse than speakers. Everyone's ear is shaped a bit differently, and you never know till you have some in your hand how well you will like them. I would choke it up and go with the local guy. I would read what others have to say (amazon reviews are great in such cases if you take time to read carefully), and try to ensure what I get from the local guy I likely will want to keep. But still it is worth the cost to have an option not to make a mistake.

 

Then there are the other odd cases. Like brick and mortar places where I have been or tried to be a customer. Got treated so badly I loath the people. Those I have no qualms about going in to get hands on knowing up front I am not purchasing from them. I wouldn't take stuff home to sample. But I will definitely go in, and look/listen/handle what they have and buy elsewhere.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I wouldn't buy speakers by listening at the local brick and mortar store and then ordering elsewhere.

 

For headphones, heck they are worse than speakers. Everyone's ear is shaped a bit differently, and you never know till you have some in your hand how well you will like them. I would choke it up and go with the local guy. I would read what others have to say (amazon reviews are great in such cases if you take time to read carefully), and try to ensure what I get from the local guy I likely will want to keep. But still it is worth the cost to have an option not to make a mistake.

 

Thread drift.

To be expected online, and perhaps my original post wasn't clear enough.

 

I really wasn't asking about choosing between buying online vs. in real-world shops.

I really wasn't asking about how to buy headphones.

 

Instead, I was curious about your ways of going about things when buying an item online, how do you choose which site to buy from when the item itself is exactly the same both as an object and by price.

 

For me, buying online with a good return policy is in most cases far better than buying in real-world shops.

That's because I can test how well I like the gizmo in the context of my own system.

 

So, in the case of headphones, I can test a model using my headphone amplifier, which is being fed music from my computer system through my choice of interconnects, et cetera.

I cannot see how a test in a real-world shop is in any way better.

That higher priority for in-home testing, for me, extrapolates to buying nearly every type of audio toy.

 

The one exception, for a few reasons, would be floor-standing speakers.

I will be auditioning several next month at shops.

 

O'wise, as I mentioned, time is another issue. For me, there are a plethora of real-world shops in NYC.

However, I don't get into the city often, and don't have any relationships at any of those shops.

In addition, that's an 2-hour-plus train trip, both ways, just getting into the city, let alone the extra time from GCT to the shop(s).

 

So, say for Audeze headphones, that would be an extra cost of at least $25 for the train and over $175 for sales tax.

So, I need to ask myself:

Is it worth over $200 in extra costs and hours of my time to test headphones when they're not even being tested in the context of my personal music system?

 

Anyway, that's my perspective.

 

And I'm still curious -- answered a bit by a few above already -- how do you choose which online seller to use for audio items that are the same everywhere?

 

Dave, who has used online retailers return policies and those that make a return clean and easy also tend to get his return business

 

P.S. I also would not buy an item online after testing it or listening to it in a real-world shop because that's mean and a form of cheating, I think.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Music is love, made audible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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I definitely misunderstood.

 

I don't see any reason not to go with #1.

 

Sometimes if I shop in some niche market, I might go with less than the very lowest price online if the shop usually is the cheapest and has a history of serving me well. Being helpful, having odd stuff in stock, great returns policies etc. Just like a good brick and mortar store those guys have earned my business as I want to reward the better of them.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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P.S. I also would not buy an item online after testing it or listening to it in a real-world shop because that's mean and a form of cheating, I think.

 

Some would consider that process to be unethical. But it's not nearly as unethical as the number of people who will be buying large screen TVs this week for their Super Bowl parties on Sunday, with the intention of returning them on Monday.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Thread drift.

To be expected online, and perhaps my original post wasn't clear enough.

 

I really wasn't asking about choosing between buying online vs. in real-world shops.

I really wasn't asking about how to buy headphones.

 

Instead, I was curious about your ways of going about things when buying an item online, how do you choose which site to buy from when the item itself is exactly the same both as an object and by price.

 

For me, buying online with a good return policy is in most cases far better than buying in real-world shops.

That's because I can test how well I like the gizmo in the context of my own system.

 

So, in the case of headphones, I can test a model using my headphone amplifier, which is being fed music from my computer system through my choice of interconnects, et cetera.

I cannot see how a test in a real-world shop is in any way better.

That higher priority for in-home testing, for me, extrapolates to buying nearly every type of audio toy.

 

The one exception, for a few reasons, would be floor-standing speakers.

I will be auditioning several next month at shops.

 

O'wise, as I mentioned, time is another issue. For me, there are a plethora of real-world shops in NYC.

However, I don't get into the city often, and don't have any relationships at any of those shops.

In addition, that's an 2-hour-plus train trip, both ways, just getting into the city, let alone the extra time from GCT to the shop(s).

 

So, say for Audeze headphones, that would be an extra cost of at least $25 for the train and over $175 for sales tax.

So, I need to ask myself:

Is it worth over $200 in extra costs and hours of my time to test headphones when they're not even being tested in the context of my personal music system?

 

Anyway, that's my perspective.

 

And I'm still curious -- answered a bit by a few above already -- how do you choose which online seller to use for audio items that are the same everywhere?

 

Dave, who has used online retailers return policies and those that make a return clean and easy also tend to get his return business

 

P.S. I also would not buy an item online after testing it or listening to it in a real-world shop because that's mean and a form of cheating, I think.

 

Personally, I buy everything from Amazon, specifically. I get "free" (i.e., included in the cost of my Prime membership) 2-day shipping on *everything* (including, recently, a 60" Panasonic plasma TV, including delivery and unpacking at my house!), and cost is generally competitive.

 

I've recently had to re-evaluate a bit, as the state of Texas suddenly began insisting on Amazon collecting state sales tax :( but their prices are so good I typically come out ahead anyway, considering the "free" shipping.

 

I can count on one hand the number of items I've returned (over 10+ years of shopping), as I think that's "cheating" - I know their policies allow it, but I'm just funny that way :/

John Walker - IT Executive

Headphone - MacMini running Roon Server > Netgear Orbi wireless > Blue Jeans Cable Ethernet > mRendu Roon endpoint > Topping D90 > Topping A90 > Dan Clark Aeon 2 Closed / Focal Elegia

Home Theater - Mac Mini running Roon Server / AppleTV > Blue Jeans Cable HDMI > Denon X3700h > Anthem Amp for front channels > Revel F208-based 5.2.4 Atmos speaker system

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If #1 is Amazon, I would definitely go with it. If it is some (mumble mumble) off of eBay, I would head down the list till I find Amazon or some other seller I am comfortable with, Audio Advisor, Crutchfield, Music Direct, etc.

 

I like to buy locally, but there are two factors that would drive me online. The first is if there is a trulyenormous price difference. When I bought an AVR and BRP, online saved me $1100- before tax - over buying local. The second is. If I think I may, for any reason, wish to return the item. Online dealers have much better return policies.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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If I want to be sure I'm getting a "Brand New" item, i.e. not one that's been previously sold and returned. I go with a dealer that charges a restocking fee and sells returns as discounted demo items.

Mac Mini, Audirvana Plus, Metrum Hex NOS DAC w/Upgraded USB Module-2, UpTone Regen Amber, Pass Labs INT-30A Amplifier, B&W 802 Diamond Speakers, Shotgun Bi-wire Kimber 4TC Cables. Headphone setup: Burson Soloist Amp, Audeze LCD-3 Headphones.

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If I want to be sure I'm getting a "Brand New" item, i.e. not one that's been previously sold and returned. I go with a dealer that charges a restocking fee and sells returns as discounted demo items.

 

Actually, several online retailers sell only new unless marked as a discounted -- often called "open box" -- demo item, and that without charging a restocking fe.

 

So, to be specific from my purposely obscure original post:

 

  • Dealer #1: Music Direct
  • Dealer #2: Moon Audio
  • Dealer #3: HeadRoom
  • Dealer #4: Woo Audio
  • Dealer #5: Audeze direct

In fact, I've been super happy with purchases from Music Direct -- partially because of their extremely fair and generous return policy and partially because when I needed help, their customer service people, especially one fellow, have been there for me.

 

And while Audio Advisor also has the same return policy -- 30 days, no fees -- they don't carry Audeze, so didn't figure in this post.

 

And while dealers #2 to #5 are all good, if I want to try out something expensive, they might not be the places for me. In fact, Music Direct has been okay on one or two orders where I got two of the same type of gizmo, telling them ahead of time I would be returning at least one. That business model works for them, kinda like with Zappos, where you order several pairs of shoes and try them on at home, keeping only what you want.

 

But in the audio space, I imagine the margins for real-world stores are too small to offer some kind of return policy, to allow customers to try out items in their own homes, own music systems. I imagine they need the scale of a Music Direct or Audio Advisor to make that work.

 

That's really kinda sad, and too bad.

 

You know, when shopping for new floor-standing speakers next month in real-world stores, I'm tempted to try this if we find speakers we think we'll love, but can't be 100% certain until they play in our home: Offer the retailer a deal, something like the Moon Audio 5% restocking fee, where I would buy the speakers, pay in full, but would have 30 days at home to further audition the units. And then, if even after both in-store and at-home they didn't work for us, and if they were still in total mint condition, the dealer would allow a return -- or perhaps an exchange -- and I'd pay for the privilege. I'd even pay the fee upfront, and lose the money if we kept the speakers.

 

So, if the speakers cost, say, $5000, I'd give the dealer $5300 to allow for a return. If I return the speakers, I'd get back $5000. If I don't return the speakers, he makes extra money on the deal. I mean, all purchases have a potential for negotiation, and I'm wondering about that.

 

Personally, I'd rather be so blown away by the speakers we choose that I won't even have to ask for that.

 

Dave, who once bought a demo unit of a power conditioner that he had returned for a larger model and he knows he bought the exact same piece he had previously returned when he realized he could use both sizes which was kinda funny

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Music is love, made audible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Why everyone wouldn't buy from dealer #1: a) because they don't research purchases thoroughly; b)or even have never found the site; c) don't think about the return aspect before buying.

 

Personally, if an online or offline dealer has spent any significant amount of time providing me with information and answers to questions, I feel some obligation to buy from that dealer, even at some reasonable financial loss to myself. Obviously if the price difference from that dealer is extremely out of whack towards the high end, I might not buy an expensive item from that dealer. Usually in such a case I ask them if they can give me a price closer to that of the competition. Sometimes they agree. If not, I would probably buy some less expensive item from them as a thanks for their help.

 

Where I live brick and mortar dealers generally don't allow home demos. I often ask brick and mortar dealers if they are willing to give me a two week period to regret a purchase and return it for a 10% restocking fee; they often agree.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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That is a good and ethical way for a buyer to operate, IMO. Where it breaks down quickly is if you are interested in something the dealer does not normally carry or has to special order. In that case, I am likely to do as you do, and buy something else from them to try and compensate.

 

Paul

 

Why everyone wouldn't buy from dealer #1: a) because they don't research purchases thoroughly; b)or even have never found the site; c) don't think about the return aspect before buying.

 

Personally, if an online or offline dealer has spent any significant amount of time providing me with information and answers to questions, I feel some obligation to buy from that dealer, even at some reasonable financial loss to myself. Obviously if the price difference from that dealer is extremely out of whack towards the high end, I might not buy an expensive item from that dealer. Usually in such a case I ask them if they can give me a price closer to that of the competition. Sometimes they agree. If not, I would probably buy some less expensive item from them as a thanks for their help.

 

Where I live brick and mortar dealers generally don't allow home demos. I often ask brick and mortar dealers if they are willing to give me a two week period to regret a purchase and return it for a 10% restocking fee; they often agree.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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I just purchased a used vehicle for $9000. No return policy, I checked the records (reviews), looked it over well, drove it for about 30 min and paid the man. I often do the same with hifi gear. Listen to the speakers on more than one set of electronics, have them in my home for a day or two and purchase them. I trust myself and my tastes pretty well and I know when something is good or not. This two weeks, 30 days trial to see if you like a component or pair of speakers seems a bit over the top to me. But hey, everyone's comfort level is different so to each his own.

 

PS. My wife thinks 30 days is nuts.

David

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Another perspective- I can choose the correct model of computer for work in a few weeks, but demand a

30 - 90 day right of return. The last computer was over $240k. I do not get it wrong unless I am lied to.

 

I can choose a personal computer in minutes, and I do not get that wrong either. But ask me to choose a vehicle? I really want a warranty that makes a difference. 3 day right of return too. :)

 

If the sales person or dealer is really honest, there is no problem. But a crooked one wails like a baby.

 

Paul

 

 

I just purchased a used vehicle for $9000. No return policy, I checked the records (reviews), looked it over well, drove it for about 30 min and paid the man. I often do the same with hifi gear. Listen to the speakers on more than one set of electronics, have them in my home for a day or two and purchase them. I trust myself and my tastes pretty well and I know when something is good or not. This two weeks, 30 days trial to see if you like a component or pair of speakers seems a bit over the top to me. But hey, everyone's comfort level is different so to each his own.

 

PS. My wife thinks 30 days is nuts.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Another perspective- I can choose the correct model of computer for work in a few weeks, but demand a

30 - 90 day right of return. The last computer was over $240k. I do not get it wrong unless I am lied to.

 

I can choose a personal computer in minutes, and I do not get that wrong either. But ask me to choose a vehicle? I really want a warranty that makes a difference. 3 day right of return too. :)

 

If the sales person or dealer is really honest, there is no problem. But a crooked one wails like a baby.

 

Paul

 

So you can get a warranty from a private seller?

David

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So you can get a warranty from a private seller?

 

To some degree or another, and depending upon the product. EBay plus PayPal equals some sort of guarantee that you will get what you ordered in an undamaged state. That is especially true in the computer world.

 

In terms of vehicles, I expect you can, but as I am not good with vehicles, I tend to buy them new and drive rhem till they fall apart or cost me more in maintenance than a new one. My 2013 Jeeps have lifetime warranties from Chrysler on 'em- have to see how that works out. :)

 

With Audio- buy only from people you trust, or dealers you trust, or from places with no questions asked MBGs. While I would buy from you with no qualms, or from anyone at my favorite local dealer here (AudioSystems in Austin), some other dealers, or at least their salespeople, well- I would not buy from them at 80% discount!

 

For example, when you go into their store and they have no product on hand for anything you are interested in at all, nothing even similar, no experience in area, but sing the praises of whatever they find in the warehouse inventory as bbeing exactly what you need. Brrrr. Used car salesman.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Well, in order to make a headphone shopping decision, here's a fair deal that an online audio retailer has offered me:

 

  1. I can order both the Audeze LCD-X and LCD-3 at the same time.
  2. Have to pay for both.
  3. Have 30 days to do a "shootout" (his words) between the two headphones.
  4. Then, have to keep one of them and can return the other for full credit.

Both parties win, if you ask me.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Music is love, made audible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Personally, if an online or offline dealer has spent any significant amount of time providing me with information and answers to questions, I feel some obligation to buy from that dealer, even at some reasonable financial loss to myself.

Yes! I was so happy to see your post that I was about to say "Bless you, Firedog!" when I realized that I'm not religious. So whatever the secular equivalent of a blessing is, I bestow it upon you!

 

I'm very happy to pay for knowledge, experience etc, especially if it helps me - it cost the dealer who provided it something to "acquire" it, and he (or she) deserves to be compensated for sharing it with us. If I bought elsewhere on the basis of that knowledge etc, I'd kinda feel like I stole it.

 

Good dealers in any domain deserve to be kept in business. If we all went to the cheapest source after picking the brains of the best informed, we'd lose even more of the great ones - and we've already lost so many fine dealers that it's slim pickin's today for anyone who wants and/or needs sound advice based on experience and judgment.

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I try to purchase A/V items from a store. I like to be able to see, touch and most importantly hear the product(s) I am interested in purchasing. I buy a lot of things online, but audio is so subjective, I like to be able to personally audition these things. I have a good relationship with the HiFi store in my town, which may not be the case with everyone. I would rather spend a few extra dollars and support a store I like than save a few bucks online.

 

With non A/V stuff, it is usually the cheapest place I can find it, and/or the most convenient.

 

The problem with a lot of audio gear is that it's becoming a lot harder to find a brick and mortar outlet that carries the product that you are interested in so you can audition it "in person".

 

 

I agree with jawaburger and I am blessed to have two excellent brick and mortar stores within a half hour drive of my home. I don't make any significant purchases of audio equipment on line, there are simply too many choices available locally.

That I ask questions? I am more concerned about being stupid than looking like I might be.

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