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Article: The Value Proposition In Audio: Buying And Selling Used Equipment


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3 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

 I'm continually surprised at the scammers who create accounts here and attempt to sell stuff. 

And I'm continually surprised by the otherwise reasonable and intelligent people who succumb to scams because they just can't resist the idea that they're getting something better or for less money than anyone else could have done.  I've passed on a few things that turned out to be real and wonderful opportunities.  But if I offset those potential gains against the losses and troubles I've avoided by passing on the other 99% of deals too good to be true, I'm a lifetime winner!!

 

 

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10 minutes ago, davide256 said:

I'm not sure that used audio is  as good a deal as it used to be. I see a lot of folks trying to sell used for 90% of new, whereas 80% or less used to be the rule.

For a 10 % savings used isn't worth the uncertainties to me.

I used to buy used just to experience different things.  I resold at little or no loss with little or no effort.  These days, the effort and associated risks deter me from the practice.  
 

So much new stuff is now so cheap that shipping costs can double its price when resold, while new items are often shipped free.  So a DAC that delivers to your door new for $200 is not such a good buy used when you add shipping, unless the asking price is half or less of its original cost.  The low marginal cost of a new one over the same item used is a major reason for the decline in great value in the resale market.

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My tip for buying used gear is avoid components that are readily available as sometimes even a high end manufacturer releases a dud product that ought to be good but isn't.

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These days, manufacturers such as NAD, Schiit, and some of the Chinese based companies make very good (even state of the art) electronics in the $100-$1000 range. And there are also Class D amps for well under $1000 that are excellent.  And all in one amp-DAC units for a few hundred to $2k.

 

So little reason, IMO, to buy many of the used components around. You can get as good or better new for the same amount or even less. With a warranty. 

 

Of course, if you find a pretty high end piece being sold by a hobbyist upgrader - and it's a clear upgrade for you - that would be a good reason to buy: Getting something you'd never be able to afford otherwise. Or if a used piece has the looks you really like, or a certain feature you can't get elsewhere, that's a reason to buy used. 

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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Some of my best used buys have been from locals who list their equipment on audio oriented marketplaces such as Canuck Audio Mart and have reliable, positive feedback. There is no substitute from meeting the seller in person. Even better if he/she is willing to bring the item over and allow you to hear it in your own system. And purchases from locals virtually eliminates shipping cost. It may take patience to find what you want but, in my experience, the wait is usually worth it both in terms of price and avoidance of risk. Of course, the availability of such opportunities is often limited to those who live in relatively large urban centres.

"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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As someone who moves around a lot and does a lot of online buying I’ve only had one bad experience buying/selling used and that was from a friend that stiffed me for $150. Other than that I’ve had a couple of annoying interactions, mainly stemming from someone lowballing me and then asking me to explain to them what the product does. 

As far as product risk buying when buying a used item goes, I’ve had 1 audio product arrive and fail shortly there after within the last decade of transactions. The original owner accepted the product back, warranty claimed it and I ended up with a a completely new unit at the used price which was 1/3 off of new. 
 

As pointed out in the article, most used items don’t fail past the first few months until the end of their service life. The item in the anecdote above only had approximately 50 hours on it when it was used so basically it was a new product failure. 

Digital: i9-12900K server(AudioLinux), EtherRegen, iBOX-V1000(AudioLinux), 20G, May KTE, Yggy LiM, Pulse Blue

Analog: Schiit Sol, KTE LCR-1, Ultra 500, Freya, Freya+, KGGG, Tyr

Sound makers: ES-1a #74, HiveX, RR1 #105, NS-1000M, Stealth 8

Power: Topaz/MGE isolation transformers, LPS-1.2, LPS4

On order: SR-X9000

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4 minutes ago, bluesman said:

Friends don’t stiff friends.

Truer words were never spoken. 

Digital: i9-12900K server(AudioLinux), EtherRegen, iBOX-V1000(AudioLinux), 20G, May KTE, Yggy LiM, Pulse Blue

Analog: Schiit Sol, KTE LCR-1, Ultra 500, Freya, Freya+, KGGG, Tyr

Sound makers: ES-1a #74, HiveX, RR1 #105, NS-1000M, Stealth 8

Power: Topaz/MGE isolation transformers, LPS-1.2, LPS4

On order: SR-X9000

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There seems to be a lot of pushback lately from sellers on sites like agon or usam against accepting PayPal or other payment methods that allow you a way to dispute a charge if something goes wrong regardless of who pays the service fee.  The sellers have established records with good feedback. They are usually selling more expensive items, but they state upfront in their ad that anything other than PayPal friends family, Venmo, or wire is not accepted as payment for the sale.  The sellers don't seem to be scammers and are often frequent and well-known contributors on the sites, but it still gives me great pause.
 

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18 hours ago, tubes59 said:

There seems to be a lot of pushback lately from sellers on sites like agon or usam against accepting PayPal or other payment methods that allow you a way to dispute a charge if something goes wrong regardless of who pays the service fee.  The sellers have established records with good feedback. They are usually selling more expensive items, but they state upfront in their ad that anything other than PayPal friends family, Venmo, or wire is not accepted as payment for the sale.  T

 

I don't get it. These same people will add $20 to a $100 restaurant tab for a tip and think nothing of it, but ask them to spend $30 for the convenience and protection that PayPal gives them on a $1000 sale and they freak out, or worse they use F&F to cheat PayPal out the fee they agreed to pay when they opened an account

 

 

see my system at Audiogon  https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/768

 

 

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On 6/27/2022 at 1:00 PM, bbosler said:

I don't get it. These same people will add $20 to a $100 restaurant tab for a tip and think nothing of it, but ask them to spend $30 for the convenience and protection that PayPal gives them on a $1000 sale and they freak out, or worse they use F&F to cheat PayPal out the fee they agreed to pay when they opened an account

I think there are two factors driving that.  First, if you do 100+transactions a year, the 20% adds up to thousands.  They're making the decision to risk a few bad transactions for the additional money.  And the IRS now monitors PayPal etc to tax anyone who receives more than $600 /year through such transactions.  The F&F tier is not (yet) monitored.

 

Save your receipts to show the IRS that you paid more for an item that you received when you sold it.  If you're selling for profit, gains are taxable.  I think the IRS eliminated the hobby provisions this year, so you can no longer deduct hobby expenses up to the amount of money you made from your hobby.

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A few observations from my own limited experience:
 

  • I feel much safer buying "nerdy" items than standard items used, and I have found no scammers I couldn't flush out using "nerdy talk". Higher end PRO audio and audiophile gear tends to fall in this category.
  • I totally prefer picking the equipment up in person after a good "nerdy" exchange. But I'm Scandinavian, and I suppose we trust each other more. Deal is usually by instant bank transfer with item in hand (yes, we have that).
  • Genuine sellers will offer original purchase documents on serious €/$ gear, giving some track and trace and validation.
  • B-stock audio items are usually discounted enough to take the appeal out of buying used.
    I do this from Thomann in EU (Sweetwater equivalent) - never any problems.


That said - I do take the (unrelated) precaution of not posting pictures of my main rig online. Not even on AS.
I suppose few people would even know how to get sound out of my AES/EBU monitors, if they actually managed to take off with it all (250kg equipment way up in an apartment building).

Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB -> Thunderbolt2 ->
MacBook Pro M1 Pro -> Motu 8D -> AES/EBU ->
Genelec 5 x 8260A + 7271A sub
Genelec 8010 + 5040 sub

iPhone SE 2 ->  Sennheiser PXC 550 II
Blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile” at http://www.computeraudiophile.com/blogs/digipete

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For me, it is the big-ticket items that usually seemed to be scammed more. Example, just look at that AUCTION SITE and look at the number of Vintage Receivers, for example, that are being sold for insane amounts of money. So many of them using the same pictures too. I have had pictures, I took for selling items, stolen and reused by scammers.

Current:  Daphile on an AMD A10-9500 with 16 GB RAM

DAC - TEAC UD-501 DAC 

Pre-amp - Rotel RC-1590

Amplification - Benchmark AHB2 amplifier

Speakers - Revel M126Be with 2 REL 7/ti subwoofers

Cables - Tara Labs RSC Reference and Blue Jean Cable Balanced Interconnects

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I suppose it's cheating, but I tend to give away (or more or less permanently lend out) equipment to a worthy home.
This way I get to cherry-pick the "buyer" 😃

Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB -> Thunderbolt2 ->
MacBook Pro M1 Pro -> Motu 8D -> AES/EBU ->
Genelec 5 x 8260A + 7271A sub
Genelec 8010 + 5040 sub

iPhone SE 2 ->  Sennheiser PXC 550 II
Blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile” at http://www.computeraudiophile.com/blogs/digipete

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