Deal of a Lifetime or Cut the Loss?

#1

This topic is for questions about the residual value of headphone and audio purchases. Across various threads, people have mentioned purchase regrets or the desire to sell (or sell at a given price).

I’m personally trying to get a handle on a recent purchase, but here’s an easy case:

  • I purchased the Massdrop CTH early in 2018, but ended up with Loxjie P20 near the end of the year. The Loxjie fits the same niche as the MCTH and sounds better to my ears, so I’m looking for another location or a way out with the MCTH. These are easy courses of action.

QUESTION

  • I grabbed a pair of KEF LS50 speakers at the recent $1,000 street price (original retail $1,500). Mine were damaged in shipping (1" chips on the top back edges of both speakers, cracks across the back edge of one speaker). The vendor agreed to cut $400 from the price or accept a return. So, I can have new-but-limited-resale-value LS50s for $600 if keep them. The sound and electronics seem okay, but I’m testing them heavily before I decide one way or another.

Keep 'em, flip 'em, or dump 'em?

#2

If it was me, I’d want them perfect unless I was both sure that I was going to keep them long-term (long enough that I didn’t care about how much I might get out of them if/when sold) and that they were functionally/sonically flawless.

There are so many used pairs of LS50 available most of the time that it puts more downward price-pressure on them than might be typical and I suspect that it’d be rather hard to unload a damaged pair, even if it was only cosmetic damage that wasn’t visible in normal use, at all.

Unless something is discontinued and highly desirable, or just plain hard to get (perpetually or because I’m being impatient for something that’s only just released), I tend to assume a maximum price for used gear that is 60% of current retail (not what was originally paid for it). More than that and I’d personally rather buy it new, get the warranty and have no questions about how the thing has been used (especially with headphones or speakers).

I also consider anything with any damage at all to be “used” for pricing purposes. Which means, at least from my personal frame of reference, $600 for a damaged pair of $1,000 speakers isn’t a deal at all and is just, maybe, hitting an appropriate value point. And that $600 would then be what I’d consider the “current price” for a pair of those speakers that hadn’t been in actual use, making their subsequent used-value (to me) $360 or less…

But that’s just me …

If you’re sure they’re working correctly, i.e. that the chips and cracks are cosmetic only, won’t get worse (remember a speaker cabinet has to absorb/damp vibration by design) and do not compromise the structure or the internal seal/damping of the enclosure, and you like how they sound then they do offer a lot of performance for $600.

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#3

You and my wife too.

I agree with all of your logic and indicated as much to the customer service agent. I never expected or intended to buy smashed speakers. Odds are this will turn into a free home trial. The LS50s have nice, neutral, clean profile (akin to Focal), but substantially less bass depth than many of my headphones. They need a subwoofer, at least with the 500 watt home theater receiver I’m using for testing.

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#4

On your first item, I sold my MCTH for $180 with shipping on eBay if that helps. That was before fees, so really something like $165. So I recouped just over the 60% used price that @torq mentioned. I actually had a tough time selling it surprisingly since I listed it on both headfi and Reddit avexchange with no takers or even interest. Thats usually never a problem for me.

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#5

I’m getting ready to sell my MCTH also…I was going to offer it up much cheaper to a friend first but that Loxjie is such a good deal I might point them in that direction first…

#6

Dump them. Who wants broken damaged goods. Think about the resale value…

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#7

Once I keyed in the kind of sound I wanted to achieve, I basically planned all my purchases around that. Sure, there’s a very real possibility I might change my mind about what kind of sound I’d like to pursue in my rig, but that’ll be a problem for future Kevin to deal with on his own terms, haha.

Humour aside, I don’t think anyone will be able to change your mind one way or the other; I really rather doubt that you’re not leaning any particular way just now. One thing I decided was that I’d be happy to let other people poop all over my purchase decisions so long as I myself love them. For pens and art materials, that means I don’t mind snide comments about my aesthetic sense being particularly bjorked, same applies to how my audio gear sounds.

And if the speakers sound good to you, then I’d suggest you keep em on and learn to love the wear. That’s what I do with my Klipsch HP-3 after having accidentally dropped it on a dumbbell I kept by my listening station (thankfully it wasn’t the other way around). Aesthetics are compromised, but I still love how they sound after EQing the treble down a tad.

Also I’m morally against flipping, the connotation therein being that the buyer doesn’t know exactly what they’re signing up for. If you just mean that you’re planning on finding a new home for them then all’s good :))

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#8

I’d send them back unless the dealer negotiated the price down further. If they were marked down to say $400, you could donate them or sell them ultra cheap when you were looking to change them out. Could you fix them?

#9

The KEF LS50s are going back for a refund. I would have returned them regardless of the damage because I’m not enjoying them all that much. They sound a lot like the Focal Elex or Clear with the bass cut off at 80Hz. They are too bright for me and pretty fatiguing.

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#10

There are some things (spatiality, imaging, stage, separation/layering among others) the LS50 do that require spending disproportionately more on elsewhere to equal . But, as with all 5" driver ported designs, the laws of physics prevent them having fully satisfying bass.

EQ can help to a certain degree (the wireless, active, version has decidedly more impressive bass response - albeit a bit one-note and lacking both absolute slam and real texture), but at some point there is no replacement for displacement. And I’ve always felt that, absent listening to relatively bass-light genres, the LS50 need a decent subwoofer to complement them.

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#11

Yea most bookshelf speakers need a sub, even a small one, to really shine.

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#12

agree fully antdroid…i have the kef ls50w…bought an svs sv2000 sub
…HUGE difference in sq and enjoyment.

#13

I’ll chime in with my .02. I’d send them back and my thinking is any impact that was significant enough to do that much damage may have damaged things internally that you can’t see. The discount is not enough to cover the cost of repairs later should something fail a month from now.

For the record, I have a pair as bedroom speakers and love em, so I know its hard to give them up, but I think I would in this case.

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#14

Sent back today. Dropped at UPS.

#15

This may be moot since you returned them (good call considering the damage), but I think the LS50s are an outstanding speaker. I don’t expect much through a home theater receiver - but a nice integrated tube amp they sing. And they definitely need a little woofer help.

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#16

I agree that the LS50s are amazing – laser accurate projection and stereo imaging for sure! But, I had little use for them because precision isn’t required for non-critical listening, and they led me to conclude that I want full towers (avoid a sub if at all possible) for critical listening.