New or Used?

Looking for your thoughts. I am a fanatic about saving money. I have had terrific success buying used off of Ebay, Craigslist and other sites. I know some people will ONLY buy new. What about you?? What’s the best deal you’ve gotten?

So far I’ve only purchased new headphones since I tend to keep every pair I buy until they break or sometimes give away to someone who needs/wants a pair. The only used headphones I’d consider purchasing/trading would be from friends/family/acquaintances I know personally. I enjoy unboxing new items and when it comes to technical products I like knowing that they haven’t been abused and are performing optimally.

Also, since I’m very passionate about music I tend to form a bond with a set of cans similar to how I become attached to a musical instrument after playing it for a while.

I’ve so far only bought new, but I’m just getting into the used market. I think there is a lot of value to be had in trading with others, if at least for the opportunity to connect with a fellow hobbyist.

I do both, depending on what the item is and how sure I am I want to keep it.

If I’m buying used, it’s generally because the item isn’t readily available new (discontinued, heavily back-ordered, it’s a Massdrop item that the drop has finished for, or has very long build-times) or it’s because I’m not planning on keeping the item and don’t want to lose more on it than I have to.

However, when buying used I generally don’t expect to pay more than about 60% of what the item currently costs new (I don’t care how much was originally paid). I make occasional exceptions for very hard to get stuff, or for things that are essentially new (box was opened, unit tested, buyer didn’t like it, and it’s only a week or so old).

But since so many used items in the audio world are no longer covered under warranty, it either has to be a substantial discount or I’ll go to the new market first. And, with a few brands, it’s not just that you don’t get the warranty, but that the manufacturer will not service the item AT ALL, even if you pay, if you didn’t buy it directly from an authorized dealer. That further impacts what I’m willing to pay, used.

A few good used deals I scored (new prices in brackets):

  • Auralic Aries (full version) for $750 ($1,599).
  • Focal Utopia, when they were just announced and massively backordered, for $2,650 from France ($4,000).
  • Sony NW-WM1Z for $2,000 when they weren’t yet officially released in the US ($3,200).

To be fair, though, due to excellent relationships with the couple of dealers I use in-person, I don’t think I’ve ever paid full MSRP for anything from one of those either. Thats not always the case with online dealers, but it’s always worth calling and asking what they can do.

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See, I agree with @Torq

When I am just staring out in something it makes no sense to pay full boat if I’m not sure I’ll stick to it. BUT because many people try things and don’t love them, deals are out there.

I purchased my Woo WA 6 for 650 (Shipped) WITH Princess tube and upgrades.
Tried a pair of LCD 2’s for $450 (even at that price shipped them back because they weren’t for me).

I do buy some new things like my HD 600’s but with so few places to try out new cans and relying only on reviews, it makes no sense to buy something I would lose money on returning or selling.

I STOLE a used pair of Focal Elears for $440 shipped.
To me, because this is a HOBBY and there is no true “end-game”, I need to be careful with budget. There’s also the fact that DSD music is expensive as hell. Saving money on used or at very least buying open box items makes sense and I have the ability to buy and try much more than if I bought all new.

Another factor is all the return shipping. Seems most of this stuff is heavy and/or bulky so returns are expensive even if the seller offered returns.

I don’t know why so many people expect to get 90% of their money back when selling used items. “I am selling used Andromedas for $999. They are only a year old and lightly used.” No they are USED.


I’ve only sold one item online, and I tried to price it at what the going rate for them was used. I’m not really liking trying to sell my stuff now though. I would rather just try and get it in the hands of friends or family. That being said I agree with @Torq, and @BurgerPalaceAudio, used and open box isn’t a bad way to go, just realize you are getting a used item that may or may not work properly.

@DarthPool There is always apprehension with condition. But on eBay I look for seller ratings, and many times places like Sam Ash, B&H Photo and Adorama have guarantees that are iron clad. So far I have been fortunate with great sellers.

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@BurgerPalaceAudio, I also have been fortunate in my used buys, usually I pick up items from “authorized dealers” how true that is…well. I also research the poo out of the seller before committing to anything. I once ordered a pair of headphones, and when they came in the mail it was not headphones but a high end amp that was twice as expensive as the headphones I ordered. I returned it and got the right headphones eventually but it was a pain, luckily the seller was very cooperative and quick to respond. I’m pretty sure they mixed up shipping labels with another customer. Items in question were the HD700, and the Senn HDVD 800. I didn’t get a chance to play with the HDVD 800 but it looked like a cool amp/DAC, the thing is massive.

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These are invariably the types that don’t see the disconnect in them wanting 90% of what they paid for their used stuff, but want you to sell to/trade with them at 60% of the value of yours …


I was iffy about purchasing used, but kept seeing people speaking highly of purchases they made through avexchange on reddit. Finally pulled the trigger on when I saw a pair of LCD-2 Classics on sale for the pre-order price, and I’m glad I did. $200.00 off the price of brand new, came in perfect condition, and thanks to Audeze I am still under warranty.

That being said I have seen the infrequent post about scammers, so there is definitely some risk involved in buying and selling second hand. I would definitely be very cautious of sellers unwilling to use Paypal, which offers buyers some protections if things go wrong.

As others have said buying new or used depends on the product and if I plan to keep it! I like hearing and sometimes collecting discontinued headphones so used is the only way to go, but if it’s something I intended to keep long term I prefer new just for a warranty. My HD 800 I actually purchased new along with my AKG K702

Though I usually go for second hand, especially since I may buy and sell a number of different products when I’m looking for something in particular. Like when I was in search of a new closed back headphone I went through a number of different options before I ended up on my ZMF Eikon. As I didn’t know what I wanted until I heard it!

In terms of amazing deals however, I think the best I’d ever gotten was back when I was upgrading to the DT 880! I stumbled upon mint condition 600 Ohm Premium with a beautiful full OCC Copper Recable for like $160!! I think the reCable alone cost more than that and the new price of that headphone at the time was still upwards of $250ish.

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Buying used is great when you want to try something, or are building a system on a budget. This forum got me buying some used wireless and noise reducing phones - with mixed results from eBay. In my first try, the item didn’t fully function, sent it back. Now I’ve got 1 fully-functioning Sennheiser MM-450X, and “who cares” Sennheiser HD-229 that works fine. But it was a lot of 3, and was supposed to include an MM-550X also, but what came was an intermittent 2nd MM450 set. What do you expect for $80?

At least I expect it to be properly described. I’m sure I will arrive at some resolution.

When you buy used, you need to factor in some replacement items - ear cushions, perhaps a cable or a battery. I’ve found that AUDIOGON has the best used equipment, but higher prices also.

On the other hand, if it is something you want and know, Buying New makes sense. If you can afford it. My better headphones, the current Hifiman HE560, and my old Stax SR-5N, and even my Sennheiser HD 6xx’s were bought new.

My suspicion - not a big enough sample size - is that used works best on upper middle to high end. Used items like $375 and under headphones bought under $100 may have been ridden hard and put away wet. A used Macintosh amp, on the other hand, is more likely to have been cared for.

Of course there is a reason for some vintage items to be legendary. And you can’t buy them new. Like the Dynaco Mark III and Mark IV mono amplifiers. Occasionally you can find modern hobbyists that do re-create a classic, often building upgraded models from old kit schematics and putting them in nice cases.

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Scammers exist. Fortunately you can’t fake a large quantity of good reviews on Ebay and reverb. Craigslist is iffy if you can’t meet in person for an item. Also with PayPal and Credit card protections you can insure your purchase will be covered. I truly think research and communicating with the seller are great ways to reduce the risk.

On eBay, the problem isn’t the scammer, but the person who genuinely doesn’t know what to say in a description or how to say it. This is a double-edged sword. You can find super bargains when a description is bad enough that people avoid a good item, but you also find “tested, works great” descriptions from someone who couldn’t hear buzzing from a plague of locusts.

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A perfect example : my Schiit Valhalla was listed for 250. No bids. The description stated not tested but lights up. I wrote the seller and said I’d be willing to take a shot at it for 150 since it’s not tested. My reasoning was I have Schiit Audio within driving distance and it could b serviced under warranty if it wasn’t working. It arrived well packed and it was an amazing buy. It works perfectly. Also with eBay. I walk away when the bids become ridiculous. I want a bargain. I don’t want to “win” a bidding war. A set of HD 800s were set to be a steal at 480. But in the last 2 days 2 stooges drove them up to 900.

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I purchase used because I can’t afford to buy new, even after haggling with my.local dealers it’s still not favourable. Hence buying used and using it as a stepping stone to trying out stuff seems to be the best way. The biggest problem is my exchange rate to the dollar so that pretty.much puts me in a bad position. The only 2 things I ever bought new was the Focal Utopia around $2900 and the RME ADI -2 DAC.

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You mean fellow audiophiles? :wink:

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Ha I suppose I do mean fellow audiophiles.

I’m with you on that. I have a collection in only 6 months because of good scouting. I doubt I would be compelled to have as many gadgets if I had to pay full boat.

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