HOW TO BUY SECOND- HAND AND VINTAGE STEREO SPEAKERS
What Hi-Fi|January 2021
Tips and tricks for bagging a speaker bargain

You know how it is; you do your research and read plenty of reviews, but the pair of speakers you really want are priced just out of reach. There’s a way around that problem: to buy second-hand. It takes a fair bit more legwork to get exactly what you want compared with buying new, but there is a fair chance they’ll be more affordable. Therein, of course, lies the appeal of second-hand hi-fi.

How affordable? Typically, you’ll find at least a 30 per cent drop in the price of a product that’s just one year old and around 50 per cent on something that’s closer to three years old. After that, the price is determined as much by condition as age.

Of all the various components that make up a hi-fi system, speakers are probably the most sturdy and can give decades’ worth of use provided they haven’t been abused. And if they do go wrong, they’re usually relatively easy to repair. All told, second-hand and vintage hi-fi speakers can be a great option – provided you avoid a few potential problems. Read on for our guide to buying a top pair of second-hand speakers.

DO SOME RESEARCH

When you buy new it’s a good idea to visit various dealers to compare speakers. This way you can find the perfect pair for you and your system. Things are very different when buying second-hand hi-fi speakers. Unless you’ve heard a pair of the speakers that you’re thinking of buying, you’ll have to lean heavily on speaker reviews to make a decision. While reviews can certainly help to compile a shortlist, they can’t guarantee that those speakers will work well in your system and to your tastes. There is inevitably an element of risk when buying this way.

When looking at second-hand speakers online or with your local dealer, it’s easy to get tempted by a low price. From experience we can say that being tempted by a super-low price rarely results in long-term satisfaction.

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