How To Pick Equipment Without Hearing It

This is a question asked often by our members here at Audiogon.  How do you pick audio equipment without hearing it?  How do you buy something online when your satisfaction with that item will be based on a factor you can’t tell from a picture or words?  With the help of our users, we can guide you to utilize some techniques that make buying site “unheard” a little bit easier.

1. Research, research and research some more.

  • Look at discussions in online forums for the manufacturer or the specific gear you are considering buying.
  • Don’t have a particular brand in mind? Give consideration to the brands with a proven track record. Remember these are not necessarily the big advertisers.
  • Evaluate if the product meets the needs of your system. Figure out the right product for you. Does this product provide the solution your system needs? If you’re unsure, ask our users a question in the forum or at The Hub.
  • Individual and professional reviews on the products you are considering can be very helpful.  Finding out the opinions and experience of other audio buffs is valuable.  Also look for professional reviews. You will begin to see commonalities and pairings as you continue your research.

2. Create a short list.

  • Narrow down and evaluate by budget.
  • Consider buying used. If you are just getting started, have a small budget, or want the best equipment for your system, Audiogon’s marketplace is full of quality used equipment that is likely a great solution. Many of our members have bought their entire used system on Audiogon, even with a conservative budget.  Check out this Featured Room
  • Evaluate the characteristics and features of the different equipment so you can do more of an apple to apple comparison.

3. Purchasing Advice

Online buying advice from some of our members:

  • Fz1jmp said, “Research, read, research. Then buy something used here. It usually maintains its value. Put together a system, then start tweaking. Say you want warmer sound, identify your weak component, sell it right here. Say you lose $50, I think of it like an audition fee, no big deal. Buy the next component and keep going. I have built a really excellent mid-fi system over the years. And don’t forget, keep buying the music!!”
  • Jdombrow responded, “Develop a short list of potential amps, and then read everything you can about each of them. Look at the “professional” reviews as well as user comments on the various audio forums. Hopefully you’ll develop a sense of what attributes are important and have a better feeling about your purchase.”
  • Nrenter added, “If you spend enough time on this site (along with other sites) you’ll start to see common pairings.”

With the help of our Audiogon community, your purchases should be anything but guesswork.  To get advice from other users or join in the discussion, visit our live Chat Rooms.

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