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Tips for buying used speakers?
Old 5 days ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Tips for buying used speakers?

I’m looking to buy used PA speakers and I’ve been burned before (possibly not on purpose). Is there any tips for making sure I don’t get a lemon when trying the speakers out? Would any of you buy speakers without hearing them if you bought from a big store with a return policy? Appreciate the help!
Old 5 days ago
  #2
Lives for gear
Speakers and Ribbon mic's are two items you must hear if used.
Old 5 days ago
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
Speakers and Ribbon mic's are two items you must hear if used.
Got it. Thank you!
Old 5 days ago
  #4
Gear Head
 

You certainly want to listen to each speaker individually when buying used. Crank them up decently loud. Make sure each driver works, and find out if any drivers have ever been replaced. If they have, with what? OEM or something cheap?

If the seller would allow you to open the speaker up and look inside at the wiring/circuitry too that's be a bonus... Just to make sure there isn't any funny business going on.


Essentially, think of it like buying a car. You want to test drive it pretty hard, look under the hood, find out about damages and repairs, etc...
Old 5 days ago
  #5
Gear Head
 

You also have to do your research regarding the price/brand/model. Look for old spec sheets, reviews and compare that to what new cheaper boxes can perform.

Many, I mean many many times. I see this pattern:
A guy goes out and buy a new set of "pro" speakers for about 1500-2000, fast forward about 10-30 years later, these speakers are now on sale for 500-700.

However, when you take a look at what you get, these are more likely passive boxes, with no dsp built in and most often cant put out more than 125-127 dB (maxSPL).

In this case, you can get a new set of boxes for the same price, with amp build in, with better processing/DSP and they will most likely be able to perform better due to improved technology at a lower price (just like the car example!). And you get to pick the exact brand/model with a return possibility if you aren't happy.

If I were about to buy an old set of speakers, I would look for a model that is still being sold today, which mean I won't look for anything that's older than 5-10 years.
Old 4 days ago
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jallejulius View Post
You also have to do your research regarding the price/brand/model. Look for old spec sheets, reviews and compare that to what new cheaper boxes can perform.

Many, I mean many many times. I see this pattern:
A guy goes out and buy a new set of "pro" speakers for about 1500-2000, fast forward about 10-30 years later, these speakers are now on sale for 500-700.

However, when you take a look at what you get, these are more likely passive boxes, with no dsp built in and most often cant put out more than 125-127 dB (maxSPL).

In this case, you can get a new set of boxes for the same price, with amp build in, with better processing/DSP and they will most likely be able to perform better due to improved technology at a lower price (just like the car example!). And you get to pick the exact brand/model with a return possibility if you aren't happy.

If I were about to buy an old set of speakers, I would look for a model that is still being sold today, which mean I won't look for anything that's older than 5-10 years.
Good point. I’m looking at definitely 5 years old or less. I’ll take your other advice to heart. Thank you! Online I keep seeing “new speakers in box” or “open box, never used” and it just seems a little fishy.
Old 4 days ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 

i bought almost all of my gear second hand...

find out what you need in terms of functionality:
non-/powered, arrayability, pole-mounted, stacked or flown, dispersion angles, weight/dimension, covers, wheel boards, whether you can find the same type of speaker somewhere close in case you need any etc.

i would turn to large rental companies, watch out for gear but from well established brands and stay away from any mi gear.
Old 3 days ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 

First thing to consider is how much replacement diaphragms cost. This is why I have several Wharfedale monitors, because they work well and legit diaphragms are really cheap on eBay. It's also why I won't ever buy another JBL speaker, the market is flooded with crappy fake diaphragms and JBL makes you buy the whole driver for their older models.

I much prefer to buy used speakers in pairs too, or at least have another identical speaker in good working order to compare against. Often there isn't opportunity for proper critical listening, so the easiest/fastest way is to hook them up as a pair and listen for how different they are. The more similar they are, the less likely they've been abused.

Bring a flashlight (your phone should work) to check LF driver suspensions for tears, and a multimeter to test whether a HF driver failure is a cheap diaphragm or a crossover problem. If there's a bad capacitor on the crossover assume it's difficult to get a matching one, and you'll likely get a better quality one, which even with the same specs will change the response of the speaker. I've upgraded a crossover cap before and the treble got brighter and cleaner, had to upgrade the same cap in its mate in order to use them on the same mix. They're actually more prone to feedback now that the treble has better fidelity, so it has its pros and cons. Wouldn't hesitate to upgrade caps in main speaker crossovers though.
Old 1 day ago
  #9
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Pro Sound Guy's Avatar
 

What country are you in?
What is your budget?
Old 1 day ago
  #10
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patoloco714 View Post
I’m looking to buy used PA speakers and I’ve been burned before (possibly not on purpose). Is there any tips for making sure I don’t get a lemon when trying the speakers out?
You have to hear them, start at low volume and listen closely to be sure all the drivers work and then stand back and crank them up, pan left and right listening for differences in tone and for any distortion, play with any EQ controls if available. A good speaker should just work and not get out of shape with any input short of a massive lowend boost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patoloco714 View Post
Would any of you buy speakers without hearing them if you bought from a big store with a return policy?
I have done just that, but it was from a retailer I have a well established relationship with and trust them at their word when they said the speakers were tested and working perfectly and if they weren't or even died shortly after taking ownership they would cover it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patoloco714 View Post
I’m looking at definitely 5 years old or less.
In that case you should be looking at active(self powered) speakers and you should be able to get them at a significant discount(up to half price) over new, if not there is no point because new speakers come with anywhere from 3-7yr warranties.
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