The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
Is it safe to buy high end mic on eBay ?
Old 16th October 2013
  #1
Lives for gear
 
roc's Avatar
 

Is it safe to buy high end mic on eBay ?

Hi , I'm saving up to buy a Neumann U87 (Ai) mic on eBay to go with my
SSL Nucleus mic pre's .

My question is , is it safe to buy a high end mic like that on eBay ?
It looks like they go for about $2500 used so I would save about $1000 ,
But is it worth the headache if something goes wrong ?

Also , do you think that would be a good match the U87 with SSL mic pre's ?

Thanks for your help . Peace
Old 17th October 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Lenzo's Avatar
There is always going to be some risk with ebay, unless it's a local sale and you can inspect it. Look at their feedback. I won't buy large items from anyone with less than 40 or so positives at 98-99% positive. For 2 grand I might want at least a hundred. If you see that they have sold similar items in that price range with good fb, then they are a pretty good bet. If they have only sold tennis shoes and hair curlers and suddenly they have a Neumann, then I'd be suspicious. And you can send a email through ebay...if they don't get back to you for a week, pass.
L.
Old 17th October 2013
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenzo View Post
If they have only sold tennis shoes and hair curlers and suddenly they have a Neumann, then I'd be suspicious.

LOL I only ever buy mics from hair salons on ebay


Seriously what Lenzo said, its all about the feedback. I bought a used hi-end mic but found it locally, so got to meet the guy, inspect it etc. U87's are pretty common I'm sure there's probably one going locally too.


.
Old 17th October 2013
  #4
Lives for gear
 

I would suggest buying a nice mic off the classified section from this site. Not only because I am selling a nice Soundelux there right now, but because the chances of dealing with an honest buyer/seller are a lot better. Don't get me wrong, you can still get ripped off here too, but if your smart (research, check feedback etc), you should make out just fine.

Good luck!!
Old 17th October 2013
  #5
Lives for gear
 

I don't know what the bootleg market looks like on Neumanns, but of course there are Shure copies and such...so being aware of these factors (and how to identify), and using basic common sense when bidding (don't pay with wire funds, buy from Nigerian princes, if its too good to be true...etc) will take most of the guesswork out. If the mic you purchase is not as described you are protected. If you can afford a new mic, by all means... But I have bought most of my mics used (locally) and have not had any issues, and saved thousands of dollars.
Old 17th October 2013
  #6
Lives for gear
 

If your buying on eBay, use Pay-pal and "Always" make sure that you get Proof of Life of the Item such as a U87 and then make sure you always pay with a Credit Card as Pay-Pal can be slow and arbitrate in strange ways - Credit Card you can Cancel & Fraud Alert.
Buy Local and/or buy from a Reputable "Pro Audio VK type Reseller" and suck the extra 15% charged, just don't go to Mercenary!
Old 17th October 2013
  #7
Lives for gear
 
celticrogues's Avatar
 

It's always a risk but I've bought high end mics there before and it can be fine. Definitely look at feedback, and contact the seller directly before the sale and see what their response is. If they respond fairly quickly and have a positive, not defensive attitude and seem fairly knowledgable then I feel a lot better about it.

Also make sure that you know enough about the mic to be able to thoroughly check it out on arrival and make sure it's up to spec. And make sure you can return it if it isn't!

Cheers,
-Mike
Old 17th October 2013
  #8
Lives for gear
 
cavern's Avatar
 

When it comes to that much money,i usually only buy from a source like this with thousands of transactions,even if i have to pay a few hundred more.
Never had an issue yet.

Is it safe to buy high end mic on eBay ?Neumann U87 AI Professional Condenser Studio Microphone 4006087070222 | eBay
Old 17th October 2013
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

I bought a few LeWilson mics direct from Mark Wilson on eBay. No problems. Fantastic mics.
Old 17th October 2013
  #10
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by roc View Post
Hi , I'm saving up to buy a Neumann U87 (Ai) mic on eBay to go with my
SSL Nucleus mic pre's .

My question is , is it safe to buy a high end mic like that on eBay ?
It looks like they go for about $2500 used so I would save about $1000 ,
But is it worth the headache if something goes wrong ?
Personally I wouldn't - if the capsule id damaged, a new one will more than wipe out the savings.

I would never buy a mic that had been used for vocals used.

A mic used for vocals is likely to have deposits on the capsule and fail the breath test (and probably why it's being sold).

If you do - be very wary.
Old 17th October 2013
  #11
Lives for gear
 
roc's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
A mic used for vocals is likely to have deposits on the capsule and fail the breath test (and probably why it's being sold).

very wary.
Hi can you explain more about the deposits and what is the breath test ?

Thanks everybody for your replies , great info !
Old 17th October 2013
  #12
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by roc View Post
Hi can you explain more about the deposits and what is the breath test ?

Thanks everybody for your replies , great info !
Any AF condenser mic. will attract dust and smoke particles and the like to the diaphragm by electrostatic action. These can tend to stick to the diaphragm.

They then absorb moisture and cause the mic. to go noisy and crackly.

If this happens the capsule needs cleaning - this is a skilled job. Sometimes the cleaning will cause the sputtered gold on the capsule to flake away which would result on the mic. needing a replacement capsule.

The "breath test" is to lightly breathe on the mic. A "hheeerrr" type of breath. If the moisture in the breath causes the mic. to get a little noise your crackly, then the capsule would need cleaning/replacing.
Old 17th October 2013
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Joeywhat's Avatar
 

In the rare event of me actually using eBay, I stick with commercial dealers who either have a separate store (online or brick & mortar) or do a LOT of business on eBay. Having a store outside of eBay indicates that they are actually interested in selling things and having happy customers, and are less likely to try and screw people over. Plus, you can peruse their website and get an idea of who they are and all that. The last purchase I made was through an audio store, and after a quick look at their website I found they were 100% legit, so I wasn't worried much about the purchase.

I'd never buy anything high value from an individual, or from a store with poor or few reviews. Too many jackasses on eBay trying to screw people over. I'll stick with the high volume users if I have to use it.
Old 18th October 2013
  #14
Lives for gear
 

One more thing, positive feedbacks are a good thing. However if you have 2000 transaction, with 50 items on ebay. It may

1) be hard to test/keep up with the condition of every piece of gear.

2) be easier to get lost in the "shuffle"/shipped to wrong address etc.
Old 18th October 2013
  #15
Gear Addict
 
garyboy2024's Avatar
 

I got a used 87ai on eBay last week for $1800 from a pawn shop with only one rating- not my usual style, but they took pics of everything and I confirmed the serial number to be manufactured just this year. Its great, perfect shape.

The only thing eBay is good for anymore is buying. They protect the buyer at all costs and leave sellers out to dry for the most part. If something is wrong with the mic send it back and get your refund. Chances are you'll get it even without a return policy if there's a legit issue.
Old 18th October 2013
  #16
Lives for gear
 
VO Guy's Avatar
 

I have always had good luck buying mics on ebay. Just be sure to do your homework upfront, and use common sense and good judgement.

And always use Paypal.
Old 18th October 2013
  #17
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
I recently bought a Sony C-37A off e-bay. I admit I was very nervous about it but since prices have gone up so dramatically for this mic I decided to take the risk.

Here are a few tips:

- Establish some communication with the seller even if everything seems clear. I just want to get a 'vibe' from the seller and ultimately I trust my intuition which has served me well so far with e-bay dealings.

- Ask the seller if they would be willing to send the mic to a third party/expert for inspection. It's normal that folks are not excited over this but check their reaction. If they flat out refuse to even consider doing this then I wouldn't bid on the item.

With the C37A I knew that this won't be practical since the mic was overseas but since the seller would have agreed to have the mic checked in California I decided to bid on it.

- Ask for more pics and/or details about the mic, ask about its history.

With the Sony, I dealt with a person that knew nothing about mics but I got more pics and the impression that the seller is honest.

- Insist on a return policy, period.

- As others have said only use PayPal. This can really save your a$$.

- ALWAYS expect needing to invest a few hundred for servicing any vontage mic. That's the biggest difference from dealing with say Vintage King or Madooma (two dealers I have 100% trust in).

Besides the comission, the fact that mics from established dealers are serviced and come with a guarantee makes for the seemingly high prices.

If you consider all this, the price difference to e-bay won't be that huge anymore.

-Seller feedback is important but can be misleading. I won't deal with anybody that has more that one or two negative feedback ratings but make sure to check ratings of the ones that gave the negative feedback too. Some sellers 'build' positive feedback by selling cheap items but this can be misleading too. The seller I got the Sony from didn't have any other audio gear for sale yet was legitimate and honest.
Old 18th October 2013
  #18
Lives for gear
I’m very iffy about buying expensive high-end mics on eBay from unknown randos. You best bet is to try somewhere like Vintage King or better yet, scour the classifieds section.
Old 18th October 2013
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post


- Ask the seller if they would be willing to send the mic to a third party/expert for inspection. It's normal that folks are not excited over this but check their reaction. If they flat out refuse to even consider doing this then I wouldn't bid on the item.
This is kind of a strange expectation to me, depending on the order you are expecting this process to be completed.

I sell a lot of vintage gear and if its not 100% I say it, but if its been serviced I give them the contact info of the technician. If I'm not a complete expert on something its either listed "as is" or it goes to my tech, or it goes to a specialist tech if he's not qualified. I am not going to ship it to anyone but the buyer straight after the sale, because eBay will not protect ME if I don't ship it to the buyer's confirmed PayPal address. If a buyer expected me to send it to a technician of their choice prior to making a sale this would certainly cause the item to raise in price as well, and what if the item sells on eBay to someone less anal while it resides at a tech's shop?
Old 18th October 2013
  #20
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kslight View Post
This is kind of a strange expectation to me, depending on the order you are expecting this process to be completed.

I sell a lot of vintage gear and if its not 100% I say it, but if its been serviced I give them the contact info of the technician. If I'm not a complete expert on something its either listed "as is" or it goes to my tech, or it goes to a specialist tech if he's not qualified. I am not going to ship it to anyone but the buyer straight after the sale, because eBay will not protect ME if I don't ship it to the buyer's confirmed PayPal address. If a buyer expected me to send it to a technician of their choice prior to making a sale this would certainly cause the item to raise in price as well, and what if the item sells on eBay to someone less anal while it resides at a tech's shop?
You misunderstood what I said. It would not be going to a technician prior to the sale but rather right after it.

The fact that the seller of my Sony C37A would have agreed to do it (within reasonable distance of his location) was a big factor for me in deciding to buy the mic.

When I sold my Neumann KM 54 I first sent it to Andreas Grosser just to be sure that everything's o.k. The seemingly lower price of a private sale can VERY quickly turn into the opposite when a mic needs serious work. I think with e-bay especially as a buyer you got to be ultra careful. The buyer is the one who is sending money upfront and that puts him at a big disadvantage.
Old 19th October 2013
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
You misunderstood what I said. It would not be going to a technician prior to the sale but rather right after it.

The fact that the seller of my Sony C37A would have agreed to do it (within reasonable distance of his location) was a big factor for me in deciding to buy the mic.

When I sold my Neumann KM 54 I first sent it to Andreas Grosser just to be sure that everything's o.k. The seemingly lower price of a private sale can VERY quickly turn into the opposite when a mic needs serious work. I think with e-bay especially as a buyer you got to be ultra careful. The buyer is the one who is sending money upfront and that puts him at a big disadvantage.
I disagree. As a buyer the worst cost you could incur is your time. If the item is not as described you send it back and get your money back. If you don't know a good mic from a bad one, buy it and give it to your tech and make your decision to keep it from that. Whether or not the seller is "willing" to ship it to a tech really doesn't matter at all, because chances are, you're going to do it anyway if you believe the mic to be not 100%. Reality is, I think its safe to assume that MOST mics (or anything, really) of a certain vintage will not be 100% by some definition and a technician will always find SOMETHING to fix.

As a seller you've got a lot more on the line.

You have to be ultra-careful of the paranoid/unreasonable expectation type (Those that assume the seller is "out to get them" and/or expect a 30+ year old piece of gear to be spotless and noiseless), the buyers that are on there solely to scam people (those that used to buy items they suspected to be from unknowledgeable sources to try to scam sellers out of partial refunds, for example), and the wishy-washy people that bought it without their spouse's approval and will break your item if you don't give them their money back for no reason. Very specific wording in your listing or buyers will attempt to take advantage of you. Though I am confident in everything I sell, I absolutely have to cut off people that give me warning signs in their communication because I don't want to deal with the time involved.


Had a dude recently inquire about a vintage guitar lately on eBay. First he wants to know if I'll ship. I'd rather not, because I want people to inspect the guitar for themselves with me present and for them to be happy without dealing with shipping. But whatever, I add shipping. Then the guy wants more pictures, in natural light. Fine, whatever. Then the guy wants to know if its working. I just had my tech go through it (listed in auction) and yes it is working...there is really not much to a guitar I don't know what he's thinking could go wrong. Then he drops off the face of the earth for a week. Then he sends me an email saying he's decided he'll give me 'x' and buy it that day. Normally I'd report him to eBay and tell him to go **** himself. But the owner of the guitar agreed to the price, and I changed the auction. Then the guy buys it. I withdraw the money into my Paypal, get the guitar ready to ship. An hour later the guy comes up with some life situation and wants his money back. I agree, but I can't give him his money back until the money posts in my bank account...2-3 business days, because I'm not going to overdraft my account for his wishy-washy-ness. The guy goes back and forth 5 times each way as to whether or not he wants a return or just ship the guitar and he'll resell it...literally. The guy asks me to cancel the transaction. I send him a cancel transaction request through eBay. He declines it, then says he wants me to ship it. Four hours later he says he's still hopeful for a return?!?!? At this point I've called eBay, and told them this guy's nuts and verify that I am not obligated to ship the guitar once he has already requested a refund (even if he keeps going back on the decision). They say I am good to not ship it, and even though he declined the cancel transaction request they will refund my Final Value fees if I send him a refund. I have to explain to the guy repeatedly, that NO I am not going to ship the guitar, because he can't make up his mind and I really don't want to ship a 55 year old guitar across the country in mint condition just so he can break it or whatever and decide he needs his money back anyway. No thanks.
Old 19th October 2013
  #22
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kslight View Post
I disagree. As a buyer the worst cost you could incur is your time. If the item is not as described you send it back and get your money back.
Sending back a mic and especially dealing with import taxes, VAT, etc is a huge PITA that I want to avoid unless as last resort.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kslight View Post
If you don't know a good mic from a bad one, buy it and give it to your tech and make your decision to keep it from that.
Doesn't make sense. That's why I often ask for more pics, more detail, etc. I want as precise a description as possible and preferably even sound clips.

What's important is that we're talking 'hi-end' and 'vintage' here. 'Vintage' doesn't mean just 'old' like many sellers want to make you believe.
I'm amazed how sellers put up say a U47 without a PSU without even discussing this. And then declaring that the buyer should be aware that the mic is untested. If the seller doesn't know if the mic works then how should I know?


Quote:
Originally Posted by kslight View Post
Whether or not the seller is "willing" to ship it to a tech really doesn't matter at all, because chances are, you're going to do it anyway if you believe the mic to be not 100%.
Of course it does matter. The issue is less about 'e-bay' but rather about dealer vs. private seller. If I buy from a 'pro' then I simply expect the gear to be up to spec or otherwise clearly be labeled as having issues.

The problems are more with private seller because at best you can save quite a bit of money that way. But often it's hard to decide whether a seller is truly 'ignorant' as in 'This U67 came from an estate, unfortunately I have no way of testing it nor do I know how to open it' or if it's somebody out for a quick buck or even a scam.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kslight View Post
Reality is, I think its safe to assume that MOST mics (or anything, really) of a certain vintage will not be 100% by some definition and a technician will always find SOMETHING to fix.
Again a big no.

I bought plenty of 30 or 40 year old mics on German e-bay that were in pristine condition. And again we're talking hi-end here, you can't sell a faulty U47 and just say 'We'll it's a 50 year old mic so of course it is noisy and doesn't work as good as it once did.

If I send say 3k to an unknown person then I want as much info as possible.
Also I don't mind being a complete PITA because it's my money I'm parting with. The biggest problem on e-bay is being impatient. Either a impatient buyer going on impulse or a impatient seller putting on pressure to close the deal.

You don't have to be paranoid to know that many e-bay auctions have pictures that are taken from other auctions or places. I watched a few Sony C-37A auctions recently and one seller had one up that looked good with detailed info. But then I realized that the last picture wasn't even the same mic but a C37A with a different finish that I actually saw on a website dedicated to Sony mics.
Old 19th October 2013
  #23
Lives for gear
 
hasbeen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ellis View Post
I have always had good luck buying mics on ebay. Just be sure to do your homework upfront, and use common sense and good judgement.

And always use Paypal.
Some of my luckiest finds are from eBay. Sold by people who either did not know what they had or were unaware of the going price.

I agree, use your end stink and PayPal always.
Old 19th October 2013
  #24
Deleted User
Guest
My batting average with mics on ebay is about 80%. 10% are defective and another 10% are mics that have been cherry picked and are being passed on. But 80% have worked out OK.
Old 22nd October 2013
  #25
I agree with most of the posts here. Look at the stats and reputation of the seller on EBay and pictures of the microphone and be certain the payment is done securely through Paypal and the seller ships the package in a well padded box. I purchased a U87AI microphone through eBay for a reasonable price back in 2009 and I am extremely happy with the microphone. eBay will have some bad apples as sellers but the majority I have experienced when purchasing through eBay have been a very comfortable experience.
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump