Advice on buying used speakers: what to look for when auditioning and what questions to ask

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Da He Hua, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. Da He Hua

    Da He Hua Active Member

    I have decided to buy a pair of used floor-standing speakers. I know the number one advice is that I must do an audition. What should I be paying attention to when doing the audition? I listen exclusively to classical music.

    Also, what are the questions that I should ask? Note that I do not have deep knowledge of stereo gears. Thank you for the help!


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  2. nolasally

    nolasally AK Subscriber Subscriber

    RDU North Carolina
    Foam surrounds redone?? All original drivers?? Crossovers rebuilt? Bring a empty paper towel or TP cardboard insert to verify all drivers are functional. If speakers are not hooked up to listen to bring either an amp or a voltmeter to verify drivers are functional. Knock on sides of cabinet or lift up to verify if speakers are somewhat well built. Stay away from anything that says made in china
  3. daveg3588

    daveg3588 Toy addict Subscriber

    Hamburg, NY
    What is the rest of your system? that can determine what speakers you can drive, what do you what to hear?
  4. SPL db

    SPL db It's all about the music! Subscriber

    Omaha, NE
    Take along music that you are familiar with and have it fresh in your memory (read, play it at home before leaving or in the car) if you can.

    Apples to oranges I know as they will have different electronics, but it is helpful.
  5. johnblue

    johnblue Active Member

    Do your research before you shop... Hang out here and other places and narrow down the choices... Pick some companies and models that are in your budget and then start to hunt those. At that point you are looking for a good example of a reasonable group of speakers that you have good knowledge of.

    Good luck!

    Also you could subscribe to Audiokarma and look at Bartertown... And even make a Want To Buy request...
  6. CopperWizard

    CopperWizard Well-Known Member

    Eugene, OR
    I usually ask if they have any other gear they want to sell as well.
    faber12 likes this.


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  7. dc270

    dc270 Now Off The Reservation..... Subscriber

    North Texas
    It would help if you become familiar with the 3 basic sound groups, bass reflex (ported), acoustic suspension (sealed) and horn loaded. After knowing that then you can determine how many driver (usually 2~3) and how much budget you have to work with. It also helps to know how big the room is to cover.

    Others say measure or know is what ohm of resistance the speakers will be to your receiver or amp. Some amplifiers become unstable below 4~ 6 ohm, causing them to blow!

    Good luck with you find.
  8. Fairlane

    Fairlane AK Subscriber Subscriber

    West San Jose CA
    Stay with brands and models that have stood the test of time. Are easy to update or replace parts if there is a problem down the road.
  9. Aptone

    Aptone AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Do you already have a make and model in mind, or are you just starting your search? I ask because if you are buying conventional speakers with cones, then you do need to be worried about rotting foam surrounds as nolasally says. If you are looking at a planer speaker like a Magnepan (which I suggest you audition if you can), then rotting tweeter and peeling mid/woof wire can be an issue. Electrostatics and specialty drivers like the Heil can have other issues. There is a wide range of options, which is what makes speakers fun.
  10. slow_jazz

    slow_jazz Lunatic Member

    SE Michigan, Downriver....
    Stick to brand names in good condition.

    I use solo piano music when trying speakers. Should sound smooth and natural like a real piano.

    Best of luck.

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