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Valuing USED Heaphones

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi Folks.  As a new "consumer" here at head-fi, I cannot help but to note the difference in multiplier on used headphones here vs. multipliers for used equipment on Audiogon.  It's not uncommon to see equipment listed for sale at 20% off retail, or maybe 25% at best.  In contrast, used gear on Agon is often listed between 30% to 50% off (I'd say average 40%).  Really, 20% isn't such a deal, especially when you consider paypal (4%) and shipping.  Buying new often includes free shipping and the ability to use a credit card.  I don't see why people would buy at (ultimately less than) 20% off just to save a little money, but lose the warranty of new gear and take on more risk.  It's a different world here at head-fi relative to agon.  Anyone have any theories on why this difference?

post #2 of 10

I think a lot of people would be happy to save the 20%, because really, they probably just want to audition the headphones first in their own homes, and if they don't like it, they can usually sell it for what they paid to the next member.

 

It's the circle of life, for a headphone.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Yes, I suppose that if this is the currency here at head-fi, and one can reasonably assume that they can resell without losing $$, I can see why people are willing to do this.  But if you end up keeping it, the savings isn't much WRT having a warranty, etc.

post #4 of 10

I'm not familiar with Audiogon. Based on my cursory keyword searches, you have a lot more choices here. I'm willing to buy here, because I can easily discern whom to trust. Another factor is the availability of discontinued and vintage gear. Prices here will vary more based on the product's condition and whether the seller's willing to wait for the right buyer. The truth is that as much as I want to save money, I want the seller to be proud of the transaction too, knowing that he sold a good product at a fair price.

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter_S View Post
 

Hi Folks.  As a new "consumer" here at head-fi, I cannot help but to note the difference in multiplier on used headphones here vs. multipliers for used equipment on Audiogon.  It's not uncommon to see equipment listed for sale at 20% off retail, or maybe 25% at best.  In contrast, used gear on Agon is often listed between 30% to 50% off (I'd say average 40%).  Really, 20% isn't such a deal, especially when you consider paypal (4%) and shipping.  Buying new often includes free shipping and the ability to use a credit card.  I don't see why people would buy at (ultimately less than) 20% off just to save a little money, but lose the warranty of new gear and take on more risk.  It's a different world here at head-fi relative to agon.  Anyone have any theories on why this difference?

 

Maybe because Head-Fi has an audience outside just the US/Canada.  I also just checked Audiogon (headphones), and I didn't see anything listed that seemed significantly cheaper.

 

The reasons I use the buy/sell forums here:

  • I know the people - not face-to-face, but over the last few years I've grown to know who I trust, and met some pretty nice people along the way.
  • Most people here 'baby' their gear (as do I).  Everyone I've dealt with has been very honest about the condition - and everything I've purchased has been well under retail new - some significantly so.
  • One of the best things is the fact that (as I've built up 'rep') most long time Head-Fiers are more than happy to ship all the way to little old NZ.  Even some of the ones that specify CONUS only are quite happy to deal with me (despite the distance) as long as you're fair with the offers. 

 

I have no idea if I would get same reception on Audiogon (given my location) but I suspect not.

 

Audiogon - I'd be just another trader.  Here - I'm amongst friends.

post #6 of 10
Audiogon has been around MUCH longer than head-fi. I've never had much luck shopping for headphones & headphone gear at Audiogon. For example, right now there is a 3-month old Senn Momentum on Audiogon for $250 + 3% Paypal. It's new at Amazon for $290 + free shipping. That's only a 14% reduction, and I'm not even counting the 3% for Paypal. If you are comparing used non-headphone prices at Audiogon vs head-fi prices, then I think that's comparing apples to oranges.

Bottom line: This is a free market economy. If the same item can be bought elsewhere for less money - then go for it! I suspect that if that were actually always the case, then prices at head-fi would either drop, or there would be more gear purchased at Audiogon, or there would be less gear sold at Audiogon! smily_headphones1.gif
post #7 of 10
You're comparing headphones on Head-Fi to equipment on Audiogon. Headphones retain their value significantly better than quite a few other categories of equipment in this hobby.

As Billy mentioned, when it comes to headphone v. headphone, the price reduction on Head-Fi is on average significantly greater.
post #8 of 10

All of the members I've dealt with here so far have been trust worthy and took great care in their gear that the loss of warranty issue isn't really a concern for me. Sometimes the discounts may not add up much when you factor in everything compared to buying new, but any discount is better than none at all. Audiogon also has more members than Head-fi, with more sellers selling similar items making it a competitive market with better prices for used gear than what you might see here.

post #9 of 10

A few other factors:

- the headphone market is relatively younger

- headphones are cheap to ship, a lot of prices here include shipping

- the age of items for sale here is generally only a couple years old, whereas on audiogon it's not uncommon to see speakers/turntables/amps/etc that are several decades old, and prices will reflect this

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

I agree with BillyBob - this IS a market economy, and the value of things is what we perceive it to be.  That sets the prices here aat head-fi.  If everyone has the same perception of value, regardless of what it is (e.g. used = 80%*New vs. used=60%*New), the absolute value doesn't matter much, because one feels that it is possible to try something out and not lose too much money when putting it back up for sale.  The absolute value of price only matters when you know you are going to keep the headphones.  In which case, a small discount may not be worth the loss of warranty, the subjective perception of wear and the risk of something going wrong.  I don't doubt that most people here are trustworthy though.  This is a smaller and more intimate group than audiogon (at least the current agon, not 10 years ago) , and in my experience, most people on agon have been trustworthy too.  I don't believe that headphones weather aging better than other audio gear - they get handled more than almost anything.  I think that this is just the valuation at which the market has settled on, and what most folks here are comfortable with. I haven't been "shopping" on this site long enough to develop a mature impression of actual used/new multipliers, but in my limited observations, they are higher than for other audio equipment on agon.  I agree that agon is not a good place to buy headphones - it is not a mature headphone market.  Probably because people know what they are getting here at head-fi.

 

Thanks for all your input.  Peter

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