Idea... Headphone Lending Exchange: Try Before You Buy
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ruthieandjohn

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Many of us Head-Fiers share some characteristics:
 
  1. We have lots of headphones;
  2. We always want more;
  3. We would like to try a headphone before we buy it;
  4. We take good care of our headphones;
  5. Our interest in a particular headphone sometimes fades out a few days after we buy and use it.
 
What about a "headphone exchange," a Headphone Lending Library if you will?
 
The goal is to swap headphones of interest by mail for a few days to allow us to try a new model of headphone that someone else has as part of our consideration of whether to order one.
 
Folks could post a list of headphones that they are interested in auditioning by receiving under such exchange, and another list of headphones they are willing to lend for a few days for someone else to try.
 
Headphones could be mailed within country. I suspect for two-day U.S. Mail, a one-way trip would cost about $20, which the sender would pay.
 
Headphone exchange might be better done serially rather than simultaneously, so that I can compare your headphone that you sent me against the one that I will send you in comparative listening tests, then I'll send you both, you then do the same, then send mine back.
 
Perhaps some degree of personal reliability might be needed, e.g., someone who has been active on the forum and not too flaky... I think it would be up to the headphone sender to set his or her own criteria for comfort.
 
If this is of interest, I'd be happy to participate.  Here is my list:
 
AVAILABLE TO LEND:
 
  1. NAD VISO hp50
  2. Parrot Zik
  3. Beats Studio 2013
  4. Beats Studio 2013 Wireless
  5. Sennheiser HD 598
  6. Grado PS500
 
INTERESTED IN BORROWING (i.e., considering purchasing):
 
  1. Philips Fidelio X1
  2. V-MODA M-100
  3. AKG Q701
  4. Sennheiser HD 800
  5. HiFiMAN HE-400
 
What do you think? Thanks.
 
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rfan8312

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This sounds like a great idea. I'm surprised it hasn't caught on, in a place with so many users that could probably be deemed trustworthy enough to participate.

Recently, while reading an official review from Tyll of InnerFidelity of the $5000USD Abyss AB-1266 planar magnetic headphones, he dropped a link to a site for a vendor called The Cable Company (sorry can't link ATM) that for a good while now has had a headphone cable lending program which recently has been extended to include a headphone lending program. Seems like a really cool deal where you pay a 5% deposit to use the headphones for 2 weeks. You can go on their site and see which headphones they have available for lending.
 
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superjawes

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1. Headphone meetups (coordinated through Head-Fi).
2. Trust.
3. Used headphones.
4. Return policies.

I don't think something like this is entirely necessary because many users have an opportunity to attend a headphone meetup. And even though we might trust other users more than your typical forum stompers, we're still talking about hundreds-thousands of dollars worth of gear. All it would take is one jerk...

And then we also have the used market here, offering some pretty cheap and quick trades. I've seen plenty of people use the For Sale/Trade forums this way, and if that weren't enough, return policies at places like Amazon offer yet another way to try before you "buy".

I'm not saying that this is a bad idea...I'm just not sure that anyone would make good use of it.
 
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Cakensaur

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Its a good idea with good usage. 
But its like.. risk potential is very low.. but it just takes that one guy... to steal.. to take advantage.
 
Supposing it DOES spread into a broader used concept.
Say i ship my T1's to someone to trade for a HD800 or any such trade
If when i get my T1's back and they are DoA (dead on arrival) and the guy swears he didn't damage them (i.e it was a courier incident) but he may well have damaged them by accident and tried to palm it off on shoddy delivery services,
How do you decide what happens if a courier decides to take no responsibility.
 
If this happened to me i would happily go along with going 50/50 for repairs with the person i traded with. but not everyone will see this way
Its just a minefield of stress and worry IF anything goes wrong.. which even if the chance is slim, will still happen.
 
I like the idea but I'm not convinced it won't be abused in one way or another.
 
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TRapz

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Possibly have a group of people who agree to lend headphones for a one or two week period. This group would be exclusive to Head-Fi'ers who have joined the group by applying and meeting certain requirements. This would reduce the amount of people who might abuse the system/be irresponsible. Some requirements could be something like 100+ posts, a certain age limit, non-smoking (and possibly no-pet) household, etc. We could have a few people (5-15 depending on the popularity) leading the group who would allow/deny people into the group once they apply. Obviously certain rules and such could be set, with rules set by the sender in a PM to the person trying it. I think this is a great idea, if made as safe as possible with a system of rules and requirements. It would be great if one of the admins saw this thread and was able to start planning things out, seeing the benefits and disadvantages of it, and possibly creating a way to do this.
 
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rfan8312

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Fear of many things brings any idea to a screeching hault.

Like cakensaur mentioned, only users of headfi that meet certain requirements would probably be trusted enough to participate.

If your headphones arrive back to you DOA, then you are out of luck. But, choosing wisely beforehand who from headfi you agree to exchange with and choosing how your headphones will be shipped could eliminate alot of the chances of that happening. Also this may be only for people who would be willing to take the chance on one of their headphones. Say your HD800 came back DOA, if you chose a trustworthy partner then only the shipping company could be to blame and then possibly you would try to sort it out with them or possibly just have to be ok that your headphones are ruined without it completely destroying your trust in humanity.

I imagine with the right set of people that this could work.
 
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