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Buy secondhand and save. PERHAPS ...
Are you really enjoying music as much as you'd like?
You can pay too much for something, but in the field of audio we strongly believe you can pay too little. That's not sales talk. Price-paring works well with things that stand alone - a washing machine or a sofa - but crucially items in a hifi system interact and affect each others' performance.
Some wonderful components are offered at great reductions and there's huge temptation to buy a "better" box at a knock-down price. But think - it means you are making yourself the expert, confident you know how to get the best out of your revised system. Is it the best way to upgrade your system, buying someone else's mistake?
Everybody with an interest in hi-fi knows about system matching but excitement takes over and the £10,000 item for £3,000 becomes irresistible. But remember: more capable components will also reveal weaknesses in other parts of the system. You can spend more and go backwards on the enjoyment scale!
"There is nothing in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper and he who considers price only is that man's lawful prey." John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)
Why is there so much secondhand hifi equipment for sale?
We see far too many people who have lived for years with unsatisfactory sound, not enjoying the music, constantly aware "it's not right". They have tried one component after another, striving for the magic combination that eludes them.
Very often changing a component will have a knock-on effect so that adjustments must be made elsewhere before results can be judged. It's rarely enough to do simple A/B comparisons without compensating elsewhere. A more capable CD player, for instance, will produce more and deeper bass. The room may react to produce a boom.
Now what? Poor CD player, poor speakers? Change the speakers? Buy a more powerful amp to "control" the speakers? That's the problem. Do you have the experience to know what else to change? (Answer: you should have moved the speakers! That's what we mean by compensating elsewhere.)
There's a real value for you in a dealer's advice and demonstrations. By contrast think of the computer industry: consumer pressure has driven down prices so much that advice is now an extra, specialist cost. Users either flounder, never realising the potential of their machines and the software, or pay high prices for expert help.
A new hifi component is sexy but it's our advice that will make it gel in a system, in your room, to your tastes, playing music - and our advice will save you money.
If music matters, you should be listening to us.
- Read our Helping You pages on specific system aspects.
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Is your hifi system as good as it could be - for the money you've spent?