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Hi-end speakers, new or used?

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#1
Looking for a pair of speakers in the $10k range. Speaker technoligy has been advancing but used speakers ( 5 yrs old) are 1/2 the price. Are the advances plus no wear, worth the cost? Then theres the 3rd option, dealer demos. Usually 2 or three years old at a 20 to 40% saving. Any advice would be apreciated, and I thought there woul already be a thread like this.
 
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#4
I would probably buy used, e.g. I bought my Sceptre S8s as a demo pair in Quebec (cosmetic scuff at the bottom which is not at all visible). If I were to get another pair of Neumann's for surrounds, I might buy used or a demo pair again if I can. But other than that statement of preference, "High-end" audio is completely out of my league so would not be able to help you more.
 

restorer-john

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#5
Dealer demos come with a full warranty, whereas 2nd hand generally have no warranty. Parts costs (drivers) on $10K speakers are very expensive out of warranty.

Whenever I've bought new and expensive speakers, they haven't lasted as long as ones I picked up 2nd hand or ex-demo. Speakers are moving parts and they wear out, especially when driven hard and long. Those nice supple roll surrounds change their character, stiffen up or go soft. Spiders and voice-coils deteriorate. Cabinet joints open up over the decades and tweeters can just go open circuit for no good reason as they age.

It's a tough question, but I couldn't get my head around the depreciation on new $10K speakers- it's just obscene. I'd try to find some dealer/manufactuer warranted heavily discounted ones.
 

restorer-john

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#7
Is that the right way around?
Yes. My expensive speaker purchases have all had disappointing lifetimes or required replacement components prematurely in my opinion. The secondhand ones have ultimately been the most reliable. But I don't buy expensive speakers anymore- I'm done for a while. (have no more space for HiFi)
 

Soniclife

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#8
I think if you are going to buy expensive passive speakers pre owned makes a lot of sense, as long as you can properly test them before hand, as well as giving them a careful visual check. Most people buying and selling this sort of thing will have looked after them, probably obsessively, making them as new, but if you have any doubts about the seller walk away.
I bought my Sonus Fabers s/h via a dealer, I had them in my house for about a month as I dithered.
 
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#10
Dealer demos come with a full warranty, whereas 2nd hand generally have no warranty. Parts costs (drivers) on $10K speakers are very expensive out of warranty.

Whenever I've bought new and expensive speakers, they haven't lasted as long as ones I picked up 2nd hand or ex-demo. Speakers are moving parts and they wear out, especially when driven hard and long. Those nice supple roll surrounds change their character, stiffen up or go soft. Spiders and voice-coils deteriorate. Cabinet joints open up over the decades and tweeters can just go open circuit for no good reason as they age.

It's a tough question, but I couldn't get my head around the depreciation on new $10K speakers- it's just obscene. I'd try to find some dealer/manufactuer warranted heavily discounted ones.
Drivers certainly change overtime, especially if abused frequently and long enough: "woofer break-in"

Although, I haven't noticed any sonic differences myself overtime, in six years time the rubber surround of my Rythmik f12 sub has definitely softened/become more compliant. If I bought the version with foam surrounds, I probably would have needed to refoam these myself after another six years or so.
 

Blumlein 88

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#11
As long as your considering conventional passive speakers with speaker level crossovers go used. If you were considering active speakers with DSP as part of the package go new. I've bought all my expensive speakers 2nd hand, and generally they are good for many years.

Right in your price range however, I'd have to look at and listen to Kii Three and Dutch&Dutch speakers. Innovative new technology which includes power amps, DACs basically a complete system needing only a source of digital files.
 

HammerSandwich

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#12
Looking for a pair of speakers in the $10k range.
For that money, you're probably looking at fairly large speakers. Good used values will depend on what pops up locally, because shipping costs. How about doing an advanced search with a radius you're willing to travel? No point in our recommending speakers that aren't available.

Also, have you heard anything that you strongly like or dislike?
 

restorer-john

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#13
Bathtub curve, or plain bad luck?
Bottom of the bathtub failures. :)

Driver failures from typical manufacturing flaws. Some were replaced outside warranty, but at no cost when I sent them detailed photos and analysis of the failure modes.

Cabinet joint issues. Voice coil vibrations etc. But I do have a lot of speakers, so the chances of failure are much greater. I'm not complaining, but there's nothing worse than having otherwise perfect speakers sitting around because you cannot source a driver 10-15 years down the track. The internet of course has helped with tracking down unusual and old drivers for obscure speakers.
 

Eurasian

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#14
I go used. The only failures I have experienced with older dynamic speakers we're with foam woofer and mid-range surrounds, which can be replaced. Same with old caps. I have many 20 year old Dunlavy speakers that have needed no repair whatsoever, except for cosmetics -- especially veneer detachments.

I have some compression drivers from the 50s still working fine as well as a pair of Rudy Bozak designed alnico woofers from the 30s that look and sound like new -- iow, needing a big box and high output impedance amps to make any bass at all.

Electrostatic speakers are a different breed, though. I have had audio transformer and HV supply failures with several older esls.
 

Ilkless

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#16
10k can get you top-level active speakers (eg. Genelec 8361, Neumann KH420A) , as well as some larger passive speakers new.

For passives, other than the F228Be already recommended, you can get the KEF R11 new. The KEF Reference 5 can be gotten used. For a left-field option, the flagship 3.5-way Technics SB-R1 hits 10k used as well. The Technics is very well-engineered, but they lost traction because of a baseless and non-evidence-based trash review of the entry-level SB-C700 on WhatHifi. I've steered a couple of users on DIYAudio to it and they have been very satisfied indeed. I believe @JJB70 recently got the C700 as well and liked it very much as well, and @MSNWatch also owns a pair. The R1 takes the same formula but in a 3.5-way format, and adds flagship-level construction harking back to the golden age of Japanese audio, where the conglomerates released cost-no-object equipment made with extremely sophisticated R&D and manufacturing (the R1 is still made in Japan).
 
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Vintage57

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#17
I’ve had both used and new over the past 40 years and my experience has been positive. I’ve owned used AR’s, Allison’s, B&W, Dunlavy, Revel, Acoustats, Meyer Sound, JBL, in no particular order. Other than some foam surrounds and a few tweeters they were golden.

My most recent set of speakers prior to the Neumann which I bought new, (B stock) were ATC actives, and they sang for 15 years and not a single issue. My HT is still ATC actives, used about 1,000 hours a year for 15 years and no problems. Some ATC were purchased new and some used.

I believe that used will ultimately provide the best bang for the buck if you’re buying a respected brand.
 

beefkabob

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#18
10k is a very arbitrary price. Getting a sub too? I'd look at active monitors, as two others have said. There's more snake oil in speaker pricing than there is in DACs and the rest of this junk. You would be surprised that two monitors and a sub can do.
 

JJB70

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#20
I will offer a recommendation for the Technics C700 speakers, if you want some nice passive book shelf speakers you can do a lot worse. I looked at the Whathifi review and it is a hatchet job, like reading about a different design. For once I will give some credit to Stereophile which provided measurements to support their positive subjective review. They are beautifully finished and have a nice quality feel too.

We bought a matching Technics all in one lifestyle music player to go with the speakers as we were offered a terrific package price and the centre unit C550) is also beautifully put together with a lovely tactile feel. Sonically it does its job without being noticed, which I consider to be the highest praise. I am genuinely perplexed by the negativity towards Technics in magazines like Whathifi as my own experience is entirely positive.
 

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