Selling Audio Gear is Hard

I have a personal saying that I often repeat to myself before I make any audio purchase, "Buying is easier than selling." The reason I repeat this pithy phrase is simple, I know that almost every audio component I buy will have to be sold, eventually. Except, of course, for the choice pieces that will be buried with me or burned up in my funeral pyre. Just kidding, I've learned that crematoriums will not accept gear along with remains...darn.

AR-selling1a.jpgI love getting new audio toys as much as anyone (why else would I continue to be a reviewer for these many years?) but if stuff keeps coming in and never goes out, eventually your house will sink under the collective weight (or look like certain reviewer's abodes, whose names I will not mention). As someone who despises clutter, I make a point of trying not to keep gear any longer than I have to (if it's on loan). And if I do succumb to the wiles of a component enough to break down and purchase it, when the time comes that it no longer sees regular rotation in a system, that is the day it's time to make it go away. But how?

For many years I successfully used EBAY and Audiogon to sell off audio gear that no longer fit into a system. I actually got pretty good at the whole process. But as I've gotten older my patience for the game of selling gear has expired. I simply don't want to waste all the time required to properly sell a component. And then there are the inevitable returns - sometimes even with gear that was sold "as is." Yes, I would rather spend what time I have doing other things. So, what to do with the old gear?

AR-selling2a.jpgDuring my move last year I gave quite a few pieces of gear to Goodwill instead of trying to sell them - the idea of expecting someone to pay money for an ancient VCR or well-worn and very large passive subwoofer was not in my purview. Disposing of that stuff was relatively easy - one trip and it was gone, but I also had quite a bit of gear that I wasn't sure whether I would use at the new house or not, so I kept it all, and moved it all. What a maroon...as Bugs Bunny would say

One year later I've had adequate time to figure out what gear still has utility for me and what gear has become ballast, so it is time to finally act. But the idea of listing gear on Craig's List, Audiogon, or EBAY give me hives just thinking about it. What to do?

During the last couple of years PS Audio has run "trade-in" programs where audiophiles could trade in their old DACs for a credit against a new PS Audio DAC. Paul McGowen showed me the room in their Boulder factory that was full, floor to ceiling, of trade-ins. I did some research and found out who was selling all the trade-ins for them. I contacted The Music Room, who are conveniently (for me) located in Broomfield, CO, which is a suburb of Denver, and consigned a bunch of gear with them. So far, the process has been very smooth - I gave them a list of gear, set up a day for them to drop by and pick it up, spent most of a morning rangling boxes and packing gear and now all I have to do is wait to be paid when the stuff is sold and paid for. How long will it take? How much will I get? That all has yet to be seen. I'll write a follow-up and review of the whole experience in a month or two when it's over.

AR-selling4a.tifYes, I know that very likely I could make more money (for me selling gear is rarely about making money, but rather about recouping some percentage of sunk costs) by selling all my gear myself, directly. But the bottom line for me now is that I'm quite willing to "pay" for the additional time I've gained by not having to do the selling myself...

And what am I selling? I'm not going to tell you because I could be accused of trying to pimp the gear to get top prices. But for me selling gear is not about getting the highest price, but making it go away with as little aggravation and time wasted as possible. In another month or so I let you know how it all worked out...

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