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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Podcaster's and Musician's Guide to Buying Used Pro Audio Gear on eBay

My Guide to buying used audio equioment on eBay for podcasters.

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I bought 4 mics, a voice processor, a fire wire audio interface, a mic preamp, several cables, and a minidisc recorder for $470. Retail pricing on these items would have been $1,176

View Savings Details

The Tips

  1. Before you begin bidding, decide on a specific product or a small range of products to narrow your search efforts. There is a lot of stuff available on eBay, you can waste a lot of time if you are just browsing around. In some cases I searched for a specific item like a MXL 990 condenser microphone. I other cases, I search for broader terms, like audio interfaces, because I new there were 3, 4 or more audio interfaces that would fit the bill.
  2. After you find some items that look like they may be worth bidding on, add them to your watched items. Watched items let you track muliple items that interest you showing the current bid price, shipping, info, seller info, and time left at a glance. Before you even begin bidding, watch serveral items until the bidding ends to get an idea of how much they are selling for.
  3. To aid you in this process use the advance search parameters available on eBay searches. In particular use the max price parameter and the end date/time parameter. These are very useful, the end date/time parameter help a lot because most of the bidding occurs toward the end of the auction in most cases. Also, the max price parameter lets you set the upper spending limit for an item (at that poin in time). If you a looking for a used Shure SM57 and are only willing to pay $50.00 , search results for items above $50 are no good to you. Also, you can save searches that get sent to you by email or RSS. I have an ongoing search looking for a good deal on a Shure SM7B broadcast mic. I'm waiting for a good deal to appear and this way eBay will tell me if and when it does.
  4. Now that you have an idea of the going rate of the items you want to purchase, you need to decide how much you are willing to spend on that item. In most cases used gear seems to sell for about %50-%60 percent of the retail value. If it start costing you more then %60 - I'd let it go and wait for the next one to show up for sale. If you are paying 60% of retail - you're almost better off buing new. There are execptions, sometime thing are sold new in the box or unused. In other cases, the item may not be avaiable new any longer. You may need to pay a little more in these cases. I bought a Presonus Inspire firewire interface new in box. It cost me right around 60% of retail value.
  5. Make sure the seller has a high feedback rating of at least 98% positive.
  6. Make sure the shipping cost aren't outrageous
  7. Make sure the seller take Paypal - you get insurance if they do.
  8. OK, you have one or more items in mind, you have an ide of what you are willing to pay, you are tracking serveral items in your watched items. My advice here is: don't bid yet. Wait until there is less than one minute left in the auction. If you bid earlier than that, you are just giving other time to counterbid. This drives the price up further. Wait until one minute or less is left, then bid the maximum amount you are willing to pay for the item. You will win many auctions this way - not all but many.
  9. Be rationale, its easy to get hooked on eBay bidding. Its a real rush sometimes when that auction is ending. Be willing to walk away if the bid is too high.

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Item Price I Paid New or Equivalent Price Savings
MXL 990 and 991 mic set $58.00 $99.00 $41.00
Presonus Inspire I394 $119.99 $199.99 $80.00
2 Shure Beta 58A Microphones $173.50 $318.00 $144.50
Presonus TubPre Microphone PreAmp $50.00 $100.00 $50.00
Behringer Autocom MDX 1400 Dynamics Processor plus 6 xlr and insert cables $42.70 $160.00 $118.30
Sony MZ R30 Minidisc Recorder $26.00 $300.00 $274.00
Totals $470.19 $1176.99 $707.80

$707.80 in savings!


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