Financing Strategies For Gear Acquisition

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earth tones
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Post by earth tones » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:09 am

Jim Williams wrote:For me, never buy any audio gear new. No need to. There are plenty of sad sacks willing to let go their last purchase for a loss = your gain.
I've always been hesitant to shop the used market for microphones, especially if sight unseen (Ebay). Would it be worth it to shop used for a microphone like a SM7b when it could be purchased new for $400? I've always assumed that microphones will have been subjected to an elevated level of abuse as compared to other pro audio devices like preamps, compressors, etc... But, you're right Jim: I certainly have been in positions in the past where I let go of devices at below actual market value, and I impeccably maintain my gear, so somebody made out.

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Post by Jim Williams » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:33 am

Anything that can suffer abuse should be checked out first. Never buy site un-seen, buyer beware!

Know the seller and how they treated the gear.

Another point: Avoid fashion gear, it's way overpriced. Even if you have a hair up yer ass for a 1073, skip that and buy a Chi-com knock-off. The money you save can be put to converting it to a closer UK spec and you will still have extra $$$ left over.

Mics? I just build them myself now. Plenty of good cheap platforms to rework and excellent capsules are cheap now too. I like these mics more than my EU collection. Saved thousands of $$$ too.

It's a golden age for smart buyers. I never thought I could have ever had this much excellent stuff. The record biz collapse has made gear very affordable.

Once I had crappy gear and amazing artists to record.

Now I have amazing gear and crappy artists to record.
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Post by T-rex » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:57 am

I have bought about 90% of what I use from the Tape Op board and the Gearslutz board. Yes you can absolutely get taken, but I have always bought from people with high post counts who have been on the boards forever. That is still not a guarantee but I don't think I have ever had a bad transaction. I have been on Tape op longer than dirt so I pretty much know most of the screen names and some of the people personally and gearslutz actually has a nice rating system like ebay. Unlike ebay, people have a reputation to protect if they have been on the boards for a long time.

It's just like buying a used car. You take a little bit of risk, which you can somewhat mitigate with a thorough background check, to buy something at it's current value. The alternative is buying something nice and new, but you take a huge hit in depreciation the minute you roll off the lot. Just something to think about. I did it a bunch in the beginning before I started getting smart about it.
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Post by kayagum » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:43 am

Jim Williams wrote:
Once I had crappy gear and amazing artists to record.

Now I have amazing gear and crappy artists to record.
This has to be your new sig! :D
"Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't." ~ Erica Jong

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Post by Ryan Silva » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:19 pm

kayagum wrote:
Jim Williams wrote:
Once I had crappy gear and amazing artists to record.

Now I have amazing gear and crappy artists to record.
This has to be your new sig! :D

I thought I was the only one.
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Post by Ryan Silva » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:24 pm

Only buy versatile gear, no one trick ponies.
Only keep low maintaince gear, borrow/rent the temperamental stuff.

I own everything I have outright, no debit personal or otherwise.

When nobody walks through that door, if feels much better.
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Post by kayagum » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:02 am

Best gear advice I ever got was "If you reach for something and it's not there, that's when you know you should buy it."

Also works on other gear afflictions like kitchen gadgets, sports gear, etc.
"Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't." ~ Erica Jong

"No one wants advice ? only corroboration." ~ John Steinbeck

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Post by cgarges » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:57 am

T-rex wrote:try to buy used as much as you possibly can. Would you rather buy a mic for $600 and then sell it for $300 later if you outgrow it or buy it used for $300 and turn around two years later and sell it for $300?
This.
Jim Williams wrote:Another point: Avoid fashion gear, it's way overpriced. Even if you have a hair up yer ass for a 1073, skip that and buy a Chi-com knock-off. The money you save can be put to converting it to a closer UK spec and you will still have extra $$$ left over.
If I'd bought a 1073 when I started doing this, I might have paid $1500-$2k for one, which I would now be able to sell for $3k-$3500. I've definitely been fortunate to figure out that some pieces of gear retain their resale value better than others. Like, if you pick up a used Sennheiser 421, you're probably going to pay $200-$250 for it and the value of those things is not likely to change dramatically. You can buy new and then if you decide to sell it, yes, you will lose some value. But if you buy something like that used and take care of it, you should have no problem getting your money back if you decide to sell it. If you do this carefully enough over time, it gets easier to make upgrades without shelling out tons of cash every time you do it.

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earth tones
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Post by earth tones » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:01 am

cgarges wrote:
Jim Williams wrote:Another point: Avoid fashion gear, it's way overpriced. Even if you have a hair up yer ass for a 1073, skip that and buy a Chi-com knock-off. The money you save can be put to converting it to a closer UK spec and you will still have extra $$$ left over.
If I'd bought a 1073 when I started doing this, I might have paid $1500-$2k for one, which I would now be able to sell for $3k-$3500. I've definitely been fortunate to figure out that some pieces of gear retain their resale value better than others. Like, if you pick up a used Sennheiser 421, you're probably going to pay $200-$250 for it and the value of those things is not likely to change dramatically. You can buy new and then if you decide to sell it, yes, you will lose some value. But if you buy something like that used and take care of it, you should have no problem getting your money back if you decide to sell it. If you do this carefully enough over time, it gets easier to make upgrades without shelling out tons of cash every time you do it.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
Yes, that truly is the most efficient plan of attack (sourcing well-cared for used items preferably from individuals with traceable histories in marketplaces like TapeOp, GearSlutz) . The decision to buy new or used really is a matter of available time. The opportunity to pick up a well-cared for, second-hand device is bound to arise, given time.
Last edited by earth tones on Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Jim Williams » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:50 am

That is a risky venture. No one could have guessed that Neve modules would become the audio fashion de jour. The same thing could have happened to Trident, Harrison or any others IF the fashion police had gone their way.

I bought a very nice 1965 Fender Stratocaster with a flame neck in 1967 for $155. It's now worth $10,000, if I still owned it.

Had I known this, I wouldn't have bought up Fender Stratocasters, I would have bought gold for $35 per ounce. There is limited demand for 50 year old guitars, more demand for 50 year old gold.

No one on Wall Street got rich buying old gear or guitars. Those are the guys buying them now, (and inflating prices).

Back in 1920, a twenty dollar gold piece (one ounce) would buy you a really good suit.

Today, that same coin (one ounce of gold) will buy you one really good suit. The difference is the decimal point.

It's called 'inflation'. It's what governments do to your currency when they are forced to borrow.
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Post by cgarges » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:03 am

Yeah, but there are certain items that are a totally safe bet, especially now. Yes, in 1979, I'm guessing that no one saw that kind of price hike in Neve modules coming, but in 1996, they seemed like a pretty sure thing in terms of resale value and that's proven to be totally true. No one is able to accurately predict which out of an MXL Cube, Brownsville Choirboy, or Joemeek VC6 is going to be the next Fairchild, but I'd feel pretty safe in my investment still buying a Pultec.

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Post by Jim Williams » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:25 am

I'm not so confident on the economy. Something's gonna have to give with world record debts and uncontrolled spending. A collapse is inevitable.

Question is: can you second guess when that will happen and will you divest to cash in before it does? Can you second guess market values and audio fashion?

1929, 1988, 2001, 2007, many lost $$$. Few saw it coming.

Will you?
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earth tones
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Post by earth tones » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:41 am

Jim Williams wrote:I'm not so confident on the economy. Something's gonna have to give with world record debts and uncontrolled spending. A collapse is inevitable.

Question is: can you second guess when that will happen and will you divest to cash in before it does? Can you second guess market values and audio fashion?

1929, 1988, 2001, 2007, many lost $$$. Few saw it coming.

Will you?
Gold standard vs. BitCoin??

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Post by kayagum » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:00 pm

Ooh! Ooh! If we still had the "Off Topic" forum, we can go into a long thread about David Stockman's new book, especially revisiting the gold standard, Keynesian economics and such stuff.

If he's right, none of of our gear's value will matter :D
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Post by vvv » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:20 pm

Makes note to look into MXL Cube, Brownsville Choirboy, Joemeek VC6...

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