Low Cost hi-fi
With a little advice you can buy and audio system for as little as £120 complete.
Buying used audio equipment is a great way to get better hi-fi for lower cost and never more so than with a budget system. The fact that you have a small budget needn’t stop you having good sound at home.
There are many reasons why used equipment is a MUCH better way to get started than buying new equipment. The first is it is good quality and the second is it sounds better. Most of the stuff you buy cheap in record shops and supermarkets is exceptionally poor sounding at best and at worst will knacker your records.
One extremely positive factor is that most good equipment is built to last and will often work for up to thirty years. Provided the equipment is working and has been well looked after and has not been “modified” then you can purchase something a few years old and expect it to last a very long time.
Some really good used turntables to look out for
You should get something decent for £50 to £80.
Avoid the Japanese turntables. There are some exceptions but generally electronics companies weren’t so good at engineering.
Bear in mind that CD players don’t last like turntables, amplifiers and speakers so you might be buying something that won’t last too long. As a result don’t pay a lot unless there is a warranty. £50 should be enough to pay and you can perhaps expect it to last four or five years.
You can pick up a decent amplifier with a phono stage built in (this means you can plug a record player straight into it) for £40 to £60. Look for simplicity and forget about high power. Power isn’t required in a domestic setting and a good 30 watt per channel amp is likely to be more than you need. With amplification simple is always best.
- Mordaunt Short
We found good second hand speakers for as little as £30. You may pay a little more for cosmetically perfect examples but doing so might well be worth it.
Bear in mind big speakers require larger rooms and will produce more bass. Smaller speakers suit smaller rooms and can be more easily shelf mounted. Avoid sitting speakers on the floor at all costs.
What to look for
Something that looks well cared for is likely to be well cared for. This is simple but true – people who look after their equipment are unlikely to overdrive it, push it to destruction or to neglect it if it develops problems. If the unit it being sold in original packaging is also another good sign. That’s not to say that boxed don’t get thrown away by accident but mostly people who care for their equipment will try to hang on to the packaging and the instructions. It makes sense and we certainly advise all our customers to do so.
Less moving parts the better
CD’s are something to be cautious with. There are so many moving parts in a CD player that it is a wonder they work at all. Also they don’t travel that well. As a result of this make sure you don’t buy a CD player without a warranty.
Turntables will travel well (if packed well) and the mechanics are usually simple and long-lasting. Sadly they require careful packaging to survive being shipped and it is vitally important that the person doing this knows how to pack the unit up properly and also has the original packaging. If not we would suggest purchasing something like this from eBay can be a minefield. Ask questions before purchasing.
Speakers have a cosmetic element and are often chosen to suit your décor. As a result they must also be packed exceptionally well to travel well.
In short ask a lot of questions; particularly if searching for items on eBay. If you don’t get a good vibe off the seller go elsewhere.
£2 per M will get you some decent speaker cable. If that’s too much use some solid core mains cable. Avoid bell wire. You can spend a fortune on cables but they need to be relative to the equipment you have and a budget system does not require high end speaker cables.
Ebay will normally give you a cooling off period, especially if you use BUY IT NOW. If you aren’t happy with it; send it back.
You can also buy from us. If we know you’re looking for something we will do our best to point you in the right direction and of course try to find you a suitable item ourselves.
We do take a lot of equipment in trade-in. We supply it with a warranty and we test it prior to sale to ensure it is exactly what it appears to be. We offer a minimum of six months warranty with every used item we sell and this will often be more.
You can see our current range of used and x-demo offers here.
You can also look at items on our eBay shop here. We sell on eBay because it opens our products up to a much wider audience. We would actually prefer not to but it is a sad reality in today’s marketplace.
Talk to us
We would also suggest talking to us via email, Facebook or even on the phone (and always in person). We want to talk to you and we would be happy to help you. Of course we are in business and we need to sell products in order to survive but we also know that helping people get better sound at home with ensure that they will come to us again for good advice and help. We offer our knowledge and our experience for free.
Even if we can’t supply the products you are looking for we will be eager to offer advice and will try to point you in the right direction. Let us know about your system or your requirements and we may well be able to help one way or another. In all things you will find us approachable, honest and transparent.
Good luck; use our experience when you require it.