Do You Buy Speakers Without Hearing Them?

In the 'good old days' there were a lot of hifi stores around so there was plenty of opportunity to go in and listen to various brands and models of speakers.  With the continuing disappearance of audio shops, I'm wondering if more people are making the leap to buy speakers they've never heard in person, or just limiting their purchase options to the brands they can hear locally?  If you are buying a speaker that you haven't heard, how do you get comfortable with that?  Magazine reviews?  YouTube demos?  

I've mostly heard any speaker I ended up buying, but in two cases I bought speakers that weren't available in my area.  I made my decision based on reviews.  In one case the speaker was really nice, but in the second case, the speaker was well-reviewed but ended up being disappointing.

Appreciate your thoughts.


Ag insider logo xs@2xazkeith

Speakers I always listen to before purchase. In many ways that is your stereo system and at least for me, build my components around the sound those speakers generate. I live in the LA area so still have a number of quality hi fi stores in which to audition numerous brands of speakers. A suggestion, when on vacation look to see if there are any stereo stores in the vicinity that carry speakers you are interested in hearing. Even let’s say you purchase years later, at least you have some idea of the sound quality, and more importantly how that brand sounds to your ears if you do buy sight unheard in the future.

Having owned a pair of Legacy Focus SE it was an easy leap of faith to go to the Legacy Aeris without an audition. In fairness, I was so enamored with my Focus speakers that I just kept them also. The Aeris was an easy upgrade with no regrets

Yes I have. Many times and  to me, it is one of the facets of this hobby I love. 

My first “real” speakers were AR3a’s back in the mid-70s, through the military mail-order store. A friend vouched for them and the reviews were positive; another friend in the Pacific fleet bought a Sansui 8 Deluxe receiver & an Akai reel-to-reel with Dolby (!) noise reduction. I thought I was in heaven!

Not sure I’d take that chance again, but I’m not a member of the $100K+ club yet….

I bought speakers I didn’t even listen to for several months. They were waiting for me at another location and then I eventually hooked them up and they seemed OK