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

One thing that ought to be mentioned is to be careful the burn-in status of speakers if you get a chance to audition before buying. I recently purchased a pair of KEF LS50 Meta loudspeakers, which people say needs at least 100 hours of burn-in. I ran them 24 hours a day for a week straight and the sound barely improved. It took more like 500 hours of burn-in and now they sound absolutely night and day compared to new or even with 100 hours burn-in. Auditioning speakers that still smell like the packing container won’t give you a proper impression of what you’re getting!


Purchased my first pair of speakers, AR 2ax back in 1967. Living in rural Minnesota  my purchase from Defa Electroinics in New York arrived va the rail road.  

Now I’m 72 and I again purchased a pair of speakers without an audition., Monitor Audio Platinum 200 3g.  Both were truly satisfying musically.  No complaints whatso ever….

I traveled to next state and bought a pair of W Sabrina speakers from original owner. He did demo for me but they were not set up properly in his home theater room. His price made it possible to scratch the surface of audiophile quality.  Love them.

OHappy listening.

My last two purchases were sight unseen (actually, sound unheard).  One was Buchardt Audio S400 and the other was Graham Chartwell LS6.  It's not possible to audition the Burchardts and the Grahams are hard to find.  I based both purchases on online, print and YouTube reviews.  No regrets for either purchase,

Do You Buy Speakers Without Hearing Them?

Generally no but 2 exceptions:

  • Klipsch rp600m - inexpensive+favorable reviews
  • Volti Rival - heard the next model down RAZZ twice at audio shows so purchased the larger speaker expecting similar but better sonics