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

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

If I have the opportunity to hear them, yes. Ortherwise, no. My last two purchases were based on reviews on forums. Marten Duke 2 and Graham LS5/9.

I have purchased all of the speakers I have owned without audition. I research, research, research then I decide. I purchased my current Legacy Audio Focus SE's without hearing them and couldn't be happier!

Hi, I buy from only Stereophile reviews. KEF LS 50 Metas, sound great. I am 78 years old so, everything sounds great. I love expectation bias, if the reviewers love it so do I. Lastly I am a retired Physicist. Regards

The safest way is to listen to them in your system at home.  Won't make a bad decision that way.  I've learned the hard and expensive way more than once.  I know that I'm a VMPS RM40 BCSE man.  I love the VMPS ribbons and have owned about 5 of them.  Listened to a couple before I bought but they were in an unfamiliar system.  Made poor choices both times.  One other I bought without hearing them based on good reviews--also turned out poorly.  My choice back in 2012 still beats out all challengers to my ears.