"Hardly Used / Less than 100 Hours / Took out for pics only"????

I'm constantly baffled and confused by the number of ads I read that say the item for sale has barely been used.  

I try not to be distrustful, but I feel like you're either in this hobby or you're not.  There's nothing more fun than the anticipation of a new piece of gear and what it might do to your system! 

If you have a piece of equipment, why wouldn't you set it up and give it a couple of months.  We all know that it takes awhile for the item to break in, or for your ears to adjust.  

Dealers aside, why would anyone in this hobby own something that has less than 100 hours on it?


I bought set of back up tubes for my amplifier. Within couple of months I decided to make an upgrade. Traded in the amp for another one and sold the tubes having less than 100hrs of use. Sometimes life is stranger than fiction.

I know golfers that own dozens of putters and they're all in the back of one of their closets.

Sometimes people just aren't patient or smart enough to know where the source of a problem is. With a golfer it could be his swing or alignment that is causing the problems. 

With an audiophile, maybe his room sucks the life out of any component he puts in it, yet he continues to hope that the next, best component will fix his problems.

I’ve bought components before and then ran into something I liked better after the fact, once the return widow had expired. They were sold with "barely used" and "took out for pics only" on the listing description. I have also purchased more than one of each component, such as 2 pairs of speakers. Kept the ones I liked best and sold, traded or gave away the others, practically in brand new condition. Granted that most components don’t really "open up" until after they are broken in, but the difference is usually very marginal. As for me, I can tell if something is a keeper or not pretty fast. Not unlike a new pair of shoes. They mold to you your feet over time, but if the initial fit wasn’t right, it’ll never be.

I have a high end DAC for sale right now. One month’ish old with full transferrable warranty (minus the month). New condition, except it has been played for a couple of weeks. I received it from the dealer as part of a trade of another DAC I owned. Have decided to keep one of my other DACs in my main system.  They both sound great with subtle sonic differences. I basically have too many DACs and decided not to keep the one that I have listed for sale, even though there are many rave reviews claiming it is among the best DACs you can buy.  To your question of “why”, sometimes things just work out that way.  As a result, someone will get a very good DAC, in like new condition, with warranty, at a very good price.

I have well over 30,000 hours on my Yamaha RX-Z9, purchased new in 2003.

A couple years ago I bought a Melton P/P KT-88, 80 WPC tube integrated. After about 60 hours use, I know that it just doesn’t do it for me and much prefer the old Yamaha, and the Melton just sits.

If equipment is used 5 days per week, for two hours per day, only gets 120 hours use in 6 months.  I have sold equipment in 6 months.  Not often but it happens.  

Some just know what they're listening for, and if it's not there, they move on. To my ears, you'll pretty much hear 90% of what something is all about(maybe not with fresh speakers) right out of the box.

I recently picked up a "less than 100 hour" phono stage at a fantastic price, considering it's a new model released earlier this year.

It's tubed, and by the sound,(nice, but...) they had exactly 37 hours and 20 minutes.

A month in, they now  have 72 hours and 5 minutes. I got impatient and put in the NOS glass-cookin with gas now!


"If equipment is used 5 days per week, for two hours per day, only gets 120 hours use in 6 months."  2 hrs/day x 5 days/week x 26 weeks = 260 hours.

[@bigtwin]"If equipment is used 5 days per week, for two hours per day, only gets 120 hours use in 6 months. I have sold equipment in 6 months. Not often but it happens."


I see what you did there.

What bothers me more is "just taken out for photos?   If it also says no returns or untested then beware 

I purchased a phono preamp with the idea that I would digitize my records. After a few sessions, I realized that the exercise was too much work for me. That preamp was no longer needed. 

Got an FM stereo tuner unopened in original box with shrink wrap. A well-regarded DAC used for only two weeks while the big unit with nine inputs was in for warranty repair. An integrated amp that, likewise, served only brief interim duty. One day I will sell or trade them, or maybe work them into one of my two systems. In any case it will be quite true that they are barely (or in one instance, never) used. 

I just bought a Micro Benz Ruby that I've wanted to try for years. Decided after less than 15 hours it's not my cartridge and I prefer my Dynavector Dv-XX2 more. The Benz will be up for sale for a quick loss.  Sometimes you know yourself and realize there's no point in hanging on with hope. 

"... and I only played soft jazz.  AND, the volume knob was never turned up past 11 o'clock"

“…gentle use”.

There’s also the impulse buy.  Someone may see something they have been curious about at a great price, get it home, then have buyers remorse, especially if they really didn’t have the money to spend.  So it goes up for sale.

I do this constantly.  I try something or buy something and forget I even have it.  I find something I like and stick with it, some of us have a problem but I admit it.  LOL.  Four step program for buying audio gear and not using it.  Really liking my setup now though, hopefully no changes for at least a few months.  :)

It is a legitimate question, however, often plans can change, not referring to emergencies or buyer remorse, and the intended use is no longer applicable. For example, 18 months ago, I bought a pair of Wilson Benesch Discovery II for which I have no use any longer as I was able to fit larger speakers in their originally intended space. As a result, the speakers went on for sale with truly less than 100 hours of use. They were literally opened to get inspected for full working order and pictures. Nothing wrong with the speakers. They sound great and if I had the space, I would have kept them. Therefore, it is possible, judging from my own experience.

From a internet buyer’s perspective, keep your life real simple and don’t read too much into it....It should be a 0, 1 scenario. NEW or USED, that’s all there is.....Don’t fall for the "hardly used, less than a 100 hours, took out for pics only", meow, meow crap. You could read into it as dude's a relatively more desperate seller and bargain more.


If you are visiting with a guy in person to buy some gear, you can infer a lot more now by looking at his room size, choice of music, how much gear he has, etc.

a) If he has a lot of different types of gear, multiple speakers, etc (i.e. gearhead), there is a higher probability that it may have been lightly used (in case it wasn’t his favorite item).

b) Take a glance at his music collection and have him play something. If you get the feeling that he listens to Diana Krall at 60db, he may not have beaten drivers to death. If he’s playing Pantera at 95db, he could have beaten drivers to death.

c) Younger hometheater guys can beat the living daylights out of subwoofers. Be careful buying subwoofers from those dudes. Older audiophiles with "fuller range" speakers could have tried a sub and could have kept it turned off a lot, etc, etc

d) Tube dudes will generally lie about how much usage the tubes had unless you can see that he has many different tube amps or other exquisite sounding SS amps. There is a higher probability that he may have used it less in the latter instance.

e) If ex-wife is selling divorced dude’s gear, you could hit a gold mine w.r.t prices (as she may be selling it at the fake price the dude told her it costed 😁)

etc, etc, etc

Use some common sense, in general.


Personally I hate pictures of audio gear on kitchen tables.  Have some dignity for heaven's sake!! 🤣

Here is the one I'm most fond of.

"Just back from manufacturer for a check up"

How many here have sent a piece of audio gear back to the manufacturer to get it checked out before a sale if it's performing properly? Now the seller may have had a problem that was fixed. But he did not send it back for a "check up". Those are the ads I steer clear of.



Some people, after their purchases, might decide that they'd really rather have the money for something else, but it can't be returned. Hence, they'd sell without having really used the item to any extent. 

What ever happened to "Rode hard and put away wet?"  truth in advertising is an oxymoron.

@mjmcubfn I think you are wrong about this. Sometimes I don't listen to my stereo for 4-5 days at a time. I even go to AXPONA every year. I am all in and have lots of money invested in my system but don't have time or sometimes don't feel like listening to my system. My equipment is absolutely lightly used. In fact, I'm thinking about selling my 13K headphone system because I rarely listen to it and listen to my home system much more!

Yes I have bought a pair of Klispch RP8000fs in gloss black, they are $2000ish and I got them new for $1100. I wanted to try 7.1 from my 5.1 and also wanted to hear the Klispch speakers. At the time I own sever pairs of speakers that were all well over $10,000. I used the Klispch as rears for a few movies a decided I did not care for 7.1 as my side speakers were a little close to the side seats. I sold them with under 10 hours on them cheaper than I bought them. They were as new immaculate in every way and I sold them for less than 1/2 of retail. It seemed like a big purchase to the buyer and he was happy to have them. 

People just have different levels of income. I was playing with $1000, many people have to money to play with $10,000 (I don’t) and others have unlimited funds, just the way it goes. 

I've got a Hana SL Cartridge with very little usage hours and now unused for approx' 4 years. 

I've also got the original Pink Floyd 'The Pulse' Vinyl that is still in Cellophane, actually still in the HMV  Plastic Bag with the purchase receipt. 

Case in point, I upgraded my Aesthetix Atlas mono amps to eclipse level.  Since the last time I upgraded with Aesthetix, it took 18 months, I bought a stereo eclipse Atlas for the “6 week” upgrade.  Good thing I did, because it took 6 months.  Now the stereo eclipse has sat idle and unplugged for 6 months.  Try to explain to a buyer how you ended up with a stereo Atlas amp that you don't particularly need at the moment.  Life is strange and we do things for mysterious reasons.

I've owned the same equipment for decades but when I had an accident with my system, I basically replaced just about everything but my turntable.  The thing was though, the integrated amp and SACD player I purchased new, while I liked them somehow just weren't doing it for me, and within a few months, replaced both of them.  I boxed up the amp and it sits in my closet and the SACD player sat on my equipment rack collecting dust until recently, well over a year later hooked it up again.  Tried selling both but not really that hard and, I don't know, just sat on them.  Stupid, a waste of money?  Stuff happens.

Thanks for all the replies!  I can certainly see some scenarios where this would make sense.


Some people though are just listing what they own and haven't used, and I guess that's the point of the post.  



@pindac - WHY??  Why did you not open that album and listen to it?  Don't you want to know what it sounds like?

It happens.  I exchanged a damaged Grado cartridge for a higher level cartridge in the same range.  The original Platinum had woofer pumping problems with my TT arm, so I was going to buy a new TT and drop the new Grado Master3 in that.  Never bought the new TT, went in another cartridge direction and never played the new Grado.  I took it out of the box to take pictures and some lucky buyer got a screaming deal on an un-played cartridge.  I try to be honest about use for gear I'm selling - like I track all hours on my cartridge stylus' so I can fairly represent wear.



Everyone is different, and has a different investment into the audio hobby. I have a McIntosh 275 50th anniversary amp un opened in box that I took in lue of cash that a audio dealer owed me. Never used. Never looked at. Another hardly used Air Tight ATC 5 and SUP, also sitting on a shelf. Along with 3 different Air Tight amps, 3 sets of speakers, and various tubes in one room. Then there is also massive McIntosh B &W system in my main living room, then a McIntosh/KEF home theater in the basement. Tons of stuff, unused, and many tubes which I have collected over time. It's both a hobby and collection, and many people keep low hour equipment in their house. So, yeah, that is why there can be legit rare, unused low hour tubes, phono cartridges, etc on the used market

@mjmcubfn Pink Floyd 'The Pulse' what a important part of my life associated with musical encounters 'The Pulse' performance has been.

Firstly, I was at the Royal Albert Hall Concert, which might just have been the pinnacle of venues for such an experience, relating to the venue being a designed space to extract the most attraction to the Human Ear from produced sound, especially music. Over my years of being in my 20's -30's I have been to Concerts at this Venue on at least five occasions, if your not looking for a Mosh Pit, and really want to experience the overall performance the venue suits just fine.

Secondly, the recently departed Tim Di Paravicini (TDP) has been the Sound Engineer for the Live Recording of 'The Pulse' and I may be proven wrong on this but recollection seems to suggest the mass of the PA System was electrostatic speakers, not too commonly found in use at a Rock Concert.

Thirdly, I attended a London Based HiFi Event whare I stumbled upon a exhibit room was occupied by EAR? - (TDP). In this Room was Quad ESL 57's directly coupled to (TDP) Valve Amp's being used to replay 'The Pulse' Master Tapes.

This experience changed my Audio Equipment Life for good, I acquired very recent Quad Services 57's and had Commission Built 845 Valve Power Amp's used to Drive Them. Both are still in use today with the only change being stacked 57's.

Why??? have I not replayed the original, as today's explanation, I'm saving it for when life needs a real pep up, as all other 'The Pulse' Experiences, have had a profound effect of making one feel good. 🕺              

@pindac - WHAT A GREAT ANSWER!!!

You clearly have way more self control than I do.  Super impressed. Thanks for sharing!

I own a pair of Focal Stella Utopias. I adore them. To my ears they have but a single fault: they are not open baffle.

Wolf von Langa builds open baffle speakers with a tremendous reputation. They are based in Germany, I am in the UK. It was my plan to travel and hear them, then purchase if i like them

Then my cat developed diabetes. Every 12 hours he needs a life saving insulin injection. Travelling to Germany is no longer an option. So I’m considering buying the WVL Chicagos, comparing them to my Stellas and either selling the pair that comes second, or if i remain smitten with both, keeping them all and building a second system.

If i sell one pair, it won’t be because there’s anything wrong with them. If its the WVL dipoles, they may have less than 100 hours on them.

UNTESTED is another annoying and somewhat confusing one. “Powers on”…I mean if you’re selling on audiogon or usaudiomart you would think someone could actually plug into something…maybe its just me.

Couple more I see a lot of. " Bought this for a 2nd system, which never materialized ". " Time to clean out the closet ". I am guilty of this one, as I have lots of unused gear. One that was popular at a time, but not common anymore. " Does not meet the WAF ". And, the best one of all. " Selling this, even tho it is the best sounding one I ever had ". Enjoy ! MrD.

Then my cat developed diabetes. Every 12 hours he needs a life saving insulin injection. Travelling to Germany is no longer an option.

@gavman ,

You're a good person.

Post removed 

@gavman ,

Thank you and same to you, mate.


"It's a cat.... "

@jacobsdad2000 ,

Yes, that's been established. And what he's doing for his beloved pet speaks to the good man he is. What you wrote says a lot about you, also.


Yes @thecarpathian that it is a cat. Not a child, a cat. Think on that. 

I rest my case. 

A Merry and joyous Christmas to all.