Buying anything online is inherently risky, as every online shopper knows. After all, how do you really know who’s at the other end of the transaction? It can be a fake website, or a fake seller. You end up paying money and getting nothing in return. But buying audio equipment can be especially hazardous when done online.
One of the disadvantages of buying audio equipment online is that some of the top-of-the-line brands simply won’t deal with online transactions and only sell through authorized retail stores. This is especially true with some speaker brands. So even though you theoretically get easier access to more brands, you also automatically cut yourself off from some good brands in return.
Now these new brands may be good finds. If you’re the adventurous sort, then risking your money to discover a new great brand can be a truly exciting endeavor, but that’s also because there’s a risk involved. You can’t trust the advertising, and you can’t even trust the “reviews” online because chances are they’re also part of that brand’s advertising efforts.
Once you’ve made your choice, you’ll then have to risk the delivery process. As every audiophile knows, audio equipment can be very sensitive. By the time the equipment arrives at your home, it may already been damaged en route.
But even if it wasn’t damaged at all, you still need to set it up properly, and then you have to try it out. Whether you bought a microphone, an amp, or a set of speakers, you need to make sure that it produces a result that fits your preferences. If you bought speakers, for example, you then have to try it out and see if it matches what you want to hear.
That’s one reason why you need a some sort of trial period and free return shipping, because if the shipping isn’t free then you spend a lot of money on your “auditions” or you settle for less than what you want.
So when you try the equipment out and you find that you don’t like what you’re hearing, you have to send it back, and that requires more time spent. You’ve already spent a lot of time reading reviews, going to forums, and checking out online deals before you made your selection. Now you need to spend more time waiting. Now you will have to send it back and repeat the entire process, and again the same dangers are in play.
What you may want to do is to visit a retail store first and check out what’s available. Listen to or try out the equipment and then check to see if it matches what you want. Then take note of the brand and model along with the price, and then see if you can find a better deal online.
That’s the best advantage of online shopping. Often the discounts can be considerable. But the dangers can be considerable as well. By at least trying out the audio equipment yourself in a retail store, at least you can minimize the dangers you have to face when buying online.