"Used" prices relative to MSRP

I’ve always gone with the “Rule of Thumb” that current model used gear is worth ~60% of new MSRP, and non-current models drop to ~40% of MSRP, plus additional depreciation when they get sufficiently old.

Two questions for the forum:

  1. Do those old ratios of used price to new MSRP still hold water? I’m seeing a lot of ads for used gear that are asking 80+% of new MSRP, in some cases for stuff that’s 3-4 years old…Are people paying that these days?

  2. With a lot of recent manufacturers raising their retail prices, I’ve seen the prices for some used equipment go up by what looks like a proportional amount. In other words, the used pricing is reflecting the new, higher MSRP, as opposed to what the MSRP was when the piece was originally purchased. Does this seem reasonable?

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When I list used gear, if it’s relatively new (purchased within the past 3 years or so ago), I use the 60% MSRP rule. If the condition is excellent. Always is, I keep my equipment spotless. I won’t pay 80+% MSRP. That’s within the range I can negotiate with the retailers I patronize for new, sealed in the box hardware. Best of luck to those listing used at 80% retail.


Sounds very reasonable, but there are exceptions that will tilt the pricing… for example, non-current models from companies that are no longer supporting them (or no longer in business) may decrease the value. Current items that are often sold below MSRP may be less than the 60%. Current items that are in high demand and difficult to source may very well be sold at prices above the 60%.

Also, you may have items that are in high demand even if they are not the current model. Those might very well sell significantly more than the 40% “guide”.

Best way to understand pricing of a used item is to search sold items on HiFiShark. Toss out the low and the high (there’s always extremes…) and then look at the most recent sold.

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Used audio gear prices are based 100% on demand. I’ll use cassette decks as an example. Most, even the really nice ones from back in the day, are dime a dozen on eBay and other sites right now. I even find them in thrift shops for $5-$20 US. No demand. The Nakamichi Dragon deck in working order, on the other hand, is scarce, and therefore in high demand with selling prices that reflect that. MSRP and percentages have nothing to do with demand. I’ve seen Dragons go for more than their original price. Whether the item is scarce, or rare, is what drives prices of used gear. Also, I see on places like eBay where a piece of audio gear will suddenly, and unexpectedly, sell for $1,000 and every seller with the same item will bump prices up, then when these don’t sell at the higher price, the prices return from scarce back down to rare.

Of course, if I’m in a shop, and the used price is, let’s say, $50 to $100 higher, I’m more likely to buy whatever it is there instead if futzing around online.


FWIW, I use the percentages you cited (more or less) to set my buying price target’s and to convince myself I got a deal when I do better. :wink:


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Yes and no. A quality five year old amp may bring a higher percentage than a five year old DAC. Same could be said about a transport/CD player. Moving parts equates to a shorter lifespan, more maintenance issues, more risk.

Also, are people dumping a particular make/model? Is there a bit of a glut of a particular model for sale? When the BHK 600’s are released, will we see a slew of 300’s for sale, thus there could be some price competition? MSRP just went up on the 300’s, how does that impact things?


60/40 is a good measure. If a component is on the more high end side, it’s somewhat rare on the market, and I really want it, I would go as high as 65/70%.

But, as with many things, patience is a virtue.


Parts shortages have affected availability of many products and some sellers of used gear are hoping to find buyers too anxious to wait for delivery of new products. I see that in particular for used Luxman gear. Over and over, ads mention the long wait times for this or that bit of Luxman gear if you want to purchase it new.

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I agree…that’s one of the factors that I think we’re seeing with used prices right now…a lot of people unwilling to wait for what they were originally interested in, so they overpay for what IS available.

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I try to buy really nice used gear at 50% or better to MSRP.

I have an older PrimaLuna tube preamp that tends to sell for more than it was new. If you want it bad enough, sometimes you have to pay what the market dictates.


There is a ton of great audio gear at close to 50% MSRP. Sweet spot.


I get the whole Supply & Demand thing…I have a degree in Economics. :slightly_smiling_face:

Most audio gear, even super expensive stuff, isn’t actually that scarce relative to demand. Your example of Nakamichi cassette decks is an edge case, not a typical example. A more meaningful analysis would probably be to look at components that are still in production and commonly in use, like amps, pre-amps, DAC’s, etc…

One of the specific cases that prompted me to pose these questions was pricing for Aurender music servers that I was seeing on Audiogon. They’re not particularly scarce…on any given day you can find pretty much any model available for sale on Audiogon or US Audio Mart. They also don’t seem to be in unusually high demand, since many of the ads stay up for long periods, sometimes going unsold for 30 days. However, it seems like EVERYBODY is asking at least 70% of new MSRP, with some that I’ve seen asking 80%. I’m just curious if people are starting to pay those kind of ratios to MSRP for used gear.

I tend to look around on the local Craigslist (USA) for specific brands of audio gear.

Most sellers ask logical prices but I do see sellers asking 95% of retail and list the same used item for a year or more. I can only assume they are waiting for a sucker or truly don’t want to part with the gear.

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