Tips for buying used gear?

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Tips for buying used gear?

Post by flux »

am considering purchasing through the purchasing and trading section of the forum

i'd be grateful for any advice as to the wisest approach, i haven't bought any higher value items through a forum before and naturally am cautious about how to transfer payment while ensuring item is actually sent..and in the condition as stated etc

i'm in the uk, and also unsure as to whether any further fees would be due in receiving used equipment, for example from europe

any guidance most appreciated
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Re: Tips for buying used gear?

Post by astroman »

Well, just stating the obvious: you have to trust the seller... if it‘s someone who posted here (more or less) regularly, you may assume it‘s not a person making a living on fraud.
Some risk remains, as items can get lost on the way or the seller is in severe financial trouble.

Dunno British import regulations... in Germany it‘s 19% VAT on item value plus shipping (!) plus custom fee based on item value, which usually totals roughly to 25%. Regardless of private or business sale.
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Re: Tips for buying used gear?

Post by flux »

thanks astroman..(roughly 25% customs fee ? ouch, rough indeed !)

of course i mean more in the case of a seller who doesn't have many previous posts here..

i just wondered about other users general experience with purchasing in such a situation, and if anyone would be kind enough to offer any tips to help navigate.

are there escrow services, or would it be better setting up the trade with seller through e.g. a well known auction site or similar, to bring some protection to the deal ?
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Re: Tips for buying used gear?

Post by t_tangent »

I would go as far as to say this forum is quite unique in the sense of brotherhood it has amongst its regular users, and I have bought and sold several things on here over the years with no real fear of being shafted or scammed.

When buying, ask for photos preferably with their username on a piece of paper in the photo, or copyrighted across the photo, and if they can arrange a video chat with you or some kind of contact that generally helps.

Buying from outside UK i think import tax is about 20%
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Re: Tips for buying used gear?

Post by st1 »

I agree with my fellow forum members as posted above.

I would add... consider these points:

1) You can get ripped-off, cheated, let-down on any internet site.

It's all a gamble. But so is most of life - who can you trust?
Venture on at your own discretion.

2) is very, very niche-oriented, and almost entirely visited by enthusiasts and dedicated souls.

We deal with a very slim technology-section here.
PCI hardware that has not been produced for, what, 20 years?
The rack-mount version is newer (and great), but is still supporting 20 year old software.
This means that
a) there is little for the fraudsters out there to come after in terms of volume, and
b) there will be a high focus on bugos postings and offerings on the forum.

3) All PCI Scope cards are old, and Caps will be nearing end-of-life

This means that any PCI card may (and will) fail eventually - sooner rather than later.
I have 9 or so cards by now, and most work.
But I am looking to re-cap most of them, as the specs for the caps mean that it's about time.'

So you may buy a card, and discover it does not work as expected.
It may be due to deceipt.
But it is more likely due to being old hardware.

Then again, you might just get what you want :)
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Bud Weiser
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Re: Tips for buying used gear?

Post by Bud Weiser »

Well, I own 5 PCI cards (PowerPulsar/Pro, Pulsar-2s and 6DSP SRB), syncplate, zlink plate, several pro plates & whips and standard plate w/ whip,- most dated 2003 -2005, 1 or 2 a bit older (Y2K - 2003).
All caps good, no failure up to now.

So don´t be overcautious.

I have lots of much older gear,- synths, soundmodules, samplers, mixers, FX, perpheral devices like all kind of MIDI tool boxes, interfaces, vintage computers and whatnot ...
We repair in-house in my basement and 90% of the gear works even there are devices more than 40 yrs old.
After a big move and not using most of the gear for more than 6 years, I´m currently going thru everything and repair what´s necessary.
Guess what,- most frequent issue is empty battery and patches gone, followed by leaking cheapo caps in AKAI sampler PSUs, corroded (ribbon-) cable connections and bad (aged) solder joints.
So, the PSUs are what needs to be recapped 1st in old gear.
That ruled for MOOG, Oberheim, Roland and AKAI here while all the other caps rarely needed to be replaced up to now.
I was really surprised about my 2 Oberheim DPX-1s working like day 1 after a long time of no use,- even the ancient floppy disk drives (5.25 and 3.5") as also the PSUs.
There was only 1 pin-connector failure in one of the DPX-1s.
Removing connector and solder the cable directly fixed the previously no disk loading machine.

I learned, performing repairs and service is best WHEN something fails !
Not all the old gear used bad or cheapest parts.
Just have a look for bad caps occasionally,- p.ex. when you do cleanjobs.
Look if caps are domed or leak.
If they aren´t, recap is obsolete in most cases.

And finally:

Most web-stories and vids about the "unreliable vintage gear" and how to fix are BS while their only purpose is generating clicks.

Today, you buy way more unreliable new gear, planned obsolescence included and w/ the cheapest crappy parts inside,- more or less consumer electronics made for the masses of amateurs and bedroom producers.

The old gear was for pros and compared to average income, very expensive,- for the people traveling from studio to studio, town to town, performing in dirty clubs full of smoke and for concert touring where gear was in the hands of roadies and stage hands.
Transport in a hurry was daily routine and luckily there were flightcases for everything.
Also pro gear was usually much better serviced than the gear of amateur bands.

But it´s true some pieces on the market were experiments or being released too early and before they were finished at all,- like the MOOG Memorymoog p.ex..
But the same rules for today ...
Who bought a MOOG One 8- or 16 voice early and for insane money, got a unreliable instrument because of unfinished firmware and waited for long for updates.
Or look into Kurzweils and recognize cheapo unsealed Alfa pots (PB and Mod wheels), notorious failing ribbon pin-connectors, mechanic play in PB-wheel construction, formerly in PC3, now in PC4 and possibly K2700 too,- and so on.
And that´s pro gear already !

So IMO, the old hi-end gear was really good, w/ some exceptions and while the lower priced gear was not so much.
Similar as today I´d say.

The Creamware and S|C hardware was and is hi-end pro gear and it had and has it´s price.
But it is reliable and that´s why the PCI cards as also Noah and Noah EX, ASB and hardware Minimax, Prophet, Prodyssey and B2XXX still work,- when they had been treated well in the past.

When I come across an advertisment for used and for me interesting gear, I always try to have a look what the seller has advertised in addition.
When it´s a lot of used baby clothes and other household w/ a Creamware card in between,- I´d be careful.
Such people often have no clue what it is, have found it in a box on the attic or in a closet, already grabbed contacts, don´t know antistatic bags and "how to ship",- and they have no clue what the essential KEYFILE is and where to find.
But they still sell "as it is" and w/ no warranty and no return.
Buying from serious people knowing what they have and how to handle is very important.
Ebay is worst ... hasardous waste deposit ... gear comes DOA or at least 60% of delivery has issues.
My experience,-

I bought a Miditemp PMM88E Midi processor w/o remote control unit.
The seller described it as "working ... can be powered up and there are MIDI signals".
When it arrived and I looked into it,- there was no PSU inside ... :lol: :-?

Well,- fortunately I printed the advert early,- so I got a refund and was able to keep the item.
Now I have the rack-case w/ all the connectors, power- LED and switch, the circuit board w/ all the chips and ribbon cables as replacement parts and for 7 bucks (shipping costs) .
Not bad, but that wasn´t the intention.
Nonetheless, I´ll throw in a PSU soon and maybe, I have luck.

anyway ...


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Re: Tips for buying used gear?

Post by flux »

many thanks all for the guidance..philosophical, practical and technical..very much appreciated your considered responses and for taking the time to write them !

i’ve been away from being able to make music due to being a long-term carer for immediate family, hoping to slowly merge back to my path of music again..

t_tangent i totally agree about the forum being quite unique in its sense of brotherhood (and sisterhood of course to any scope sisters out there too !). despite my being inactive for a long time i’ve always felt great positivity towards and from the forum and members. thanks for the tip/reminder about username on a piece of paper in a photo, i'd forgotten about that !

st1 thanks for the breakdown, enthusiasts and dedicated souls - i like that language (for all paths of life !). thanks also for reminding me about the caps on PCI cards. very true and an important factor to be taken into consideration.

bud that sounds like quite a collection ! thanks very much for your perspective and sharing your experience with so much great gear ! i have great love for my scope system (a pulsar 2 bought from new), even though i don't own any i also have a great love of course for vintage gear (who doesn't ?)..

i definitely agree that Creamware and S|C hardware was and is hi-end pro gear, recently firing up my trusty pulsar 2 for the first time in years i was reminded of the unique sound quality, a totally underrated system, and so powerful. i agree also re. the near-ubiquitous designed/planned obsolescence of our current age generally, a disgrace in my wasteful of resources and people's time on all sides of the equation.

the rest of your post bud gave me a chuckle, 'there was no PSU inside ... :lol: :-? '
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