A POINT OF VIEW: Conrad Johnson amp; Audio Research private sellers; greedy, misguided orjust plain unlucky?

Arguably CJ and AR are natural rivals in the valve/tube market. They’ve been around for many (in audiophile terms at least) years and so there are plenty of items available on the used market.

The accepted places to look online are eBay and Audiogon. Sellers on eBay specify a minimum selling price. Sometimes they’ll be successful and other times not. This is an analysis the historic sales data already in the public domain and relates to all items for sale at over £100 during the past few weeks. This is so as to exclude peripheral items such as their branded cables, magazines that contain reviews, and so on. Thus we are looking here at equipment rather than comparatively trivial bits and pieces.

The scope is all items above £100 located anywhere in the World during the fast few weeks.

Conrad Johnson.

  • 32 items were advertised in the analysis period.
  • 17 (53%) failed to reach their minimum asking price and were unsold.

Audio Research

  • 56 items were advertised in the analysis period.
  • 22 (61%) failed to reach their minimum asking price and were unsold.

What might usefully be inferred from this?

Well, first of all I'm surprised that in both instances less than half the advertised items were actually sold. This might well imply that for both makes, at least half of the sellers had unrealistic expectations of the prices they could achieve. Or they were unlucky - or both?

Secondly, I'm surprised (without actually knowing why) that the percentage failure for both is so close together i.e. 53% versus 61%

To me, given that year upon year the real as distinct from imaginary (let alone worthwhile) degree of performance improvement is small (neither of these brands have ever to my knowledge released anything mediocre) the reasons for buying new as distinct to used seems to be declining.

Or put differently …

  1. Buying used (please apply all the usual cautions) represents far better value than new.
  2. It’s a used buyers market out there right now. Between them in the space of just a few weeks, the two marques had 110 items for sale. So ..
  3. My advice is to be patient and save £hundreds if not £thousands by waiting for the right bargain to come along.

I’ll be doing this same comparison (CJ versus AR) next month.

Later this month I’ll be looking at how Revox private sellers are faring. Are they more realistic at used pricing than the norm? We’ll see.