TANGENT: RS4 speakers and the tricky question of appropriate resale pricing

Hi Howard. I own a pair of Tangent RS4 speakers. While searching the web for an approximate price I came across your review. I love these speakers and have owned them since I was in high school ( I graduated in 1980). I am 51 now and I am moving- downsizing. I recently sold my entire record collection, and would love to find a home for these RS4s. I always thought they were called RSM 4s.

By the way, they have been treated with care all these years and still sound great. In fact I recently purchased a pair of Paul Barton Image b25s which now sit atop my Tangents HA! I still listen to the Tangents....till the day I send them away.

If you could give me an idea of a value (priceless to me but time marches on, and my wife always thought they were "SO BIG AND UGLY" HAHAHA!) or a lead on someone who would love to have these, that would be great.

Thanks for the review it sent me down memory lane, J

Not an easy question to answer properly. Your question has just spun me off into a series of relevant thoughts on the subject of sensibly valuing used equipment. I'm going to post expanded versions of the comments I'm making below for you, later this week.

In advance of this though I'll make the following observations:

Clearly only a fool would argue that the RS4 are the world’s greatest speakers. Not only does such a thing not exist (and how could it in the face of personal preferences?) but … and it’s a big but, they had and retain a certain euphonic ‘magic’ that few speakers of that era were able to approach let alone exceed. Consequently a person disposing of a fully-functioning pair rarely in my direct personal experience is rarely satisfied with any replacement at perhaps 3 times the original price let alone at an equal price.

In short, unless you have both big bucks and dedicated wife-free listening room you are unlikely to be as satisfied again. And that’s the truth. However, as you say, times marches on.

Realistically because so few people know of them, what with Tangent not being a global force in the industry, your target marketplace is very small. Currently I have no leads to point you too. Sorry.

Now then, the tricky point of ‘true’ or ‘appropriate’ value. Most people, by which I mean those constricted by conventional / traditional thinking (poor things!] take the view that if $n was the original purchase price then as the product becomes older then their perception (warped though it may be) is that it is that original figured discounted down by substantial and in some instances excessive depreciation. Thus a speaker pair might only be worth say $n x 15%. And then of course there is the rarity factor

Thus we have a more complex set of considerations than one might initially consider. More on this here later this week.

My guess is that from those who know about these speakers and their capabilities you might, just might get around $300. For those that don’t, then considerably less. However, this is ignoring a crucial factor.

Looking back on my contemporaneous notes and relying on an increasingly distant and therefore fallible memory and then equating this to what is available new today, then appropriately driven it is likely that your pair would match the performance of a brand new pair of current speakers around $800. Will you get anywhere near that? Of course not.

In conclusion, my considered and practical advice is to hang on to these if at all possible. If not, either downgrade your listening expectations or pay quite a bit to get something approaching as good. Don’t let these go for less than $250. Otherwise put into storage. If it were me, I’d hang out for $400.

Hope this helps


Howard Popeck

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