1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Second hand subwoofer vs new. Worth the risk?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema & Hi-Fi' started by maj, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. maj

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jul 19, 2010

    Posts: 2,239

    Location: Newcastle

    I've been after a subwoofer for awhile to go with my Q2020i's and receiver. An online retailer currently has the Wharfedale Diamond SW-150 for £160 with a two year warranty. Someone local to me is selling one second hand for £100 in good condition. Is it worth paying the extra £60 for a full warranty and peace of mind? If I do go and take a look at the one for sale local to me, I will be asking for a demo before handing any money over but would there be anything specifically to look out for? I'm not sure how old the sub is, but they are selling due to an upgrade.
  2. Psycho Sonny


    Joined: Jun 21, 2006

    Posts: 29,308

    i bought mine second hand but it came with the receipt proving it was a month old and had never been out the box.

    is £60 worth the warranty to you? only you can answer this question
  3. maj

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jul 19, 2010

    Posts: 2,239

    Location: Newcastle

    Thanks for the reply.

    I'm just not sure how reliable this particular or maybe subs are in general. How likely are parts to fail etc to take a risk with second hand.
  4. Doug2507


    Joined: Sep 13, 2013

    Posts: 795

    Location: Aberdeen

    A sub is just an active speaker with crossover/amp/speaker. No more reliable or unreliable as any other.

    If the 60 quid saving means a lot to you, ask the seller if they have the original invoice / check up on manufacturers warranty.

    Stuff like this tends to last for years until the caps start failing.

    I buy pretty much all of my HiFi gear used and don't loose any sleep over it.
  5. hornetstinger


    Joined: Sep 6, 2016

    Posts: 5,685

    Bought second hand things before never regretted it.

    Sure my poweramps needed to be fixed once each after few years of use but that was done free by family, so still saved lots of money.

    As for sw-150 got one myself second hand not sure.but the quote power off seems not too quick IE 5 mins so hear it clicking on and off all the time.
  6. lucid


    Joined: May 29, 2010

    Posts: 4,704

    Location: Cheshire

    I'm a fan of second-hand gear. I think it's a great way to increase one's purchasing power and play in the bigger leagues. I've bought and sold a fair number of second-hand subs and, apart from a KEF with dried-out capacitors which was a simple and inexpensive fix, touch wood they're all going strong TTBOMK.

    Would I buy the Wharfedale used for a £60 saving? Maybe; if I knew the seller well; and if I knew they weren't a bit of a muppet.

    IMO the risk goes up the cheaper the product. Someone running their first sub - and, with respect, an entry-level product such as the Wharfedale - may have run it hard to get fat bass from a box that really wasn't designed to energise the whole street. A lot then is down to the person you're buying from: Do they know what they're doing with the gear, and have they been running the thing flat out? Of course, they could be sensible and left the sub set as the AV receiver wizard had it adjusted.

    You mentioned about a demo. That's a good idea. Have a look around the sub first, and pay attention to the position of the control dials. Volume at 50-70% = Good. Volume maxed out = Not so good. Where the sub is being run from an AV receiver, you could play the wide-eyed innocent and ask if it's difficult to set up and say you've read about "something called the speaker set-up menus" but how that sounds confusing. Your aim here is to get a look at the menu screen with the dB levels. What you're trying to see is if the sub level is running much higher than the rest of the speakers. It's difficult to generalise because room conditions play a part, but if you're seeing the sub's dB level in the +6dB ~ +12dB range then it could suggest that either the receiver is trying to compensate for a sub that isn't big enough to drive the room, or the owner has tweaked it up for effect.

    I know this all sounds a bit doom and gloom, but I look at it from the money side of things.

    You might be saving a little over 1/3rd of the cost new, but in today's world how far does £60 stretch? For me, it's a couple of meals out, or half a tank of fuel, or a fairly modest night out with the lads. If this was a £1000 sub, or even a £500 sub, then a similar proportion saving starts to become a more significant sum: It's £375 off a £1000 product, and my gut feeling is that a £1000 sub wouldn't need to be run hard in the first place, and that the sort of buyer for a £1000 sub is probably going to be a more conscientious owner. I don't know if the same can be said of the average owner of a £160 sub.

    There are some vids on Youtube of the sound of subs bottoming out. If you haven't come across the phrase before, then bottoming out describes what happens when the bass cone reaches the end of its travel and kind of 'hits the buffers' so-to-speak. It's not just a problem for small subs. Here's a big 18" Velodyne being over-driven by the owner. https://youtu.be/nsGnGDUsAKQ?t=60 Eeek!
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  7. maj

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jul 19, 2010

    Posts: 2,239

    Location: Newcastle

    Thanks all.

    @lucid some really great advice there thanks.

    I've arranged a viewing for Friday evening. Sadly he doesn't have anything to test the sub with (receiver and speakers are boxed up for selling) but suggested I could plug my phone into it and play something from my phone which is better than nothing I guess but whether I'll hear much I'm not sure. I'll have a look at volume dials etc.

    I appreciate this is entry level sub which I'm fine with. I'm not a massive audiophile and just want something to compliment my Q Acoustic speakers. Space is also a factor hence it was between this and the Gemini II but the 150 seems a good option either brand new or second hand.