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How You Can ALWAYS Save Money When Shopping For New Audio Equipment


I’ve got a little gear purchase story for you today.

I’m in the market to upgrade some of my gear (read: I wanted new monitors…)

Because I just moved into my new studio space I thought I would spend some money to get new equipment as well.

My KRK 8″ monitors are getting old but I know them well so I thought I’d get a second set of ears.

After a lot of research I decided on the Yamaha HS series, the only question was whether I wanted the HS5s or the HS7s.

Test Out Your New Gear Beforehand

The logical thing to do was to demo them both so I called up Guitar Center and asked if they had them in stock. They said they had both models so I grabbed a couple of my CDs and drove over there to test them out.

I spent about 20 minutes listening to both models. I listened to one of my own mixes as well as a selection of other songs I knew well and liked the sound of.

I ended up liking the HS5s more because they sounded more honest. Technically they really sounded worse but that was a quality I actually liked. I thought that if I could make mixes sound good on this speaker they would hopefully sound great on other systems.

Comparison Shop!

A pair of the HS5s runs about $398 + tax normally but because I spent some time doing research I found deals such as this one that came with monitor stands, cables and monitor pads for only $399 with NO tax and free shipping.

Guitar Center says it price matches any competitively priced offer online so I thought I’d ask them if they would give me the same deal. After all, I had spent about 20 minutes in their store trying out their monitors so I thought I’d see if they could earn my business.

After about 15 minutes of figuring things out, looking up stuff on the computer and getting the manager, the best they could do was offer me $50 off the total price. Including the cables, stands and pads it would’ve come up to about $550, a whole $150 more than multiple online stores were offering.

Their excuse (and at no fault of their own because the employees don’t make the rules) was that all of the items needed to be exactly the same and because they didn’t stock the exact same stands or pads they couldn’t give me the same deal. I suppose that makes sense because there might be a quality and price difference in the accessories but I couldn’t justify spending $150 (plus TAX!) more just to get the monitors the same day.

So I shrugged, thanked them and went back home.

I ordered the bundle online and it shipped the same day so I should be receiving it in the next few days (Amazon is fast like that).

The moral of the story is that when you’re buying gear don’t give into impulse.

Do your due diligence and spend time researching where the best price is.

Here are some more tips on saving money when you’re buying gear:

  • Multiple small online stores often offers deals much better than the big box stores. From an economics point of view it’s a race to the bottom of marginal cost but as a consumer you can benefit greatly.
  • Take advantage of open box offers or B-stock. Wouldn’t you like to get something new at a discount just because somebody opened the box it came in or it stood on the floor for a while?
  • Use academic pricing (especially on software) or student discounts if you can.
  • Spreading out purchases is good for your wallet because you can budget accordingly. However, if you buy a lot of equipment at once you may be able to negotiate a discount because you’re basically buying in bulk. 10% off $100 is negligible, but 10% off $1,000 saves you a lot more.

I think price checking and comparison shopping is so important I created a 30 minute video about how I find the right gear for your needs as a part of Recording & Mixing Strategies that’s inside my EQ Strategies – Ultimate Guide to EQ.

If you’re in the market for some new equipment and don’t want to get screwed over and paying too much I recommend grabbing the guide. It might save you a lot of money in the long run.

Image by:  401(K) 2013


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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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