5 Things to Consider When Buying a Used Amplifier

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5 Things to Consider When Buying a Used Amplifier

Whilst many people prefer to buy their amplifiers as new for their advancements in amplification technology and modern aesthetics, others favour the purchase of one that has been pre-owned or used. The advantages of buying a used amplifier include the fact that they may be more affordable, as well as the added fact that certain brands or models of amplifier may be either out of stock or no longer made.

Auction sites such as eBay have an extensive range of used amplifiers from a number of different brands and eras that are all available at reasonable prices that benefit those who may have budget limitations.

The following guide will discuss the various considerations that come with purchasing a used amplifier. 

1.    Used Amplifier Condition

The most important thing to consider when purchasing a used amplifier, especially from eBay, is the condition that it is in.

The reason for sale may be that the amplifier is in some way faulty and may need replacement parts that the seller is unwilling to purchase for various reasons.

There are several conditional faults that the used amplifier in question may have. These include:

Used Amplifier Conditional Faults



The wiring of the amplifier can affect the performance of the various inputs and outputs of the amplifier. This means that the amplifier may not be able to perform to the high standard that should be expected of it. If one has little experience of re-wiring amplifiers, it may be best to avoid purchasing one that has wiring faults.


The connections of the amplifier may also be faulty. This means that certain inputs or outputs may be temperamental and may only work if the jack is placed in certain positions. Jack connection issues are generally considered to be easier to fix than wiring faults, but do require some level of engineering knowledge.


The outside shell of the amp may be scratched or dented. Whilst this normally will not affect the performance of the amplifier, it still affects the aesthetic. If the shell is damaged in any way, this can affect the aesthetics of the amplifier, something that is especially annoying for those who appreciate the way their amplifier looks on the shelf (in the case of home stereo systems).

One of the best ways of finding out about the condition of the amplifier is by thoroughly reading the product description that should be made available by the seller, or by contacting them directly. Furthermore, one can study the images of the amplifier to see if there is any external damage to its shell.

2.      Used Amplifier Interface

When buying a used amplifier it is also important to check its interface and the controls that are available to be made use of.

This is especially true of older, vintage amplifiers that may not have the same amount of same type of controls that newer amplifiers may have.

Whilst every amplifier will have a volume control and the vast majority will have bass and tonal controls, there is a certain type of interface control that older amplifiers may not have included in their design.

This is the control for multi-purpose amplifiers that allows for a newer, more advanced amplifier to be able to be used alongside a number of different inputs. These amplifiers will be able to be used as AV receivers for televisions, in addition to amplifiers for radio, CD players, record players, and auxiliary inputs. This function is implemented via a knob that can be turned between the chosen input at any one time.

3.     Used Amplifier Size

During the purchase of a used amplifier, it may be an idea to take note of the space available for it to be placed in before settling for a purchase.

With older amplifiers coming in a range of different sizes, normally larger than the ones that incorporate modern technologies, it is important to know this so as to avoid spatial and heating issues.

The following dimensions measure most amplifiers:

-   Width

-   Depth

-   Height

Therefore, the numbers given for the size of an amplifier will be in this order. For example, an amplifier noted as being 430 x 340 x 80 will be 430mm in width, 340mm in depth and will stand at 80mm tall.

It is especially important to take note of the size of an amplifier if it is being used for car stereo purposes, as space can be more of an issue in this instance.

4.    Used Amplifier Thermal Capability

One of the many things to consider when buying an amplifier, regardless of whether it is being purchased as used or new, is how well it deals with the heat that is created whilst it is in use.

Most amplifiers will be fitted with a means of dealing with the excess heat that is created. This is known as heat sinking. An amplifier that has a heat sink fitted will be much better at dealing with the heat that the amplifier creates, as the amplifier will be cooled. The heat sink exchanges the hot air inside the amplifier for the cool, external air.

The problem with buying an older or vintage amplifier is that they may not have the correct technology fitted to able to deal effectively with the heat of the amplifier after extensive use. For this reason, it is important to look out for an amplifier with a heat sink fitted.

5.    Used Amplifier Power

The final thing to think about when buying a used amplifier is the power that the amplifier can create.

This is especially important for used amplifiers, as if one was to buy an older model of amplifier to be used in conjunction with a set of more modern speakers, there may be an issue regarding sound quality.

Due to the advancements in speaker technology, speakers are much more robust and able to deal with larger power outputs from amplifiers, yet are also much more sensitive. Therefore, an older, used amplifier may not be particularly compatible with more modern speakers, as distortion may occur or some sounds may be drowned out by the noise from the amplifier.

It is worth reading up on the best vintage amplifiers to use alongside modern speakers before making a purchase of a used amplifier.

Buying a Used Amplifier on eBay

eBay is one of the best places to find a used amplifier, as it offers the opportunity for products of this nature to be found at rates that do not necessarily reflect the high prices that are found elsewhere.

The site has numerous used amplifiers listed that are available, and these can be found by visiting the Electronics section (one may wish to visit the Deals section of eBay first to see handpicked bargains). From there, select the Audio option and choose the Amplifiers tab. Once at this page, one can then click on the Used refinement tab to find a page that solely lists used amplifiers.

As is often the case on eBay, most used products won’t be available to purchase using the Buy It Now option. However, there will always be the chance to place a Bid or if the seller allows it, the chance to put forward a Best Offer.


Therefore, there are five major things to consider when buying a used amplifier.

It is vital to read the product description of the chosen amplifier, as well as to check the images provided, so to find out its working condition. The seller can also be contacted to clear up any conditional queries.

It is also important to take note of the controls included on the interface of the amplifier, as well as its size and power. From an efficiency perspective, it is also worth checking how well the amplifier deals with thermal issues and whether anything can be done to improve this.

With all of these factors taken into consideration one can purchase a used amplifier via a sensible and cost-effective transaction.

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