Appreciation For Depreciation: Today’s Flagship Is Next Year’s Doorstop


We’re all familiar with the depreciation of AV equipment.

And all of us who’ve been in the business for a long time have endless stories we can tell about what things used to cost, versus what they cost now.

That explains why reading the ads on online HiFi Buy/Sell marketplaces is vaguely depressing.

The rate at which used AV equipment depreciates is breathtaking.

People joke about how new automobiles depreciate “as soon as you drive off the lot” but used car resale prices remain relatively stable past that initial hit, only heading slowly southward as the years and miles accumulate.

In sharp contrast, by and large the resale price of AV equipment, on the other hand goes to effectively zero in less than a year.

I still recall what a longtime sales rep said to me the year that Onkyo Integra debuted HDMI switching and video scaling in their AV Receivers, including in models that were under $1000 retail.

My rep friend laughed and said “I’m sure glad I found somebody to sell my $20,000 Faroudja video scaler to last year!”

And so it goes.

The only AV equipment that can be said to hold any value over the years is also the most simple: amplifiers.

You’ll find truly “vintage” amplifiers from brands like Bryston and McIntosh consistently sell for the same prices as the years go by, and they pass from one owner to another.

More sophisticated audio equipment, like pre-amps or integrated stereo-receivers? They have some value but beyond certain audiophile brands there’s little demand for them.

Video equipment? Forget it. Off to the recycle bin you go!

It’s sad, but it’s the world we live in.