Brooklyn's treasure trove of used high-end audio

The Audiophiliac drops by Stereo Buyers, where they sell all vintages and types of quality audio on the Internet.

Cary Audio SLA 70 amplifier Stereo Buyers

I visited Stereo Buyers' Brooklyn headquarters to get a first-hand look at their gear. Located in Red Hook, the facility was flooded by Hurricane Sandy last summer, and most of the inventory was literally underwater. Stereo Buyers' Adam Wexler did his best to prepare before the storm hit, but his best line in recalling the disaster was, "I bet you didn't know that Wilson Audio Watt/Puppy 5 speakers (that weigh over 100 pounds) can float, but they can. It was crazy and depressing; the financial losses were a bummer." He didn't have flood insurance, but Stereo Buyers managed to sell some of the water-damaged gear "as is." The building is in good shape now, and the newly stocked gear looks pristine.

Wexler told me about a woman who wanted him to clear out a house and a separate storage space with mountains of classic audio -- her husband was a hoarder -- but was in a mental hospital. Part of his treatment was letting go of the stuff. Wexler was interested in 250 pieces of gear, but it was a long and winding road, and the deal never went down. The man was released from the hospital and moved all the gear to another place, and didn't tell his wife where it was. The wife is still in touch, and still wants to sell the gear to Wexler.

Thorens TD125 turntable Stereo Buyers

A lot of stuff comes from widows and older people who can't deal with the hassles involved with shipping heavy and/or very delicate gear. Wexler will pick up within a 90-mile radius of his place; he's been buying and selling audio for 13 years.

Stereo Buyers is the purchasing side of the business; the gear is sold through Wexler's High-End Audio Auctions' eBay store. I was surprised that most of the gear is sold to audiophiles in California, and a lot of it winds up in China, Hong Kong, Russia, and Japan. The Middle East is also a big market for used American high-end gear, the worldwide audiophile market dwarfs the American scene. I think that's sad; we don't appreciate our own gear as much as people in other lands do.

Hanging out at Stereo Buyers I spotted a beautiful Cary 805 Anniversary Edition tube amp; Wexler told me it came from a U.N. diplomat who is moving back home. There was a really cool-looking Marshall guitar amp that came out of Jimi Hendrix's Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan. A few VPI and Denon turntables passed through the store recently. Wexler bought a large collection of speaker drivers (woofers, tweeters, and so on) from a designer, so he's selling these drivers to folks who want to build their own speakers.

Krell Resolution 3 speakers Stereo Buyers

Wexler can sometimes put together complete, under-$500 stereo systems for people who can pick up the gear. Interested parties should contact Stereo Buyers and see what's available.

About the author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.

 

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