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I need to buy some basic accessories (XLR cables, mic stands and clips, etc) on a tight budget. I'd rather pay more for quality gear than buy something cheap that will break quickly, but a lot of times if you look hard enough you can find quality items that are discounted because they're overstock or last year's model, etc.

Does anyone have some recommendations on how to find local or online stores that sell discounted gear, or other creative ways to buy it without paying full retail price? For local stores, I'm specifically looking in Seattle, but some general tips would be good to help people in other cities as well.

I definitely want to buy cables new, but I don't mind buying mic stands used.

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I don't think this is on topic here - realistically the usual places are craigslist, ebay, freecycle, local theatres and clubs etc –  Dr Mayhem Oct 6 '11 at 9:22
    
I realize it may be kind of a grey area, so I'm happy to delete it if the mods think it should be, but I think it's a very practical question for most people in the field. I phrased it in general terms so that it's not a "Let's Go Shopping" question. –  Ian Dunn Oct 6 '11 at 14:11
    
I think it's useful and on-topic. Everything (except the mention of your home city) seems specific enough to get helpful answers, but not so localized that it's only relevant to your situation. Of course I'm not the only voice here - if you disagree, please -1, vote to close, or open a question on meta. –  Warrior Bob Oct 11 '11 at 22:23
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Nothing beats word of mouth. Ask other producers, technicians, and musicians in your area who you talk with (I presume you do some networking). Everyone likes a deal; see what your contacts do for theirs.

Here are a few approaches that I've had luck with:

  • Check classifieds, both on paper and online classifieds such as Craigslist. Look for organizations that are going out of business or upgrading their stock. Check the garage sale section, too. People occasionally clean out their home studios. Does your area have an auction site? I bought a nice synthesizer once from a site like that, through a local college that was upgrading their music program's equipment.

  • Look to see if there is a regular swap meet or flea market nearby. In my area, there is an audio swap meet every six months, plus a weekly general market. I've found decent used gear at both of these, and generally you can try it out.

  • Finally, search for pawn shops. Most cities have at least a few, and most of the ones I've seen tend to have a bit of musical equipment.

  • Look for "deal of the day" sites such as goingtoday.com or woot.com or Musicansfriend's Stupid Deal of the Day. You will probably have to wait a while before something you need shows up, but when it does, it's usually under retail price, and usually refurbished.

Very little of this applies specifically to audio equipment - variations on these basic ideas could work for finding TVs, cars, computers, whatever.

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