There are so many online stores for buying microphones, headphones, and other music production gear. But before you hit that “Buy Now” button, make sure you read this post until the end!
I want to take a look at some of the most popular online shops and weigh the pros and cons of each of them so that you can feel confident that you’re getting the best service at the best price.
Best Place To Buy Used Audio Gear
First, I believe it’s almost always a good idea to check for deals on used gear. Audio equipment is usually pretty rugged and lasts a long time, and many technologies haven’t changed in decades!
Don’t get me wrong – there are some exceptions. I wouldn’t want a used pair of in-ear headphones, for example. I’d also be a bit more cautious when shopping for a delicate ribbon microphone or an expensive pair of studio monitors.
But, for the most part, I always check for used gear when shopping because you can often save a lot of money.
There are, of course, local gear sales, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace, but those are hit or miss and don’t have great search and sorting capabilities…
By far, my favorite place to shop for used audio gear is Reverb.com.
Reverb is a shop that connects sellers to buyers and offers an experience specifically designed for audio production equipment through their website and their mobile app.
You can find new gear on Reverb, but the used gear is where this website really shines. I found my UA Apollo Twin interface for half the price that it would cost new!
If I’m being honest, I have developed a borderline unhealthy habit of scrolling through the app looking for good deals. They make this really easy with their “Deals & Steals” section and their “Great Value” section that curates a selection of gear that is being sold at relatively low prices, compared to other sellers.
Not only can you find microphones, studio monitors, and audio interfaces on Reverb, you can also find guitars and other musical instruments!
I’ve found a lot of great deals over the years, saving me a lot of money. Plus, Reverb facilitates every sale through their platform, so you can feel more protected from scams and bad sellers.
I highly recommend checking out Reverb if you haven’t already – whether you plan to buy something or sell something.
Best Place To Buy New Audio Gear
When I can’t find a good deal on used gear, my next stop is an online retailer like Amazon, Guitar Center, Sweetwater, Zzounds, or Musician’s Friend.
The advertised price is usually the same across all of these platforms, and I’ve had mostly good experiences with all of these options.
If you have a local pro audio shop in your area, you might be able to get special deals after a while, once you’ve built a relationship with the people there. This is never a given, and even if you don’t get special pricing, you will probably still get great service – and at the very least, you’ll be supporting a local business.
I don’t have many local shops near me, so I will usually go with Sweetwater.
The reason I choose Sweetwater is similar to the reason you might choose a local shop. Every customer is connected with a dedicated Sweetwater sales engineer who can help answer questions and find the right gear for your unique situation.
The sales engineers are really good, too! Many of them have experience recording or performing music professionally and really know their stuff!
Over time, you’ll develop a relationship with your sales engineer, which is really helpful (especially if you need some help deciding on the right interface for your studio, the right mixer for your church, or the best microphone for your unique voice).
Now, I honestly have nothing against the other stores out there. Like I said, I’ve had mostly good experiences with all of them. They all offer quick delivery and a reasonable return policy.
The thing that sets Sweetwater apart from the others is the service and expertise. You can’t call Amazon for advice on choosing the right interface for recording your band.
Well – the service, and the candy… Sweetwater always sends a bag of candy with their shipments, which of course is the real reason I keep coming back. (wink)
I’ve asked others in my network and on social media and they all have their preferences, too. Most people agreed that Sweetwater is their preference, but many said they prefer their local shop or another one of the online retailers – here are some of the most popular options:
- Vintage King
- Guitar Center
- Musician’s Friend
- Full Compass
- American Musical Supply
Home Studio Essentials Checklist
If you want some help making sure you or the person you’re shopping for has everything needed to produce music in a home studio, check out this checklist of the 6 Home Studio Essentials: