With online church and streaming options popping up in large and small churches alike, audio equipment is at a premium. Not only is availability unpredictable, but the demand is higher than ever. Have you ever considered buying used pro audio gear for your church?

Since many churches are quickly upgrading gear, you’d likely be able to access affordable pro audio gear on a budget. Everyone knows pre-owned equipment is more economical, but you may be surprised by just how many other benefits a used set can offer.

6 Ways Used Pro Audio Gear Is The Best Choice

When churches buy used pro audio gear, they're saving money and the planet.

1. Saves you money. 

You have the opportunity to save money on used pro audio gear — twice. The first savings is obvious: used gear is more affordable than new gear. For example, you can purchase a new, high-end pair of JBL PA speakers in the $5,000 range. You could get that same pair used for half the price and have them for another decade. (Pricing as of Nov 2021). 

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2. Maintains its value 

This is the step most people forget. Music gear holds its value. Of all used items for sale in the world, pro audio gear is in the top tier for staying valuable. Have you ever heard someone say a truck holds its value more so than other vehicles? Pro audio gear is just like a truck.

For example, let’s return to the JBL speakers. You’ve been using this piece for 10 years now, and your team is upgrading your setup. You can now sell that item for upwards of $1,500-$2,000. Someone else in the world would absolutely love to have this piece. With the savings on the front end of the purchase and the money you recouped on the back end, you spent $500-$1,000 overall for an item that would have cost $5,000 new. And this is just one piece of production gear. If you multiply these savings across your entire setup, you’re suddenly making your production budget go three to four times farther! 

Stretch your church production budget TWICE when you buy used pro audio gear. First, get it for a deal. Then, since it holds its value, sell it for a fair value when it's time to upgrade. Click To Tweet

3. Helps you avoid busts and lemons 

Have you ever had a friend complain about their new car having problems? This is called a “lemon” in the car world. We even have a law for it in many states that will make the car manufacturer replace the vehicle. This same misfortune can happen to pro audio gear.

When you buy something new, you still have a risk of it being one of these lemons. Manufacturing errors happen. When you buy used pro audio gear, you know the item has already been working in a real-world setting. This item has proven itself and shown it wasn’t a lemon. 

4. Offers a wider array of options 

When you buy new gear, you can only purchase what’s currently in stock. When you buy used, your options for gear increase exponentially.

There are amazing pieces of production gear that you can buy used that manufacturers no longer sell. In some cases, the only options available are used items. When you check used pro audio gear, you give yourself more options to pick from. 

Choosing to purchase pre-owned pro audio gear gives you more options. You know that piece that was discontinued but you loved? Buy it used. Click To Tweet

5. Takes advantage of gear lifespan

How often do you upgrade your pro audio setup? Is it every three to five years? Or do you only get an upgrade once in a lifetime?

Most of the time, churches will upgrade their system soon enough that a piece of gear still has plenty of life to be of service.

For example, let’s say you need to replace your mixing board. Your church plans to do a complete upgrade in 5-10 years so you don’t want to buy the latest and greatest mixing board here. You’re simply needing a patch until that next upgrade. You could easily buy a Yamaha M7 that is five years old and use this until you get your upgrade.

If your church only upgrades every thirty years, you may need to rethink your plan. However, most churches upgrade regularly enough that you should be able to buy some (if not most) of your gear used. 

Since most churches upgrade production equipment every few years, purchasing and selling used gear maximizes the lifespan of the piece. And have we mentioned the savings? Click To Tweet

6. Is kinder to the environment 

When you buy used production gear, you’re helping the planet. Every used item that is purchased is a piece of gear that did not need to be made new. Buying used pro audio gear is a way to be a good steward of our planet. 

More on audio: 5 Ways to Enhance Your Ministry with Live Audio Streaming

Buyer Protection

You may be saying to yourself: “All of this sounds great. But what if the gear doesn’t work when it arrives? All the benefits on this list will mean nothing.” 

We have you covered there as well. Here are some best practices to ensure your gear is going to arrive in good working order.

3 Best Practices When Buying Used Pro Audio Gear

When churches buy used pro audio gear, they're saving money and the planet.

1. Learn the gear’s backstory

If you can confirm it was only owned by a single church, you’ll know it has been taken care of.

Used production gear from churches is the best kind. This is gear that has been well taken care of, never traveled or toured, and used once a week. It has also been inside a building so you know the item has been in a climate-controlled area.

In other cases, you can also check to see if the seller is the original owner of the gear. Essentially, you’re trying to make sure the gear hasn’t been passed around from person to person or toured the country. Typically, you can find this information in the item’s description. If you don’t see it there, you can message the seller through the platform you are on and they can tell you.  

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2. Ask why the seller is offering the item

There are tons of reasons someone would sell a perfectly fine piece of gear:

  • They could be upgrading their entire setup, so they are moving on.
  • They could have bought the wrong item, missed the return window, and now need to sell it themselves.
  • They could have quit making music.

If you’re feeling hesitant to click “buy”, just reach out and ask why they are selling their item. 

3. Inquire about the return policy 

Check the platform’s return policy to make sure you have a backup in case the gear does come in with a problem.

Between just Reverb & eBay, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of used production gear is sold each year. The vast majority of used gear will work fine for you. As long as you purchase from a platform that has a return policy, you’ll be safe. 

With a little bit of due diligence, you’ll be well on your way to saving a great deal of your budget on your next pro audio gear purchase.

Take your gear to the next level and consider how it’s used to share your church’s story. We’re sharing our favorite 5 Pieces Of Gear To Elevate Your Video Setup For Great Storytelling.

Now the only question is: what shiny piece of gear are you going to grab with all of these savings? Leave us a comment and share what’s on your wish list.