Buying Used Speakers

Buying used speakers is an easy way to extend your budget’s reach.

With some due diligence, the tips below, and our brand breakdowns, you will be buying used speakers that’ll serve your church well.

3 Tips for Buying Used Speakers for your Church 

1. Break in Time

New speakers will come with a break-in period. Many churches have to bring a tech in to retune the entire rig after it has been in use for a few months. When speakers change so much in the break-in period that you’re compelled to retune them, that is intense. This is a great point to use when speaking to your church board for budget approval. Unless they are fluent in buying used speakers, they would not be aware of this benefit. To a degree, all new gear will have a break in period. Check out the Top 10 Platforms to buy used gear here.

Money falling from the sky to symbolize the money you'll save from buying used speakers.

2. Budget Fixer

If you have budget constraints, this is the best part of your setup to buy used. If you’re planning on upgrading your setup and are just a little off from hitting your budget, this is the item to buy used. As long as you know your speakers are coming from a trustworthy source, you’ll be set for years to come.

3. Touring Used Speakers vs. Church Used Speakers

This is the most crucial step when buying used speakers. Speakers that have traveled and toured across the country will have a good deal of wear and tear on them. Just imagine the life of a speaker that has been a rolling stone. 

  • Touring speaker:
    • One day it is unloaded, hooked up in Seattle, and blasted for an outdoor concert. The next day, the speaker is loaded back up, driven to Phoenix, unloaded, and played in another outdoor venue. 
  • Church speaker:
    • We always advise church tech directors to buy boring speakers. You want your speaker to have had a boring, simple life before it comes into your possession. When you buy used speakers that have sat in a church, you know they’ve been in a climate-controlled environment, experienced minimal movement, and have been played at a weekly church service instead of a loud, nightly concert. 
A man looking at a white board considering speaker brands

7 Speaker Brands to Consider

We see, test, and ship out a lot of speakers at ChurchGear headquarters. Here is our take on the major speaker brands. 

1. Buying d&b audiotechnik used speakers

This is the top of the mountain in the speaker world. These speakers are well made and very user-friendly. This is a big benefit when you have inexperienced volunteers running the service. Every single thing you can do to make the service easier for your volunteers is a big win. In addition to being easy to use, these are the “it” speakers right now. When these get installed at churches, that tech director and worship leader are telling all of their industry friends “We just put in d&b speakers today!”

2. Buying L-Acoustics used speakers

When we said d&b speakers were at the top of the mountain in this post, L-Acoustics said “excuse me?”. These speakers are also incredible and have become incredibly popular in the larger churches across America. If you polled church tech directors, it’s likely that these top two speakers would come in 50/50. We’ve seen churches fall in love with this brand so much that they’ve taken out good speakers so that they can upgrade to this brand. With these being on the newer side though, there are fewer of these out in the used production gear market. While you probably won’t find these used, it’s good to know about them as they set the standard for the overall speaker brand category. 

3. Buying Meyers used speakers

If you asked, “What are the best-used speakers that you can easily find?” this would be our top answer. Meyers are a great brand but L-Acoustics and d&b have taken the title for the coolest speaker brands out there. 

With a built-in amp and a warm sound, Meyers is a favorite at ChurchGear. In fact, we do a happy dance anytime we get these as we know another church is going to love them. If legends are true, the Meyers speaker brand is the one that the Grateful dead used for their speaker wall. If you can find used Meyers speakers that’ll work for your setup, grab them pronto and give your finance director a high five. 

Taking a step down to symbolize this group of speakers is a tier down from those above.

4. Buying JBL used speakers

Have you ever walked down a flight of stairs where one of the steps is a little lower so it feels like you had a slight drop when you hit the stair? That is where we are at now with JBL in the fourth spot. The top three are in the top tier, and JBL begins our next tier of used speakers. While these aren’t as popular or advanced as the above, these are still good speakers. When someone is trying to sell you on something they’ll typically say the line: 

“You get what you pay for”. 

-Sales people

But is this true? 

Looking at a report from Cornell , people do connect price and quality: “A higher price tag can create a favorable first impression of an unfamiliar item, but this may not be enough for a consumer to buy it.”

If you’re comparing JBL’s price to the speakers above, a misconception can be created that it is of lesser quality. The drop-off in quality though is more perception than it is truth. If our budget was unlimited, we’d take the top three over JBL. When budget is considered, JBL is a strong option. If you know the speaker’s backstory and that the speaker has been taken care of, you know you’re buying used speakers that’ll serve your church for years.

5. Buying Electro-Voice used speakers

We travel a lot when we are picking up gear, so a consistent place to eat is a big priority for us. Regardless of where we are at, Chipotle has proven to be consistent. Used EV speakers are equally consistent. EV speakers have a good sound quality and are dependable. Is this the top speaker? No. Will a used EV speaker give you a good sound and make your budget go further? Yes. 

6. Buying Danley / McCauley used speakers

If you can score a used Danley or McCauley speaker, you’ve had a good day. These are high-end speakers that perform well but they are a lesser known brand. Similar to JBL, you aren’t trading quality for savings here. 

“Why are these cheaper then?” 

As wild as it may sound, it comes down to branding. People value L-Acoustics and d&b so much that it has driven up the cost. If you need to save some money on your setup and can find Danley speakers, you’re doing well. You won’t be able to brag about the brand, but you will be able to brag about the savings you scored buying used speakers.

7. Buying EAW used speakers

Are EAW speakers the best brand? Definitely not. Are they a bit boring and vanilla? Yes. Can you buy these for pennies on the dollar compared to other speaker brands? Yes! EAW speakers were the “it” speakers long ago. They were the brand pushing the boundaries of tech. They’re the only company to create a true point source line array. But d&b and L-Acoustics have taken the “cool kid” mantle. Our head-gear guru Brian had this to say about them: 

“You don’t hear the brand sticker on the speaker. You hear the sound coming out of it.” 

ChurchGear Head Gear Guru – Brian Cigainero

If you know the used speaker’s backstory, buying used speakers is a great way to save money in your budget. 

At ChurchGear, we get all of our speakers from churches so you can shop with us without having to wonder “what’s the backstory on these speakers?”

Join the Early Service so you get first dibs when the gear comes out on Mondays.



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