Buy-to-try this Black Friday

  • What does the USA get for giving thanks? The hangover of Black Friday, during which many retailers write big business through heavy discounts. Some high street stores attract big crowds and once the doors open on the bigger outlets, stampedes occur. The worst of consumer culture? Perhaps.

    With audio enthusiasts far lower in number than those looking for discounts on food blenders or hair dryers, our kind can take a calmer, more distanced view of Black Friday’s offerings. We aren’t served too often by big-box retailers like Best Buy or Walmart. We snag our bargains at smaller outlets or online where the risk of injury is substantially lower.

    Discounted goods give the more gun-shy among us a chance to finally pull the trigger and try things for ourselves, at home and at our own pace. In 2019, we can snag 120 days of Tidal Hifi for a crazy low €1.99. If this isn’t an opportunity for fence-sitters to investigate lossless streaming, I don’t know what is.

    Readers with long memories will recall that two years ago, I explained why I don’t cover Black Friday deals. This year, after some thought, I’m reversing that policy in the interests of reducing my own workload: to field fewer questions from readers – via email, via Facebook, via Instagram, via YouTube comments – about hardware I’ve never heard. I’m simply not the all-seeing eye that they imagine.

    Reviewers can only go so far. Our advice is general. Consumers looking for tailored-made direction must retain the services of an audio consultant or do some work themselves. Either way, that work costs money. If there’s no home demo to be had, either from a high street dealer or via an online store’s return policy, it means clicking ‘add to cart’ and then checking out. Discounts, therefore, minimise the fiscal damage of buying, trying and then – maybe – selling.

    Black Friday discounts are almost always time-limited. Once the homework is done, prices will have returned to normal and we endure less of a lo$$ out on Audiogon, eBay or the classifieds.

    Hitting this commentator’s email inbox and Facebook feed today is an invitation to take 20% off all IEMs at Clear Tune Monitors. Similarly, Noble Audio will be offering 20% off all universal fit IEMs. For those not entering the buy/try/sell gambit, Noble is also offering a 15% discount on all custom-fit models.

    Every high-end IEM deserves decent amplification. Melbourne’s Burson, experts in this field, is stripping 20% from their online store pricing. Use code ’20OFF’ at checkout. This includes already-discounted products. Some models even have DACs built-in.

    How about the loudspeaker deal of the year? ELAC’s Debut 2.0 are now a startling US$209/pair in the US of A. Ninety bucks more snags you a pair of KEF’s Q150 – now half price at US$299. Not to be outdone, Music Direct have the Wharfedale Diamond 220 at close to half price: US$199/pair.

    Thirsting for a pair of highly-resolving, high-end headphones? From Thursday, Beyerdynamic will reportedly be lopping 30% off the price of a pair of their T1 (in special edition black).

    Given their crude similarity to Sennheiser’s HD800/S needles&pins detail dig, the T1 might benefit from a little tubular drive. Pop code ‘THANKS10’ into the cart at Linear Tube Audio‘s online store to get 10% off all amplifiers.

    And that includes amplifiers that add loudspeaker binding posts to headphone drive with enough watts for higher-efficiency boxes. When the clock strikes midday in North Bend, Utah on Thursday 28th, Zu Audio will be discounting selected models and stock items, some in limited edition finishes.

    For those who don’t want to mix n match their gear, Cambridge Audio‘s true wireless IEM – Melomania 1 – have been dropped to sell for Β£99.95 in the UK, €99.95 where Euros are the currency.

    Similarly, from Thursday 28th, Scotland’s RHA Audio will be offering 30% off their TrueConnect true wireless IEM.

    Sony’s WH-1000XM3 is one of the best noise-cancelling headphones in the world. In the lead up to Black Friday, we find them heavily discounted via Amazon stores around the world: Germany, USA, UK.

    This article will be updated with more hi-fi-related Black Friday deals as the week progresses:

    Hifiman Ananda at US$699 ($300 off).

    Schitt Magni at US$74 (38% off).

    PS Audio’s Tiers of Cheer (US only).

    VPI’s JMW-12-3D & Cadenza Bronze package.

    iFi Audio has teamed up with NativeDSD for some hardware/software bundles. Not available in the USA though. You can’t have it all, America.

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

    A short film about the 2019 Warsaw AV Show

    Giving thanks