Should you use a loan to buy high-end audio equipment? | finder.com
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Should I use a loan to buy high-end audio equipment?

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Audiophile without deep pockets? Here are tips to get the system you want quickly.

Audiophiles who want the best technology and quality know costs can be high. High-end equipment that gets you the sound you want can cost a pretty penny.

If you’re looking to build out your sound system and don’t have all the money to upgrade, a personal loan might help. Our guide covers what to consider when debating whether to borrow money to fund that next big purchase and top providers to compare if you’ve decided to borrow.

Our top pick: LendingClub Personal Loan

  • Min. Credit Score Required: 640
  • Min. Loan Amount: $1,000
  • Max. Loan Amount: $40,000
  • APR: 6.95% to 35.89%
  • Requirements: US citizen or permanent resident, verifiable bank account, steady source of income, ages 18+.
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Flexible loan terms
  • Fast and easy application

Our top pick: LendingClub Personal Loan

A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.

  • Min. Credit Score Required: 640
  • Min. Loan Amount: $1,000
  • Max. Loan Amount: $40,000
  • APR: 6.95% to 35.89%
  • Requirements: US citizen or permanent resident, verifiable bank account, steady source of income, ages 18+.
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Can I pay for high-end audio equipment with a personal loan?

Yes, personal loans aren’t earmarked for a specific purpose. But the amount you’re ultimately approved for depends on your creditworthiness and ability to make monthly payments. Some lenders don’t offer personal loans over $50,000 — which sounds like a lot, but this equipment is pricey.

When eyeing new music equipment, consider how much you can afford, rather than how much you’re approved for. Interest rates vary by lender, and shopping around could help you nail down the lowest rate you’re eligible for.

You wouldn’t make a big audio purchase without doing research. Do the same when comparing lenders.

Should I borrow money to pay for stereo equipment?

Some audiophiles will tell you it’s foolish to borrow money for your must-have stereo. If you can’t afford a big purchase today, going into debt for something that immediately depreciates in value could be a bad idea.

It could turn out that your best financing for that new stereo or amp is to save up for it. It can take a year or two to save what you need, but you’d be in a better position to pick up the very latest turntable and more — and without interest standing in the way of enjoying git.

When it comes to luxury purchases, weigh the depreciated value of what you’re buying against the life of your loan. If your high-end audio equipment at the end of your loan won’t be worth at least what you financed it for, it might a sign to wait.

With that in mind, it’s understandable that we all have desires that go beyond our means. If you’ve decided you want to borrow money to get that amp or speaker set you’ve been eyeing, read on to compare different providers and costs.

Compare personal loans from top providers

Updated September 18th, 2019
Name Product Filter Values APR Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount
6.95% to 35.89%
640
$40,000
A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.
5.34% to 35.99%
Good to excellent credit
$100,000
Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose a loan offer from several top online lenders.
3.99% to 35.99%
500
$100,000
Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit.
Varies by lender
Available for all credit scores
$100,000
Get a connected with a lender — or get debt advice.
5.99% to 17.66%
680
$100,000
No fees. Multiple member perks such as community events and career coaching.
3.84% to 35.99%
550
$100,000
Get connected to competitive loan offers instantly from top online consumer lenders.
34% to 155% (Varies by state)
550
$10,000
Check eligibility in minutes and get a personalized quote without affecting your credit score.
7.99% to 35.89%
620
$50,000
Affordable loans with two simple repayment terms and no prepayment penalties.

Compare up to 4 providers

How much does high-end audio equipment generally cost?

Looking at audiophile gear, you might be shocked at just how wide-ranging costs can be. How much you’ll pay for a decent system ultimately depends on the sound you’re hoping to get and how much you’re willing to spend — not to mention your personal definition of decent.

The costs you’ll pay for the typical components of a high-end sound system include:

  • An integrated tube amplifier. A sweet-sounding low-watt amp can run anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 or more.
  • High-sensitivity speakers. Quality sensitivity of 92 dB or higher can cost in the range of $300 to $8,000.
  • An audiophile-grade turntable. There’s no better way to show you’re not a novice than with a $17,000 record player.
  • A phono preamp. A must with your turntable, this is your cheaper component at $100 to $8,500.
  • A digital-to-analog converter. To transform your digital files for high-quality streaming, expect to pay upward of $500.
  • Shelving units, cabinets and accessories. Taste dictates cost when it comes to protecting your investment.

There’s equipment for all budgets and tastes, even if you more often take in tunes from your computer. Shop around to find the exact components to build a system you’re proud of.

What other ways can I pay for high-end audio equipment?

If you’re not interested in taking on a personal loan to pay for your equipment, you have other options:

  • Get store financing. The store you’re looking to buy the audio equipment at may offer in-house financing. This could come in the form of a credit card with a promotional low-interest period or a loan serviced through a third-party company.
  • Use your credit card. If you own a card with an open line of credit, you can use this money to finance some of your purchase. However, because high-end audio equipment can soar beyond most credit limits, you may still have to break into savings or take on financing.
  • Go in with friends or family. Do you know a fellow audiophile? Is your family into solid sound quality? It could be worth it to talk about investing in your big purchase together.
  • Save up the dough. There’s always going to be the newest hi-fi tech, so there’s nothing wrong with waiting. Creating a budget and putting away money monthly can save you the unnecessary interest that comes with higher loans. You just might be able to forgo credit altogether by buying what you want outright.

Compare the difference between credit cards and personal loans

4 tips for planning a big purchase

When you’re ready to upgrade your hissing equipment for high-quality playback, keep in mind these financial tips:

  • Build up your savings. If you’ve settled on financing, save up to limit the amount you need to borrow. Every bit paid up front helps keep your payments — and interest over the loan’s term — low.
  • Try out your dream equipment. Not everyone can afford a six-figure sound system. Ask other audiophiles about local stores that allow you to sample sound quality of the brands you’re interested in. You might find that the difference between a high-end and less expensive brand isn’t so noticeable.
  • Avoid going overboard. You might be tempted to take out the largest loan you’re approved for, but think about your future finances. Do you really want to be stuck repaying a loan over three or five years for a system that’s outdated in a few months? Stick to your budget, and borrow only what you need.
  • Trade in old equipment or buy used. Sites like Craigslist, Reverb, Audiogon and eBay offer troves of gently used equipment. You can often find solid deals on used pro audio.

Bottom line

While you can use a personal loan to purchase high-end audio equipment, do your research to be sure you’re getting the most for your money. Weigh the value of your dream system against lower-priced alternatives, and compare brands — even trying them out first — when choosing components. If you’re certain your ready to finance that system, find a lender that suits your exact needs.

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