Buying Vintage Wall and Bookshelf Speakers on eBay

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Buying Vintage Wall and Bookshelf Speakers on eBay: What to Look For

Speakers are one of the most important components of a home entertainment system. They can also have the biggest impact on sound quality. Whether gathering around watching a film with family or listening to quality music with friends, good speakers boost the overall entertainment experience. Although advances in technology have led to high-tech speaker systems, vintage speakers offer buyers many advantages. Vintage speakers often refer to speakers that were manufactured during the mid-1950s until the late 1970s. Vintage speakers may be more budget-friendly and may offer better aesthetics. Vintage speakers also have character; there is an appeal to vintage speakers, similar to the appeal of vintage cars. They are also known for their dynamic range and quality power. Vintage speakers are functional and also serve as a form of decor, exuding a retro look. Choosing speakers is a personal decision and the buyer should consider listening preferences and visual features.

Buyers should research and compare the types and features of vintage wall and bookshelf speakers available on eBay. Initially, buyers should consider which type of vintage speaker would best suit their lifestyle. When looking for vintage wall and bookshelf speakers on eBay, the buyer should look for reputable sellers, speakers in good condition, speakers that meet the buyer’s quality and aesthetic preferences, and those that fall in the buyer’s budget.

Wall or Bookshelf Speakers?

First, the buyer must decide which type of vintage speakers are best for the home. This involves assessing the room for which the speakers are intended and assessing the available wall and floor space. The type of speaker that is appropriate for a room depends on the room’s use. Consider whether the speaker is for the living room, bedroom, or kitchen, and then consider the space available.

Wall Speakers

Wall speakers take up less space because they are fitted into a wall. This type of speaker may complement a mounted flat-screen television well and offer good performance. Since these speakers are fitted into a wall, they may require professional installation. The speakers are less movable since they involve wiring inside a wall, and therefore, are more difficult to rearrange.

Bookshelf Speakers

Bookshelf speakers sit on shelves or on the floor and are capable of excellent performance. These boxes are usually made of wood or plastic that surround the speaker. Bookshelf speakers are usually smaller in size but can range in a number of heights and widths. The buyer may need to purchase and set up shelves on which to place the speakers. This is an important factor to the budget, but it may be cheaper than any custom installation involved with wall speakers. These speakers are similar to floor-standing speakers and also may be placed on the floor, if desired.

Speaker Aesthetics

A good speaker enhances room decor. Consider the size of the room for the speakers. Bookshelf speakers may be more appropriate for smaller rooms since they take up less floor space. Placement is important for bookshelf speakers. Place bookshelf speakers on an actual bookshelf or their own dedicated shelf or stand. These speakers are capable of floor placement, but because of their size, the placement may affect the speaker’s sound output. The sound should be directed towards the listener. Subsequently, a buyer should consider how the placement may affect the quality of sound from a smaller bookshelf speaker. Those with a larger room and budget may consider investing in larger floor-standing speakers or wall speakers. The buyer should also think about which colour vintage speaker would best complement the room. Consumers should try their best to match the speakers with the existing room decor and furniture.

Speaker Condition

One of the most important things to look for when purchasing a vintage speaker is its condition. The buyer needs to make sure that the speaker functions properly and has the desired sound quality. Since the speaker is going to be old and used, there is more of a risk that the speaker may have various operating problems. Do not buy any speakers if they are damaged or need extensive repairs. Because of their age, they may be more difficult and more expensive to repair. Vintage parts are often hard to track down but repairing a speaker could be a good project or hobby. When searching for speakers on eBay, consult any photographs of the speaker and read the description of the products. Consider where the speakers were previously used; light use is ideal for speakers, as they may suffer from less wear and tear. On the other hand, vintage speakers in good condition are a good option for the home and those on a budget.

Speaker Structure and Models

Vintage speakers are built differently than modern speakers. Manufacturers incorporated more wood into vintage designs, creating a classic look. As such, vintage speakers often incorporate more detail and demonstrate more craftsmanship in their outward design compared to newer models. The speaker structure is also related to each speaker’s size. Consequently, the heavier weight of the units may indicate that they are better made and contain more power. The bigger the speaker, the lower its capability of sound, and the smaller the speaker, the higher its sound capability.

Some of the more popular vintage models known for their quality and durability include the Quad Electrostatic, the KLH Model Nine Electrostatic, and the late-1970s’ Klipschorn model. These are just a few examples of some of the better vintage speaker models for pickier buyers.

Speaker Components

Consider other components that are important for a vintage speaker. A quality tube amplifier is a critical component for a vintage stereo system. Different components, such as an amplifier or stereo receiver, together can help to recreate a powerful listening experience. Many of these vintage speakers were built for quality and still offer excellent performance today. Consider that these vintage speaker components may require more maintenance to help the equipment stand the test of time.

Speaker Types

As mentioned above, speaker size has a direct correlation to sound frequency capability. Speakers essentially translate electrical signals into vibrations, creating sound waves. Speakers usually accomplish this with one or more drivers. Different driver sizes are better suited for particular frequency ranges. The sound is measured in kilohertz (kHz) and hertz (Hz).


Frequency Response


Up to 20 kHz

Mid-range speakers

500 to 3000 Hz


40 to 1000 Hz


20 to 200 Hz or lower

Full-range speakers

Cover whole range of frequencies

Buyers should use the chart above to determine which speaker type would best handle their ideal frequency range. Tweeters play high-frequency sounds, mid-range can play the human voice, woofers typically play at heavy bass at around 45 to 80 Hz, and subwoofers play the deep bass. The combination of different-sized speakers are essential for a good sound system.

Speaker Budget

Buyers do not have to purchase the most expensive speakers. Most consumers look for high-quality speakers with a low price. Vintage wall and bookshelf speakers are generally more affordable. Consumers may wish to compare the cost and quality of newer speakers with vintage speakers. The buyer may factor in the visual aesthetics and appeal of owning vintage speakers into the purchasing decision.

How to Buy Vintage Wall and Bookshelf Speakers on eBay

Now that you have decided which vintage wall and bookshelf speakers are right for your home, it is time to start shopping. eBay offers hundreds of options when it comes to purchasing vintage wall and bookshelf speakers. You can begin your search for wall and bookshelf speakers by entering keywords into the search box found on any eBay page. Your keyword search can be as broad or specific as your search for vintage wall and bookshelf speakers requires. To get the most results, use broad keywords and enter "vintage speakers" into the search box. From here, you may select different options to reduce the results from your search. Browse through the results before you decide which speakers you want to purchase. If you already know the type of speaker for which you are looking, you can use more specific keywords in the search. For example, you should type in "vintage bookshelf speakers", if that is what you are looking to purchase.

Consider purchasing a speaker from one of eBay’s Top-Rated Sellers. Look for sellers with a multitude of feedback and generous return policies. Buyers should also read the consumer feedback on sellers’ products along with any of their similar products.


There are many important things for the buyer to consider when purchasing a vintage speaker on eBay. While vintage speakers are an affordable alternative to buying a brand new audio stereo set, the buyer should be wary of the quality and condition of the speakers. It is often hard for the buyer to discern the quality of electronic products purchased online at eBay. Therefore, it is important for the buyer to thoroughly research any speakers and review the photographs and descriptions provided by the buyer. It is smart for buyers to purchase items from reputable sellers who have good feedback and favourable return policies.

Additionally, vintage items may serve as a collector’s item and form of decor for a room. This may be desirable for those going for a retro look or those with eclectic style. On the down side, vintage speakers may be difficult and costly to repair. Make sure to only purchase working speakers in good condition, unless you are looking for a project. Compare the product’s prices; vintage speakers should be more affordable since they are old. The type of speaker is just as important when purchasing vintage models, so consider the intended use and location for the speakers to choose between wall and bookshelf speakers, and then decide on a size. Vintage wall and bookshelf speakers offer many economical, aesthetic, and structural advantages but the buyer should take care to find one that also meets their expectation for condition and quality.

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