Top 10 Best Online Audio Gear/Equipment Retailers


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Audio equipment can be expensive but totally worth it to us gear heads. As with any purchases we make, it’s always great to weigh out out options and look for the best deal.

With the rise in online shopping, it’s not uncommon for musicians, engineers, audiophiles and hobbyists to purchase their audio equipment online.

This article aims to list out the best online retailers that sell audio equipment to better serve you in finding what you’re looking for (and finding the best deal for what you’re looking for).

Note that these retailers are not single-brand carriers/distributors nor are they the retail websites of individual audio brands.

Note, too, that the retailers listed are for online shopping. There are far too many local shops in the world to account for in this article!

In addition to the top 10, I’ve also included an in-depth List Of Online Audio Equipment Retailers.

For more information on individual audio equipment brands, check out the following My New Microphone articles:

• Full List: Loudspeaker & Studio Monitor Brands/Manufacturers
Full List: Headphone, Earphone & Headset Brands/Manufacturers
Full List: Microphone Brands/Manufacturers
Full List: Loudspeaker & Studio Monitor Brands/Manufacturers

Top 10 Best Online Audio Equipment Retailers

  1. B&H Photo
  2. Sweetwater
  3. Thomann
  4. Crutchfield
  5. Sam Ash Music
  6. Full Compass
  7. Musician’s Friend
  8. Guitar Center
  9. Front End Audio
  10. Amazon

B&H Photo

B&H Photo (named after its founders Blimie & Herman) is an American photo and video equipment retailer founded in 1973, based in Manhattan, New York City. Since then, the company has grown into a leader in the e-commerce space for photography, video and audio equipment.

B&H Photo has a physical storefront and a large online store featuring an incredibly wide range of products across a wide range of departments.

B&H Photo departments include (with emphasis on Audio):

  • Photography
  • Computers
  • Pro Video
  • Lighting
  • Pro Audio
    • Wireless Microphone Systems
    • Microphones
    • Audio For Video
    • Studio Recording
    • Computer Audio
    • Live Sound
    • DJ Equipment
    • Podcasting
    • Musical Instruments
    • Accessories
      • Headphones
      • Audio Cases & Accessories
      • Stands & Mounts
      • Cables & Adapters
      • Furniture & Rack Accessories
      • Acoustic Treatment
      • In-Line Problem Solvers
      • Audio Media
      • Audio Books & Tutorials
      • Power Equipment
      • Headphone Accessories
      • General Accessories
  • Mobile
  • TVs & Entertainment
  • Camcorders
  • Surveillance
  • Optics
  • Audio-Visual

They have plenty of used gear to purchase as well and will even buy used gear online. Check out the B&H Used Department here.

Used and new gear purchases come with a 30-day return policy. More information on the B&H Return Policy here.

There is currently no additional warranty from B&H on the products they sell.

B&H Photo also offers its Financing Credit Card that allows buyers to finance gear above a certain price. More information on the B&H Financing Credit Card here.

As for shipping, B&H offers nationwide across the contiguous (lower 48) states, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and other USA territories. International shipping is available but sometimes restricted by law (B&H has on-screen notices on product pages if this is the case). B&H Photo does not ship to Iran, Sudan, Cuba, Syria, North Korea or Uganda. More information on B&H Shipping Policies here.

For those of us who are interested, B&H Photo Video has an affiliate program that is accessible by various means:

URL: bhphotovideo.com


Sweetwater

Sweetwater is a major player in the e-commerce world when it comes to selling audio equipment online. The company was established in 1979 by musician Chuck Surack and is headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Since beginning to sell online in 1999, Sweetwater has become one of the most successful online audio equipment retailers and has an incredibly wide range of musical instruments, and pro and consumer audio gear.

Sweetwater categories include:

  • Studio & Recording
  • Live Sound & Lighting
  • Software & Plug-Ins
  • Guitars
  • Bass
  • Keyboards & Synthesizers
  • Drums & Percussion
  • Microphones
  • DJ Equipment
  • Accessories

Most shipping within the contiguous USA is free (courtesy of Sweetwater) via the United States Postal Service. Faster delivery is available and the company is helpful in working out the best option with you. International shipping is limited due to manufacturer restrictions. More information on Sweetwater Shipping Policy here.

Nearly every product sold by Sweetwater is covered under its exclusive Total Confidence Coverage: an automatic free 2-year warranty.

Sweetwater runs a Used Gear Marketplace where audio enthusiasts can buy and sell directly with one another. They simply host the marketplace and are not directly involved in the transactions. More information on the Sweetwater Used Gear Marketplace here.

The company offers a “No Hassle” Return Policy for new items within 30 days (usually) from the shipping date. An extended 90-Day Used Gear Guarantee is granted for buying used gear through the Sweetwater Used Gear Marketplace.

Sweetwater offers its Sweetwater Card that allows buyers to finance their purchases rather than having to buy their gear outright. As we know, audio equipment can be awfully expensive and sometimes financing is the best option (particularly if we need the gear to work professionally). More information on the Sweetwater Card here.

Sweetwater does not have an affiliate program.

URL: sweetwater.com


Thomann

Musikhaus Thomann is a large family-owned German-based online retailer of musical instruments, studio, lighting, and pro-audio equipment. The company was originally founded 1954 and has been selling products through its website since 1997.

Today, Thomann ships internationally and has a wide variety of audio equipment brands and models to choose from.

Thomann categories include:

  • Guitars and Basses
  • Drums and Percussion
  • Keys
  • Studio and Recording Equipment
  • Software
  • PA Equipment
  • Lighting and Stage
  • DJ Equipment
  • Broadcast and Video
  • Microphones
  • Effect and Signal Processors
  • Wind Instruments
  • Traditional Instruments
  • Sheet Music
  • Cases, Racks and Bags
  • Cables and Connectors
  • Accessories

Thomann offers international shipping with cost benefits around Europe. Free shipping is available above certain price thresholds depending on the European country the items are shipped to. Goods are subject to customs duty and tax in non-EU countries. More information on Thomann Shipping here.

Although Thomann does not have a used gear marketplace, they do have a Bargains and Remnants section that sells discounted items from its product line including overstock, discontinuation and returned items. More information on Thomann Bargains here.

A 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee is granted on all products sold by Thomann (including commercial sales). More information on the Thomann Return Policy here.

Thomann offers an excellent 3-year warranty that acts to extend the manufacturer’s warranty period (usually 12 months) to a full 36 months at no extra charge to its customers. More information on Thomann’s 3-Year Warranty here.

Currently Thomann does not have a financing program. However, they accept most common payment methods including major credit cards.

For those of us who are interested, Thomann has an affiliate program that is accessible by various means:

URL: thomann.de (select country from main page)


Crutchfield

Crutchfield Corporation is a North American retailer that serves Canada and the United States. It specializes in audio and video electronics including, of course, audio equipment.

William G. ” Bill” Crutchfield, Jr., founded Crutchfield in 1974 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Crutchfield has been selling AV gear online since 1995.

Crutchfield departments include (with emphasis on Audio):

  • Car Audio & Video
  • Home Audio
    • Receivers & Amplifiers
    • Audio Components
    • Wireless Speakers & Audio
    • Home Speakers
    • Smart Home
    • Networking
    • TV Sound Solutions
    • Computer Audio
    • Hot Tube & Spa Audio
    • Furniture
    • Accessories
    • Home Theater
    • High-Resolution Audio
  • TVs & Video
  • Headphones & Wireless
  • Marine & More
  • Cameras & Drones
  • Pro Audio
    • Commercial System Design
    • Commercial Audio & Video
    • PA Systems
    • Microphones
    • Recording & Studio Gear
    • Pro Audio Bundles
    • Musical Instruments
    • Accessories

Crutchfield USA 1-2 offers free shipping on all orders over $35 with 1-2 business days delivery time for standard shipping to any of the 48 contiguous U.S. states. Delivery time for standard shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico is 3 business days. They have a team willing to help in international orders. More information on Crutchfield USA Shipping here.

Crutchfield Canada offers free shipping anywhere in Canada with a 1-7 business day waiting time. More information on Crutchfield Canada Shipping here.

Crutchfield allows customers to trade in old gear for store credit and has teamed up with 2nd Life to responsibly repurpose or recycle the gear. The company also has an “outlet” department where it sells lightly used gear (open box, dent & scratch or closeout items).

Crutchfield has a 60-day return policy on items that are complete and like new. More information on the Crutchfield Return Policy here.

This company offers lifetime technical support on all purchased items and optional SquareTrade insurance at purchase.

In terms of financing, Crutchfield has teamed up with Sony to provide this option for its customers. With a Sony Financial Services card, the buyer can purchase different products at various interest-free timeframes.

Crutchfield has an affiliate program though Viglink.

URLs:


Sam Ash Music

Sam Ash Music is one of the largest family-owned audio equipment retail chains in the USA. Since its founding in 1924, the Hicksville, NY-based company has opened stores in 16 states.

Sam Ash Music has made a name for itself and has become a superb choice for buying audio equipment online.

Sam Ash departments include:

  • Outlet Center
  • Guitars
  • Bass Guitars
  • Accessories
  • Headphones
  • Live Sound
  • Lighting
  • Keyboards
  • Microphones
  • Recording
  • DJ Equipment
  • Drums/Percussion
  • Books/DVDs
  • Band/Orchestra
  • Home Audio

Sam Ash has 4 distribution centers around the contiguous United States and offers free 2-day shipping via FedEx on most orders. The company only delivers to US territories and does not ship to PO, APO and FPO addresses. More information on Sam Ash Music Shipping here.

This retailer has an “if it works, we want it” mentality when it comes to gear buy-back. Sam Ash will purchase nearly all used guitars, basses, amps, pedal, drums, cymbals, keyboards, live sound, DJ, recording gear, and band/orchestra instruments if they believe the price is right. More information on buy-back here.

With buying back gear, Sam Ash also has an outlet department where they sell open-box and used gear at a discount.

Sam Ash Music offers a 45-Day Money Back Guarantee on most products with a full refund, not including the original shipping costs. More on the Sam Ash Return Policy here.

The company also offers 2 and 3 Year “No Hassle” Extended Warranty Coverages on new and used items. The warranty on used merchandise only provides refunds and repairs, not product replacement. More information on the Sam Ash Warranties here.

There are multiple financing options available at Sam Ash Music including the Sam Ash credit card; no-credit-needed 90-day plans, and financing through Marlin Capital Solutions. More information on financing here.

Sam Ash Music has an affiliate program through Skimlinks.

URL: Sam Ash Music


Full Compass

Full Compass Systems is a large online retailer of professional audio, professional video, lighting equipment and musical instruments. The shop was founded in 1977 by Jonathan and Susan Lipp and is located in Madison, Wisconsin.

Full Compass began in e-commerce in 2003 and 2004 by setting up stores on eBay and Amazon, respectively. In 2006, the company started its own website to sell audio-video equipment online.

Full Compass Categories include (with emphasis on Audio):

  • Pro Audio & Sound
    • Amplifiers, Audio
    • CD Players & Duplicators
    • Consumer Audio Players, BoomBoxes
    • Digital Converters, Transcoding, Sync, Clocks
    • DJ Equipment
    • Headphone Amplifiers, Mixers
    • Headphones & Earphones
    • Hearing Enhancement, Translation, Tour Guide
    • In-Ear Wireless Monitor Systems
    • Intercoms, Two-Way Radios
    • Microphones, DI, Pickups
    • Microphones, Wireless
    • Mixers, Consoles
    • Networked Digital Audio Systems & Snakes
    • Preamps, Distribution, Line Amps
    • Recorders & Players, Audio
    • Recording (Audio) Interfaces, Digital Workstations
    • Signal Processing & Routing, Audio
    • Sound Systems, Packaged
    • Speakers
    • Switchers, Routers, Combiners, Source Selectors
    • Telephone Interfaces
    • Turntables, Record Players
    • Wireless Systems
  • Conferencing & Streaming
  • Software & Computers
  • Video & Photo
  • Lighting & Theatrical
  • Musical Instruments
  • Accessories & Parts

Full Compass does free 3-day ground shipping within the contiguous United States and paid-shipping to Alaska and Hawaii. It does not ship web orders to addresses outside the US (including APO boxes) though arrangements may be made if sales representatives are contacted. More information on the Full Compass Shipping here.

Full Compass does not buy back gear though it does have a rotating catalogue of on-sale “Deals” items for sale.

Full Compass has a 15-day no restocking fee return policy for items in which the original manufacturer’s carton is unopened and undamaged. Small fees are included for opened items. Some items, including Deals items, are not eligible. More information on the Full Compass Return Policies here.

Though no extended “warranties” (other than the manufacturer warranties) are given by Full Compass, the company will repair your equipment for up to two years from the date of the original invoice for free.

Full Compass offers 5 different financing options. They are:

  • PayPal
  • PayPal Credit
  • Full Compass Pro Buyer Card
  • Hampton Ridge Financial
  • LFCI

More information on financing options here.

Full Compass does not have an affiliate program.

URL: Full Compass


Musician’s Friend

Musician’s Friend is a well-established name in the audio equipment and musical instrument e-commerce space.

The shop sells a wide variety of audio gear and ships around the USA and internationally.

Musician’s Friend was founded in 1983 by Rob and DeAnna Eastman and after several relocations, the company settled its headquarters in Westlake Village, California.

By the year 2000, Musician’s Friend was one of the largest sellers of musical instruments online. It was at this time that Guitar Center acquired Musician’s Friend for $50 million.

Musician’s Friend Categories include (with emphasis on Audio):

  • Private Reserve Guitars
  • Guitars
  • Bass Guitars
  • Ukuleles, Mandolins & Banjos
  • Amplifiers & Effects
  • Drums & Percussion
  • Band & Orchestral Instruments
  • Accessories
  • Keyboards & MIDI
  • Live Sound
    • Speakers
    • Amplifiers
    • Mixers
    • Microphones & Wireless
    • Signal Processors
    • Power Conditioners
    • Headphones
    • Accessories
  • Recording
    • Recording Packages
    • Audio Recorders
    • Monitors
    • Subwoofers
    • Audio Interfaces
    • Signal Processors
    • Computers & Peripherals
    • Software
    • Mixers
    • Microphones
    • Headphones
    • Accessories
  • Lighting & Stage Effects
  • DJ Gear
  • Microphones & Wireless
  • Software & Downloads
  • Books, Sheet Music & Media
  • Apparel & Collectibles
  • Classroom Instruments

Musician’s Friend provides Free Standard Ground Shipping within 3-5 business days on all orders to the 48 contiguous U.S. states & District of Columbia, excluding purchase orders and packages considered heavy or oversized by the applicable carrier. The company will also ship to Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. More information on the Musician’s Friend Shipping Policies here.

On top of that, Musician’s Friend offers international shipping to over 100 countries. For more information on international shipping here.

Though Musician’s Friend does not buy back gear, they do have a rather large selection of “open-box” used products for a discounted price. These products fit into three categories: mint, blemished and scratch & dent. The items in this category are likely returned items.

Speaking of returned items, MF has a 45-Day Satisfaction Guarantee policy in place on most items and circumstances. More information on the Musician’s Friend Return Policy here.

The 2-year warranty of Musician’s Friend only applies to guitars and bass guitars.

Financing options are available via the Musician’s Friend Platinum Card.

Musician’s Friend has an affiliate program accessible by the following means:

URL: musiciansfriend.com


Guitar Center

Guitar Center is a massive American chain that offers many different services (music lessons, gear repair, rental, professional installation, etc.) and also focuses on the sale of musical and audio equipment.

It was founded in Hollywood, California by Wayne Mitchell in 1959 and is now headquartered in Westlake Village, California. With 269 locations, Guitar Center is one of the biggest chains of its kind in the US.

Guitar Center Departments include (with emphasis on Audio):

  • Guitars
  • Basses
  • Amps & Effects
  • Drums
  • Recording
    • Audio Interfaces
    • Studio Monitors
    • Studio Subwoofers
    • 500 Series
    • Audio Recorders
    • Recording Packages
    • Headphones
    • Microphones
    • Software
    • Mixers
  • Software
  • Keyboards & MIDI
  • Mics & Wireless
  • Live Sound
    • PA Systems
    • Power Amps
    • Signal Processors
    • Mixers
    • Microphone & Wireless Systems
    • Headphones
    • Power Conditions & Surge Protectors
  • DJ
  • Lighting
  • Accessories
  • Band & Orchestra
  • Platinum
  • Outlet

Although Guitar Center would like to ship everything free, there are some exclusions. Free shipping does not apply to special orders, oversized/overweight products, in-store used, vintage and clearance products. Though an American company, Guitar Center ships to over 100 countries around the world.

Click the following links for more information on domestic shipping and international shipping.

Guitar Center has a trade-in program that will pay up to $500 USD for used & vintage gear in cash or store credit.

The online store has an extensive range of used gear for sale in its outlet department.

A 180-Day Satisfaction Guarantee is offered by Guitar Center. This policy allows a buyer to return an item it in its original condition within the return period for a full refund of the purchase price, excluding shipping and handling charges.

Guitar Center also offers an extended insurance called Pro Coverage through Asurion for both new and used gear.

Financing is available for select brands at Guitar Center through the Guitar Center Gear Card. Business to Business programs and other credit options are also available. Click here for more information on financing.

Guitar Center has an affiliate program through Commission Junction.

URL: guitarcenter.com


Front End Audio

Front End Audio is a South Carolina-based audio equipment retailer with an extensive range of audio products.

This lesser-known retailer offers a buy-back program; rewards for product reviews, and shipping to most of the US.

Front End Audio has the following departments:

  • Studio Recording
  • Live Sound
  • Software
  • Instruments
  • Audio Essentials

Front End Audio offers free shipping on most orders over $99 and valid on deliveries made within the lower 48 states. This offer does not apply to APO/FPO; international addresses, or overly large/heavy items. International shipping is also offered. More information on Front End Audio shipping here.

Front End Audio has a great trade-in/buy-back program for customers looking to get money for their used gear or a discount on new gear. This program yields a large selection of used gear to choose from when shopping on Front End Audio.

A 30-day return policy is in place at Front End Audio. For a full refund, the product must be returned in 100% new condition in the original unmarked packaging with all manuals, warranty cards, and gadgetry. Restocking fees are applied to all other returns.

Though Front End Audio does not offer its own warranty, it is an authorized dealer of all its products and so the manufacturer warranty is always included in the sale.

Instant approval for financing is available for Front End Audio products via Bread Financing.

Front End Audio does not have an affiliate program.

URL: frontendaudio.com


Amazon

Amazon, though not at all focused on audio equipment, is still one of the best places to buy audio equipment online.

Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos in Seattle, Washington, USA, Amazon has since grown to become a multinational conglomerate technology company. The company is involved with e-commerce (including the selling of audio equipment) and is also focused on cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence.

Individual Amazon Stores:

Each Amazon store has its own affiliate program.


List Of Online Audio Equipment Retailers

The truth is that there are far too many online retailers to count that sell audio equipment in some capacity.

I have assembled a list below of websites I’ve researched that sell audio equipment. This is by no means a complete list due to the wide range of products that fall under the umbrella term of “audio equipment.”

Some of these retailers are dedicated to audio and/or video; others are buy/sell marketplaces; a few deal with audio equipment parts, and some are big box stores that carry audio products.

I’ve added the country of operation for each retailer to help you see, at a glance, what shipping would likely be the cheapest (within your own country).

I’ve also added the URL to each retailer along with information, where appropriate, about whether the site is a buy/sell website and if the site has an affiliate program or not.

I encourage you to use the find command (command + on Mac or control + on Windows) to help you find the retailers in your country.

With so many online retailers, it’s difficult to keep up. If I’ve missed any of your favourite audio equipment retailers, please let me know through my contact form!

So without further ado, here is a long list of online retailers of audio equipment:

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