How do we rate the condition of open box, demo and used
We use the Audiogon Grading Scale when we represent
the condition of demo and used gear that we are selling. This scale has
been refined and perfected over the last decade and we feel it is a well-known
and well respected grading standard. We find a lot of sellers, both
individual and commercial inflate the rating they give. We prefer to rate
conservatively and accurately. What this means is, say we grade a
component a 7/10, if may be perfect except for a very minor and barely visible
mark on the front panel. Some sellers might mark this a 9/10 since it is
otherwise unmarked, but that is not consistent with the Audiogon scale. We
mention this because if you see a 7/10 don't assume it means heaviliy
marked. A genuine 7/10 rating is actually a superb rating.
Here is the Grading Scae as presented on the Audiogon
Audiogon's Grading Scale
This is a standard scale by which to describe the
physical condition of an item.
By using the Audiogon Grading Scale (AGS) you will
accurately convey to buyers the physical condition of your item. Buyers do not
like surprises; thus if every seller uses the same criteria to describe their
items, the opportunity for receiving higher offers will increase dramatically.
Use the official Audiogon grading scale for consistent grading compared to other
New: Unopened Factory shipment
When an item's condition is called "NEW", it must be
a factory sealed box, and the seller should declare what if any warranty will be
provided by the manufacturer. Some manufacturers will honor warranties
only if purchased from an "authorized" dealer. Other manufacturers may
offer warranty to the original owner only, even if that original owner never
opened the box. Thus, any item rated as NEW should be accompanied by a
warranty statement within the description of the listing. Otherwise,
prospective buyers should ask the seller about the warranty - do not make any
assumptions other than a factory sealed box. If an item has been opened
for inspection or any other reason, it should NOT be rated "New".
10/10: Mint - Essentially never used, factory fresh
The word "mint" is used so often that it's meaning
is taken for granted. In the Audiogon Grading Scale, Mint can be used to
describe an item if it meets the following criteria without exception. The item
must have been removed from its' original packing and used for less than one
year. The one year or less of usage is a must since subtle environmental contact
such as finger skin oils, household chemicals, smoke, and other airborne
pollutants can negatively impact equipment. The result of this kind of
exposure is a discoloration of the equipment's surfaces.
Electronics must have no visible scratches,
nicks, or blemishes anywhere on the piece. The gold plating on input/output
connectors should evidence no scratches or discoloration. Chrome should
have absolutely no pitting or discoloration, especially around screwheads.
Speaker grilles should have absolutely no pulls or
discoloration. The bottoms of speakers should not show signs of
stand mounting or floor scrapes.
Turntables must not show any use, and their covers must
have been left in the box - that's how new they must look.
Very few pre-owned or demo items qualify for this level,
so we strongly recommend a thorough inspection of the item before rating it a
9/10: Excellent - Perfect physical condition, light use.
The item should be a one-owner or store-demo piece
to qualify for a 9/10, though some exceptions will exist.
The item should appear as new unless a very close
inspection is performed, as described below.
Electronics should look factory fresh except for
dust in crevices. The plating on i/o connectors may show some use,
but no discoloration or oxidation. The item should never have been rack
mounted. Chrome should have no pitting and no discoloration.
Speakers should be perfect except for the back or
bottom, which may show slight indentations from stand mounting, but the
indentations do not show through the veneer. Wood finishes should not show
any change in color from sunlight, especially uneven discoloration. Grill
cloth should have no pulls, but maybe dusty.
Turntables may show slight wear where the cover is
lifted, but no visible wear on the top of the cover, or the plinth. The
headshell should have no scratches from cartridge mounting.
8/10: Very Good - Perfect front face, 1 minor flaw on top or side is
This item has seen some use, but still appears perfect
from the front. A perfect front face plate includes the front top edge. Be
sure and check this edge since it is very easy to nick. On speakers, all
four front edges should be inspected.
Electronics may have 1 or 2 minor scratches (max
1/2" long, very thin) on the top plate or the sides of electronics, but again,
the front must be perfect. There should be no signs of rack
mounting. Chrome should have no pitting, but may have some discoloration
in spots less than 1/4" diameter. Silk-screening has no separations,
and the lettering shows no wear.
Speakers may have minor discoloration along edges,
but no scratches that show through the veneer, except for the bottom, which may
show signs of stand mounting or floor scraping.
Turntables covers may be slightly hazy from record
sleeves being laid on them, but should not have any highly visible scratches
anywhere. The headshell may have some scratches from cartridge
7/10: Good - 1 or 2 minor scratches, looks used but well
Electronics should have no dents or bulges, but a few minor
scratches. Perhaps a little wear on the knobs and switches, like the slightly
darker or shiny coloration seen on volume knobs. If the item was rack
mounted, plastic washers should have been used. Chrome may show slight
pitting, but not enough to be visible without close inspection.
Silk-screening on the glass is separating in at most one area of less than 1/2"
diameter, and some parts of some letters may have worn off.
Speakers may have loose fitting covers, or the cloth may
have 3-5 minor pulls or 1 small hole less than 1/2" long. The cabinet may
have one minor scratch that shows through the veneer, but no bigger than 1"
long. The bottoms of speakers may show many small scratches or
Turntable covers may be hazy, and the tonearm may show
heavy scratches from repeated cartridge replacement.
6/10: Fair - 3 to 4 minor scratches, or 1 major scratch, appears
Electronics may have one major scratch (over 2" long,
deep enough to show metal) or a slight dent on one of the surfaces. The
item must NOT have any major scratches on the front facia, but may have some
nicks along the top front edge. Chrome may show obvious pitting, but should
not have any flakes. Transformer covers may have some scratches, but
cannot show any rust. Silk-screening is separating from the glass in
more than one area, and some lettering is worn off, but the glass must have no
cracks or chips.
Speakers may have one major scratch that shows through the
veneer, but no longer than 2", and no deeper than 1/16". Grill covers may
have to be replaced to look fresh.
Turntables may have scratch but not cracked dust covers,
or pitting in the platter surface.
5/10: Average - Multiple scratches, including some on the front
This piece is visibly scratched and noticeably used, any
major scratches on the front face qualify for a 5/10.
Electronics may have several minor nicks or one major
scratch on the front. Chrome is showing some pitting, maybe a flake or two
has come off. Transformer covers show some rust, as do their
Silkcreening is separating from the glass in two or
more areas, or the glass has one minor crack less than 1/2" long.
Speakers may have 2 major scratches, or more than 5
minor scratches, grill covers may not stay on the speaker any more.
Turntables may have cracked covers, headshell may
have multiple scratches, and tonearms may have broken resting clip.
4/10: Mediocre - Rough physical condition, but all funtions work
This piece would not go in your "big rig", but is not worn
Electronics may have many small scratches, or have a
broken display face, or have a bent lever. Chrome shows severe pitting,
transformer covers are very rusty, glass has one or more cracks in it.
Speakers may have a dented corner or bent binding posts,
but drivers are not physically disfigured.
Turntables may have missing covers, or show much
discoloration on the platter, or scratches on the plinth from the platter
rubbing against it.
3/10: Poor - Rather beat up, but all funtions work, maybe a knob is
This piece now resides in the garage.
Electronics have chrome that is pitted to the point of
looking like a speckle finish, transformer covers are dented and rusty, and
binding posts are very oxidized.
Speakers have major scratches or chunks gouged out, but
all drivers are unmolested.
Turntables work, but one wouldn't think so by looking at
2/10: Very Poor - Beat up, bent knobs or switch levers, some
Electronics have major dents, knobs are missing, but they
sort of work.
Speakers have torn drivers or crinkled tweeters, or more
than 3 major scratches, and grill covers have disintegrated.
Turntables have warped platters, or tonearm bearings are
too tight or wobbly.
1/10: Shot - For parts use only.