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It's been a big problem for a while. Think about the airplane you are flying in--what if some part had been inadvertently installed from counterfeit sources? (I don't know that there have been any instances of crash/failure resulting from this but you can imagine some parts, perhaps those used in medical technology as well, can pose life or death issues).
@tomic601 - I remembered it as a problem from some time ago when the US was attempting to negotiate trade agreements with the Far East to reduce counterfeiting-- it really gave me pause. Glad that the folks dealing with supply were screening.
As a lark, a colleague who did me a big favor on a set of NOS tubes recently sent me another set-- a pair of Mullard EF86s -- that were counterfeit, but apparently really well done, at least to the uninitiated. That’s one of the reasons I shy away from E-Bay as a source for vacuum tubes. I suspect in some cases, even the sellers aren’t aware that they are offering bogus goods.
Thanks for your post.
@whart there is a city in China w unsavory sectors that specializes in the washing of chips and restencil w aerospace grade part numbers.....faking the provance of the chip is much more difficult and time consuming...
so for example in orbit under low G solder w tin grows whiskers, which in fairly short order, pardon the pun, shorts the chip....
running special batches with no tin for low volume is expensive, hence the incentive to cheat....
I no longer buy any cables used. The chance they are fake is pretty high. Also the person selling them may not know they are fake anyway. Particularly AQ, Kimber and Cardas, since they are well known, have a lot of counterfeits Fake Oyaide plugs, are out there too. being sold as new. Need to buy them from a reputable dealer.
(I like Cable Co. since ordered cables are drop shipped FROM THE COMPANY that makes them. So you know they are real 100%) China is huge, and some fakes are trash, some OK and some are probably as good. But who wants to take the chance. )to me the person who buys fakes to resell can rot forever...)
The worst are all sorts of replacement parts which are total junk. And tools which fail within days or weeks. Same issue with brand name household goods. Toasters.. etc.
I buy only cables directly from the company. You never know what’s happen with it, when you buy it second hands. ( and you never can tested before you using it). Nothing wrong with é-bay: when you buy something,like an amplifier, look first to the new price and then just compare the asking price,also the year of huilt is important. ( is there something about it,can i fine parts...) Also check whether the seller has a good name. Normaly, someone who really loves Music is vers honest. Lukas
It would be interesting to get the Dartzeel and the Chinese clone side by side for a listening evaluation. Anyone with a real one want to experiment?
In the case brought up here, the amplifier is an obvious low-end knock off that doesn't hide what it is.
But I maintain that in the high-end audio realm, when the component appears legitimate, and looks the same as the real one, it almost certainly is. I’ll submit another, more lengthy post outlining additional detail should folks want, but for now, as an incredible amount of European, Japanese, and North American production shifted to China, with the resulting loss of control by these entities, it actually costs more to copy and produce a good knock off in China than the original.
The typical, familiar HEA company outsources production to one of what’s known as the Big 5 in China. Over the course of the past decade, they’ve in turn outsourced their production to one of the bigger (think huge) electronic manufacturers in the Pearl River Delta of southern China. Any component (amplifier, digital front end, loudspeaker, wire) with obvious CNC work that doesn’t carry boutique HEA component pricing, and doesn’t show absolute proof of domestic manufacturing operation almost assuredly took this route.
The Chinese Big 5 company, acting as the middleman, will submit an order for 100 of component X. As the cost to the actual manufacturer of having to do another production run of even one of Component X actually exceeds turning out 200 or more in the initial run, they make sure to manufacture extra in case of problems with function, appearance, loss in transit, shipping damage, or whatever. So, let’s say 110 (it’s usually a good bit more) come out of this production run, and for whatever reason, it took 103 to fill the order. What do you expect happens to the remaining 7? The entity that placed the order isn’t going to pay for or accept the extra, and the manufacturer won’t give them away for free. Does anyone think they get destroyed or just evaporate into thin air? No, they wind up getting moved through "alternative" channels, which may even include the ordering entity, who then push them through outlets other than the familiar foreign company whose name (or, maybe they slapped another on) appears on the faceplate
When I was a child lawyer (they have those, when you get out of law school you have to learn how to be a lawyer), i cut my teeth on ’knock off’ cases at the very beginning- ca 1981. One case involving I can’t remember what- typically they were licensed toy knock off cases-- had a US defendant who had commissioned the infringing work. His day book or diary was marked at a deposition and had a pithy aphorism on each page (as part of the publication of blank pages with dates). A critical page in his case had the maxim "Imitation is the greatest form of flattery" at the top of the page. Life is strange.
@snook2 OP. I checked out the cited Ebay listing and note they identified the product as “unbranded” in their description. So while they might have copied the external cosmetics and perhaps reverse-engineered the circuitry from the Swiss brand, they don’t claim it’s the Swiss brand. I see no issue here. They provided plenty of notice.
Unfortunately, a significant number of products manufactured in China are poor in quality...depends on the industry. If it is a faked product , there should be greater concern over the quality as fakes are typically designed to mimic appearance...not performance. Hence, you should purchase from a reputable dealer. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount. If you don’t ask...you don’t get! And, if the price seems to good to be true...it most likely is!
Manufacturing quality is not country specific, It’s quality control specific. Are Hegel amps crap? Why not? Perhaps because somebody is making sure they’re not. American car makers started making utterly awful cars decades ago which opened the door to Japanese cars that were of far higher quality...now American cars are fine, still...I do think it’s sort of funny that AQ will dispose of fake cables for you, and I imagine a giant furnace for that task. Also, where are genuine AQ cables made? I just looked at the box my AQ speaker cables came in..."Engineered and Assembled in USA, Perfect Surface Metals Made in USA (yay), Cable Made in China."
Like everything else; caveat emptor. In the case of Chinese goods, one has to be very careful. Many non Chinese companies now put people on the ground in China to oversea manufacturing, and to ensure that what is produced is what was contracted for, rather than what the manufacturer thinks the buyer will accept. There is lots of product going out the back door, or made in a shadow factory just down the road, owned by the manufacturer, and dedicated to making knock off versions of the official product. Many times the local party officials will demand to become partners in a successful enterprise, and then start to direct production to other facilities outside the purview of the customer. Would it surprise anyone to know that much of the counterfeit activity is done with either overt Govt consent, or tacit approval ? Recall that when Apple was negotiating protection of IP within China, the leaders of Apple were shown an Apple store in Bejing.....it seemed to be doing very well, and all products appeared to be "Apple" Only one problem- the store and all products- were FAKE. It was later determined that the store (and others like it for other products/vendors) were opened with approval of the Govt. Allowing Apple leaders to visit the store was a direct warning to them....Apple soon reached an accommodation with the Chinese Govt allowing the later to access to user data, and to censor content within China.
There are fakes and there are clones. The best clones can be very good however they do not have the same level of transistor matching that the high end products have and usually cut corners with inferior capacitors and other passive parts. The circuit boards for the Dart seem to be exact copies but the above mentioned issues still are there. Some Chinese clones have very good transistor matching though. Another issue is fake transistors and in the DZ clones they are probably fake.
Unless you are a diy guy and plan to correct these things you will not get the same level of performance although it can be very good. I have a pair Telos clones from Kinki Studios that is incredible with teflon circuit boards, matched fets and all the good stuff but it was not a cheap clone by any means. Aside from the power it is much more realistic and involving than my ML #333.
Having traveled to China many times relative to manufacturing, you do need the stay on top of quality more so than in Korea and other countries. It is somewhat country specific as you don’t make quality product overnight. It took Japan many years to reach their high level of quality! I would put most Korean branded products well ahead of Chinese products. Given time, China will no doubt reach the quality level of South Korea as their population become more educated. Yes, there are quality products coming out of China but the question centered on fake products.
I can name manufacturers whose products are not Chinese. Schiit Audio only uses Chinese Wall Worts, everything else is bespoke by Americans in California.
High Fidelity Cables in Texas hand-makes each unit.
As for Chinese products, a friend of mine is in the industry.
He has toured Chinese manufacturing for the line of Plasma TVs he was importing. He said the facility was very modern and used robotic equipment, and probably did a better job than an American factory. That was 20 years ago.
Folks, we live in a global economy and China is a producer, whilst we are consumers.
When I was growing up (born only 12 years after WWII), the punchline to any joke about quality manufacturing was "Made in Japan".
I bought a consonance turandot cd player about 14 years ago , cost me 800.00 dollars but list price was 2,300.00 dollars . It has incredibly well engineered using high quality parts with a very sturdy casing . Weighted about 35 pounds . Just recently the tray started to give problems and wont open but the unit took 14 years of beating before going under and that is pretty good reliability for something as complex as a upper quality cd player . I mention this because not everything that comes from China is bad . Almost forgot , my friends tell me the consonance sounds alot like a Wadia so it sound very good also
Love my Rogue and my Maggies! Both made here in the USA and are just a couple, of several, manufacturers who still build very good, reasonably priced products here in the US and provide impeccable customer service - I'm happy with that.
I've never had any experience with the so called clones of high end audio gear, but if they're on par with the junk "Made in China" knock offs of the Gibson Les Paul or Fender Strat guitars - they're nothing even close to their original counter parts.....JMO...Jim