Chinese fake cables How fake, how good?


I have noted a number of warnings about cheap Chinese fake cables on this site but curiosity led me to the Aliexpress site where I found a number of presumably fake big name cables from predominantly Cardas, Nordost and Siltech at about 15% of the USA or Australian price. I found Cardas Clear Light interconnects at about US$100 and decided what the heck let's give them a try at that price. Before buying I asked the seller the daft question as to whether they were genuine and got the reply that they were an OEM and constructed the interconnects from genuine Cardas cables and connectors. They arrived in a plastic bag rather than the Cardas box , not a great start but the cables looked real, and when connected, much to my surprise, they sounded really good. After 100hours or so burn in they sounded great and better than the Nordost Quatre Fils I had been using. I then took them to an Australian hi end dealer who sold real Cardas and asked rather ingenuously whether my cables were the real deal. The dealer would not commit but agreed to compare them to the real thing on a set up costing at a guess around A$100,00. Neither I nor the sales person could tell any difference so he then tried them against the Cardas Clear. Then there was some difference, not extreme but subtle, and certainly IMO not worth the price difference even if you bought the genuine Cardas Clear Light. So are these cables really fake and even if they are given my experience they are well worth a try. Maybe I'll try Nordost Odin or Siltech 770i next.
mazian
Anything that is a fake is not worth a try because you are supporting an illegal, unlawful, prohibited behavior at the cost, expense, and harm to legitimate designers, manufacturers, and distributors.
I'm not sure how strong the laws are in China against counterfeiting, if they exist at all.  I believe this is one of the subjects of the current talks between our countries.  OTOH, there are several companies marketing products here that slap their brands on much cheaper Chinese products and sell them at a big markup.  That's not illegal, but caveat emptor. 
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I need to know who the fake chinese people are first.
I have this issue with cables, generally. The price differential rarely relates well to any perceptible changes in sound quality.


China's companies over the years have done a lot of manufacturing "off the books" meaning the item may be made on the same line as the legit product but simply is not shown in the accouting sent to the company requesting the work. Its very easy for them to hide extra runs of a product if the company - which is usually in the USA - doesn't have someone on site. This goes on in many industries, not only high-end audio. These products never go into the dealer network and therefore cannot be accounted for. I've heard the comment that authorized dealers sell excess inventory and create "Gray Market" products. That may occassionally occur but what happens more often, and on a much bigger scale, is the Chinese manufacturer is simply selling directly to an exporter the extra product it manufactured off the books. They count on doing this and often calculate it into their quotes when pricing a cost for manufacturing a product. So is it "counterfeit"? The answer is yes but it may be the exact same product you would buy from an authorized dealer.
Without knowing the invisible details and without using exactly the same high performance materials what chance do they have? It’s not as if you can reverse engineer these things. One thing I’m pretty sure the Chinese can’t duplicate is jewel like finish. Of, course if someone never saw the real thing he might be easily fooled. And even if someone was able to make an EXACT COPY they would lose money unless they charged $$$$$. I mean, come on! At the same time, I suspect the fake Chinese cables get good feedback. 😀
@geoffkait Clearly, the culture that invented carving and polishing jade is incapable of creating jewel like finish.

And how would they lose money? Breaking down the cost of Nordost Odin speaker cable is about $10 a foot of wire and insulation. Yes, 20 gauge, 99.999999% OFC silver coated single crystal wire can be had for about .30 a foot x 26 is $7.80. Teflon is pretty cheap. Total cost of material for 2 x 10ft Odin cables is about $200. Everything else is fluff, but no more than another $200 wholesale.
I thought Cardas cables were made in the US.
You’re right, they are excellent with jade. It’s cables they’re not too swift at.
"It’s cables they’re not too swift at."
According to OP, they are.
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And of course you believed him. 
@geoffkait Can you point out a flaw in my pricing of Nordost Odin cable? Because I do not see more than $400 of raw materials in them. What do they sell for? $25K. Pretty sweet racket. 

I'm fairly positive that if they can provide half of worlds 4G and 5G networks, they can craft a cable just as they can craft an iPhone. Mine looks pretty polished to me.
I smell bs. This is s push to buy fake cables. 
Nice try. 
You probably got lucky and bought the premium faux cables ... you know, the ones made by little kids paid at $0.03 per day rather than the crappy fake cables made by kids paid at $0.01 per day.
They are getting so good in making copy cables that in a blind test at the NYC audio show no one could tell the difference.
re rlb61 post. Neither you nor I know if the cables in China are assembled by child labour but almost certainly they used cheap labour, at least cheaper than the USA. But on the morality issue are you really sure your sneakers, shirts, pants etc etc are not made using child or cheap labour in Mexico, India ,Thailand, Indonesia etc - the list goes on?
Hi,
Please bear with me, This may be a little off topic.
I'm in a way a noob at this, My system was in storage for 15 years.
Before that I was very active in Audio. I have Nordost Red Dawn  -- the old flatline. I decided I wanted to upgrade cables to Heimdall 2.
I found a pair of 2 meter XLR at a very good price from a dealer.
He said they where dealer demos.
I thought I was getting a pair of regular cables,
When I got them they had green sleeving on one end.
They sleeve said "Dealer Demo-Not for Resale" with a serial number.
Other end said Heimdall 2. I didn't know dealer demos were a different cable. Looking around I noticed sellable Heimdall 2 had black and red on both ends. Me being somewhat new at this I think I got caught up in not knowing what Iwas buying. I did not know that Nordost marked there cables differently. I think he probably got samples from Nordost to see if he wanted to sell them (not listed on the Nordost site as a dealer) as he has only two other Nordost items. (One, a pair of Frey 2 XLR  with the green sleeve. The other biwire jumpers.)
He probably decided not to become a dealer.
I'm assuming that these are not fake. Am I not supposed to own them? Is this in some way illegal? Are they actually owned by Nordost?
I guess if the price was to good to be true.
BTW no returns on used items.
Any comments would be appreciated.

astelmaszek80 posts03-06-2019 8:[email protected] Can you point out a flaw in my pricing of Nordost Odin cable? Because I do not see more than $400 of raw materials in them. What do they sell for? $25K. Pretty sweet racket.

>>>>>I never said Nordost priced their cables according to raw materials. That’s a Strawman argument. Is a box of cereal priced according to its raw materials? Is a Ferrari priced according to its raw materials? 

I’m fairly positive that if they can provide half of worlds 4G and 5G networks, they can craft a cable just as they can craft an iPhone. Mine looks pretty polished to me.

>>>>>Oh, please! Apple crafted the iPhone. Chinese workers simply assemble it. They are good assemblers, I’ll grant you that.
@mazian ... I was not moralizing, at least I didn’t intend to do so. I was simply implying that there are degrees of quality (albeit poor quality), even in cheap knockoffs.
Holy Mother of God.

Those Chinese fake cables are a complete crime. The people now gets very smart, and started channeling the sale from the *original* manufacturing countries with some minor signs of use.

I suckered into buying a few thru eBay at 75% of retail price. Found out (you can’t be that deaf to detect it). Those eBay sellers would gave you an return address that doesn’t exist. By the time you got the shipping problem sorted out, you’re already past the eBay/PayPal dispute window (p.s. that was 2 years ago ... now PayPal allows 6 months dispute window for international transaction, so you could be better off buying outside of eBay which has a much shorter window, I think?)

I also confronted some fake cable sellers. They told me their were poor saps in China trying to make some bucks to feed the family. I got that, their poverty does not justify committing crime.

Those fake cables were total junk. How can anybody claim there is quality in any scam?????

Amazingly, you’d see the same questionable stuff from many cable makers. Try slice open cables from AudioTXnX, low-end SiltXch, Anti-CablX, SilnotX, AudioquXst, BurmXster, HolXand, MYrk LXvZnson, RXd RosX, CXllo, entry-level CYrdYs, even entry-level NQrdQst (all of which were purchased from reputable local business or authorized dealers./ resellers). You would be completely blown away by what you see. Cheap material massively inflated. Not that different from the cheap Chinese metal and plastic inflated 200 times with fake Siltech, NBS or Kharma markings. But the inflated cables ain’t fakes --- there is no such thing as fake metallic conductor --- do that make you feel any better?

I am not sure if there’s any solace, but I am sure some corporate lawyers may write me soon.


Your getting shafted if you buy the fakes . your also getting shafted paying the inflated price  for the real ones. Classic catch 22
Re geoffKait. Most golf clubs these days, including all the big names are manufactured in China and only assembled in the USA. Are you guys in the USA only good assemblers? I think this whole argument is going round in circles as the Chinese mob I bought my cables from is basing their authenticity on the fact that they only assemble genuine Cardas cable and terminations in China.
Let me rephrase my question:Does Cardas, in fact, manufacture their cables in China?
I'm considering making my own.

I will source the cable specification build up, screening etc. and my favourite connection units. I will derive great satisfaction in putting it all together some wet Saturday afternoon.

With a quality specification and the fact of having made it myself I reckon I will hear that "special unidentifiable nuance " in my sound stage, something that is unique to my ear and nobody else has.. ie. an excellent audio cable specification build at less than 1/4 of the cost of the "names".

Prefer to invest in the source.
It’s not black and white. Many US audio electronics, speakers, etc. contain parts made in China. Resistors, capacitors, batteries, etc. or they are entirely assembled in China, or elsewhere. Those products are, nevertheless, designated as Made in the USA. This is not to say China isn’t capable of making some products, including some audio products, that are very high quality.

The List - High Audio products made in USA

http://americanmadeaudio.com/the-list/
there are two separate questions here--first the morality of buying chinese knockoffs and second  the quality of said knockoffs. i don't address  the first question, but from my experience  these products, whether audio, handbags or watches, are frequently indistinguishable (and in some cases even better-made) than their western-branded counterparts and, in many cases, made from exactly the same materials at the same factories.
The knockoffs are pure garbage.Why would you even ask??
sbayne
  China's companies over the years have done a lot of manufacturing "off the books" meaning the item may be made on the same line as the legit product but simply is not shown in the accouting sent to the company requesting the work. Its very easy for them to hide extra runs of a product if the company - which is usually in the USA - doesn't have someone on site. This goes on in many industries, not only high-end audio. These products never go into the dealer network and therefore cannot be accounted for. I've heard the comment that authorized dealers sell excess inventory and create "Gray Market" products. That may occassionally occur but what happens more often, and on a much bigger scale, is the Chinese manufacturer is simply selling directly to an exporter the extra product it manufactured off the books. They count on doing this and often calculate it into their quotes when pricing a cost for manufacturing a product. So is it "counterfeit"? The answer is yes but it may be the exact same product you would buy from an authorized dealer.
This.
The downside to dealing with China - obviously the cheap labor is the reason why many countries do business with China - is that China is an excellent example of a state that is heavily involved in technology theft and misappropriation of ideas and products by any and all means available. 
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A few months ago I spot someone selling a pair of fake Kimber TC8 speaker cables on Audiogon. I've been using the Kimber speaker cables for many years and I knew they were fake immediately. I asked the seller if they were authentic or fake the seller responded they were authentic. I reported it to the admin of this site but I'm not sure what happened. So be careful.
I have personal experience in making my own DIY cables, owning relatively high end cables, and also with "fake" cables purchased from established hi-fi shops in china.
On the whole, and considering the cost, time of DIY, quality of materials, and workmanship, etc I find the china fakes very, very good and make for a very compelling argument. often the china retailers communication is better than their western counterparts, and although shipping takes a while, I've never had anything arrive damaged, or not at all. 
I am currently using a "fake" nordost odin supreme xlr interconnect purchased from china, and it sounds great. so much so, that my DIY cables, and more importantly, my much more expensive branded cables any sitting in the cupboard- they don't sound as good as the china "fake".
I also made a DIY version of the nordost odin supreme power cable, and it sounds great too! again better than my branded cables of much higher cost. so, im considering purchasing more of the "fake" nordost odins (speaker, xlr, power) now. just my own real world experience...
Well done the Chinese for supplying excellent products at affordable prices, mind you i wouldn't buy Nordost fake or authentic, maybe some JPS Aluminata,
Has anyone got a link to some Chinese made JPS Aluminata please ?
Someone on another site sold me a fake Siltech SPX-800 power cable for $350 USD claiming it was authentic. The cable worked properly but it didn't make a noticeable difference on my amplifier so I had my suspicions about it's authenticity. I sent the fake to Plurison and was promptly told "there's not one microgram of silver in this cheap knock-off."  They destroyed the cable and I was out the $350. 

The exterior of the fake looked fantastic, even Plurison was somewhat impressed. The fakes can look really really good. Shame on whoever made the cable and bigger shame on the guy that sold it to me as "authentic." Buyer beware on the used market. 

 
Recently, I bought PS Audio ac12 power cords from China, look good, sound good. Saved lot of money. Cannot compare to one from US shops, they are expensive. I bought USA made stuff from PS Audio and had nothing but problems, had to send back to factory 4 times due to manufacturing problems (they told me that it is very rare, for some reason, I believe them!). So, buyer beware is the best approach. 
Hi,
For me, I purchase my cables from Authorized dealers exclusively, never used, no matter what site they are on. Because of completely outrageous and in my opinion unjustified cost by some cable manufacturers, I simply cannot afford the perceived top shelf hooch. I can see why some people will try the knock-offs, I sometimes actually burst out with laughter when I see a interconnect that costs as much as my entire system! Crazy, right? I use authentic Kimber Silver Streaks throughout my system, they sound great to me and I can afford them. I know for a fact that there are many Fakes, even with this affordable cable, again, crazy. I'm quite content with the knowledge I'm supporting the now rare audio salon, the manufacturer, and feeling I get knowing I have the real thing. My 2 cents.
GRM       
Some fakes are pretty impressive, as far as getting the looks right. Some even use authentic parts to get the right look.  Anyone can buy Audio Note RCA jacks and wire to make their own Audio Note cables.  But, I've seen the authentic jacks put onto fake Audio Note wire to make quite bad sounding knock-offs.  These fakes are pretty common on the used market.

As to some of the suggestions that the genuine wire is itself a rip off if you add up the cost of the parts, that is a trickier analysis.  Can someone really make their own Nordost Odin cable--are all the constituent parts available and is there a practical way to actually assemble the parts?  I've seen their cables and they are made of multiple strands of wire that are individually wrapped with some kind of fiber, which is itself covered by another insulator.  It is meaningless to add up the amount of silver, amount of teflon, etc. to derive a "cost" of the material.  I am sure Nordost has a crazy high margin on these products, but, if you like the performance of the cable, you have to pay the price to get it, or make it yourself, or find a cheaper alternative.
American equipment manufacturers have been blurring the line for years. Audioquest made a video walk throuh of their plant to prove they were made in the USA. Well I call BS!  The plant had spools of product and soldering stations but where is the foundry and the plastic extrusion machines, chillers and heavy equipment to make even bare wire yet alone insulated wire in a co-extruded sleeve? My uncle worked at Anaconda Copper in Hastings NY and the infrastructure is huge and Audioquest has a tiny building where they supposedly "manufacture" cables but in reality they are terminating bulk cable made elsewhere.

Apple probably has the best designed and built phones in the world and they are made in China by Foxcon. Why would people believe that anything made there is garbage? My guess is that most of these things are made in China and the bulk product is sent to be finished and packaged in other countries.
With that said I have some genuine Tara labs cables and some from Alibaba.  I have a very resolving system and I can not discern which is which sonically or visually. So YMMV and the price was exceptional.

Audioquest didn’t say they made their own wire, knucklehead. Nobody does, hel-loo!
Thank goodness no one is faking Monster cables.....
And yet somehow Geoff makes his own artificial atoms in a little condo.
It’s not really that hard, astlmostzal, all you need is a hole and a bunch of electrons. Anyone could do it. Even you.
As someone already posted, some of the stuff coming out of China is junk. I bought some bulk 'furutech' rca cable and it was truly junk. Looked crap, quality crap, sounded crap - ended up in the bin. But, there are gems out there too, as my experience with the nordost cable leads me to believe. Do your homework, and buy from trusted China seller, and you'll surprise yourself. 
I never expected my $300 nordost cable to beat the $10000 genuine article, but it competes with everything I've tried up to $2000. I'm happy with that. 
Anyway, why are we worried about China?The real elephant in the room is Taiwan - I can't speak highly enough of the quality of the components coming out of this place. In my opinion, they are the worlds best in manufacturing individual hifi components at the moment. The current equivalent of where Japan was in the 1970s and 1980s.
So many aspects of products fall in the gray area.
I doubt audio cables made in China were ever assembled by child labor, doesn’t make business sense for the Chinese employer. And if we frown on forced labor, weren’t most license plates in the US made by prison labor?
as for the profit margins versus the material cost, compare to the fashion industry. A High fashion pair of shoes costs a lot because of many factors not related to the product cost.  Like they purposely want to be exclusive to certain people in order to maintain a high profile so they can continue to command ridiculously high prices. It’s only when you have huge volume that mega retailers bring costs down to grab a larger market share.  don’t you think a designer handbag would come down tremendously in cost if one of the Marts thould they could turn over a gazillion of them?
as for the different quality levels of knock offs, REFLEX watches can be had in China for ten bucks that will work for a month, forty bucks and it will work for six months, 120 bucks and it will actually look decent, 800 bucks and it will be indistinguishable from real to a consumer or 1600 bucks (stillonly 25% of the cost of real one) and the Zurich factory would be impressed at the quality of the knock off.
you can’t possibly know what quality level of know off you are getting without real feedback from previous purchasers, not staged fake feedback posted by the supplier.  
The ethical aspect is clear, it is not ethical to use someone else’s name and associated positive reputation.  Period. Can this be controlled? Yeah, to the same extent illegal drugs are , about 3-5%.
is there an ethical work around? Sure. Advertise that your cable is 99% the same as the brand’s product at 25% of the cost, or something along that line.  Done that way in auto parts all the time.

Chinese corrupt/criminal empire are manufacturing FAKE commercial airline parts. Engine components, brake components, electronics, etc. All are grossly substandard and endanger the public.
I find it no surprise to read in this thread that corrupt Chinese are also producing FAKE counterfeit audio cable. At least counterfeit audio cable is not lethal.
clearthink and skycap are dead on!  This is not a debate over how good a fake really is, the issue is the act and its damage to commerce of the legitimate firm.  Fake pharmaceuticals may be formulated as well as the genuine article, however the pharmaceutical firm saddled with 2 billion dollars in total costs for R/D plus drug trials and FDA approval will be harmed.

STOP!!  I'm not supporting the pharmaceuticals industry, only using them as an example of deep pockets investment corrupted by IP theft.

Stories abound of audio industry players setting up manufacturing in China, receiving a quality product for the money and then discovering renamed identical product in other markets.  When approached, the Chinese manufacturers are dumbfounded there exists a problem as the contractual agreement is in their minds fully met.  Of course all of the engineering and intellectual property has been stolen in the process. 

Years ago Top Gear tested Chinese car models.  One was eerily similar to the BMW X5.  BMW had sued for design infringement and lost in Chinese courts.  Imagine that!?

STOP!!  Before some wander off waving a banner marked "China-phobic", I'm merely addressing a current prevalent offender, with full understanding there are plenty of others around the world to include U.S. firms.  Check the court dockets.  

I once purchased on a lark in Thailand a copy of Microsoft Office for $6 (180 Baht).  It was a souvenir and I never loaded it. I was afraid to.   I just wanted to see if it were possible to purchase on the black market.

For those who still support finding that special deal no matter what, I hope your house wiring is not mis-marked as 14-guage, the contractor having secured a smoking deal to cut costs, only to find in the post-fire forensics it to be 20-guage overwhelmed by a toaster oven.
If you really want to see something disturbing, search for Dartzeel on Aliexpress.
Many times China is fake equipments so best is to buy from Korea also WADIA best of all audio equipments Too.