Counterfeit Audio?

Many of you may have seen the recent auctions for Cello line state preamps on Ebay?

I have always been intrigued by the design and rarity of Cello equipment, but otherwise would not put it on my short list of realistic purchases.

In this case, however, it seemed like a simple, useful piece of gear, which I could perhaps use as a line stage, and I came very close to bidding.

My instincts told me to pause, however, perhaps because the seller claimed "still brand new...never touched by human hands etc etc" which seemed a bit odd about the sale.

Subsequently, the item was relisted with comments about fraudulent and/or counterfeit Cello for sale.

Before reading this, that never would have occurred to me, but I thought I should ask the community here before bidding.

Any ideas or advice? This seems like a nifty collector's type component, but I dont want to pay big bucks for the high end audio equivalent of a fake Rolex?
There is talk that the Cello gear is actually rebadged (and reworked?) Chinese stuff so it could well be the one you saw was counterfeit.

There are also fake cables going around - particularly van den Hul and Kimber too I believe.

There are also Cardas cables clones floating around. I've been bitten already.

Be careful..
If anyone could check out the current ebay ad for the cello etude line stage preamp and give me your gut reaction to the ad and the text I would greatly appreciate it.

I also paused a bit because it said something like "perfect for turntables" which I didnt understand because I assume it has no phono stage?
Also, beware of fake NBS power cords.
Jadis too....Defy 7 amp the imposters had smaller transformers than the real ones.
I looked at the ad in question. My gut instinct is to "STAY AWAY"! Among other things, the picture of the packaging does not look like it came from a legit manufacturer. I would think that a legit Cello component would have custom sized packaging... this picture makes me think this is a high priced knock off. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
I just looked at it too and fully agree with Pdreher. Forget about it. :)

FWIW, the one shown on ebay looks, from memory, JUST like mine, which I bought used from a dealer here in Japan, where the Cello equipment had quite a good market (and continues to have a healthy secondary market - I have seen three go past the used market in the past 4 months and the lowest offer I have seen is just north of $1000 (store), the other two went for $1300 (store) and $1550 (auction)). I will check later tonight against mine to confirm and post again. FWIW, there should be pictures on Google Image if interested in chasing more pics down.

They still have quite a following in Asia based on the quality of the 59 step attenuator (from 0 to -50db in one-step increments then to complete attenuation in another 8 steps), which is supposed to be among the best made. I personally had a problem with the frequency extremes being "thin" but I can say that the midrange was as transparent and detailed as I have ever had the pleasure to listen to.

The Etude was originally sold some 20 years ago (first sold in 1986 I believe). FWIW, specs were as follows:
input impedance: 10k ohm
output impedance: 0-10k ohm (though the one-page manual specifically states 100k ohm amp input impedance preferred)
Size: 24W x 10H x 25D (in cm)
Weight: 1.6kg
Jacks: 4 RCA inputs, 1 set out

From what I have heard and read, the stuff made by Mark Levinson under a name other than his known which may or may not be re-badged Chinese equipment is Red Rose Music equipment.
china even pirates products and brands that are legitimately built in china.
The fake Rolex of audio is now fetching > $1000?!?
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.
sbayne has the facts right.......
Sbayne is right that there is probably a lot of this going on.

The Cello Audio Etude in the auction/picture, however, is not likely to be one of those products. There were never enough of them made to drive that kind of activity and I believe they were actually made in the U.S. at the time. In any case, production on these probably stopped before China became a place to manufacture audio products.
I wouldn't be surprised if many of these "overruns" are units that didn't meet spec's or in some other way didn't meet the orders' qualifications.
Hello I am the original auction holder for the cello unit in question.. I listed & sold two cello etudes NIB without any problems. Then a copy cat auction was posted a month or two later. I reported it and it was removed. Funny enough, a new one was just relisted- another fake. They are actually using my pics and text from my past cello auctions. (by the way it is rare to find a 10 year old peice of equipment NiB but I happen to be old friends with a former employee.
Suppose you know that a certain cable has fake amazing electrical properties and you buy this fake cable from a source that you know only sells fake products.

My question is whether the cable you receive is a actually fake or not?

....apologies to Mr Tennis for any unintended plagiarism ;-)