It's very good profit to fake $10k cables and sell it for $3k. Who cares they'll sound same!
22 responses Add your response
I would be a bit cautious when buying reterminated cables, particularly Nordost cables (or cables with similar construction) because they are harder to reterminate. These cables have multiple conductors, each individually insulated and wrapped with silk fibers. I would guess that a solder pot to burn all of that off would be needed, and even then, how would one know that the person doing the job matched whatever process Nordost employs?
They're not necessarily fakes. The cables are so ludicrously priced per inch (not only Nordost is guilty of this) that there's huge incentive to make the most of every inch. Say you could -- at extremely aggressive discount -- get a several meter run from a "friendly" dealer or a connection out the factory backdoor. Then, your best strategy for profit would be to break it up into multiple (short) normal-sized runs and sell individually at a price that represents a huge profit, yet still remains very attractively priced (to some) relative to the MSRP. This is a byproduct of the cables' retail value (and hence used value on audiogon, which is almost always proportional to MSRP) so vastly exceeding its intrinsic or wholesale value. There's certainly no need to go to all the trouble of counterfeiting in a market like this!
It's a good scam for those with the right/shady connections; it leverages all the marking work cable companies have paid for convincing us audiophiles that these cables somehow justify such high prices.
A less cynical analysis is that some of these chopped runs come from hobbyists (not profiteers) that got a great deal on a used long run for their system, and hocked the surplus length to recoup funds.
BTW I have nothing against profit; you'll be hard pressed to find someone more free-market than I, but the system works best when profit is more often the result of real innovation & hard work, and less often from the no-value-added (or negative net value added) cash grab middlemen.
In fact, what they're doing is segmenting the market. These cable companies still get to act like their flagship cables are magical, and keep the MSRP prices up where only the top 0.1% and Kanye West can afford them. Hence they command a HUGE profit margin on the top end of the market (and more importantly protect their brand), even though the volume is low.
These "chop and no box" models work below that, where there's more volume but audiophile are operating on a budget of some kind. This adds lots of cash-flow without destroying the huge profit margins up top. I'm not sure whether the cable companies are in on this or how much they are (certainly it probably varies among companies), but the financial incentive is there.
You just don't see these kind of dynamics in markets that are really healthy and productive to BOTH producer AND consumer.
Mulveling- You are correct in theory and I am sure in some circumstances, but I believe that in many cases you are either getting a counterfeit cable or a cable that has been re-terminated under less than optimal circumstances (at best). If the potential buyer is someone who believes that solder type or base metal type or plating thickness or grip pressure (and I take no position on any of those things) matters, then I think you can be nearly certain that you are not getting what it appears to be, a very high end cable at a highly discounted price. OTOH, that is not to say that the cable will not sound great in your system, or even, perhaps "better" than the genuine factory product, since cable interactions are both system dependent and unpredictable.
I do think that Audioquest and some other well-known names have openly used something like your "chop and no box" model. There are one or two retail outlets for AQ cables and wires w/o the "retail" packaging at highly discounted prices, when compared to list.
It is EXTREMELY unwise to buy a cut Nordost cable. I say this as someone who has HAD a cut cable.
Nordost is one state away from me in Massachusetts. I sent my Valhalla in and had Paul look at it. "Too short" he said. Nordost doesn't recomment shorter lengths than 1 meter for sonic reasons. But more than that, they don't recommend anyone else cutting their cables for ANY reason.
I had a Nordost Brahma power cable that I bought. It had been reterminated. Now, I'd owned 4 or 5 Brahmas over the years and knew what to expect (meaning, they wouldn't interfere with clarity or the purity of whatever they were attached to). This cable didn't sound right, so I sent it to Paul, and he heard exactly what I heard. I returned the cable and it was a company who used someone professionally skilled in the cutting of the Brahma. Nonetheless, it was instantly obvious to me that the cable was not sonically identical to other Brahmas.
If you buy one, call Nordost and have Paul check it out to clear it. They are fantastically respectful of their customers on the customer service front!
original Odins have a wooden block (with engraved logo & serial no.) as well as logo-printed heat-shrink at connectors. sure, these can be "knocked off" - just as it'd be possible to knock off the orig. packaging - if one was determined enough.
one would have to be pretty audacious (& a touch foolhardy) to cut up a multi-thousand dollar cable & potentially risk losing most of its value... short lengths of Odin aren't exactly cheap / flying off the shelves to begin with.
There are some cables which include a kind of electrical network in the cable, with different networks for different cable lengths. These cables cannot be shortened and re-terminated without adversely affecting performance (e.g. NBS cables). I don't thing Nordost is such a cable, but, this is just one more factor to consider.
From European used site.
Odin original 8000Euros 2 meter
Odin cut 3.000E 1 m
It seems that sellers lose money by cutting. The only answer I have is that it is very hard to sell a cable for 8000 euros and most people do not need 2 m. It is more easy to sell one for 3.000E and the buyer can say that he uses Odins in his system.
I had 3 meter xlr Odin cable,bought at the official dealer, with box and serial number that I wanted to reterminate at the factory. The Nordost refused to do it, saying that they are not doing that with Odin model. I think that is not fair. Sold them for cca 1/3 of price (around 7000 eur).I beleive that it should not be a problem to reterminate them (there are lots of people who have the tools and the know how) but the bigger problem are chinese fakes, that are more and more present now. AQ seems to be their favourite brand for now, but I see growing number of Nordost and other brands as well.That leads you to buy from dealer, but with experience that I had, I would not say to anyone to buy a product from company that gives no factory support later. In that regard, Cardas is far more honest that people from Nordost