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How to Discern Reals from Clones?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I am buying phones on TaoBao and some products have multiple price points and what is most confusing is that the ones with the lower price, the one that is not comparable to the UK/EU/USA price, is often the one with the most positive reviews and best seller feedback.

This makes it impossible to determine what is fake. The buyers could be happy with the cheaper clone and not know the difference, or this could just be the same phones without the export and shipping costs added, just sent from the factory in China.

Anyone have any ideas?
post #2 of 9

i normally use headfi/amazon USED/NEW price as a guide...

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorspeaker View Post

i normally use headfi/amazon USED/NEW price as a guide...

Yes, great idea. But as I posted, the one with the price that is NOT in compliance with the headfi/amazon price, is often the one with the most sales and positive reviews.

Some examples:
Sennheiser HD428. Prices of 138, 198, 220, 310, 405, 540 RMB
http://s.taobao.com/search?initiative_id=staobaoz_20130520&jc=1&q=Sennheiser+HD428

Sennheiser PX100. Prices of 162, 167, 217, 245, 399 RMB
http://s.taobao.com/search?initiative_id=staobaoz_20130520&jc=1&q=Sennheiser+PX100

Koss+PortaPro. Prices of 162, 180, 217, 275, 299, 345, 381, 599, 770, 1039, 1112 RMB
http://s.taobao.com/search?initiative_id=staobaoz_20130520&jc=1&q=Koss+PortaPro

In the last case the one with the most sales and many good reviews is priced at 381 or 345.
No way to tell.

In case it is not clear, purchasing from a seller who does not have good reviews and a sales history is very unwise on Tao Bao.


Usually this wide disparity is not common or not as wide. Other cans have price ranges of 800 to 1280 for headphones that have a headfit/amazon price of $175, well within a sensible range.
Edited by marone - 5/19/13 at 9:26pm
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
The answer is to look for headphone arc of the headband that is tighter than normal, with slight bunching of the padding, and the quality of the printed materials such as the warranty card or manual.

Other than that, there isn't much to be done so I am taking my chances.
post #5 of 9
What do these 'phones cost from a legitimate, authorized online dealer in your country? How much are you really saving for taking this risk?
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

What do these 'phones cost from a legitimate, authorized online dealer in your country? How much are you really saving for taking this risk?

It is interesting the meta-assumptions one encounters online.

The country I reside in, IS China.

There is no such thing as a legitimate, authorised, online dealer, in China.

There is no such thing as a legitimate, authorised, brick and mortar dealer, in China.

All are suspect, everywhere (including Apple Stores). The best online sellers with high reputation and 'authorised dealer' status, could easily be selling clones.

Also, I live far away (2500kms) from any city or place that you have ever heard of, therefore the only way I can obtain anything is to buy it online.

If I were to go to the local department store to buy from a 'legitimate, authorized dealer', the price would be triple, and the likelihood of buying a clone would be the same.

There is also no customer service. You buy it, it is yours. Goodbye, do not come back.

Everything you know and assume, it doesn't apply here.

That is why I asked the question in the OP of this thread.
Edited by marone - 8/21/13 at 5:57pm
post #7 of 9

erji.net should be a better source for that kind of info.

post #8 of 9
Wow - how interesting. I think Adam Smith & Milton Friedman would be proud of the Chinese economy. They would probably say that the Chinese consumer gets exactly what they deserve - illegitimate product exists because consumers want to pay less and the consumers buy the clones because they exist at a lower price. Doesn't speak well of Chinese business ethics, but it is a fascinating lesson in capitalism. It's not unethical to *create* the clones, but it is unethical to blatantly lie about them being original branded product. I think that's hard for someone outside China (like me) to understand: the widespread willingness by businesses to deceive the consumer, and the acceptance of the consumer to being deceived by nearly all businesses. That doesn't seem like a business model that will work in the long term. I guess we will just have to wait and see!

Good luck! beerchug.gif
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

I think that's hard for someone outside China (like me) to understand: the widespread willingness by businesses to deceive the consumer, and the acceptance of the consumer to being deceived by nearly all businesses.

One comment about China and then back to the headfi:

Most, or nearly all, of what westerners, Americans, etal, consider to be 'Communist social behaviour' is in fact already existing social trends in Russia and China. The Russians still demand you have travel papers. Plan a vacation to Russia and see. The Chinese were making copies of objects 2,500 years ago.

There were always like this, centuries before Smith and Friedman were born.

In any event, I have done my work on the low end of the Chinese market and I am now buying the $100 tier of phones. Aviator, TMA-1, MS1i, etc. I often want to chuck this experiment and just order a pair of HD-800's, but I must admit I am learning a great deal about the sounds of cans. Many of the mid-fi and lo-fi manufacturers actually do TRY to get something good. You can hear which higher level can they are attempting to reach, in many cases. In most cases they begin with their baseline, terrible, muffled, bass and lower midrange over emphasis, and then attempt to improve that sound moving up the line from $10 to $80. They don't move beyond that because their market is so price sensitive that their segment wouldn't buy anything pricier.

Doing what Skullcrusher is attempting is not easy at all. You lose your existing customers who perceive you to be too expensive. TMA-1 is the only product from that manufacturer. And so on.

Chinese buyers look at the difference between $9/60RMB and $14/85RMB and think that the $5 is 'far too much more to pay'. $100/600RMB is out of reach in most of their minds and that level is where headfi begins to most of us here. Some *can* afford that level and above, but very few. Looking at sales figures there are only a few, sometimes just one or two, sellers of higher level cans for each model and they have sold perhaps 30 or 60 pairs of the AKG 240 or the HD 600. Compare this to 1200 sales for a set of $7 cans.

Anyways, will let you guys know what the TMA-1 and Skullcrushers sound like compared to the 668 and CAL.
Edited by marone - 8/22/13 at 9:40pm
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