Gray market headphones?
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Allegro maestoso

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Hi all!

In September I bought a pair of Focal Elgias from Focal's "authorized USA distributor," Audio Advice. I will admit that I paid $900, which is what they still go for there. I have noticed that Amazon's current price is $580. Am I a chump or what?

I also have an interest in the Klipsch Heritage HP-3s. Klipsch website price: $1380. Amazon: $899, but they only offer ebony, not oak or walnut. What gives? Are these Elegias and HP-3s on Amazon products legit? Counterfeit? Gray market?

Two other headphones on my list seem to have matching Amazon and authorized dealer prices. Neumann recommends Sweetwater as their dealer for the NDH 20s ($500 at Sweetwater and Amazon), and the Quad ERA-1s appear on both Amazon and Music Direct (an Illinois-based seller) for $800. Quad is kind of weird - plenty of reviews available online, but it took some digging to find their website, and finding a dealer, especially online, was not at all simple.

So why pay more for guaranteed authenticity? I can see three reasons, but there are probably more. Most important to me is respect for the craftspeople that build these instruments. If not passionate about their work (which is ideal), I hope that they at least take it seriously and are fairly compensated - that makes me feel much better than would sweatshop slave labor making cheap knockoffs. Next is quality of materials and construction. A headphone that has had corners cut in its production probably won't sound as good and won't last as long. Last is service and support. A well-made, genuine item is less likely to need service or support, but if you end up with an unauthorized item that does fail, you'll never find the smuggler/forger who sold/made it, and the "real" manufacturer won't touch it with a 10-ft pole.

What do y'all think? Corporate conspiracy to charge huge markups? Headphone pirates? Lots of fakes out there among the Rolexes and Louis Vuittons? Do you feel you've paid too much for headphones? Bought unauthorized items?
 
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Spareribs

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My feeling is that grey market headphones are real .......however there could still be a chance of buying a fake.

But if you paid full or much higher price from an authorized dealer, there is the positive of side of full peace of mind.

Sometimes if there is a problem of counterfeits, the company will warn customers on their website. I haven’t seen that with headphones but have seen it with a microphone company.
 
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