Warning (not advocating) about incredible authenticity of fake $43 Sennheiser IE800s

Discussion in 'How to Win Friends and Influence People' started by user174, May 10, 2016.

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  1. user174

    user174 Guest

    I'm not advocating to buy these and I won't link the shop where you can buy them, but I wanted to post some evidence of just how authentic these fakes are.

    First pic below are pics of the set I got. They look *exactly* like real ie800s, including the tips. Everything. The only way you know they're fake, is because the shop calls the "DIY IE800" and the listing admits that they're fakes created by a 10-year engineer at a top headphone company. I won't link the shop where I got them though. You also know they're fake because their serial number is in the 900000 range, whereas a real IE800 serial number should be in the 0-30000'ish range.

    http://imgur.com/a/hLatE

    Second pic is what happens if you check the hologram on the Sennheiser website. It works -- that tells you how useless the Sennheiser hologram is.

    http://imgur.com/a/pzYv4

    The audio is, well, outstanding. I listened to it for about four hours so far, and its only weakness (that could entirely be my imagination) is that it gets a little confused -- rarely -- when a bunch of stuff is going on at once in the song. But this could entirely be my imagination. But at times I've thought it sounded better than a real ie800 (again very close; could be my imagination) and it is very clearly better than the $100-$300 iems I have (which are either e.g. unbalanced, tinny, too v-shaped, perform poorly in certain frequencies etc.) And yes I've owned two ie800s from clearly authorized top-name retailers, roxanne, layla, k10 . . . pretty much everything except kse1500.

    I think this is very useful information for the public and raises questions of (a) how are such fakes made; stolen parts or does the counterfeitor make his own drivers? (b) if it's the latter, why is Sennheiser charging $800 for the real thing if a fake can be made for $10 (I assume that's what they cost to make if they're $43 shipped from China to the US); (c) are high-end headphones all just an overpriced scam?; (d) how many poor souls paid many hundreds of dollars for fake ie800s? (If your hologram has the code above then yours is definitely a fake. Even if your hologram is not the one above, yours could still be a fake. I honestly don't know how you'll be able to tell).

    I think the information also raises many interesting re: the quality of inexpensive Chinese audio products (they're quite good. I also purchased a cheap Chinese dac/amp that was really good. I've never been disappointed with a inexpensive Chinese audiophile purchase).

    On the "are high-end headphones just an overpriced scam" question above -- there's a whole bunch of people who say we overpay for snake oil, and I honestly don't know if we do or not. I've spent $5,000 to $10,000 on headphones and amps (if you count all the losses suffered by buying something and selling it or returning it for less due to a restocking fee). The sooner the community uses science and objectivity to resolve the snake oil vs real value argument, the sooner we can get on with our lives of either being audiophiles or dropping this hobby and just buying a cheap "just as good" headphone.

    If Sennheiser is smart, they will immediately buy 10 of these and do tests to explain why the real ie800 is better, in ways that I can't perceive.

    But something tells me Sennheiser's real response will be similar to the one below:

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2016
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  2. Ray

    Ray Friend

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    This topic has been beat to death for a few years already on head-fi.sennheiser is well aware of the fakes going around because you can check for authenticity on their website. Sennheiser is very well established & probably doesn't give a shit how good these fakes sound.
     
  3. user174

    user174 Guest

    That website isn't very useful, because as you can see above counterfeitors have hacked the hologram.
     
  4. Mikoss

    Mikoss Friend

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    They "hacked" the hologram by reproducing one code? I wouldn't call that hacking... even the Sennheiser website itself says the code is suspicious.

    I would hardly discount all of the other holograms with authentic codes which work, simply because of one cloned hologram.
     
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I don't know what you are trying to say. You mention something about holograms and counterfeit IS800s; and then you go off a tangent and start babbling about snake oil. Since you are weak with your powers of literacy, can you please provide us with an executive summary and/or a bullet point list of what you are trying to get across? Thank you.
     
  6. Ray

    Ray Friend

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    This has trollism written all over it.
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Hard to say. He can obviously write words and sentences; but his use of vocabulary is awkward and his thoughts are not coherent. Could be a weirdo from HF who got banned by Currawang. I wish HF would stop sending them here.
     
  8. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    I don't come into your house and shit on the floor. No matter how tempting, please refrain from pooping on ours.
     
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  9. user174

    user174 Guest

    I had a clearer post yesterday, but mods deleted it because they thought it was an ad for the store. So I reposted without the link to the store and in an attempt to make it clear that I'm posting to inform (especially IE800 buyers) and ask questions, e.g. questions about whether we're all paying extra for worthless snake oil, and not to tell people to buy this ie800 clone.
     
  10. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Except yesterday you explicitly urged people to buy it, and said how amazing it was.
     
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  11. Eric_C

    Eric_C Friend

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    ^ Aye, and even in its current form the first post of this thread talks about how good the counterfeit is, despite "not" advocating its purchase.
    You do realise this forum is meant for community first and foremost, right? And yet here you've barged in, your first post like some prophecy of doom.
     
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  12. JewBear

    JewBear Almost "Made"

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    Well lots of people do say expensive IEMs are a rip off. I mean at the end of the day, there basically tubes connected to BA and a cross over network. If you recreate the cross over network and use the same BAs you can probably precisely replicate the sound.
     
  13. user174

    user174 Guest

    I can't leave out the fact that it's good. That's the whole basis of the post, no? If it sucked then why would I wonder if expensive iems are snake oil?

    If they sucked I would have written, "holy sh*t I just wasted $43 good dollars on a total poc fake ie800 that sounds worse than apple earbuds. Don't be like me and keep buying those $1,000 iems. They're worth it."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2016
  14. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    I don't think we are dealing with snake oil. Furthermore, it is unclear (at least to me and perhaps to others) if you are inconspicuously pushing a product (perhaps illegally banking on the reputation of an established company, or worse) for personal gain.

    I'll give you my take on your "questions" (they are sort of leading IMO).

    (a) how are such fakes made; stolen parts or does the counterfeitor make his own drivers?

    Many possible ways. Perhaps manufacturing equipment and other stuff is provided to second parties either by workers in an overseas OEM facility, or by the OEM itself, with out authorization from the company that owns the rights of the end product. This I believe is illegal, but may be hard to properly enforce overseas.

    (b) if it's the latter, why is Sennheiser charging $800 for the real thing if a fake can be made for $10 (I assume that's what they cost to make if they're $43 shipped from China to the US)

    I don't think $800 falls under the average IEM consumer reasonable price range. However, a company holds the right to sell it's goods for whatever price they choose. It's up to the consumer to decide to purchase the product or not.

    Does it cost $10 to make the particular IEM you refer to? Depends. If you want to DIY in your garage, it probably will cost you more because likely you don't have the tooling or the equipment and will have to make an investment to produce them. If you sell large volumes of the item, you may reduce the price. But if you don't...

    An OEM overseas with the right equipment may reduce cost (if we factor cheap labor on top of that), again with the risk of your design being stolen and sold illegally for much cheaper. A local OEM may have the right equipment, but charge you more due to labor conditions and other considerations. And I suppose you do want to make money from your ideas.

    (c) are high-end headphones all just an overpriced scam?;

    No. Selling an $800 IEM for $50 because some overseas OEM took advantage of the company that owns the rights for such IEM is.

    Such a company may not need to comply with the same labor, environmental, and general business laws. Such a company does not hold the rights to the product either. Again, selling counterfeit products (specially identical replicas) is basically a form of stealing IMO.

    (d) how many poor souls paid many hundreds of dollars for fake ie800s? (If your hologram has the code above then yours is definitely a fake. Even if your hologram is not the one above, yours could still be a fake. I honestly don't know how you'll be able to tell).

    How many companies have seen their profits cut down due to illegal practices by unscrupulous OEMs?

    If you think a particular product is over priced and not worth your hard earn money, don't buy it. But I don't see how you can make a case for counterfeit stuff. It's pretty much stealing IMO.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
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  15. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Other things to consider:

    A company like Sennheiser has a lot of overhead that goes into its prices. It's a large company and they did the R&D on the real headphones themselves. Given that there are a lot of IEMs in the $700-$1k range, I think it's fair to say that these are prices that the company feels gives them a reasonable profit margin but isn't fleecing the consumer.

    Bootleggers didn't do their own R&D, they're not even using their own inventory, they're using stolen parts and stolen ideas. Of course they can sell it for less. And they have to sell it for less, because no one is going to pay $800 for an admitted fake.

    Chances are that in some way, these bootlegs are inferior to the real product. If they're not, good for you. But the conclusion to draw here isn't that all expensive IEMs are rip-offs, but rather that a reputable company is getting ripped off by the person making these fakes.
     
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  16. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    I want to clarify some points about R&D, because I myself was confused a bit about it.

    When I think R&D I usually think of intellectual property and stuff. But there is likely more to it.

    If one produces a design and invest in a prototype, invest in developing tooling and production procedures, develop machinery, start marketing campaigns and such... This things will cost money. Furthermore, note the price of the item will depend in projected volume and expected profit margin.

    An OEM may get the prototype, the tooling and production procedures for free. Maybe even the machinery. It's possible that all they do is the labor. There is also no need for marketing campaign if the counterfeit item is going to stamp the product with the end companies brand...

    So it's a bit more than R&D that an unscrupulous OEM may not have to deal with and therefore sell for much cheaper. I know in the car industry, OEM routinely "loose" tooling after a production run and pull shit like that. Stuff like this in the long run is obviously short sighted and counter productive for any industry in general.
     
  17. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    You're right that there's more than just R&D involved, I was just using that as an example. The point is there are very valid market reasons for the pricing of most goods and services, although of course we can always find exceptions where things are grossly overpriced or an exceptionally good value for the money. But bootleg goods are not an exceptionally good value for the money, because they're the same as stealing, as @ultrabike said.
     
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  18. user174

    user174 Guest

    Actually it occurs to me that these might be ie800 drivers that didn't meet Sennheiser's test standards. Like they were 95% whereas Sennheiser wants 99%. Could your ears tell the difference between the two? probably not.

    But the ad said this guy, who claims to be a 10-year engineer at a headphone company, makes and tests these himself.

    Edit: The fact that you can find many dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of these online suggests that he does make these himself. I doubt Sennheiser woudl let that many drivers get lost.
     
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  19. user174

    user174 Guest

    Why did you dislike that? I didn't say anything. If you dislike a post of mine please provide an explanation.
     
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  20. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I think it's pretty obvious by now that you work for the counterfeiters.
     
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