How do you feel when high-end audio manufacturers use mass-market components as the basis for their own products?

How do you feel when high-end audio manufacturers use mass-market components as the basis for their own products?
I like it because . . .
14% (48 votes)
I don't like it because . . .
78% (274 votes)
I have no idea
9% (31 votes)
Total votes: 353

Recently, there has been a on-line furor over an audio manufacturer having supposedly re-badged another manufacturer's component as its own (with a sweeping price increase). This <A HREF="http://forum.stereophile.com/forum/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=80790">prac... has been going on for years: Some high-end audio manufacturers have always taken mass-market components and used them as the basis for their own products. How do you feel about this?

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COMMENTS
Aanta's picture

If a manufacturer is so out of ideas for making a product to sell, they should ask themselves why they're in the business at all.

audio-sleuth@comcast.net's picture

Keep catching those basturds ( my spelling). Good job, all. Who's surprised? You mean we can't trust HK? LOL.

HiRezNut's picture

They don't always provide this information, nor any details regarding how/why their product is improved (to justify the price increase).

Nosmo King's picture

In this case, the company removed the top of the cabinet and stuck the whole thing into their own box. While I'm sure other companies use others' components, this example is pretty shoddy and makes them look bad.

Tim K's picture

If you lie to get my business, you will never have it again. Ever.

Martin's picture

All these high-end manufacturers tell us that they have so much know-how, but often they haven't.

chris's picture

They make a lot more money this way. And money is good, isn't it? Banks, insurance companies, GM, etc, got big money from Uncle Sam. Poor hi-fi re-badgers, sorry, manufacturers, don't have that kind of lobby or leverage. We the consumers must bail them out from our own pockets. It's our patriotic audiophile duty. Seriously, this kind of scam is disgusting and deserves to be exposed.

The Audio Dufus's picture

If I am supposedly buying into a high-end piece, I want all the aspects of its performance to be custom. Otherwise, I would be overpaying for subtle modifications. I'm paying for a Ferrari, not a Ferrari-modified Ford Focus. I guess it's why I tend to stick with Meridian.

Jørgen Skadhauge's picture

People will always pay the price they can afford. It might be important to have the "right" box.

Chris Heinonen's picture

It depends. In the case you mentioned, they added literally nothing to the design, other than a case and a serial port—which was already available as an upgrade. However, other companies are taking the same source component, removing everything except for the tray and video section (as it's cheaper to do this than get a Blu-ray license), and then totally re-engineering the audio and power sections of the component. That's a very different comparison: To start with something great and improve what surrounds it, than to slap your name it on and charge a ton more.

Josh Burton's picture

It is a clear violation of trust. A more substantial case surrounding the original does not a significantly more expensive product make.

hal's picture

It would really stink to realize you could have save a bundle buying something with a different brand and still have the same item. Unless the higher cost item has awesome support and an upgrade policy, it's a rip.

Nick's picture

My biggest problem is going to shows and seeing high-priced CD players with cheap plastic DVD trays. Linn introduced the Karik in the '90s and, while they used Hitachi laser assemblies, they built their own transport. That showed quality. Use others' products but re-engineer and make an effort at quality, don't expect us to pay money for buying off the shelf and then charging an arm and a leg for it.

d duvall's picture

Mass-marketed products usually use the cheapest components that will (might) work. when I pay "up" for something, I expect better.

Matt's picture

Doesn't bother me, provided that they make genuine changes, hopefully for the better. During the Lexicon debacle, I learned that the licensing fees for digital players are very high. Turns out that few, in any, high-end manufacturers could build their own players from scratch just because of this hurdle.

Me's picture

Due to the huge mark-up over the mass-market orginal and the minor (if any) improvements, one has to wonder if their other more original products are worth their cost. It casts an ugly shadow over the whole high-end industry, the people who buy high-end, and the potential resale value of high-end. Greater costs should reflect greater products, not just vanity labels

Thomas's picture

It's just a rip-off. I don't mind them producing in China to keep the end-price low, but re-badging?

Louis P.'s picture

Maybe in the early days of CD players, high-end companies could add meaningful upgrades at a reasonable cost. OTOH, I have had two Philips SACD playes die on me outright, an SACD 1000 and a 963, so I would avoid any high-end component based on cheap made-in-China underpinnings.

hollowman's picture

I'm a DIYer, so I'd never buy the re-badged (= way overpriced) gear. But reading about how re-badger did it—in Stereophile's web forums—saves me time/effort/dollars in prototyping.

Jimmy's picture

It's a complete & total rip-off! It's the reason the masses do not buy high-end equipment!

Justin's picture

Pretty lame to the extent that the high-end product is simply another product in a new fancy case. However, these small manufacturers don't have the R&D money to build everything from scratch, so to some extent, borrowing makes sense.

Bob P's picture

Why not simply buy the less expensive product from the other manufacturer? I hate being manipulated into believing that paying higher prices equates better quality.

Ebrink14's picture

It seems they have no self-confidence.

vince's picture

I don't like it because, more often than not, they simply tweak a power supply and/or change an output device and slap it into a very expensive chassis. I think that there is a certain obligation to the consumer if you are charging a monumental upcharge to offer a tweak, yet position yourself as a company who "manufactures" and "engineers" a product. If you pose as this type of company, then something proprietary should be brought to the table other than a slick chassis. I do get that there should be a quest for "better," but with no cost of real R&D, I am unsure as to how these price points are brought forth. This is one of the many reasons why the audiophile market shrinks, as too many people get bitten for too much money for too little value.

phokus's picture

High-end products should have high-end components.

ted betley's picture

Because unless it is stated as such, it is a fraud. Come on!

Kommun Sentz's picture

For the price they charge, they should be able to make a superior product from scratch.

Rick (swe)'s picture

The brand using re-badged components should disclose this if they otherwise use advertising that states that they develop or make their own components. If they don't disclose it, then they are falsely marketing at least part of their market line. In the long run, it will only hurt their own business because no audiophile is faithful to an unfaithful brand and high-end manufacturers live thanks to their faithful fans.

fabio's picture

It shows how successful snake oil can be. I'd love to see some of these high-end cables debunked.

Bill Nguyen's picture

Then I feel that I could have paid less for the same product. If I'm paying for something, I want to be paying for the whole thing. Not just the name.

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