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
Abe Froeman's picture

The fact that, in the particular case that has caused so much controversy recently, the innards of one product were put in a different case with a different manufacturer label, and a different price, doesn't bother me. As you say, this practice has been going on for years. What does bother me though is that it magically grew supposed THX certification, while clearly not complying to THX specs!

Stephen's picture

Caveat emptor they say.

Robert's picture

I don't mind at all. In the end, it all depends on the final performance/price ratio. If they don't add any value and increase the price, they won't be selling any units to me.

XenonMan's picture

They typically don't improve the product. They just jack up the price.

Jay's picture

It depends on the amount of changes that are made to the component that enhance performance. If there are no changes and it is simply re-badging, then I cannot justify paying a premium price.

Robert Koda (LLC)'s picture

There are always three sides to a coin. Building your own Blu-ray base, for example, would be like re-inventing the wheel. Why not take a good platform with scope for improvement from one of the big Japanese brands instead? Dollar-for-dollar, the end-purchaser would be getting the best cost/performance. Then there are those who might just take a stock cable, put on some expensive connectors and dress it up. Shame on them!

Roy's picture

It's a straight rip-off, proving these firms have little engineering expertise and are more tweakers than true designers of equipment. Oppo Digital rules in today's direct-to-consumer models—and Lexicon is made to look embarrassed, to say the least.

Ralph Gerard Mercuri's picture

Only the ignorant would be in opposition of this. It is efficient business and productive business. Resources are directed to the betterment of the product, not re-doing what has already been done.

Jim M's picture

This is no different than high-end watches. There are only a few producers of parts and I will pay for a better-looking case.

Ove Tegnér's picture

They take advantage of people's ignorance. On the other hand, if they raise the value through slick design, the customer may be satisfied even if he know the facts.

T.  Tatum's picture

When people over-spend, it stimulates the economy.

Michael's picture

This is cheating. Just putting a Lexicon badge on an Oppo without any modification, with zero investment in R&D is cheating.

WillyL's picture

A solid base with better components, caps, connectors, etc, is a good thing. I'm too lazy to DIY. Doing a simple paint job and decal install is another matter.

Ken's picture

If you don't have the talent or budget to produce your own gear, then just don't enter into the market with a re-badged one. It is deceptive, plain and simple.

S.  Chapman's picture

I like it because it's just one more thing that confirms my opinion that we're getting ripped off by the high-end audio companies.

Jerry's picture

The practice constitutes fraud and is a classic example of the conceited arrogance of the industry. It is one thing to sell a product as a modification, but deceptive and unethical if you claim credit for everything and only deserve partial production credit. This industry lacks credibility as it is, without vendors giving their customers a sense of being "the mark" in some confidence scam.

DB's picture

It's greed and gouging!

Dave's picture

It's hard to know if any substantive change has actually been made. Sometimes reviews will tell us, but those may be too late.

Christian Schutz's picture

it paints a picture of snake oil hi-fi to the mass-market skeptics

markb's picture

It's not honest.

Douglas Fitzpatrick's picture

Using another manufacturer's hardware and just throwing it into a new fancy aluminum case is most disrespectful and unprofessional—especially when considering the level of quality that's expected from such a high-end company. It's a slap in the face to those who expect (and respect) more from a company like the company in question! If the company wants to use another manufacturers design and noticeably improves on the original design and ends up with something far better than when they started, then that's a different story!

mook's picture

It's lying about the source of the gear. OTOH, just about everybody does it—do you really think a Lexus is something other than a loaded Toyota?

Bob's picture

It really depends on what they end up doing with it.

Perry's picture

Just doesn't smell right.

Stephen Scharf's picture

it's a complete rip-off and only serves to denigrate high-end audio even further, an industry that already has serious credibility issues, particularly with respect to conflict of interest. BTW, there's no "supposedly" regarding whether or not the Lexicon BD-30 is an Oppo BD-83. It is a complete Oppo BD-83 chassis and all, stuffed into a Lexicon skin. Show some integrity and stop the obfuscation with words like "supposedly." Facts are facts.

Haney's picture

Makes me doubt my recent $20k CD player purchase.

Brendan Gaul's picture

I like it because it pours gasoline on the argument that high-end components exist only to stroke the egos of rich, clueless buyers. Meanwhile, I bought the mass-market version. Seriously though, I don't care. People should buy whatever makes them happy. Now I get to feel like I got a great deal.

Bent Lauridsen's picture

Design shouldn't/can't cost so much.

Garry Richards (UK)'s picture

The consumer is being misled and over-charged.

Oli's picture

I am being ripped off.

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